Fuel Up! ... For the long Haul
Adequate nutrition and hydration during activity provides the energy needed to perform at a high level, allows for mental focus and skill execution, and helps prevent hunger and thirst. The duration and intensity of your activity will affect your food and fluid needs, as well as the temperature, humidity, and altitude at which you are being active. This is a very individualized science and your needs may differ from your workout partner or teammate.
The focus during activity is on fluid and carbohydrate. For activities lasting an hour or less, water should be sufficient if you have fuelled appropriately beforehand. Aim to drink 150-350mL of water every 15-20 minutes. Heading into your second or third hour you need to replace the energy you've used up and keep your blood sugar levels stable – you need to replace carbohydrates. This can be accomplished by consuming 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour (15 to 20 minute intervals works well).
What does 30-60g of carbohydrate look like?
- 1 L of sport drink (like Gatorade)
- 2 Chewy granola bars
- 2 Nutrigrain bars
- 2 Fruit Source bars
- A piece of fruit (banana) and a bar
There are many options to choose from including convenience, commercial products (sport gels, sport gummies, sport beans, etc.). Just keep in mind that you need carbohydrate. Try a few options and determine what sits well with you – there are no magic foods when it comes to fuelling during activity.
Stephanie Wheler, RD
Something Nutrishus Counselling & Coaching