When I picked up my friend Roger, who was paddling around mainland Nova Scotia three summers ago, he was thin and complained of period dizzy spells. On our drive to the grocery store, Roger speculated that he wasn’t consuming enough calories and needed to beef up his intake, so to speak. Lesson learned from a friend: I intend to finish this trip in as good or better physical shape than when I start it.
For our trip this summer, the diet will offer a good diversity of dried fruits and vegetables but fresh foods will be scarce and only period. Whilst I’m carefully planning the caloric requirements, I’m also looking at some basic supplementation to ensure optimal performance over time. With a few strategic supplements, I expect to keep my system healthy and performing efficiently.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
There have been a number of clinical trials assessing the benefits of dietary supplementation with fish oils. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, which minimizes soreness after exercise. In particular, Omega-3 fatty acids of marine origin have the potential to mitigate a number of human diseases including the physical decline associated with aging.
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAS)
Popular among fitness enthusiasts, BCAA supplementation before and after exercise has the benefit of decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promotes muscle-protein synthesis.
BCAAs are especially helpful for maintaining muscle mass while on a calorie-deficit diet. Dieting is catabolic, which means that it eats away at your body mass. But the leaner your body gets, the more likely it is to lose muscle mass because the body tries harder to retain valuable body fat stores.
Muscle loss occurs as the body increases protein breakdown in order to liberate muscle amino acids for fuel. Since BCAAs bypass the liver and gut and go directly into your bloodstream, they can be used as an immediate energy source during your workouts, avoiding the need to catabolize lean muscle mass.
Face it, there will be no big salads for lunch. What nutrients we get from our dehydrated meals will be a fraction of the diversity I am accustomed to in my regular diet.
Daily vitamin supplementation is essential for optimal athletic performance. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects your body from free radical damage; vitamin D is important for healthy bones; the B vitamins help extract the energy you need from the food you eat.
A simple multivitamin will ensure that I’m getting the daily recommended doses of the micronutrients I need to stay healthy and strong.
Shimomura Y, Murakami T, Nakai N, Nagasaki M, Harris RA. (2004 Jun). Exercise promotes BCAA catabolism: effects of BCAA supplementation on skeletal muscle during exercise.
Layne Norton. (June 07, 2017). BCAAs: The Many Benefits Of Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplements.
Simopoulos AP. (2002 Dec). Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
Stewart Jeromson, Iain J. Gallagher, Stuart D. R. Galloway, and D. Lee Hamilton. (2015 Nov). Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Skeletal Muscle Health.
Kelly B. Jouris, Jennifer L. McDaniel, and Edward P. Weiss. (2011 Sep). The Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on the Inflammatory Response to eccentric strength exercise.