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3mpire

hydration and nutrition for 10+ hour days

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My FS team has been training and competing for a few years now and we are to the point that we are putting in 10+ hour training and competition days at the DZ getting up to 8 jumps a day.

This summer especially has been hot, and we have all been experimenting with different hydration and nutrition strategies.

Commonly we have a collective pile of food we share consisting mostly of fresh fruit (rainier cherries, strawberries, grapes, water mellon, etc.), carbs (bagels), and protein (salami, ham, etc.) We also have a reserve of snicker bars if we need pick me up before a jump towards the end of the day.

As for hydration it's pretty much just a lot of water.

I think we are short on electrolytes, especially lately with the high temps.

I know that as a runner I need 200-400 calories an hour along with proper hydration.

With 4way, I'm wondering what a proper caloric intake should be if you're averaging around 1 jump an hour with packing and dirt diving in the mix?

Around jump 6 we start to lag and I think if we had a little more energy from diet we might be able to maintain mental focus towards the end of the day.

Does anyone out there with a more informed background in nutrition have any improvements to our current strategy?

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Try this instead of sports drinks to get your electrolytes up. It's much healthier.

http://www.amazon.com/EMERGEN-C-ELECTRO-MIX-Lemon-Lime-4-2/dp/B002HWRY5S

Also, shorter calls such as 20's are much easier to deal with physically than longer calls. Use packers, you'll be much sharper on the jump especially at the end of the day.

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Thanks! i'll give that mix a shot!

Our ideal call is about 40 minutes from the time we land to the time we board. If we cut out packing we could do 20s, if the lift capacity is there!

Since some of that is out of our control, we are trying to train to maintain performance for the duration which makes our fitness levels and nutrition/hydration critical.

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No real background in nutrition other than trying / experimenting to see what works. I do have 3 full seasons of training mostly at Perris and Skydance (so, hot, dusty climates where you really need to manage nutrition) with teams that did 8-10 jumps/day training schedules.

For me, personally, I found what worked best was a protein & fat-heavy breakfast (eggs, breakfast meat, yogurt), with some coffee and water to start the day, then just getting in small amounts of food constantly throughout the day with a big dinner at the end of the day. Water constantly throughout the day. Fruit is good for the quick carb hit (bananas rock for the potassium and the ability to shove them down your piehole in record time between dirt diving and gearing up), and salty snacks (trail mix or roasted /salted almonds were my choice, I'd either buy the small packages from Trader Joe's or make my own small baggies that I could shove into my jumpsuit and eat on the ride to altitude).

Water's something you've got to get down at every opportunity, and supplement with your electrolyte drink of choice (I personally love coconut water, others like sports drinks or powders that you can add to a bottle of water). I'd get in a routine of drinking water after every single skydive - it's not something you want to get behind on.

I feel like the biggest variable on flagging is not the number of jumps, but the overall length of the day. If you're starting at 7 or 8 and doing jump 6 at noon, that's one thing. If you're doing jump 6 at 3 p.m., that's entirely another in terms of energy management. For my team if we got off of our 20 minute call routine for more than one jump, it meant we were going to end up doing fewer jumps than we'd intended just because the day got too long. Faster pace = less likely to flag at jump 7 or 8.

Christy Frikken did a nice series on "designing your training day" that gets into a lot of this. Here's the link to Part 3; the links to Parts 1 & 2 are at the bottom. (She was my coach for one of those seasons, so I had already internalized a lot of her wisdom on this stuff and you'll see it reflected in my own preferences above).

http://www.skydivemag.com/article/designing-your-training-day-part-3?articleId=skydivemag%230%23JmTtRejSQ863J7QTKK0HGw
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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Staying ahead of hydration makes the biggest difference for me. Making sure I hydrate the day before I work, drink a 20oz bottle before I start my day, and at least another bottle of water every hour or two. If you're not peeing often (and peeing a light, clear color), you're probably not hydrated.

I also bring things that are very fast to eat - shove it in your mouth and keep on with what you're doing: banana, fresh fruit or vegetable juices, yogurt, chia pudding. If I don't have to stop and chew it, I'm more likely to eat it. I talk all day in addition to jump/pack, etc, so that may not be a concern for you, though my jump days are 10-14 hours minimum, 5 days a week.

Make sure you've got a good amount of sodium in your diet, (especially the days before jump days) to help your body retain that hydration. Drink mixes are good if they help you drink more, those electrolytes are better for you if they come from food. The best drink mix I've found is Vitalite, used to be called Gookinade, available online.

