I am on one of my monthly marches at the weekend, this one, unlike most of the others is an unsupported walk which means I have to take all my food and drink for the day. The aim here is to take enough food to complete the walk without carrying excess weight. Here are my supplies and why I’ve selected them.
When I’m walking I start my morning with a bulletproof matcha tea, this is matcha green tea made with water, coconut oil and ghee. My typical heart rate when I walk on the flat is usually between 80-110 BPM, this means that my body’s preferred fuel at this intensity is fat, starting the day with this drink should encourage fat metabolism. The matcha is a good source of antioxidants, it is anti-inflammatory and also a mild stimulant. I avoid eating in the morning as when ingested, carbs can become the bodies preferred fuel source and I want to save them for when they’re needed.
I try to minimise eating during long walks, the more food in the digestive tract, the less blood that’s available for muscles, however, to avoid feeling hungry snack bars are a convenient way to eat on the go. I go for more natural bars as anything eaten has be eliminated or assimilated, so the more natural and nutritious the better.
The walk I’m doing on Saturday is the Yorkshire 3 peaks, which as the name suggests contains some good hills, popping a gel pack on the approach provides a quick supply of energy when the walk becomes that bit more demanding. These gel pack are based on manuka honey, which is able to get in the blood stream very quickly and again is very natural.
It’s inevitable during the walk that I will sweat, so hydration is essential, I will be taking 3 litres of water, plus another 500ml of water mixed with electrolytes to replace the minerals lost by sweating. Depleting electrolytes can cause muscle cramps amongst other things so are essential when undertaking physical challenges.
I had some dark chocolate on a walk a few years ago and found that it provided a boost of energy and since then it’s been a staple on my walks, it really helps when I’m flagging. Dark chocolate has a similar effect to beetroot juice, boosting nitric oxide production in the body which increases blood flow improving endurance.
I don’t need to be overly concerned with calories, as I have enough stored energy to do the walk a hundred times, so it is simply about manipulation of physiology to accomplish the goal. Nutrition is an essential part of life, optimising nutrient intake, caloric balance and effective absorption and elimination can help any goal be more achievable .
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