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How to Fuel Your Body in the Backcountry

Q. What’s the trick to having enough energy while on a big outing?
— Jack, Boston, Massachusetts

Whether you’re backpacking, climbing, paddling or taking a simple hike, the key to maintaining your energy is food. Fuel your body right with these simple rules for eating in the backcountry:

1. Start the day with food. Hitting the trail on an empty stomach puts you in a caloric deficit that’s hard to catch up on.

2. Eat a mix of carbohydrates (stuff like dried fruit, pasta, oats) and fats (granola, nuts, trail mix) during the day. The former delivers quick energy; the latter burns slow to last all day. You should also increase your usual percentage of daily calories from fats (normally 20-35 percent) to nearly half your calories for better stamina.

3. Eat protein (beef jerky, energy bars, nuts) in the evening. It’ll help your muscles repair for the next day.

4. Avoid simple sugars (cookies, candies, cakes), which just cause a rapid crash in energy level.


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