Nutrition Tips for Snowshoeing: Article by Kevin Doberstein CFT
Snowshoeing can be a very demanding exercise. It doesn?t really matter if you are a seasoned racer or a weekend recreational trail user. Going through a deep snow draws both the glycolytic and oxidative energy systems of your body. The glycolytic system uses glycogen that is stored in the liver and muscles for short-term explosiveness actions. An example would be going up a grade of deep snow. The oxidative system uses oxygen to oxidize long-chain fatty acids, proteins and glucose for energy.
Because a snowshoeing hike generally lasts longer that a 30 minutes, you want to plan you?re snowshoeing nutrition accordingly.
During the first 90 to 120 minutes of snowshoeing both glycogen and body fat are the primary energy sources. After that body fat is the primary source. To use body fat efficiently for fuel, the body must have some glycogen stored in the liver and muscles.
Your target macronutrient ratio should be 15% protein, 25% fat, and 60% carbohydrates.
Here are some nutrition tips you can follow to help benefit your snowshoeing hike:
Consume smaller meals five to six times a day instead of two to three large ones. This helps keep the blood sugars level and prevents spikes in insulin.
Eat a low glycemic food two to three hours before snowshoeing to load your body with slow burning glycogen fuel.
Do not consume large amounts of dietary fat before or after the hike.
Drink plenty of water. For every gram of carbohydrate you take in your body absorbs 3 grams of water. Also your body will lose fluids through sweating. Dehydration will greatly reduce performance and also can cause serious health implications.
15 minutes before snowshoeing drink a high glycemic drink like fruit juice or Gatorade. You can even drink it during the first part of your hike. This will spare the stored glycogen in your body and allow the use of fat instead for energy.
After snowshoeing you should have a whey protein and carbohydrate drink to replace the glycogen that you used and rebuild muscle tissue.