Backcountry nutrition

les welch

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Whether it is a overnight excursion from base camp to a 2 week bomb in bivy hunt, how do you guys fuel up for the grind? I typically head into an area planning on anywhere from a 4-14 day excursion. I generally plan for around 2200-2500 calories a day on the hard working elk hunts. Maybe less if I am doing more glassing. I like a cold breakfast that I can eat on the go. Something like bars, cereal, powdered milk/protein mix/water, etc. For snacks I have granola bars, WA bars, trail mix, jerky, and the like. I will usually have a Mountain House for supper and maybe some Idahoan instant potatoes. I usually have a couple mini candy bars and hard candies packed away in each days food also. I probably pack more food than the average hunter, but I know I wouldn't be able to sustain daylight to dark hunts day after day with out the proper fuel. How do you all do it?
 

robby denning

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Most of what you pack, so do I. I'm around 185, so I push closer to 2800 calories per day. I have a great gorp mix that is about 600 calories per snack sized zip lock bag.

1:1:1 ratio of honey roasted peanuts, chopped dates, semi sweet chocolate chips.

Taste is great and very filling, everything is dry so pretty light.
 

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les welch

les welch

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Yes I should have stated that I have went into my hunts pretty lean, in the range of 162-165#. Good weight to get around at, but I have been working on building from there. Will punch my tag this year (hopefully) weighing in around 175# but down in the 9-10% bodyfat range versus the 15% I have been at in the past. I'll probably be pulling that 2800 calorie range this year also!
 
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les welch

les welch

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I have been working pretty hard at it. I got back from CO in September at 164# and 15.5%, I built to 181#. I am now cutting SLOWLY. Its been working I'm still adding LBM and am down to 12.1% bodyfat, sitting at 174#. Slow process but fun to manipulate the body!
 

robby denning

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Sounds like you're doing it right. Several of the trainers who work for me are competition level body builders and I have learned from them that reality is that it is very hard to build muscle (drug free) on a conditioined body and it is a SLOW process. Cut too fast, there goes the mass they say.
 

GrayGhost

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Guys, This question kind of falls into the Nutrition catogory. I come from 600ft Elevation here in PA and with 24hrs or less I am at over 11k in CO multiple times a year. I know every body recommends getting acclimated first in Denver for a night or two at 5k before heading to the western slopes. That is not an option as I want to get up high asap when I get to CO every year. I have been using the Wilderness Altitude Advantage to help me with Altitude for the last five years. I start taking it 7 days before I leave and take it every day of the hunt along with lots of water. I still get headache's and upset stomachs some days, but overall it has really helped me. I got altitude sickness in the past in Chama, New Mexico hunting and it wasn't fun! What if any do you guys use to fight off Altitude sickness? Is there anything better out there?
 
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les welch

les welch

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GG, I get a prescription of Diamox, any doctor can and will prescribe it for you. I am in the same boat here. 586' to 11,400'+ in 24 hours. It seems to be worse at night because your breathing gets so slow. That said with the Diamox I have been fine.
 

BMB

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i pack quite a bit of food and supplements. everything i bring has a purpose (boost calories and protein intake). i plan out every meal and have a calorie,carb, and protein total for each meal. with supplements i end up around 3500C a day last year. i've heard some guys loosing like 10-15lbs over a 10-14day hunt but i usually hover around the 2-5lb range.
 

robby denning

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BMB, you bring up a great point. If we are conditioned prior to hunting season and managing our weight, we shouldn't be losing a bunch of weight on a hunt. Why? Because if we are losing a lot of weight, we are in calorie deficit and that can hurt our performance. That is why the Tour de France guys are eating like 8000+ calories per day during the races, so their performance doesn't drop. Lots of hunters think it's bragging rights to lose a bunch of weight on a hunt, it's not really that great of a thing.

