Nordic Ski Colorado - The official cross-country ski guide
Article: Winter-Time Fueling
By Dr. Caroline Smith / Photo by Carter Photographics

Dr. Caroline Smith out enjoying the Nordic trails.
Dr. Caroline Smith out enjoying the trails.
Having the proper fuel to keep you going strong while cross-country skiing and snowshoeing is important. What you have to eat the night before greatly affects your breathing and performance. Sticking to lean protein choices with a lot of vegetables and minimal starches for your blood type is a good place to start.

Be sure to stay well hydrated too. It is best not to drink water with your meals, since it affects your digestion. Drink it before or after. Should you choose to have alcohol, you want to make sure you have protein with it, and count it as your bread or starch.

Blood type is one of five parameters I use when working with clients on how to properly fuel for their performance demand, disease or weight management and recovery.

For shorter workouts, carrying a water bottle belt with some Hammer Gels works perfectly. They do not freeze and can provide a great boost of energy that is steady for 30-45 minutes. Many other gels often take you up and drop you off within about 20 minutes.

On longer workouts, using a small, thin Camelback under your jersey or jacket is an easy way to assure you drink enough. The tube is easy to get at, and your body heat helps keep it from freezing. A trick for after you have taken in the water you need, is to blow the water back into the bladder until you hear bubbles so the hose/tip do not freeze.

Carrying the water this way allows you to stuff a Hammer Bar – a small flask with your favorite flavor of Hammer Gel (this also saves you from having to carry the wrappers) or a water bottle with a fuel solution, in your jersey pocket. You could also carry a water bottle belt that has your solution drink in it or a combo of Perpetum and HEED (High Energy Electrolyte Drink), made to your desired consistency and calorie need.

This solution is a protein/carbohydrate mixture that gives you a consistent flow of energy without tapping out your muscle reserves. The ratio is set up correctly to give you that steady energy flow but also boost you when you need it, like climbing a hill or sprinting. At higher altitude, you burn through carbohydrates quicker, so these products help offset that demand.

On longer expenditures, the body does not do well on “sugars” alone. The nice thing about the Hammer Nutrition products is they do not use simple sugars or fillers – they use all natural ingredients and the glucose polymers provide a steady flow of energy to the body.

Once you finish your workout, how you refuel within the first half hour of the recovery phase is just as important. It can make the difference of feeling good the next day and being able to get out and do some more activity or not. Some Recoverite mixed in water, taken within the first 15 minutes after finishing, helps the muscles recover and rebuild appropriately. (I just keep a little Ziploc® in my pocket so I can mix it in water when I am done if I am not right at my car.) This beats trying to carry food to make a combination of protein, carbohydrates and fats.

All of the Hammer Nutrition products can be adjusted for your body weight, the consistency and the time of your expenditure. Having found these Hammer Nutrition products, I won’t go back to just water again! The older I have gotten, the more I have come to appreciate this product line for fueling performance, recovery and to help with the aging process.

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