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Nutrition & Hydration

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Nutrition & Hydration

Postby jthomas » Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:19 pm

I did a search and read a number of threads on this, but came away more confused than ever. Over the last few years, I have made a concerted effort to get away from artificial crap and eat real food. For long hikes and approaches, I have switched to things like meat/cheese/nuts and like it much better. My question is what to do do on summit day and similar conditions where you are outputting at a very high lever for a long time.

The choices seem to be:
1. regular food
2. Gels and water
3. Gatorade and similar crap.

Intuitively, Gatorade, etc. seems to make sense, as the more you drink (a good thing), the more calories and electrolytes you take in. The problem is that after one bottle, I start to gag on the stuff.

Gels and water seem to work, but the thought of doing one of these an hour is not appealing, plus the carb concentration is going to vary all over the place depending on how much water you drink with the gel. Gatorade at least is going to be consistent and there is a lot of research showing that the carb concentration needs to be within a certain range to work well (~6% IIRC).

That leaves real food, but isn't digestion going to be a problem if you are really hammering?

Any thoughts greatly appreciated. I am thinking about trips like Rainier or perhaps Aconcagua. Thanks.

Jim Thomas
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Postby Ze » Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:33 pm

here's some stuff I wrote up before


for a day hike, the most important is nutrition the days before, carb loading and hydrating etc...

day of, one can absorb ~100-200 kcal an hour for use and that's why GU and other things (fast absorbing) are used. for optimal performance, one would use these too if they are trying to break a PR. however, if you are dying for GU during a hike, you probably didn't get your glycogen reserves full the days prior...and that's more important.

gatorade gives electrolytes unless you drink a lot and only gatorade it won't give enough carbs.

I don't know about multiday activities, other than you'll have to be carb-loading (with protein ) throughout the days as an "investment" for the next day
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Postby jthomas » Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:50 pm

Ze,

Great write-ups. Thanks!

Jim Thomas
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Postby Joe White » Fri Jun 11, 2010 6:55 pm

Ze wrote:here's some stuff I wrote up before


for a day hike, the most important is nutrition the days before, carb loading and hydrating etc...

day of, one can absorb ~100-200 kcal an hour for use and that's why GU and other things (fast absorbing) are used. for optimal performance, one would use these too if they are trying to break a PR. however, if you are dying for GU during a hike, you probably didn't get your glycogen reserves full the days prior...and that's more important.

gatorade gives electrolytes unless you drink a lot and only gatorade it won't give enough carbs.

I don't know about multiday activities, other than you'll have to be carb-loading (with protein ) throughout the days as an "investment" for the next day


Thanks Ze! Good stuff here.
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Postby jthomas » Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:29 pm

Joe White wrote:
Ze wrote:here's some stuff I wrote up before


for a day hike, the most important is nutrition the days before, carb loading and hydrating etc...

day of, one can absorb ~100-200 kcal an hour for use and that's why GU and other things (fast absorbing) are used. for optimal performance, one would use these too if they are trying to break a PR. however, if you are dying for GU during a hike, you probably didn't get your glycogen reserves full the days prior...and that's more important.

gatorade gives electrolytes unless you drink a lot and only gatorade it won't give enough carbs.

I don't know about multiday activities, other than you'll have to be carb-loading (with protein ) throughout the days as an "investment" for the next day


Thanks Ze! Good stuff here.


Ze,

The Hammer Nutrition stuff seems very well thought out, but it appears to apply to stuff like competitive marathons, bike racing, etc. in hot conditions. I have no desire to set a record in the Western States 100, etc. I just want to finish a climb like Rainier or maybe Aconcogua intact without embarrassing myself or holding up my partners. Do you feel that most of this still applies? thanks.
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Postby Buz Groshong » Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:57 pm

Herb tea and PB & J sandwiches!
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Postby phydeux » Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:57 pm

I'll make it simple for ya': When up in the mountains, its calories and fluids (water) that count.

Try experimenting with different foods at altitude in your local hills to find what you can tolerate; you'd be amazed at how god-awful some stuff is up high. Use that experience as a basis for planning what to eat on those higher peaks like Rainier and Aconcagua.

Personally, I've never used anything for electrolyte replacement, since most of the processed foods I'd take on a trip seem to have plenty of salts and minerals in them already. Adding in a bit of fresh food to dehydrated also helps - I like a bit of onion, and onions keep quite well for 1-2 weeks. Bell peppers can also kee for onr week, too. I like peanut butter but can't stand it above 10,000 ft/3300 m. Can't stand gels either.

Start with a good daily diet, get in the best shape you can, then concentrate on keeping up the calorie and fluid intake while in the mountains and you should do fine.
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Postby MoapaPk » Fri Jun 11, 2010 11:10 pm

What elevation summits do you mean? I see you are from Georgia/US.

