How To Buy Nutrition

These days there is a vari­ety of prod­ucts on the mar­ket that promise to replace nutri­ents lost to per­spi­ra­tion and improve ath­let­ic per­for­mance dur­ing stren­u­ous out­doors activ­i­ties. Most of these prod­ucts come in small, eas­i­ly con­sum­able pack­ages. Some are organ­ic, gluten free, and veg­an while oth­ers fea­ture high­ly engi­neered com­pounds that are eas­i­ly absorbed into the body dur­ing ath­let­ic activ­i­ty. With just a lit­tle research, it’s easy to find great tast­ing, healthy and tum­my-friend­ly fuel for out­door sports. This guide will help you learn how to choose the best fuel for your needs.

Remem­ber! It’s impor­tant to note that some foods and drinks might not sit well for all peo­ple. NEVER eat an untest­ed food on race day! Always try out gels, chews, or oth­er foods (A lot of run­ners love PB&J) dur­ing vig­or­ous train­ing days to find out how the stom­ach will react.

Out­door ath­letes such as rock climbers, run­ners, cyclists, and moun­taineers push hard for hours with lit­tle time to sit down for a prop­er meal. For these types of sports, a vari­ety of bars, gels, and sport drinks are avail­able that pro­vide calo­ries, nutri­ents, and hydra­tion in small pack­ages. Most out­door events or pur­suits are car­dio­vas­cu­lar in nature mean­ing you’ll need to fuel up before, dur­ing, and after.

Train­ing: Dur­ing work­outs, calo­ries can be con­sumed at a rate of about 100 to 200 calo­ries per hour. Any more and the body will not be able to keep up and might revolt with stom­ach cramps and vom­it­ing. With most gel packs, this boils down to about two packs per hour. Be sure to take them with plen­ty of water. Test what works best for you dur­ing train­ing. Some peo­ple swear by one pack every half oth­er, oth­ers will take three or four for an entire marathon.

Post: Post event, a two to one (2:1), up to a four to one (4:1) car­bo­hy­drate to pro­tein ratio fuel source should be con­sumed with­in 30 min­utes post exer­cise. The carb to pro­tein ratio is mea­sured in grams. High­er pro­tein foods are best-con­sumed post activ­i­ty to restore mus­cles with amino acids.


Liq­uid: Sweat secretes impor­tant min­er­als such as mag­ne­sium, sodi­um, potas­si­um, man­ganese and phos­pho­rus. If sweat­ing for long peri­ods of time, con­sume sports drinks, pow­ders or tablets that infuse water with min­er­als to avoid mus­cle cramp­ing and dehy­dra­tion. Keep in mind that sports like swim­ming or ski­ing in cold weath­er also result in per­spi­ra­tion.

Prod­ucts like Salt Stick pro­vide com­plete essen­tial min­er­als and are best tak­en with lots of pure water. These prod­ucts work won­ders in pre­vent­ing cramps. With­out them, the body’s elec­trolyte bal­ance can eas­i­ly become imbal­anced dur­ing marathon-length events lead­ing to cramps, nau­sea and exhaus­tion.

Solids: Sol­id snacks pro­vide fuel for glyco­gen syn­the­sis but take time to break down in the stom­ach. Sol­id or semi-sol­id snacks are avail­able in the form of bars, gels, chews, or jelly­beans. Typ­i­cal­ly, gels, chews, or beans are most appro­pri­ate for run­ners and cyclists who need a quick boost. Bars are ben­e­fi­cial for climbers, hik­ers, and pad­dlers who can take a break to digest food before mov­ing the body again. This does not mean that run­ners or bik­ers can­not eat solids, but it depends on how food reacts with each person’s stom­ach.


Ingre­di­ents: The ener­gy food indus­try now fea­tures clean foods that incor­po­rate organ­ic and health-need­ed ingre­di­ents.

Veg­an: Veg­an foods are avail­able in just about any form. These fea­ture ele­ments free from ani­mal prod­ucts and don’t include milk or bee prod­ucts (hon­ey) or arti­fi­cial chem­i­cals.

Gluten-free
: Gluten free stom­achs are hap­py with pea or brown rice pow­der bar in replace of wheat or flour. Many prod­ucts may be labeled organ­ic, which does incor­po­rate organ­ic ingre­di­ents, but may not use enough organ­ic ingre­di­ents to be offi­cial­ly cer­ti­fied as organ­ic.  Look for the cir­cu­lar USDA Organ­ic label to find cer­ti­fied organ­ic foods, espe­cial­ly with the ener­gy bars.

Pack­a­bil­i­ty:  Bars, gels, ener­gy tablets and pow­der pack­ets are light and small, which store well in var­i­ous events and out­door pur­suits. To avoid melt­ing in heat­ed envi­ron­ments or foods touch­ing sweaty bod­ies, pur­chase prod­ucts that do not uti­lize a choco­late coat­ing to enjoy with­out a mess.