Q. Hey Brian,
Love your blog. I have it bookmarked and I check it every other day. I was wondering if you could do a blog post on cycling supplements. If you have already done this then I apologize. If you haven’t done a blog on this, any chance you could? If not, what’s your take on it? I know it’s a common question and a lot of folks are divided on it.
A. First off, thanks for the kind words, I am glad you like the site!
As for cycling supplements I think this is a totally personal choice. I don’t really think it makes much difference if you do or don’t. People make the argument that if you eat or supplement with a particular item on a daily basis, that you will develop an intolerance to that item. Is this a possibility? Sure. Is it definite? Absolutely not.
Many cultures consumed many of the few same foods nearly year round. Many consumed rather large amounts of potatoes, sweet potatoes or coconut for the majority of their lifetimes without developing any issues. On the flip side of that, intake often varied by season and availability so it can go either way.
I would say that I am not opposed to either option, and I leave it up to the individual. If you find that a certain protein powder bothers you after a period of consumption, then maybe it is best to rotate that. If not, then do not worry about it. I firmly believe that these decisions are best made on an individual basis and there is no “right” or “wrong” answer.
Q. I got an idea for you, could be a bit of a challenge for you too. Maybe you could write about nutrition for hiking the Appalachian Trail. The curve balls would be…
-Calorie density per 1 oz of weight
-Ease of cooking ( IE; dehydrated etc)
-Many meals are really processed, EasyMac, Ramen etc. It would be cool to see idea’s if you could come up with healthy, little to no process for meals!
A. Well this is an excellent question. To some degree it would depend on how long you are hiking, but I will answer this based on it being a multiple day journey. As an interesting aside, my wife hiked the Appalachian Trail for 5 days while in college, so she helped me out with this one a little bit.
For snacks you have lots of options, but like you mentioned we are looking for foods to be nutrient and calorie dense, as well as portable. I would highly suggest these options:
- Home-made Trail Mix (which you can alter in innumerable ways – different nuts and dried fruit, shredded coconut, seeds, etc)
- dried fruit (figs, apricots, raisins, prunes, etc)
- bean dips and hummus
- grass-fed beef jerky
- hardboiled eggs (especially good with hummus – Delicious and Nutritious Deviled Eggs)
- Organic Valley string cheese
- youbars of your own design.
These are all highly portable and offer high-quality carbs, healthy fats and quality protein.
Meals are a little tougher but here are some options that I think travel well:
- tuna in pouches on whole-wheat wraps
- natural peanut butter (or almond butter) on whole-wheat wraps
- oatmeal with dried fruit and peanut butter
- or you can use some of the snack foods and make a larger meal out of it
I would also recommend that you consider bringing along some herbs and spices for meals (at least some salt and pepper for the tuna for example). Aim to pack about 700g-1kg of food per person per day. It can definitely help if you pre-plan your meals and most of your snacks. While there will probably be some unplanned snacking, it can prevent you from bringing too much or too little food.
As a final note, don’t forget the most important item of all – Water! Remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I hope that helps!
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