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Nutritional strategy during long and cold expeditions

Compression products as well as a good strategy of food and hydration are necessary during a long and cold trip

Tiredness, extreme cold and long expeditions make the athlete suffer a lot, and mainly the body, at a physiological level. Attention to nutritional strategy will be important because the body and mind suffer high stress conditions. The food must be well chosen: small volume, easy to digest and concentrated energy. They should be foods that require less consumption oxygen and less energy on digestion. The figure of 7,000 kilocalories (kcal / day) might mean that an athlete may spend a lot when in intense activity in cold and long trip, for example. And if it’s also in high altitude (above 3,000 meters altitude) the body will spend more calories than in normal life!

During an expedition the energy intake should be based mainly and primarily on carbohydrates (65%), as they give us energy to continue the activity. Moreover, proteins are what help us in the reconstruction and muscle recovery (10%) and they are healthy and good fats (25%). The good fat helps to protect our body from severe cold and is a good source of energy. A diet rich in carbohydrate quantity prevents from hypoglycaemia.

Details like a hot broth or a hot and salty soup before, during and after each day of expedition is an excellent option to keep the body warm, safe from hypothermia or falling sales. But the broth or soup has low calories … so therefore it is essential to carry in your backpack during activity, nuts, dry fruits (like nuts, peanuts, dry banana, apple, pineapple, dates or raisins), energy bars and cereals, because they are good sources of carbohydrates and calories. Having gels are a good choice for moments of stress when the weather is bad or when our hands are frozen and we need immediate power before some point of maximum effort.

During your stay in the refuge or hotel or base camp to sleep, the food must also be rich in calories (protein, carbohydrates, good fats and minerals salts) to recover the entire body. Couscous with vegetables or meat, pasta with Bolognese sauce, rice with chicken and vegetables soups are examples of food to bring in a long expedition.

Coffee and tea are important to keep the athlete alerted during the expedition. Drinking water and mineral salt (isotonic drinks) are essential to maintain a hydrated and balanced body.

If you keep this nutrition strategy you can run, cycle and walk light (without extra weight) and be fit to finish your trip !

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