For extended trips, getting adequate protein supply can sometimes be a challenge. In fact, I find getting adequate amounts of protein to be a challenge in my daily life, never mind in the backcountry!
Current research suggests that your daily protein intake should be between 1.2 to 2.0 g/kg (American College of Sports Medicine). This is the amount necessary to support metabolic adaptation, repair, remodeling of your muscles following activity. While you may come up short occasionally without consequence, long-term deficits can have you falling short of your athletic goals and/or leave you struggling on extended trips.
At 59kg, I shoot to obtain 100-118g of protein on a daily basis. To put it in perspective, that is the protein equivalent of 20 eggs or 400g of chicken breast (that’s almost a pound!). Obtaining those kinds of numbers was always a struggle for me, especially on the trail. That was until I discovered a protein powder SO good that I look forward to drinking it ever single day. Introducing: Optimum Nutrition.
Optimum Nutrition is a sports nutrition company that makes a variety of products for athletes. When I was first introduced to them I tried Protein Energy, a whey powder with a caffeine kick. Immediately hooked on their chocolate and Vanilla Latte flavors I was quick to order other products as well. Now I am a fan of their Gold Standard Whey, Casein Protein, Pre-Workout, and BCAA’s. Each of these helps me meet my nutrition and workout goals both on and off the trail.
Protein Energy: Hot Chocolate
This is my absolute true love. Every morning I mix up a cup of this, two scoops, shake, microwave for 90 seconds. Instant, delicious, guilt-free hot chocolate. On the trail, I mix it and then heat it using whatever backcountry stove I have with me, usually the MSR Windburner.
** Super Important Tip: You must mix with cold water, and heat carefully. Overheating will cause curdling and will certainly ruin your super rad hot-coco experience **
Protein Energy: Iced Coffee
My second true love (following the Protein Energy: Hot Chocolate) is the Protein Energy Vanilla Late flavor. This has replaced the ice coffee in my life. For the first few months I was happy simply mixing with glacier-fed water but over time I found it to be a little sweet and lacking in the coffee department. Now I water it down a little and add a Starbucks Via for a little extra coffee flavor. Absolutely perfect!
BCAA Recovery: Watermelon Punch
Another performance-enhancing beverage to spice up your water is Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard BCAA’s. Branchy Chain Amino Acids, BCAA’s, are the building blocks of proteins in your body and help with muscle growth and recovery following a workout or mountain epic. Not to mention they taste great and are a refreshing way to end you day!
I order all of the above products from BodyBuilding.com, except the Starbucks Via, I get those at Costco in bulk. I find BodyBuilding.com has the best prices, ship exceptionally quick and have good customer service. That said I am sure that you can also get them on Amazon or at your local sports nutrition store.
American College of Sports Medicine – Position Statement on Nutrition and Athletic Performance – http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2016/03000/Nutrition_and_Athletic_Performance.25.aspx