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  1. #1

    Default Lightest possible food weight while maintaining

    As an endurance athlete, I've carefully strategized my nutrition during things like Ironman races and I'm thinking of extending it to mountain and hiking expeditions.

    Previously in the Himalaya expeditions, we would carry dehydrated meals and melt snow to eat them but I think these mountain house backpacking meals are not ideal. Consider, a beef stew pouch, it's 190 calories, 22g carbs (3g as fiber), 6g fat, 13g protein with net weight of 49g and a cost of $6. But the bag itself weighs about an once = 28grams. Really you need to eat like 5 of these a day to get enough protein (60g) so it really takes up a lot of weight/volume. 5x190=950 calories

    It's not bad but it takes a lot of room in your pack and I'd say it's kind of messy and the bag is quite heavy with about double the weight. In addition, I believe you do not need any fat nor fiber in short term high exertion times eg on the trail.

    What I propose is an extreme diet which I'm sure I could maintain over a long weekend eg 3 days but will try 2 weeks to 30 days eg time spent in high camp.

    I propose eating ONLY per day a total of 720 calories per day when travelling the equivalent of 25 flat miles/day:
    3 pouches of Gatorade Recover Whey Protein (20g protein in 28g pack, 110 calories) = 360 calories
    2 pouches of Gatorade Endurance (46g carbs in 49g pack, 180 calories) = 360 calories
    1 multivitamin

    These are extremely lightweight and pack down to nothing volume wise. They are immune to heat and require only cold water that can be obtained by melting snow or pumped from the stream.

    In triathlon, it's known that you are able to digest only about 100-200 calories per hour max. At low exertion levels, eg below aerobic threshold, you can burn fat but high exertion levels you burn sugar and primarily the glycogen in your muscles.

    Sipping Gatorade endurance the entire day will provide simple sugars for energy when needed eg during hard climbs. It's unlikely to climb more than 8hrs a day and that I estimate to be 50/50 fat/sugar as unlikely going to be above aerobic threshold. All the fat comes from your body obviously and that's free weight to carry.

    Jogging around at 10 min miles (6mph) an 180 pound person burns about 820 calories/hr. So 25 miles in 4hrs = 3280 calories and add RMR of 1600 calories for a total burn of 4880 calories a day.

    I think most people would only travel about the equivalent of half that eg 12.5 miles and burn only about 1600 calories in exercise and 1600 RMR for about 3200 calories. So you would be burning about 1.2 pounds of fat a day off your body (4160 calories) assuming you're doing the 25miles/day or 0.7 pounds a day of fat if you're doing 12.5 miles/day.

    I believe your protein intake of 60g/day and 720 calories of sugar will keep your glcyogen stores sufficient to not deteriorate. As a bonus you should be burning some decent amount of fat and come back in better shape. 3 days say an average of 3 lbs fat loss or 7 pounds in a week is manageable. 30 days requires 30 lbs of fat which would be pushing it for most people but most people are around 25% body fat so 180lbs = 45 lbs of available fat. If you have close to a visible 6 pack then you probably have 15% body fat which would be 27 lbs available. If you are 10% body fat then you're looking like an extremely lean body builder but still have 18 pounds of available fat you can use and after a week would be down to 11 pounds which is still 6% body fat.

    Anyway, to see how my body handles it I'll give it a shot for 3 days then move it to a week and see what happens.

  2. #2

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    25% bodyfat is pretty chunky.
    Yeah, lots of people fall in that range

    Some are under 10% all the time. A visible 6 pack is going to be a lot less than 15%. But depends on person and age and genetics. . Subcutaneous fat storage locations change with age. More abdominal belly fat as get older.

    Ive done 20+ mpd on 500 cal for 5 days before when felt sick, so thats easily possible.
    All i could eat was 2 candybars per day
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 06-11-2019 at 06:10.

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    Enjoyable food really helps with the emotional aspect of hiking. Yes if you wish to go on a fasting hike (which is how I would define your proposal) that could feed the spiritual aspect of the hike. Good luck.

  4. #4

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    If your only going out for a few days and you have body fat to spare then sure, you don't have to eat much. Short term endurance such as an Ironman race is different then the long term endurance a long distance hiker needs.

