Tips & Advice


March 12, 2024

This week is Nutrition and Hydration week so we wanted to share the importance of good nutrition and keeping well hydrated when you are out on a challenge. When you take care of what you put into your body, it will perform better for you, similar to a car.

If you have ever been out on a challenge with us you would have most likely heard one of our leaders saying “sippy sippy”. It is much better for you if you drink small amounts often instead of gulping loads of water infrequently. By taking smaller sips it will mean you are keeping continually hydrated. Staying hydrated can help you to improve your muscle function, regulate your blood pressure and improve your circulation. Plus you are more likely to absorb the water than have the urge to pee. We know how much you all hate peeing in the outdoors!

At high altitude and during exercise your fluid needs increase dramatically and hydration is vital, not least to help
prevent Altitude Sickness. There are various ways to get the right fluids into your body, with many people using water
bladders or bottles. Another alternative is a wide-mouth bottle with a drinking tube adaptor.

It is also really important to be aware that when you sweat, you lose electrolytes, which can drain your energy. The biggest sign of your body being low in electrolytes is muscle cramping, which can be debilitating for physical performance. It is also common to experience dizziness, confusion and an irregular heartbeat. You need to replace lost salts by regularly snacking on foods high in sodium, potassium and magnesium, or by adding electrolytes to your water.

Your body is like a car engine that can run off both petrol (carbs) and diesel (fat). The human body has the ability to burn both, the intensity of the exercise will dictate what fuel you burn, the higher the intensity, the more carbohydrates are required. When out hiking, you are going to encounter a mixture of high intensity and low intensity exertion as the terrain changes. You need to have an adequate mixture of food when out and about, so you are not riding the roller-coaster of sugar spikes and crashes*

We asked our Challenge Leaders “what are your go to snacks to keep you fuelled and hydrated on a challenge?”

  • PHIL NELSON : Having tried all manner of weird and wonderful things over the years, my tip is to just eat things you like and lots of them. Sometimes participants turn up with lots of energy gels and electrolyte powders for water, which are all good but sometimes, real food is not taken too. These gels and powders are no substitute for real food and on a mountain, you may be walking all day, burning thousands of calories. My go to snacks for the UK is a good old fashioned meal deal; sandwich, snack like a samosa or pork pie, some chocolate bars, bags of salty crisps if its hot weather to replace lost salts, and a pack of sweets like Jelly Babies or Sour Patch Kids. To drink, I find water a little boring so often carry one of those little squeezy bottles of squash to jazz it up…if it tastes nice then I’ll drink more!
  • RAY SMITH : Chunky Kitkats (it’s an art packing them in your rucksack so they don’t melt in the heat) and SiS Hydration tablets in my water.
  • IAN WADDINGTON : My go to snack on the hill is a Go Bar, for me it is the right combination of carbohydrate with a bit of sweetness.  I usually have some sort of ’treat’ though.  
  • STEVE BERRY : Water and lots of it, always works for me!
  • LIZZY CODD : Something salty such as cashew nuts and something sweet such as jelly babies.  Water + salt + sugar = no need for horrid rehydration tabs! 
  • LOUISE ALLEN : I try to eat healthy on challenges so my go to snacks would be carrots and houmous, malt loaf and salted corn.
  • IAN MORTON : Lots of water, Babybels and Tunnocks Bars…
  • STEPH MILLER : Nuts! I’m nuts about nuts! I love granola bars / flapjacks and I keep myself topped up with those all important electrolytes so I can stay hydrated #hydrohomie.
  • JOHN ALLEN : I quite like dried mango. It’s a taste of sunshine, which is nice when the rain is lashing down!  Just plain water for me as it can be used for more than just drinking. Try washing your hands or cleaning a wound with a sports drink!
  • DANNY BARDEN : Nakd bars and a dark chocolate, honey roast peanut and dried mango pieces trail mix.
  • PENNY KNIGHT : My go to snacks are flapjacks and salted peanuts – tasty, cheap and packed with calories!
  • DUNCAN TURNBULL : I love pork pies, crisps, and my own special trail mix of mixed nuts, dried fruit, dried bananas, and Smarties yum yum!! Plus plenty of water. The reason for the pork pies and crisps is the high calorie intake to replace calories burned during ascents and crisps to help salt replacement!
  • TOM ARMES : Anything with chocolate on lol ….and Haribo’s plus I do like orange squash in my water rather than just plain water !
  • COLIN LOVELL : Surprisingly on overseas trips I don’t usually worry about snacks. Food is always good enough. For hydration lots of electrolyte tablets and isotonic powders added to water and recovery drinks with milk afterwards.
  • RICHARD SIMPKIN : Obviously I should have some really sensible and practical answers but I reckon that snacks should be something you enjoy, so Tunnocks bars (I believe that you have to carry them by law in some destinations) and Sports Mixtures……

As you can see for the list above, everyone has their own favourite way to keep fueled and hydrated on a challenge. The key is to find something that works for you. Experiment with different snacks while you are out training and try to take notice of the effect it has on your body. We dont want a roller-coaster of sugar spikes and crashes.

And remember, when you have been on the go all day there is nothing nicer that tucking into one of your favourite treats to give you the final push you need to get to the finish line!

*sources :

Believe Achieve Inspire

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply