50,000 steps fuelled – (Eat to walk 25 miles in 24 hours)

Introduction

For those of you new to my blog, please read my last post first, to give the background to this post. For those of you not, I apologise for only posting once this week. This post took a while to create …

FYI, Basically, I was mad enough to take the Governments’ stay at home message, (to protect against the spread of Coronavirus), so literally, I ended up walking almost continuously in my back garden for 8 hours and 15 minutes. This was without any charities or special reasons to do it. It equated to 25 miles !

I’m not an expert !!

Whilst it was particularly hard towards the end, I’m fully aware many people reading this may have done Iron mans, walked twice that distance, or completed marathons. This post is also for you…

But for those who haven’t, this post is  for you too, since it disseminates from scientific research, how to fuel your body appropriately for any endurance or ultra-endurance activity. This is no matter how insane, or not, it may sound.

Hopefully this will inspire and lift the spirits of many who are still …. at home. Ugh. Enabling you to have something to read, or get motivated to take on a challenge yourself.

I should say, don’t try anything tomorrow. Building up to any challenge is very important, and that is what this post is all about …. Enjoy !

Food and exercise intensity

Physical activity can take many forms. These work the body in various ways to increase the heart rate and burn energy. In order to power your body, energy needs to be supplied from food or drink. This helps you through physical activity.

The type of energy burnt varies depending on the intensity of activity performed. Activities can be classed as low, moderate or high intensity. In order to identify if you are exercising at a low or (moderate to high), intensity, you must measure something. This can be heart rate, RPE rating, or power output.

When I was out walking on my, (50,000 steps in the back garden within 24 hours) challenge, I noticed my breathing rate increased before the final few hours. This breathing rate increase, corresponds to 5 on the RPE scale, and the entry to moderate intensity activity. Before this, I must assume, I was exercising at low intensity.

Any activity including walking and cycling can be deemed low intensity, if carried out at low speed. Slow walking is defined by the NHS as low intensity, yet brisk walking is defined as moderate.

All macronutrients are important – No isolation !

Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are all used in varying proportion for exercises.

As previously mentioned, the type of energy burnt depends on the intensity of activity performed. For low intensity exercise, such as walking, it’s suggested that fat will be the primary fuel source over a long period of time.

Fat is also needed to access glycogen (stored carbohydrates), the body’s main fuel source for higher intensity activities.

Brisk walking, as mentioned before, is moderate intensity. This means glycogen will be used to a greater extent in this speed of walking, than in walking normally. Fat will also play less of a role, at this moderate intensity.

Sadly though, although fat is clearly a key fuel source in endurance walking, this takes up to 6 hours to be usable for energy, from dietary consumption. If you ate extra fat immediately before exercise, for the 50,000 step challenge, you may only get 1 hour of benefit from this energy, by the time it can be accessed.

Whilst the science seems promising that (Low carb, high fat) diets may help in ultra endurance events, you have to bear in mind the several months it takes to adapt to this. I for one, didn’t have the luxury of this adjustment period while training.

Since too much fat can also result in digestive issues, such as gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhoea, if athletes arn’t adapted to (low carb, high fat) diets, a (high carb, low fat) diet, or a (healthy balanced diet) could be better options.

How much should I eat ?

Firstly, it’s important to remember that calorie consumption should be as great as (energy expenditure and staying alive overall), including your endurance challenge.

This means that you not only need your usual calories to maintain bodyweight, but also the additional calories your activity burns.

For a 50,000 step, 8.25 hr walk, this equates to approximately 1992 extra calories in total, or 80 extra calories per mile. Please note: This is based on a 150 lb bodyweight, or 10.7 stone human.

Research suggests if you eat 1992 calories, plus your bodyweight maintenance (usual) calories, you shouldn’t need to focus on eating extra protein or fat in particular. This is because the percentage of your diet made up of protein and fat, doesn’t need to change for optimal performance.

Carbohydrates are key !!!

Particular attention should be paid to carbohydrate consumption. This is shown to have the largest influence over ultra endurance event performance.

For carbohydrate loading, you should aim for 10–12 g/kg/d in the day before the event. This means you should eat 600g of carbohydrate on the day before. These estimates are based on a 60kg person and include your usual carbohydrates. It’s entirely your choice whether to consume these in larger portions, or more frequent meals.

You should also consume some level of carbohydrates during the event; Similar benefits can be seen with gels, drinks or energy bars, suggesting the form this carbohydrate is in doesn’t matter; It’s more about convenience or personal preference.

Following the challenge, carbohydrate intake should stay elevated for 6 hours after completion. This helps body recovery.

While protein, water, and fibre are useful for helping you feel fuller for longer. This maybe helpful for weight loss ….

However, feeling full can make carbohydrate loading before events especially difficult. For this reason, a lot of my carbohydrate suggestions prior to this walk challenge, are of the quick release type rather than slow release. This is unusual, since slow release are often classified as healthier.

Diet Suggestions (Day before)

(Breakfast) Muesli or Cornflakes

(Lunch) White bagel or jacket potato

(Dinner) White rice, cheese, avocado or chicken

(Snacks) Granola bars, pretzels, dried fruit, yoghurt, banana, honey, apple or fruit juice

Diet suggestions (On the day)

On the day – Breakfast- Porridge with sliced banana – 3 hours before

Try to choose anything you know you can digest okay, as you don’t want a stomach upset or to try something new at this time. Try to select something that is a complex or slow release carbohydrate though, unless you can’t for a medical reason.

(Porridge is slow release carbohydrate so takes longer to digest, releasing energy gradually throughout the endurance event, this is helpful into the later stages)

On the day- Snacks

Drink before you feel thirsty throughout to prevent dehydration. If you feel thirsty it’s too late to stay fully hydrated. Ensure to take on small amounts of carbohydrate every hour throughout.

Summary

Ultimately diet is about personal preferences aswell as nutrition. You should feel comfortable with what you are eating aswell as taking on correct proportions of nutrients. This will ensure you complete your endurance challenge as best you physically can. Good luck and stay safe.

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My Fitness challenge post:

https://reasea.org/2020/04/10/50000-steps-or-25-miles-walked-in-one-single-day/

Sources

https://www.verywellfit.com/sports-nutrition-for-endurance-exercise-3120671

https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/fat-burning-heart-rate

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5919484/

https://www.healthline.com/health/RPE#the-numbers

https://www.verywellfit.com/how-fast-is-brisk-walking-3436887

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/physical-activity-guidelines-older-adults/#what-counts-as-light-activity

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5117571/#!po=2.47525

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/race-day-foods

Tags: endurance walking, ultra-endurance, 50,000 steps, 25 miles in 24 hours, endurance, back garden walking, hiking, carbohydrates, exercise intensity, pre activity meals, benandthegang, stayhome, stayathome, Fossafitness, reaseaorg, sportsnutrition, 2000calories, walking, exerciseathome,

Photo credit: clevertraining.com thanks for that.

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