    With long distance hiking, eventually you simply can't eat enough. "Hiker hunger" typically kicks in at about the 2 week point. There isn't much left to thru hikers by the time they reach Maine. Backpacks with legs. They have long since lost all their body fat and a fair amount of muscle mass too.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  5. #5
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    I couldn't stay awake on the couch at 720 calories per day - that's only 2 or 3 pints of decent beer. You've done the math in the lab, let us know how it translates to the field.

  6. #6

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    Short term and your proposal is flawless victory. Anything longer I am guessing you’ll fall short of your expectations

  7. #7

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    What is your goal? I don't see why you would do this to yourself. If you want light calories, just carry Snickers bars or the equivalent.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  8. #8

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    25% body fat is pretty normal. I've met very normal looking people 5'10 and 145lbs and they're 25% body fat. Most people under estimate their body fat percentage and unless you've had a DEXA scan then it's pretty much a crapshoot.

    Doubt you will be able to see your 6 pack above 15% but again DEXA is only way to tell. I get DEXA scans every month to monitor my fat percentage and below 10% is actually pretty rare.

    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    25% bodyfat is pretty chunky.
    Yeah, lots of people fall in that range

    Some are under 10% all the time. A visible 6 pack is going to be a lot less than 15%. But depends on person and age and genetics. . Subcutaneous fat storage locations change with age. More abdominal belly fat as get older.

    Ive done 20+ mpd on 500 cal for 5 days before when felt sick, so thats easily possible.
    All i could eat was 2 candybars per day

  9. #9

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    The most dense calories is fat at 9 calories per gram which is double carbs and protein but my point is that you carry a lot of fat already but you don't carry a lot of glycogen or excess protein because all that just gets metabolized into fat.

    Without enough sugar, if you are at high exertion above aerobic threshold you will hit the wall and not be able to function optimally and feel weak. In addition, you will not have enough salt or electrolytes to prevent cramping.

    I weighed this morning and each Gatorade whey protein pack or Gatorade endurance is only 3 grams in packaging. This is as light as it gets.

    I boiled some hot water and mixed it with the whey protein and it's actually ok tasting and would simulate me boiling filtered water on the mountain.

    My goal is to carry as little food as possible while still maintaining high performance. Sure I could just eat nothing and drink water for 3 days which has been done but after burning the first 2000 calories of glycogen I won't be able to sustain high output. Also body will break down without enough protein causing other problems.

    Balanced diet of all sugar and protein I think be sufficient along with multivitamin for a week but I'll find out this week to see if I can sustain my run and swim workouts at 75% Vo2max while eating so little.

    We cut so many things out of our pack to go ultralight but really carrying less in food has the greatest gains.

    Quote Originally Posted by Feral Bill View Post
    What is your goal? I don't see why you would do this to yourself. If you want light calories, just carry Snickers bars or the equivalent.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainguy View Post
    The most dense calories is fat at 9 calories per gram which is double carbs and protein but my point is that you carry a lot of fat already but you don't carry a lot of glycogen or excess protein because all that just gets metabolized into fat.

    Without enough sugar, if you are at high exertion above aerobic threshold you will hit the wall and not be able to function optimally and feel weak. In addition, you will not have enough salt or electrolytes to prevent cramping.

    I weighed this morning and each Gatorade whey protein pack or Gatorade endurance is only 3 grams in packaging. This is as light as it gets.

    I boiled some hot water and mixed it with the whey protein and it's actually ok tasting and would simulate me boiling filtered water on the mountain.

    My goal is to carry as little food as possible while still maintaining high performance. Sure I could just eat nothing and drink water for 3 days which has been done but after burning the first 2000 calories of glycogen I won't be able to sustain high output. Also body will break down without enough protein causing other problems.

    Balanced diet of all sugar and protein I think be sufficient along with multivitamin for a week but I'll find out this week to see if I can sustain my run and swim workouts at 75% Vo2max while eating so little.

    We cut so many things out of our pack to go ultralight but really carrying less in food has the greatest gains.
    I suggest you read Heather Anderson's book Thirst, describing her 60 day FKT of the PCT. She discusses the physical changes she goes through in the most extreme endurance activity imaginable. She is a good writer, too.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  11. #11
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    Why Gatorade? Is there nothing better?

    Some say food is just fuel. Id probably be gagging this up after day 1 though.



