Table of contents:
During long walks, it is necessary to pay attention to food and hydration so that the body has energy and recovers the muscle mass used throughout the day. In pilgrimages, it is common for people to walk 20 to 35 km a day, which requires physical preparation and a balanced diet to maintain the pace.
It is common for weight loss and fainting to occur during the walking period due to tiredness and dehydration, especially when the route is done in hot climates or when there are no support points along the way.
See below how to eat during long walks:
1. Before the walk
About 3 to 4 days before starting the walk, you should increase the intake of foods rich in carbohydrates, which will increase the energy reserves located in the liver and muscle mass. Thus, carbohydrates should be included in all meals, and are mainly represented by foods such as rice, bread, pasta, tapioca, couscous, farofa, juices, fruits, English potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Consumption of proteins and fats should be kept within the natural pattern, and foods such as olive oil, chicken meat or fish should be consumed at lunch and dinner, and eggs, cheeses, nuts and milk in snacks and coffee in the morning.
2. While walking
As the consumption of calories is very high during the walk due to the great physical effort, it is necessary to consume foods that are easily digested and rich in carbohydrates and energy throughout the day. For this phase, it is advisable to use fruits, fruit juices, sweets such as brown sugar, marmalade, semisweet chocolate and energy drinks.In addition, you can also consume chestnuts, peanuts and cereal bars.
In addition, it is also necessary to pay attention to the consumption of proteins, which will both give energy for the exercise and recover the muscle mass that will be worn down along the way. Thus, breakfast should be rich in foods such as eggs, cheese and milk, and during lunch it is necessary to have a more complete meal, preferring lean meats and only a small amount of salad, to allow faster and more adequate digestion. Find out more about foods rich in protein.
3. After the walk
At the end of the day of walking, it is important to drink plenty of water and liquids rich in carbohydrates to help with rehydration, such as juices and vitamins. Right after the end of the physical effort, you should consume a protein cereal bar or a protein supplement to start the muscle recovery process. Another option is to have a snack with good protein sources, such as a chicken and cheese sandwich, before dinner.
Next, dinner should be rich in carbohydrates to replenish muscle mass energy stores, and should contain foods such as rice, pasta, potatoes or farofa, for example. In addition, a new source of protein should be ingested, preferably chicken, lean meats or fish.
How to stay hydrated
The best way to stay hydrated is to watch for signs of thirst and always walk with water, juices or sports drinks in your backpack. It is recommended that men consume at least 2 liters of water a day, while women should consume at least 1.5 liters.
To avoid nausea and discomfort due to excess liquids in the stomach, you should drink small amounts of water at intervals of at least 20 minutes. A good tip is to drink 3 to 4 glasses of water at least 4 hours before the start of the walk, to start the journey well hydrated.
In addition to natural foods, carbohydrate supplements can also be used in the form of gels or cereal bars rich in proteins and carbohydrates, as they are easy options to carry in your backpack and use at any time of the day.
In some cases, the hiker can also use powdered nutritional supplements that contain both carbohydrates and proteins, as they are easily diluted in water to be consumed during the journey.