Food and fluids are a must for your mind and body to maintain their peak performance during outdoor activities. This is true whether you are a runner, a cyclist, a skier, or a hiker because you will need proper and regular nutrition to sustain your mind and body.
Of course, you should eat traditional food, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, and drink plain water. But there are definite advantages to energy drinks, such as NOS Energy and Monster Energy, including the ease of buying and bringing them along, as well as their digestibility and efficacy. These beverages, after all, provide the much-needed energy boost within several minutes after their consumption.
What makes the best energy-boosting products so effective? The open secret lies in the careful choice of their ingredients. You, the consumer, should learn to read the product labels that contain the nutritional information. The information will be useful when you make the decision regarding the best energy food and drink you will choose for your outdoor activities.
These are the building blocks of proteins, which are essential for energy production and for muscle function. These include valine, leucine, and isoleucine, among others.
The caffeine content of energy drinks is significantly lower than in coffee beverages sold by coffeehouse chains, such as Starbucks, and even by your home-brewed cup of java. You will then not experience the side effects of high caffeine consumption, such as heart palpitations, jitters, and upset stomach, provided that you stick to the manufacturer’s recommended amount in cans or bottles per day.
The number of calories that you should consume in an hour depends on several factors, such as your body type and metabolism, your activity’s intensity and length, and your overall needs in nutrition. In general, people who are engaged in sports-like outdoor activities should get 200-300 calories per hour, perhaps even higher for intense activities.
The energy produced by the body mainly comes from the calories from food consumed. Thus, the longer the period of activity and the more intense it is, the higher your need for carbohydrates – complex carbohydrates, to be more specific, since these are the best sources of energy. Start with 60 grams or so of carbohydrates per hour but be careful not to exceed it too much lest you suffer from an upset stomach.
Most energy drinks and food are low in fat. But this isn’t the case for many types of meal replacement bars that contain more fats since these can boost energy, too. If you’re on a low-fat diet, you will want to skip on high-fat energy bars although this isn’t an issue with energy drinks.
This is a mineral crucial in metabolizing carbohydrates and, thus, in keeping your body hydrated and your muscles fully functioning. Indeed, without potassium in your diet, you may suffer from temporary muscle paralysis – and this explains your doctor’s recommendation to bring bananas on your hiking trips.
This is a macronutrient that provides sustained energy for your body, a must when you’re engaged in endurance activities. You will also need protein for faster recovery after exercise and for faster muscle building. You can get proteins from food sources like lean meats, dairy products, and protein shakes and bars.
This ingredient is essential in keeping your electrolytes level up. Most energy drinks have sodium, too, but only in small quantities.
These are usually added to enhance the palatability of energy drinks and food. The more commonly used sweeteners are stevia, agave and honey, which are healthier options than plain sugar.
Vitamins and Minerals
These include the B vitamins, as well as Vitamin A and Vitamin C, as well as taurine, zinc and iron. Your body will need these nutrients in smaller quantities (i.e., micronutrients) but their roles in keeping your body in tiptop condition cannot be overemphasized.
Indeed, energy drinks, bars and chews have their place in your outdoors lifestyle! You should always have them handy so that you can get an extra boost of energy if and when you need it. You must also know when and how much to consume of these products so that you can get the most use out of them.
You can, for example, drink a can of energy drink soon after setting off on your hiking trip just so you have the energy to tackle the trail. You may also drink it when you’re beginning to feel your second wind. You just have to remember that you shouldn’t exceed the manufacturer’s recommended dosage lest you become too jittery from the caffeine.