man drinks at base of mountain

We get asked a lot how to fuel big mountain days. Here is what we recommend to help boost your energy levels, get more enjoyment out of your day, keep you safer and ultimately increase you chances of a successful day out. We have tried and tested this method with athletes and know it works!

  1. Eat something once in every hour e.g. cereal and energy bars (such as kind, bobo bars, eat natural, nakd bars, clif bars), any oat/dried fruit & nut style bars, sports waffles, cooked potatoes, pancakes, trail butters.
  2. If you are going for longer than 3hrs take something more substantial to eat such as a wrap or sandwich (filled with cheese, tofu, tuna, egg, chicken, hummus as preferred). 
  3. Add in a protein bar during the day this will help support recovery especially if you are going out for back to back days (e.g. RX, primal, barbells, kind protein, clif protein, fulfil, grenade bars)
  4. Make the most of your hydration, use a sports drink this will help top energy levels up and also help you absorb more fluid compared to water alone (e.g. SIS, Torq, Tailwind, Mountain fuel, Skratch super fuel).
  5. Think drip feeding, eat and sip little and often through out the day, eating, drinking in opportune moments such as, gearing up, ski touring transitions, setting up belays or less intense steadier moving sections of your day.
  6. Keep things in easy to reach pockets, not stuffed at the bottom of your pack. Think about where you pack your food in your bag so you can reach it easily and quickly.
  7. Take something that will give you a quick hit of energy when you need a boost, the final skin of the day to get to the hut, before the last technical section of a route, at the top before heading down, when psyche may be running low (e.g. Sports waffle (gu/honey stinger), clif shot blocs, skratch chews, jelly sweets).
  8. Have a recovery snack ready to eat /drink as soon as you are off the hill e.g. recovery shake, protein filled sandwich/wrap, banana & yoghurt, protein/energy bar.

You are not going to be able to carry enough food and fluid with you to meet your energy demands for these big days out. Plus trying to cram your bag full of all the food and fluids you think you will need will add more weight and ultimately cost you more energy!

However it is super important to eat well the evening meal the night before your big day. Eat well at breakfast (if appetite allows) and start recovering as soon as you’re off the hill, eating well to help meet the energy demands of your day and refuel ready for your next big day if heading out again tomorrow.

*Please note, this guidance is not for ultra running races, but for big days out in the mountains.

Food/Fluid Examples:

Cereal bars: Kind, eat natural, nakd, bobo bars, clif bars, rx bars, picky bars, skratch bars (there are a lot of options out there, find ones you like the taste of or make your own).
Wraps/sandwich filled with tuna, cheese, tofu, chicken, hummus, nut butter (as desired) home made or shop bought what ever is easiest.
Protein bars; Clif protein bars, Kind protein bars, RX bars, Epic bars, primal bars , grenade bars,  Fufil,  barbells (our favourite!!). Aim for ~10g protein per bar.
Quick hits of energy: Sports waffle (gu/honey stinger), clif shot blocs, skratch chews, jelly sweets.
Sports drinks – SIS,  Skratch super fuel, Tailwind, Torq or make your own home made version.

High Performance Dietitican
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