This was a 60lb ruck that traversed over 50 miles and 10,000ft of elevation that took me 28 hours to complete (after a decent struggle with heat exhaustion at about the 75% mark). During all of that I did not experience one cramp or any muscle fatigue. My joints were swollen and my feet were fused to my socks but my muscles felt like they could go forever. I owe that to nutrition & supplementation, training and conditioning definitely play a significant role but when long endurance situations like this your body burns through so many resources it's critical to have a good plan in place to replenish those resources.
First I'll go over what my general nutrition looked like first because you want a good foundation first that you can then optimize for whatever your goal is.
I had just wrapped up my 2nd round of 75Hard (an excellent mental toughness program) and part of this program is to follow a nutrition plan for 75 days.
My typical day looked like this:
Meal 1: Post workout shake (protein & high glycemic carbohydrate)
Meal 2: eggs w/ cheese, fruit, oats
Meal 3: chicken (slow cooker shredded or oven) w/ jerk seasoning & cheese, wraps
Meal 4: high protein Greek yogurt
Meal 5: ground turkey or venison, rice cashews and sugar free bbq
Meal 6: meal replacement shake
I did that for 75 days straight, it only changed when I needed to up my calories. Those adjustments were made with the help of my advisor in the 1st Phorm App and my nutritionist friend Ashley Whewell. I started with 2077 calories and towards the end I was over 3000 due to training activity.
So as you can see my meals were really regimented and consistent. And I made them enjoyable, pro tip: seasoning is your friend.
Now nutrition details will vary person to person but the general idea is simple. Find out how many calories you need to eat. Then start by planning out at least 20g of high quality protein per meal and your total protein intake should be equal to you your weight or goal weight. Ex: 150lbs = 150g or protein. Then fill in the rest of you calorie needs with carbs and fats. That's a great starting point.
Supplements come second to food and only work when you've covered all the bases first and need to fill in some gaps or are in a state where rapid absorption of nutrients is necessary.
I will only mentions supplements I use. I am affiliated with 1st Phorm and any links to their products are my affiliate links. The other brands I mention I have no relationship with.
Here's the supplements I used on a daily basis:
Post workout: Phormula 1 & Ignition
Meal Replacement Protein: Level 1
Greens: Opti-Greens 50
Reds: Opti-Reds 50
Now for the "miracle" part. Training rucks and for the big ruck I would use electrolyte supplements.
For this I used GU Roctane Gels and GU Stroop Waffles. And for the big ruck I added in Intra-formance to some of my water supply.
Amount needed and timing took a bit of trial and error but what ended up working out for me was setting my watch timers to go off every 15 minutes and every 45 minutes.
I would take a drink every 15 minutes, hit a GU gel every 45 minutes and a stroop waffle every other 45 minute timer.
It worked like a charm. My knees were ready to explode and my feet were on fire, but my muscles felt great. I felt like a machine, feed it the fuel and it will keep going.
And I did keep going, rim-to-rim-to-rim. And that story is next. See you in the final part 4.