Extended Fasting while hunting?

Hoodie

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There are some not so great answers here in my opinion.

Bottom Line Up Front: You will have a bad time.

0/10 do not recommend. Lose weight before hunt. Not on it (more than can be helped). No athlete would approach a competitive event this way and smart people in the military fuel properly before major rucking events. Carbs are your friend when you're anaerobic, and if you are in less than ideal shape you're probably anaerobic a decent amount of the time you're carrying a pack uphill in the mountains. Most folks probably are.

SERE school is not the model you want to follow for hunt planning. Unless you also want to have a buddy spray you in the face with a hose pipe before the morning glassing session every day.

I guess it's an okay way to wake up in the morning if coffee isn't an option, but it wouldn't be my first choice.
 

prm

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I believe if you are conditioned to eating predominantly proteins and fats, you would likely be fine. I’d keep the fluids and electrolytes replenished, and have some food like jerky. I am always amazed at how differently my body reacts to a lack of food when accustomed to eating a lot carbs vs. primarily protein and fats.
 

Hoodie

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There are plenty of folks who do forced fasting during military training and they are carrying and doing more than any of us would most likely do on a hunt. Courses like the US Army Ranger course, SERE, and most selection courses run this model you are looking at, but with the choice of food being an MRE…..


Take that for what its worth, lots of opinions out there. I say go for it and figure out whats best for you.

At most military dive schools they have you do a series of pool events with your hands and feet tied up, but that's not because it's the most effective way to swim. It's the opposite.

OP probably wants to succeed on his hunt.

A better way to look at it would be:
You take two relatively comparable hypothetical dudes going to Ranger School. One gets to eat 4000 calories spread across the day and the other is on the traditional restricted eating schedule. Who's more likely to pass?
 
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Hoodie

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A person can get all the calories needed just from body fat. That's the whole purpose of having fat stored on our bodies.

They can't get protein to recover from muscle damage accumulated during activity. And at a certain point the body will preferentially catabolize muscle to preserve fat stores for when shit gets really real. A certain amount of fat is necessary for organ/hormone function. Your body will start to sacrifice skeletal muscle long before it gets that low. It will also respond by slowing down your metabolism enormously in order to maintain the fat it has. It's a system designed to keep people alive as long as possible during extreme deprivation. "Performance" gets thrown out the window at some point.

If this was a great way to get in shape, the starving people you see in UNICEF commercials would all be jacked.
 

justinspicher

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I am just pointing out that it is doable for the OP, gave an example of some ways its done under less than ideal circumstances and folks are successful. Now that I think about it, a military comparison was probably a bad choice, adventure racing might be more applicable?
 

Hoodie

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But people probably eat a ton during adventure races. Unless there's some rule enforcing restriction. I'm not super familiar.

I do know that fueling is a huge part of most endurance events. Obviously a lot of bear hunting is sitting on your ass glassing, but I'd still want some gas in the tank for the stalk/packout.
 

DawnPatrol

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I’ll start drafting your Darwin Award nomination letter now…

Just messing with you; hunt however you want. Sounds miserable to me, but that’s my problem not yours.
 

Hussar

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Is it doable? Yes. Would it be fun? Probably not. I dabbled in carnivore/zero carb last year for about 2 months. I found by the end of the 2 months my endurance seemed to be better than ever and I didn't get sore after workouts. Based on keto and carnivore, I still feel keto includes too many carbs to make something like that reasonable.

If I wanted to try something like that, this would be my approach:

Diet using carnivore/zero carb for the next couple months and towards the end do a 72 hour fast. the first two days I'd try to get a solid 5-6 mile hike in each day. On the 3rd day, get a solid 14-15 mile hike in with only water and electrolytes (ones with no sugar/carbs).

If I could do that, I would consider not taking food, but I still am not sure if I would be comfortable with the idea.

A couple resources I've come across regarding endurance and zero carb. I'm not suggesting anyone try this and a couple of them are serious endurance athletes.





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A

AustinL911

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I’ll start drafting your Darwin Award nomination letter now…

Just messing with you; hunt however you want. Sounds miserable to me, but that’s my problem not yours.
You just wait until I write my magazine article after this experience telling tales of how I was doing wind sprints up and down the mountains chasing bears around until they fell over from exhaustion.

#trendsetter
#FullofShit
#2DayHunt
 

cod007

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To add to my earlier post.... the few times I’ve brought Mt House meals and ate a few of those, my body doesn’t appreciate them. I always add more water than they call for, but they still seem to suck moisture from my body. I got to where I just avoid them anymore. The jarred salmon I use can be put in vac sealed bags b4 leaving on trips to avoid broken glass.
 

