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Nutrition Timing on the Trail- Two keys to avoiding the wall of exhaustion.

We’ve covered totals. Now we’re going to look at timing.

There are two simple rules when it comes to staying fueled on the trail:

  1. Know the total amount of fuel you need.

  2. Space the timing to ensure the energy stores never dry up.

You can check out more information on figuring up your toals in our free guide. The rest of this article will walk through the second half of that- how do you time nutrition in a way that always ensures ample fuel to push through heavy miles with long days on the trail.

This isn’t a complex task in figuring out. How much you need is largely based on the total time active- not just consumed throughout the course of the day.

Rule 1: You’re 90% of the way there if totals are taken care of (again, see our free guide for figuring this out).

Rule 2: The other 10% is covered when you dose 45-60g of carbs for every 60-minutes of anticipated high-output activity.

It’s understood that there will be downtimes on the mountain for many of us. During those times of the day, shift your focus to the totals while remembering the timing is built around the periods when you’re active.

This simple table outlines the idea:


Amount (grams of carbohydrate)



2- hours




HOW you meet the need:

Ideally, you’ll focus on easy-to-digest, easy-to-eat foods like gummies, electrolyte mix (liquid), Rice Krispie treats, graham crackers, fig bars, and the like.

Based on the chart above, this would be (for each “hour block”):

  • 2 handfuls of gummy bears

  • 4 graham crackers

  • 2 servings of electrolyte mix

  • 1-2 packages of fig bars

My grandpa used to tell me “take care of the top half and the bottom half will take care of itself.” He was referencing the gas tank in my old Ford, but his sage advice rings true in our nutrition as well.

THE key to avoiding the dreaded performance bonk is making sure your fuel tanks (found in the muscle and liver) never run dry. By simply knowing (and meeting) your totals and ensuring those are met in periodic intervals during the day, you’re ensured a constant source of energy no matter how long and hard the push may be.

Other topics you’re interested in or questions you want to ask? Shoot us an email here. Sign up for our free newsletter here for all the latest backcountry nutrition news.


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