Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fuel for the Mountain Athlete

I am very pleased to be a sponsored athlete with Hammer Nutrition for 2013.  For almost 15 years I have been using Hammer Gel as a fuel source for mountain biking, backcountry skiing, running and mountaineering.  I particularly appreciate that Hammer Products provide consistent energy and are easy to carry and consume.

I first used Hammer Gel when I guided a client on the Grand Traverse in the Teton Range in Wyoming in 1998 - a technical traverse of 10 peaks, including Teewinot, Mt. Owen, the Grand Teton, Middle Teton, South Teton, Cloudveil Dome and Nez Perce.  Prior to the trip I searched for fuel/food that could sustain me for three days while keeping bulk and weight to a minimum.  I took a bit of a gamble with Hammer Gel, considering I hadn't used it before, but it worked really well for me.  I found that I could get the carbohydrates I needed over the course of the day and experienced a consistent level of energy.  Hammer Gel was my primary source of fuel; I supplemented with dehydrated meals in the morning and at night.  I also liked that it was easy to access, even one-handed (useful when belaying), had a pleasant flavor and could easily be mixed into a water bottle.  My experience with Hammer Gel on this trip was something of a seminal moment for me in that I learned how proper nutrition could contribute to mental alertness and consistent energy levels.  Prior to this trip I didn't think as much about the food that I took with me (and I probably didn't consume enough, either), so I often experienced bouts of low energy when climbing (and climbing is hard enough!).

Since then, I have learned to include protein on extended efforts and have incorporated Hammer Nutrition's Sustained Energy, Perpetuem and Whey Protein Powder (post effort).  On ascents of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, I have used Hammer Gel during the day, along with Sustained Energy, and then mixed Hammer Whey with water in the evenings for recovery.  Thirst and hunger are nearly constant playmates on a big wall, so I have been very pleased to get a bit of a handle on hunger - with Hammer Gel and Sustained Energy I don't have as many or as intense hunger pains during long efforts in the mountains which tells me that my body is getting more of what it needs.  Not to mention that along with Endurolytes (electrolytes), I feel that I have a fueling system that is convenient and covers my nutritional needs in the mountains as well for training.  I have also compared training sessions when I have gone with or without Hammer Gel and Sustained Energy or tried energy bars, such as on 18-23 mile runs, and the difference is like night and day.  I also appreciate Hammer Nutrition's commitment to quality ingredients, overall health and consideration for the environment.

If you are new to Hammer Nutrition, you can get a 15% discount on your first order by clicking on this athlete referral link.