Nutrition for Skiers

October 27, 2012

It’s an exciting yet at times a physically demanding experience for those that seek to obtain their ski instructor qualifications during the winter season. Ask anyone who has been skiing for one week how they felt and I’m sure they will tell you of stories of aches and pains after only a few days on the slopes. To become a ski instructor and embark on a ski instructor course that lasts 11 weeks is undoubtedly an extremely exciting thought. However on the flip side, this can seem exhausting seeing as you spend a great deal of your time training on the mountain, in some cases 5 days a week, 5 hours a day. Aside from general fitness before you start your course an overlooked topic is good nutrition.

To maximise your time spent training and learning, your body needs good nutrition. This doesn’t mean eating like a rabbit or missing out on any of the night life, it simply means getting a bit prepared before you leave your condo everyday and selecting your calories from foods packed with nutrition. On the slopes, you’ll be burning four to five hundred calories per hour so providing your muscles, brain and cardiovascular system with the right fuel to work at their best for you is essential. If you do this, your body will stand a far greater chance of achieving skills on the slopes, you perhaps never thought you could do! Here are some tips to keep in mind if you want to get your body fired up for this awesome winter experience:

HYDRATE – Regardless of what happened the night before, when you wake up drink some water. Luke warm water with a slice of lemon is ideal for your digestive system, but failing that, plain old water will do. Overnight your body dehydrates slightly so it’s important to replace what’s been lost first thing.

SNACKS – Pack some nutrient dense snacks in your bag. Brilliant foods to eat in between the slopes are yoghurts, milkshakes, seeds, nuts, dried fruit, bananas, chocolate, sesame seed bars, ‘Trek’ and ’Nakd’ bars, raw dried fruit and nut bars, soya beans, wasabi peas, wholegrain rice cakes and oatcakes/biscuits. Avoid taking ‘diet’ sodas, crisps and junk varieties of chocolate bars; they’re difficult for your body to make use of.

WATER – Take a bottle of water in your bag so you can drink sips throughout the day. Some muscles contain up to 80% water and a drop of 1% or more can lead to a noticeable change in performance. If you let yourself become dehydrated, you’ll be so sore the next day you’ll barely be able to move! Not an ideal situation for those mogul runs!

MEALS – Good news, your meals need to be BIG (unless your going to make up for it with the booze later on!) Try and eat balanced meals to get an array of vitamins, minerals, proteins, antioxidants and fats. Ideally you want your muscles to repair as quickly as possible so eating well after your active day can help you do this. Try and get a minimum of 20 grams of protein in each meal from foods such as eggs, meat, fish and poultry. Packing some fish oil supplements in your suitcase is also a good idea, but failing that, try and eat 3-4 portions of oily fish a week whilst on the course. Its better to choose vegetables over salads because they contain more carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which are all essential for tissue and muscle repair. Minimise deep fried foods as much as possible as high amounts of trans and saturated fats are not going to help your intestines absorb all the nutrients from the foods you eat. If you’re a fan of chips or onion rings, then minimise these to once a week. Its also worth noting that trans fats, commonly found in deep fried foods and some processed foods, are unnatural and even harmful. Your body works hard trying to remove them and sometimes they build up in skin tissue, organs and blood vessels.

BEDTIME – Before you hit the sack, eat or drink a slow release carbohydrate containing protein. This will prevent muscle break down overnight and will speed up repair from your days hard work. Ideal examples are hot chocolate, milk based smoothies, yogurt, low fat cheese, ice cream and milkshake. If your lactose intolerant, most lactose free alternatives such as soy or oat milk products will do the job.

For those that join NothinButSnow’s ski instructor courses or snowboard courses can rest assured we ensure our included meals are of the highest quality. All meals use high quality ingredients, including organic and natural foods with no added preservatives, transfats or harmful flavour enhancers (such as MSG)

So remember this season if you plan on spending it on the slopes, be mindful of the food you eat and the liquid you drink. It’s surprising how greatly it can affect your performance.

This article was bought to you by NothinButSnow and Mind Health Movement. Written by Gabriella Clarke, a nutrition expert and Leigh Mocock, director and qualified ski instructor.

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