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  12. #12

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    Olymic athletes tend to be around 10% competitive distance runners in 6-8 % range often .
    Below isnt exact, but a good idea . Amt if muscle mass greatly confounds issue. So does use of diuretics to remove subcutaneous water when looking at bodybuilders....the professionals at reducing bodyfat to unhealthy temporary levels using drugs .

    Some yrs back there was a study published with multiple subjects photos at different bodyfat, measured by several technuques, with photos.

    Like to drink alcohol? Your gonna have more brown fat in abdomen
    Check out clarence bass pictures when he was 2.3% if never seen

    In fact...check out Bass at 81 today.

    Dexa is also not that accurate overall.....read up.



    body-fat-percentage-men.jpg
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 06-11-2019 at 12:57.

  13. #13
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    Ive seen anything from 10%-30% in Maine with AT thru hikers

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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    Enjoyable food really helps with the emotional aspect of hiking. Yes if you wish to go on a fasting hike (which is how I would define your proposal) that could feed the spiritual aspect of the hike. Good luck.
    Whenever I see "endurance athlete" and "backpacking" combined in a conversation I tune out and lose any interest in responding.

    I guess the reason for this personal opinion is because of the backpackers many people have placed on the highest pedestals as our Heroes---Skurka, FKT types, Triple Crowners etc etc. I have nothing in common with any of them. Nor do I think these endurance athletes should be any kind of spokesman for me.

    Beyond all this, there's a reason experts like Jardine and Lawton "Disco" Grinter and others recommend 2 lbs to 2.5 lbs of food per day for backpacking trips. Sure you can fast for 3 days and not carry any food. Heck I did a 5 day backpacking with Sgt Rock to Slickrock Creek once and started on my fourth day of fasting and ended the trip on my 9th day of fasting. NOT RECOMMENDED. But dangit I had a No Weight food load, an ultralighter's dream I guess.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Whenever I see "endurance athlete" and "backpacking" combined in a conversation I tune out and lose any interest in responding.
    Apparently not?

  16. #16

    Default Lightest possible food weight while maintaining

    "I think these mountain house backpacking meals are not ideal. Consider, a beef stew pouch, it's 190 calories, 22g carbs (3g as fiber), 6g fat, 13g protein with net weight of 49g and a cost of $6. But the bag itself weighs about an once = 28grams. Really you need to eat like 5 of these a day to get enough protein (60g) so it really takes up a lot of weight/volume. 5x190=950 calories"

    Your math is off. Each Mountain House beef stew pouch conditions 2.5 servings, so it would only take 2 pouches to get the nutrition you describe above.
    Formerly uhfox

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Whenever I see "endurance athlete" and "backpacking" combined in a conversation I tune out and lose any interest in responding.

    I guess the reason for this personal opinion is because of the backpackers many people have placed on the highest pedestals as our Heroes---Skurka, FKT types, Triple Crowners etc etc. I have nothing in common with any of them. Nor do I think these endurance athletes should be any kind of spokesman for me.

    Beyond all this, there's a reason experts like Jardine and Lawton "Disco" Grinter and others recommend 2 lbs to 2.5 lbs of food per day for backpacking trips. Sure you can fast for 3 days and not carry any food. Heck I did a 5 day backpacking with Sgt Rock to Slickrock Creek once and started on my fourth day of fasting and ended the trip on my 9th day of fasting. NOT RECOMMENDED. But dangit I had a No Weight food load, an ultralighter's dream I guess.
    Sorry Tipi.

    It's 2019.

    Hike fast or get out of the way!

    I enjoy following Anish on her crazy hikes. Shes an endurance athlete that all hikertrash can relate too.

    Skurka has a weird following.



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    I just think it's funny that we are talking about Mountain House and Gatorade.

    Is there reallllly no better options?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Heck I did a 5 day backpacking with Sgt Rock to Slickrock Creek once and started on my fourth day of fasting and ended the trip on my 9th day of fasting. NOT RECOMMENDED. But dangit I had a No Weight food load, an ultralighter's dream I guess.
    But your pack still probably weighed 60 pounds!

  20. #20
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    Wake up!
    Mountain House #10 cans repacked in Ziploc Pint or Quart Freezer Bags.
    Nut butters. Salami. Pepperoni. Meat sticks. Jerky. Cheese. Tortillas. Repeat.
    I learned a long time ago to avoid anything with the Gatorade label on it.
    Wayne

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