Do you know how many calories you burn a day when skiing?
The average is 3000 calories per day – but who’s average? I know I can use 5000 calories on a day’s skiing. Do not think of calories in terms of weight loss, think of calories in terms of performance. Calories make little difference to weight loss anyway, but in terms of performance (i.e. enjoyment, injury free, not being knackered, etc.) if you are burning 5000 calories a day but only taking in 2,500, how long do you think you can keep this up for?
Time and time again I see people on ski trips not fuelling properly throughout the day and then wondering why they are tired by mid-afternoon. Is it their fitness? Or is it because they only ate 500 calories at breakfast, 800 calories at lunch and have used 3000 calories already that day and still have a 2000 calorie deficit from each of the preceding days?
Sugar And The Fire
Sugar is energy, but it is also false energy. If you eat food that is very high in sugar (i.e. it releases energy quickly), it is like putting touch-paper on a fire: you get a quick flare up of heat/energy, but this causes the fire to die down cooler than it was before. This is why I would recommend against eating sweets, energy gels, drinks, or any other processed ‘crap’ – except in emergencies.
You would be better putting ‘coal on the fire’ for sustainable energy over a longer period of time. However, you cannot put coal on a fire once it has died down or nearly gone out. You have to put coal on the fire proactively, before the heat starts to reduce, and you have to do exactly the same with your body’s fuel. You might need a little touch-paper i.e., a quick release of energy (sugary carbohydrates) to occasionally help start a fire if you have let it die down. However, generally you need a mix of slow energy-releasing carbohydrates, high quality proteins and high quality fats. The ratio of each of these macro-nutrients depends on your unique needs which you need to find out yourself. For more information, see my book Uncommon Sense: A Practical Guide For Health, Weight Loss & Vitality.
On the slopes
Having said eat proactively I’m not a fan of breakfast. This is because adrenalin levels are high in the body and therefore the body is not able to digest too much food, however, have good quality snacks in your rucksack such as clean protein bars, homemade protein flapjacks, nuts & dried fruits,a sandwich from breakfast eat. Eat good quality protein and fat for lunch – local home cooked meats are great in the Alps. Lastly eat as soon as you can after skiing.
Go for the highest quality food you can find/afford (high nutrient content)
If you can’t pronounce the words on the ingredients list don’t eat it
Eat before you are hungry
Never eat carbs without protein & fat
Minimise flour, pasteurised dairy, table salt (sea salt is good) & sugar (if it wasn’t around 10,000 years ago don’t eat it)
Drink water – your bodyweight in KG’s x 0.033 = litres per day (more if hot and sweaty with a pinch of sea salt for minerals)