Up to 14k', I haven't been afflicted with AMS-type nausea. However, it is hard just to make myself eat at times. I'm in favor of anything that will look good to you at altitude. M&Ms, some dried fruit (e.g. mango and berries), dried chicken teriyaki nuggets, and some crackers&cheese work for me most of the time. If you won't eat it, it doesn't matter how nutritious it is.
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Postby fatdad » Fri Jun 11, 2010 11:26 pm

A more cynical response might suggest that it's not just a function of energy gel or liquids that might impede one on a summit day. I understand that nutrition can play a big part, sometimes a really big part depending on the circumstances, but given that the frame of discussion is merely one summit day, it seems to be raised as a silver bullet. If you're in decent shape, havent' over exerted yourself in the days leading up to a summit climb, it shouldn't make that big of a differnce whether you're eating GUs, Clif Bars, drinking gatorade, etc.
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Postby Ze » Sat Jun 12, 2010 3:32 am

jthomas wrote:Ze,

The Hammer Nutrition stuff seems very well thought out, but it appears to apply to stuff like competitive marathons, bike racing, etc. in hot conditions. I have no desire to set a record in the Western States 100, etc. I just want to finish a climb like Rainier or maybe Aconcogua intact without embarrassing myself or holding up my partners. Do you feel that most of this still applies? thanks.


I think it still applies, you just don't have to follow it nearly to the same level. I think it is just good to know this stuff so you can better get a feel for what you need to do / try. That article speaks mostly of race-day nutrition and so even the concepts of not eating / drinking too much or too little may have a big effect for you (regardless of the carbohydrate type).

What is important really depends on what you are trying to do. For myself, I've been doing 4 intense workouts (1500+ kcal in 90 min) a week (plus a long dayhike) for a while...2 days in a row, one day off, 2 days then dayhike, one day off...and am able to do it with full energy reserves because of some eating patterns. The most important is eating high carb w/ protein in the right amounts the few hours following exercise. The body is sensitive to carb absorption then. Once I figured this out I was able to do a lot more and not fatigue / overtrain.

This is all based on eating after a workout. When I do a hike, I have high glycogen reserves and can go for a long time without eating anything. Unlike my other shorter, more intense workouts, hiking takes up the whole day and makes it harder to eat enough food to recover, so I can't do a tough workout the next day (I choose to rest). I would have to be more conscious during the hike to do take in stuff like mentioned in the article (200 - 300 kcal / hr) if I wanted to keep my glycogen reserves high for the next day. If you want to do 2 days in a row of tough hikes, you'll need to be very careful about nutrition on the first day (and days prior).

BTW, I sort of disagree with the tone of the article about carb loading. I agree you can't and shouldn't wait till the day before, but definitely you can help your cause a lot by eating lots of carbs for breakfast and lunch the day before, giving it time to absorb and go through your system. It won't be "optimal" as compared to carb loading over multiple days, but I think for most of us it would be good enough. And yeah, don't wait till dinner.
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Postby drjohnso1182 » Sat Jun 12, 2010 3:54 am

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Postby Alpynisto » Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:13 am

Ze, you're off to a good start but you sound awfully close to buying into marketing hype based on pathetically small research; look deeper into the studies. Hammer is only slightly better than Gatorade in twisting science to sell products. Magic carb:protein ratios (*cough* Burke) still haven't panned out. Carb loading in a day is a bad idea due to digestion issues and it doesn't really work anyhow. Multi-day carb loading works for the ultra fanatical but would be horrendous for climbers due to water weight gain, plus GI distress.

Real food that you like and your body likes is still the best answer. Eat often, drink water often. Don't eat or drink too much at once. Don't combine energy drinks with energy food. Forget all the electrolyte nonsense, real food has you covered. Dig into the science before you buy into fads.
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What I use.

Postby BigRob » Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:22 am

I use gels most of the time while climbing. I also make a sports drink from maltodextrin, fructose, Morton light salt and lemon juice. I use the sports drink if I'm doing a car to car, with some gels. My favorite thing is dried pineapple, it is light, has lots of natural sugar, and has an enzyme that helps take out the cellular trash (bromelein I think SP?).
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Postby Ze » Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:40 am

Alpynisto wrote:Ze, you're off to a good start but you sound awfully close to buying into marketing hype based on pathetically small research; look deeper into the studies. Hammer is only slightly better than Gatorade in twisting science to sell products. Magic carb:protein ratios (*cough* Burke) still haven't panned out. Carb loading in a day is a bad idea due to digestion issues and it doesn't really work anyhow. Multi-day carb loading works for the ultra fanatical but would be horrendous for climbers due to water weight gain, plus GI distress.



Hype? I don't use any of their stuff, hell I don't use any GU's or shit at all! (I do use Gatorade once in a while). The idea that small intake of carbs helps is well known. And actually I'm the one saying what you eat days prior is more important.

You say carb loading in a day is a bad idea, then you say carb loading over multi-days isn't good eiither...so what are you trying to say? No carbs?

I say, bullshit. I can eat a large breakfast & lunch (with plenty o carbs if I want), while weening down the calories consumed the rest of the day, and I end up being well digested for the next morning (and a little caffeine to top it off :wink: ). Worrying about water weight sounds a little bit fanatical itself doesn't it?

I'm not saying you need to gorge on carbs...but "normal" meals with high carbs and low fat will do the trick. This is nothing special and requires no commercial products. And if during the hike you want to replenish with something, I agree with the notion with eating whatever you will actually have an appetite for. I can take down gummi bears even with a surpressed appetite, so I go with those (or bread). And no I'm not a sponsor of Haribo.
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Postby robzilla » Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:40 am

In a word- Twizzlers. I can hike all day munching on Twizzlers with a big meal later that night for protein.
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