Originally published in the Summer 2023 issue of Spoke+Blossom.
Proper fueling for hitting the trails this summer is essential to optimizing your adventure fun. Here are a few tips to consider before, during and after your summer activities:
In the summer heat, staying ahead of your hydration is key. Begin hydrating several days prior to activities. Eat whole foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables and keep that water bottle in reach. During your adventure, your trail mantra is to drink early and often. Rather than gulping large amounts of water infrequently, take smaller sips more often. Aim for one bottle (12-16 ounces) of water per hour. If you’re active for more than an hour, add some electrolytes to your water (e.g., hydration tabs, electrolyte replacement powders or salt capsules).
Your fuel before an adventure plays a critical role in how you will feel during your activity. Eat a well-balanced meal with whole foods (in lieu of processed sugary foods) one to two hours prior. If that isn’t feasible, fuel up at least 30 minutes before with a high carb snack. A few ideas include: plain yogurt with fruit, a piece of fruit with a handful of nuts, half a peanut butter sandwich, or an energy bar.
Just as with hydration, your trail mantra is to eat early and often. It’s key to stay on top of your nutrition as soon as you hit the trails, especially if you're out for two or more hours. In addition to the electrolytes you are already consuming, pack salty high carb snacks to help your body retain and use water more efficiently. A few ideas include: oranges, dates, bananas, trail mix, nuts and seeds, dried fruits, tortilla with jam and or honey, jerky, baked potato with salt, peanut butter filled pretzels and/or protein bars.
After you high five your adventure partner to celebrate your mission accomplished, activate your rehydration and refueling plan within 30 minutes. Focus on protein to help your muscles recover (e.g., yogurt with fruit, protein smoothie or peanut butter smothered banana). Within two hours, aim to eat a well balanced meal with a medley of whole foods on your plate that includes lean protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. Be sure to keep that water bottle nearby to help you get your fluid levels back to normal.
Tuning in and listening to your own body’s needs is by far the most important factor when it comes to hydration and fuel. Adjust your fuel plan as you consider the distance, altitude and terrain of your planned adventure. Now repeat your new trail mantra: Drink before you are thirsty. Eat before you are hungry.
MY GO-TO ENERGY BALL RECIPE
adapted from Whitewater Cooks
1 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup cocoa powder (cacao)
2 cups nut butter of choice (or alternative)
1/2 cup honey
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together using your hands.
Adjust honey amount as needed to hold it all together.
Roll into balls.
Sample one for quality control.
Store in airtight container in fridge for a week or in freezer for up to two months.