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Farrgo

Endurance Foods

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In the last year or so, I've done a couple long endurance trips. First I did the Wonderland Trail in a push, then the Timberline Trail. My buddies and myself packed food which was about half Gu's and the other half granola bar or other snack items and a thing of real food like a bagel sandwhich. On both trails I've found that the Gu's work really well in the short run, i.e. for the first 30 miles but after that my body starts to reject them. I was still getting some energy out of them but my stomach want to spit them out. I feel like sustained snacking is the way to go on long endurance trips but haven't found a food system that works. What works for everyone else?

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I have not found a "system" that works perfect. I have found I do better if I snack on a frequent basis. I also mix it up regular. I usually take some dried fruit and some fresh, some bagels and some bars, and a couple gu's and stir in a frequent drink usually with cytomax or some other sports drink mix at about half strength.

 

This rather inexact formula works good for me. Now for reference my longest days are always biking. At the end of a double century I am usually pretty wiped but not out of energy. When I hike or climb I don't push quite that hard but even after a 20 mile day I usually stop in good shape.

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It just blows my mind when I read about Twight eating nothing but Gu's for 60 hours straight. I would be vomiting everywhere at hour 20. I wondered initially if dehydration might have played a part, but I drank galons of water on these hikes.

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Have you tried SPIZ....it's a carbo drink + protein & vitamins....it's like a cytomax/meal replacement hybrid. It's worked for me for really long days, but haven't tried it in the 30+ mile range. Steve House used it on NP.

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I"ve tried Perpetuum - my only issue is that it tastes gross. I just can't drink it. Any other good alternatives?

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It just blows my mind when I read about Twight eating nothing but Gu's for 60 hours straight.
I don't have any personal recommendations, but Twight probably wouldn't do that now, and seems to recommend including both a limited amount of protein and quite a bit of fat. These 2 links to his Gym Jones site give some idea about what he's thinking these days.

 

http://www.gymjones.com/knowledge.php?id=11

 

http://www.gymjones.com/knowledge.php?id=17

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You want energy to keep going forever? Read this.

[sorry, this is a post-in-progress, but I think I'm done now]

I wanted to create a home-made (read: cheap) energy drink that would keep me going and ideally provide an easy way to get calories if/when your stomach is upset at altitude.

 

I have done quite a bit of research on endurance & related physiology. Drinks like Endurox are unquestionably the best physiologically. The guy who did 50 marathons in 50 days in each of the 50 states downed a liter of the Endurox recovery drink every night, but I'm not sure what he had during the day. The expensive formulations include not only carbs (very specific, not just sugar), but a little protein, tons of vitamins/antioxidants, and electrolytes (and not just plain sodium).

 

However, there's a number of problems for the average Joe.

1 - they are, well, very expensive and impractical to use on a regular basis.

2 - they usually taste anywhere from bad to :vomit:

3 - the best ones, which use maltodextrin, take a long time to completely dissolve the powder.

 

I have solved two of these problems while maintaining a useful formula; unfortunately, the best ones will always be hard to dissolve crazy.gif Solution: just make up the drink in the evening and it will be ready by morning. It takes about 30m-1h to dissolve.

 

Are you ready?

3/4 - 1 cup maltodextrin (kinda hard to find - buy online)

1/4 cup fructose (easily found at health stores)

1/8 tsp sea salt (more than plain sodium)

1 packet of your favorite Kool-Aid (raspberry is personal fav.)

Liquid and Carb intake is optimal for 24-32 oz. per hour.

[approx. 250-300 cal. per hour] (i.e. this is ALL you need to consume)

Your body can't handle much more energy and liquid without sacrificing your physical output.

The inclusion of Fructose as opposed to, say, glucose (which may be better, performance wise) is the only way to get enough sweetness for a good tasting drink at 1/8 cup per quart, excluding artificial sweeteners, which I haven't delved in to.

 

I experimented with adding a packet of Emergen-C (tons of vitamins/antioxidants), but it just fouled the taste considerably. I found it better to keep vitamin-taking seperate from the energy drink.

 

I haven't worked on incorporating a small amount of protein yet. I'd like to do this because the theory is that an all-liquid diet is best b/c you don't get your stomach going to take away blood from your muscles. However, I've not found this to be a real problem at the level of exertion I usually find myself. In fact, my most astonishing increase in endurance and capability was (starting) about 20 minutes after downing a Payday and hiking fast uphill for an hour at the end of the day. Not scientific, but anecdotal evidence for importance of protein? regardless of solid form.

 

My drink formula is not an exclusive solution for multi-hour continuous high-level exertion. You definitely need more protein and probably more electrolytes and vitamins. It's good enough for the vast majority of what we all do though.

 

It's not going to make you Superman, but you should notice that you don't completely poop out. You will still feel tired, but won't NEED to rest. You will be in control of your muscles, telling them when to start and stop, as opposed to them telling you when grin.gif

 

bigdrink.gifbigdrink.gifbigdrink.gifbigdrink.gifbigdrink.gif

Edited by ClimbingPanther

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Not sure if this will help, but here you go anayway smile.gif I did a lot of 24 and 48 hour adventure races when I lived in the midwest and I came up with my own little nutritional strategy that works well for me. Like you, I cannot injest gu or bars forever or I start to feel sick and eventually stop hiking or puke. For me the key was actually eating a slightly more normal meal to fill up my stomach some and to give my palette a rest from all the bars.

 

I would alternate a bar or a gu every 45-60 minutes for the entire race and every 6 hours I would eat a "real meal" which for me consisted of beef jerky, string cheese, and a couple rolls. If I could get a peice of fruit, I would eat that as well (usually a banana). This is when I would also take salt tablet depending on how hot it was. This strategy worked well for me and has allowed me to go for up to 31 hours straight without wanting to vomit.

 

For a drink system, I always used a 4:1 ratio of water and gatorade.

 

I have not tried Spiz yet, but I am interested in checking it out. Just not sure how I feel about drinks that contain fat and protein...

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That's exactly the kind of idea I was looking for. I am stoked to try out some of these drinks that people have been recommending. I tried salt packets too. I'm not sure if they're good for you or not. I've heard that you only need a very small amount of salt and that ingesting a salt pack will actually contribute more toward dehydration. On the other hand, I would drink liter after liter and it didn't seem to do anything for me. So I wonder if I needed more salt to strike the right balance?

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Farrgo, you're right about the salt. You have to be real careful with the rate you consume it if you're talking peak performance, but of course you must have it. If you can tell you're ingesting salt, you are at least on the verge of ingesting too much at one time.

 

Sorry I can't contribute to any discussion of hikes over 20 miles in one day, but my drink, supplemented with the occasional PayDay, has proven invaluable for that range. I agree with the sentiment on snacking, and PayDay's are my snack of choice. Again, the day I noticed the most amazing stamina boost was after ~10 miles with 40-45 pounds on my back, then a PayDay and my drink & 20m rest. The next 1 1/2 - 2 miles uphill were CAKE.

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