Who in the world am I? I direct the largest personal training program in Idaho, training everyone from the overweight to the athlete and is why David Long asked me to moderate this forum. I only tell you this so you know I have some credentials and not just blowing smoke. Robby Denning
 

evan williams

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BMB,

I am doing a similar caloric count for daily intake while hunting. What I haven't been doing enough of is mixing supplements into my back country regimen. Wilderness Athlete Protein etc. My meals are going to be getting a BIG overhaul this year. Typically I am running two packets of instant oatmeal in the morning, mid-morning Wilderness Athlete bar, MRE main meal (stripped down at home) for lunch, 2 natures valley honey oat bars mid-day, and a Mountain House 2 serving meal for dinner. I also use Wilderness Athlete's hydrate and recover mixed with their energy and focus in a liter water bottle throughout the day and Amino Vital re-energize packets (6 during the day). Also...GELS (GU or Wilderness Athlete). I was actually really turned on to these a few years ago after reading Davids book Public Land Mulies. I do try to stay away from the CAFFEINE ones as much as possible personally.

This year I also found a bar made my Met-RX 31g of Protein and 410 calories...easy to get down and the total weight it around 3 oz.

During 11 days in the Colorado High Country this year I dropped around 8-10 pounds which was about average for me honestly. I went in at 163 lbs and came out somewhere around 155 lbs. Weighed a few days after I got home.
 

BMB

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yeah, i've never messed with much of the wilderness athlete stuff to be honest. I run a lot of ultramarathons and just brought that over to hunting. I've had a lot of good luck with Hammer Nutrition products and HoneyStinger. I figure if i can run 100miles and not get the BG's off that stuff it's good for the backcountry too. Nothing worse than trying something new, and it not agreeing with you. Train with it during the off season, and take it to the field with no worries.
 

BMB

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BMB, you bring up a great point. If we are conditioned prior to hunting season and managing our weight, we shouldn't be losing a bunch of weight on a hunt. Why? Because if we are losing a lot of weight, we are in calorie deficit and that can hurt our performance. That is why the Tour de France guys are eating like 8000+ calories per day during the races, so their performance doesn't drop. Lots of hunters think it's bragging rights to lose a bunch of weight on a hunt, it's not really that great of a thing.

Who in the world am I? I direct the largest personal training program in Idaho, training everyone from the overweight to the athlete and is why David Long asked me to moderate this forum. I only tell you this so you know I have some credentials and not just blowing smoke. Robby Denning
yeah, i try not to bust anybodies chops, but imo, losing a bunch of weight comes from poor planning. a little weight loss is normal cause there's not really an effective way to carry in enough "good" sources of protein, carbs, calories without having a ridiculous pack weight.
 

evan williams

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I think that a lot of hunters would benefit GREATLY by simply speaking to a nutritionist. I have the benefit of having lived with one for 18 years with my mother!!! So I use her and her colleagues a TON when it comes to my nutrition, food intake, training regimen. According to my BMI (body mass index) and everything else that they take into consideration I need to consume 1750 calories on a non-activity day to "maintain" and just over 2400 calories on a high activity (workout) day to "maintain" and if I can going to GAIN we are talking pushing 4200 calories. Just some numbers on me. I am 5'9" and weigh 155 right now and roughly 12.5% body fat. My goal for this year is between 7.5-9% Body Fat and 170-175 pounds. That seems to be where I was at my top level performance competing and everything.
 