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I feel like the biggest variable on flagging is not the number of jumps, but the overall length of the day. If you're starting at 7 or 8 and doing jump 6 at noon, that's one thing. If you're doing jump 6 at 3 p.m., that's entirely another in terms of energy management.



That's 100% spot on for us. If we are on jump 3 before noon we are almost ahead of schedule. We have been having the discussion of considering a running clock from jump 1 to be our timebox versus jump numbers.

I remember reading Christy's series when they came out but I completely forgot about them! It's great stuff.

We have a great team dynamic about goal setting and planning, our biggest thing is more just the reality of trying to get enough jumps in to make progress versus diminishing returns toward the end of a long day.

I'll share the series with the team as I think it would be nice for us all to read it again--thanks!

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We started doing back-to-backs, triples and quads this year on the 1st go in the AM to escape the heat, and It's much easier on the body. I know that's dependent on lift capacity and having 2 rigs tho.

It's always a case of balancing priorities, BUT, if you're focus is training and getting better, focus on that: get packers, and do pairs of back-to-backs if you have 2 rigs, or 20's and 40s.



But, back to food and drink...

Drink water between jumps; take a small bottle in the plane too if needed.

Electrolites are a good supplement if you're going hard at it in heat. Right now, they're a lot of buzz in cycling around Skratch Labs having some awesome product. I'm still a cheapass, and use powdered gatorade even on my hammer fest rides in AZ: I want that dammed sugar when I use 5000 Cals :D

But if you need all day to do your jump, eat real food too. My go to when training is PB&J sandwiches on 12 grain bread. They have a decent enough mix of fat, carbs, and protein.
Remster

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one thing I would consider is switching your fruit ( which tends to be more of an immediate energy source ) to more complex carbs like baked sweet potatoes or brown rice and fatty fruits and vegetables like avocados <--- all of these are better for longer lasting energy

ETA: and oatmeal for breakfast

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But if you need all day to do your jump, eat real food too. My go to when training is PB&J sandwiches on 12 grain bread. They have a decent enough mix of fat, carbs, and protein.



All your input was great--this bit especially! The bagels I have been eating probably aren't as good as a grain bread plus pbj would be a better source of longer term energy than just plain bagel!

I'll float the idea of trying to batch dives I like that idea! Most of us only have 1 rig and lift capacity can be tight at times however if we used packers and tried to pre-arrange a cluster of jumps early in the day we might be able to shorten our day and increase our performance.

So far our plan has been to have a fairly consistent schedule, but a variable pace is new idea for us!

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I'll float the idea of trying to batch dives I like that idea!



One 1 rig, you can do 20's and 40's (so 2 jumps with a 20 when you land in between; and the next jump after that is a 40, followed by another 20 and 40); You can debrief the 1st one, repeat, and then prep the next with time)
Remster

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^ That pace (effectively, every second lift - for us at Hibaldstow it comes out as 1-3-5 of a 6-lift cycle, with a break for refuel and start again) is a lot less stressful too. Quads are great but knackering if you don't do them regularly - all that running! Back to backs can still feel rushed and you still need two rigs; neither are ideal for (relatively) new competitors.

An every-other cycle is a great introduction to efficient training jumps. You'd be surprised at how many you can get through in a day and still feel all right at the end.

Also, PB&J is awesome B|
--
"I'll tell you how all skydivers are judged, . They are judged by the laws of physics." - kkeenan

"You jump out, pull the string and either live or die. What's there to be good at?

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I'm not a nutritionist or mad scientist either, so I have no scientific back up for what works for me other than trial and error. Our team used to do 20min calls all day, occasionally back to backing with 20 in-between averaging 10-12 jumps a day (weather dependant). Most done in a day was 19 jumps, followed by an hour in the tunnel.

Make sure you have a good nights rest before hand, no matter what you eat if your tired before you start the day your on to a looser.

Food wise, a good hearty breakfast with slow burning carbs (porridge/oats) washed down with water.
For snacks you can go for bananas, fruit etc and more water. I love beef jerky when in the states jumping. We don't get the same quality in the UK.
Lunch, allow your self a break to refuel. Avoid hi fat foods as this brings on the dreaded 'grand dads half hour syndrome' and can make you sluggish and sleepy.
Mid afternoon snack, again with more water (coconut water is great and is all the rage in the Middle East as its full of nutrients). Avoid Monster/red bull or energy drinks high in sugar as your more likely to feel the sugar crash due to physical and mental fatigue now.
Good foods.
Cashew nuts without salt, bananas, beef jerky, all fruit, water, coconut water, anything with slow burning carbs.
At long last the light at the end of the tunell isnt an on coming train!!!

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