How Long Before A Hike Should I Eat

How Long Before A Hike Should I Eat

It may surprise you that what you eat before, during and after our hike will affect how much energy you have. In addition to that, it plays a key role in how well your body will recover after the long hike as well. 

In this article, we will be covering whether you should be eating before or after a hike and how long before a hike you may want to consider eating.

Should You Eat Before Or After A Hike?

Should You Eat Before Or After A Hike

To help your body out the most, ideally, you want to be eating before and after your body.

Before a hike, you should be eating a meal full of lean meats, proteins and complex carbohydrates. All of these things will ensure that you have plenty of energy for the hike.

If you are planning a long hike, then you may want to take a snack with you, to help you give you some extra energy when you start to flag. However, this snack should be something healthy, such as trail mix or dried fruits. 

If you are hiking on difficult terrain, or if it is a long hike, then your body is going to burn a lot of energy. You need some high energy snacks in your bag to ensure you have something to eat to refuel yourself up. 

Then, once the hike is over, you need to eat some complex carbohydrates and lean proteins to help replenish all the energy that you  used up while on our hike. Ideally, you want to be aiming for a ratio of 4:1 of carbohydrates to proteins.

This ratio will help you to replace any muscle energy lost, while also rebuilding and repairing your muscle’s tissue. 

How Much You Are Eating Before A Hike?

When it comes to the meal before you set off, you don’t want to eat anything too filling or heavy. Otherwise, you will just feel too full and bloated while hiking, which is uncomfortable.

In addition to that, if you eat too much before a hike it will make you want to sleep, which isn’t a great way to prepare for a hike. 

You should be aiming to eat between 1 and 3 hours before you start your hike. This gives your body plenty of time to digest this food and turn into energy for you to use.

In your meal before your hike you want it to have around 300 to 500 calories. This is because our bodies can only process a certain amount of calories every hour. 

As a result, a smaller meal, and snacks eaten through your hike will be much better for you and your energy levels. 

Can You Hike On An Empty Stomach?

Can You Hike On An Empty Stomach

We would suggest that you avoid hiking on an empty stomach. This is because if you don’t eat anything beforehand, then your body has nothing to convert into energy for you.

As a result, you will find the hike much harder on your body, as it has much less energy to use up. 

Instead, if you don’t feed your body plenty of carbohydrates before the hike, your body will resort to burning muscle and fat that is on your body instead.

That may sound like a good thing, if you are looking to lose weight. However, we wouldn’t recommend this when it comes to hiking. 

What Should You Eat On The Morning Of Your Hike?

The first thing you should do on the morning of your hike is to make sure you drink plenty of fluids. This is to help hydrate your body and prepare it for what is to come.

Then, when it comes to your meal, it should only be a small meal that contains lots of carbs. 

Some examples of what you could eat include oatmeal with peanut butter or banana. In addition to that, you could have a granola bar, scrambled eggs or dried fruit, 

As mentioned above, you want to avoid overloading your stomach before hiking. However, there are particular foods you should avoid as well. This includes the following:

  • Large amounts of dairy, including cheese.
  • Fatty, deep-fried or greasy foods.
  • Juices.
  • Sugary drinks such as cola. 

A lot of hikers ask whether they can drink a coffee before they start their hike. The answer is no is really sure, as no one can agree.

If a morning coffee is a usual part of your morning routine, then there is nothing wrong with having one on the morning of your hike. 

However, if you don’t usually drink coffee in the morning, we would suggest you stay away from it. This is because your body isn’t used to it and if you drink too much you can’t be certain of the effects it may have on you. Thus, it’s best to stick with water.

Final Thoughts

When you go hiking, it is important that you have prepared beforehand. It is important that you eat between an hour and 3 hours before you go on your hike.

This is to give your body plenty of time to turn the food into energy that you can use on the hike. If you don’t eat before your hike, then you will find the hike a struggle. 

It is so important to eat something, however, there are certain foods and beverages to avoid. It’s all about getting the most amount of energy to use on your hike. 

We hope this article has been insightful, and now you have a better understanding on how long you should eat before you go on a hike.

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