Is it OK to pig out after a tramp, or does it undo all the hard work?
How many times have you finished a tough tramp and craved a calorie-laden feast of junk food?
‘It’s fine’, we tell ourselves. ‘It’s been a tough day in the hills – we’ve earned it’. But have we? Do our efforts justify the fat and sugar we’re about to thrust down our gullet?
Delightfully, the answer is yes.
“So long as you don’t eat substantially more on the trail than you would have done on a normal day, then pigging out won’t do you any harm,” says dietitian Elize van Drimmelen.
“An average male needs to eat 2300kcal a day to maintain their weight – an average woman needs 2000kcal – and this is on top of the energy burnt on a tramp.”
This means that just an hour-long tramp (and that’s a tough bit of tramping with a pack on – not a stroll by the river) can ‘buy’ an average male a guilt-free milkshake or steak ‘n’ cheese pie. Two hours can ‘buy’ a chinese takeaway or a chicken tikka masala.
But this comes with a warning from van Drimmelen, who says although the junk food may not exceed your calorie limit, it won’t provide the nutrients needed to stay healthy. So don’t think you can forge a new lifestyle of tramping in the daytime, followed by Big Macs in the evening.
Van Drimmelen has put together this table showing how many minutes an average male carrying a load between 4.5kg and 9kg would need to tramp to match the post-tramp food or drink.
|Food||Approx kcal||Tramping time|
|Small fish and chips||1234||145min|
|Steak & cheese pie||446||52min|
|Sweet & sour pork||1011||119min|
|Thai green curry||647||76min|
|Chicken tikka masala||760||89min|
|Bar of chocolate||257||50min|
|Can of coke||159||17min|
|Glass of wine (150ml)||124||12min|