Becca

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I think that a lot of hunters would benefit GREATLY by simply speaking to a nutritionist. I have the benefit of having lived with one for 18 years with my mother!!! So I use her and her colleagues a TON when it comes to my nutrition, food intake, training regimen. According to my BMI (body mass index) and everything else that they take into consideration I need to consume 1750 calories on a non-activity day to "maintain" and just over 2400 calories on a high activity (workout) day to "maintain" and if I can going to GAIN we are talking pushing 4200 calories. Just some numbers on me. I am 5'9" and weigh 155 right now and roughly 12.5% body fat. My goal for this year is between 7.5-9% Body Fat and 170-175 pounds. That seems to be where I was at my top level performance competing and everything.
When you talk about high activity days, how much activity are we talking?? I know that I am prone to not eating enough when I backpack, and I have had my performance bottom out on more than one trip because I wasn't "feeding the fire" so to speak. Once a critter hits the ground and we start packing heavy loads the caloric needs increase even more. I am not a dietician, but I have been under the impression that a person can burn up to 600 calories an hour packing heavy loads, particularly in uneven terrain. We typically "budget" around 2500 to 3000 calories per day for our trips, but we always bring enough extra for days that involve heavy packing. We have had a few days where I am certain that even eating roughly 5000 calories, we ended the day with a caloric deficit. As a female I know I need less than a man due to smaller stature and naturally higher body fat percentage (and my maximum pack weight is also less, I max out around 60 lbs), but for a full 8-10 hr day of packing with a heavy load, it seems to me that 2400 calories is nowhere near enough to maintain body weight and maximum energy.
 

OR Archer

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I think food is the hardest piece of "gear" to nail down. My typical daily food when Im living out of a pack is 2 packs of instant oatmeal for breakfast. For mid day I pack 2 granola bars, fruit snacks, peanut butter crackers, 2 small candy bars, cornuts, and jerky. For dinner its a Mtn House meal. Ill eat all of this and still be hungry haha. This year I'm going to look at my food a bit more closely. Ill stick with the oatmeal and the Mtn House meals but I really need to revamp my mid day food choices. I need to be taking in more calories but I also want them to really count, not just fill me up.
 

larryschwartz

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OR Archer,

Think about the mix of foods too; give your body a mix of carbs, protein, fruits, fats, and so on throughout the day to avoid the hungries. Adding some raisins and milk powder to your morning oatmeal could help start the day off better. Including some nuts to your midday menu might help too.

Larry
 

BMB

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I think that a lot of hunters would benefit GREATLY by simply speaking to a nutritionist. I have the benefit of having lived with one for 18 years with my mother!!! So I use her and her colleagues a TON when it comes to my nutrition, food intake, training regimen. According to my BMI (body mass index) and everything else that they take into consideration I need to consume 1750 calories on a non-activity day to "maintain" and just over 2400 calories on a high activity (workout) day to "maintain" and if I can going to GAIN we are talking pushing 4200 calories. Just some numbers on me. I am 5'9" and weigh 155 right now and roughly 12.5% body fat. My goal for this year is between 7.5-9% Body Fat and 170-175 pounds. That seems to be where I was at my top level performance competing and everything.
i'm same height but a little heavier. body fat is 8.7% right now, but i just caught a nice case of Giardia (restaurant food not water). So i'm down to 163lbs right now, i'm usually in the 170-180lb range. my usual week consists of about 55-80miles a week on trails depending if i'm training for a race or not, bikram yoga, and boxing/jui jitsu classes. I've slacked up quite a bit on the Ultra's this year, trying to recoup a little and put on some more muscle mass. i eat around 2800calories a day to maintain at my normal weight when i'm training for a run.
 

tradair1980

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I have been pretty happy with my meals for the last 4 years or so out in the field it has been what most of you have already stated . I use macadimien nuts (spelling) along with almonds for my fiber and fat intake. And also a really good gainer protien shake for my breakfast meals and try to double or 1 1/2 scoop it for the calories.. But most years I'm going in heiver and way higher in fat. Now this year I'm sitting around 12% and will dip in to single digets again . So that might change alot in how I feel being I haven't probaly been at that body fat during december in 14 years... I also would recomend going in with high carbs clean carbs like dried fruit of all kinds, fruit leather ,nuts even dark chocolate, And of course quality energy bars its light and goes along ways. Protien is a must as well try to get as much as you can in during the day. Morning is never an issue being I always have some shake type protien mixed in with my breakfast. But mid day is hard unless its a true builder type bar. And dinner is evene harder because mountain house plus being tired from the day is about all I want too do anyways!
 
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