How to Refuel After Hiking
Hiking is an awesome workout for the mind and body. Not only do you work up a serious sweat, you get to spend time outside, which can be replenishing for the soul. Hiking can make you work up a major appetite, which begs the question: what should you eat after a hike? Learn how to refuel after a hike to replenish your energy and nutrient levels, and keep your body humming and how to refuel after hiking or your next adventure.
Hiking and Nutrition
There are important things to keep in mind after a hike, and different types of hiking require different replenishments.
Hiking and Hydration
First of all, if you are hiking at an increased altitude, you are at risk for dehydration, and your appetite may become suppressed. Even if you’re not feeling like a hefty meal after your hike, it’s important to replenish the liquids and nutrients lost during the workout to avoid dehydration. Water and electrolytes (like sodium) may be lost in sweat during your hike, and if not replenished, may lead you to experience muscle cramps, headaches, confusion, and lightheadedness.
Dehydration can be dangerous, so make an effort to take in enough liquids as soon as you can post hike.
Importance of Carbs When Hiking
When you exercise for extended periods of time, your body burns through its glycogen (carbohydrate) stores. That’s why it’s important to consume some carbohydrates to replenish the glycogen stores you’ve just depleted, especially if you had a longer or more strenuous hike. Going for nutrient and carbohydrate-rich foods such as fruit, dried fruit, beans, or whole-grain foods is a smart move. Pairing your carbohydrates with protein is important to help build and repair muscle.
An approximate ratio of 1:3 protein to carbs is sometimes recommended as a guideline, so aim to consume a snack with both, while going a little more carb than protein heavy.
A Nuzest Clean Lean Protein Bar can make for a convenient, healthy, and rounded snack. Available in Cocoa Coconut and Vanilla Almond, each bar contains 21-22 grams of carbohydrates, 13-14 grams of protein, and 8-9 grams of fat (depending on flavor) to help you refuel. The bars also contain potassium and sodium, two important electrolytes, to help prevent dehydration. Adding a little additional sodium (since you may lose quite a bit if you sweat a lot) from an electrolyte tablet or beverage or salty snack like popcorn or celery may also help you refuel.
Nutrition After Your Hike
Continue to drink fluids as needed for the rest of the day. And strive to avoid alcohol, which can be dehydrating. When hunger hits or meal-time comes, be sure to eat and drink enough so you can hit the trails again the next day.
Hiking can be an exciting way to spend time outside and get in a good workout. Just remember to refuel after your hike with plenty of liquids, electrolyte-rich foods or beverages, high-quality carbohydrate foods, and a source of protein. With the proper replenishment, you can keep your adventures at peak performance, and fuel every adventure that comes your way.