Hoodie

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You just wait until I write my magazine article after this experience telling tales of how I was doing wind sprints up and down the mountains chasing bears around until they fell over from exhaustion.

#trendsetter
#FullofShit
#2DayHunt

You'll have to figure out how to get good at glycolysis without glycogen. Gonna be a tall order.

Contrary to Joe Rogan's opinion, keto is not a good option for power athletes or any sport that requires time spent being anaerobic. There's 2 groups of athletes that you could maybe recommend it for. Ultramarathon runners and high altitude mountaineers (not like Colorado high, like Himalaya high). Hunting is obviously more like those than it is like basketball or wrestling, but for most people who don't have a solid aerobic base they're still anaerobic carrying a pack uphill.

Keto and just not eating are worlds apart though. Having no carbs available on a hunt is less than ideal. Having no food available on a hunt is crazy.

From both a nutrition standpoint and a common sense backcountry safety standpoint.

Best case scenario: You quit super early and have a miserable hike out to the trailhead.
Worst case scenario: You're a news story.
 

bdan68

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I do just fine hunting with zero carbs. I eat meat only, always. With a good amount of body fat, a person can go a long time with no food. That's the purpose of body fat. It's simply food stored in our body for future use. If you're used to a high carb diet, then going without food would certainly not be easy. But for someone on a keto or carnivore diet, it shouldn't be an issue.
 

Hoodie

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If you're used to a high carb diet, then going without food would certainly not be easy. But for someone on a keto or carnivore diet, it shouldn't be an issue.

I don't care how "fat-adapted" someone is. No one is going to do a 7-10 day backpack hunt in Wyoming with zero calories and not have an extremely bad time or end up in trouble. To be clear, that is what OP is suggesting. I'm pretty sure OP is from the Midwest. He wants to drive to Wyoming and hike into the mountains for a week to ten days with absolutely no food. One of the reasons was: "It would really cut down on the pack weight".

This is not a good idea.

I could cut a lot of weight from my pack if I ditched my puffy, my rain gear, my Inreach, and my fire kit. But I've gotten in trouble before by being a dipshit and am reluctant to do it again.

What happens when OP is 7 miles in on day 4 and he passes out from low blood sugar and hits his head or breaks an ankle? What if this happens on day 7 in a deep canyon where he can't get a signal and he has to wait it out while SAR looks for him? Does he resort to autocannablism?

 
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bdan68

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Well, again I don't know how much body fat he has to burn through, but if he has enough, I don't see why it would be a problem. I've done quite a few 72 hour fasts, and after around 36 to 48 hours, I no longer feel any hunger, and I have more energy than ever. But I've not tried it beyond 72 hours. I'd like to see the OP try it. As I said before, maybe bring SOME food, such as canned sardines, just in case. Also as others have said, try doing an extended fast before the hunt. Maybe a few different times, and make sure your body is adapted to it. I certainly wouldn't go on the hunt without ever having experimented with longer fasts beforehand.
 

mahonsr

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Hunt hungry! Problem is I'd probably end up chasing squirrels or something I'd get so hungry 😂
 

Hoodie

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I'm curious if anyone has ever attempted this?

My fatass has been dabbling with some keto, OMAD, and throwing in some short intermittent fasts recently and it seems to be OK so far. I know some guys that have done some legitimate extended fasts (like, 30+ days) and they swear by it. I've got a Spring bear hunt coming up in early May that I'm trying to get ready for and I'm seriously considering giving extended fasting a go while I'm doing it, just to see how it works out. I'm talking potentially 7-10 days, in the mountains of Wyoming, with nothing but a plentiful water source, a large amount of electrolytes, and my plentiful body fat to keep me going. Plus, it would really cut down on the pack weight.

Anyone have any experience with it? Did you die?

You're not going alone, right?
 

bigW

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A better way to look at it would be:
You take two relatively comparable hypothetical dudes going to Ranger School. One gets to eat 4000 calories spread across the day and the other is on the traditional restricted eating schedule. Who's more likely to pass?
...the Germans have a saying: "....Hungrige Pferde jagen am besten..." which means "...hungry horses hunt best ..."

...no pain - no gain...
 

Ram94

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Watch a few episodes of "I Shouldn't Be Alive" then make your decision. Things can and do go wrong out there. Be as prepared as you can be.
 
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