Cross-country skiing is a winter sport that requires high levels of fitness and endurance.
Cross-country skiing represents a combination of long training sessions, low temperatures, and often high heart rate — this demands a lot of energy and nutrients.
A correct nutritional strategy can significantly increase your enjoyment of cross-country skiing and boost your progress instead of becoming a torture.
In this blog, you will learn how to take care of proper nutrition for cross-country skiing.
In cross-country skiing, almost all of your muscles are active. This is the reason why it's one of the most energy-draining sports.
Energy is essential for physical activity, and your main source of energy should be carbohydrates, as they are the macronutrient that your body is able to turn into energy the quickest. Consuming carbohydrates will increase your endurance in cross-country skiing.
Keep in mind that at low temperatures, carbohydrate oxidation increases up to 6 times. This means that consuming carbohydrates becomes even more important.
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You can further strengthen your body with carbohydrates by filling your glycogen stores before exercise — this is called carb-loading. The point of carb-loading is to ingest a high amount of carbohydrates days (or hours) before physical activity.
Since your glycogen stores are limited, you must regularly replenish your energy levels during exercise. If you want to learn more about the ingestion of carbohydrates during exercise, check out this guide.
Energy is essential for cross-country skiing. Your main source of energy are carbohydrates, which your body turns into glycogen. A quick source of energy are energy gels, energy bars, or fruit.
You might feel you are losing less fluid at low temperatures, but hydration remains equally important as in the summer months.
Low temperatures reduce the sensation of thirst and increase the need for fluid, as cold air contains less water than warm air, which makes you lose more water with breathing.
With fluid you also lose electrolytes, which are essential for the correct function of your body, so you need to replace them. A great way to do it is with an isotonic sports drink.
The Isotonic sports drink Iso Drink contains electrolytes in citrate form, which means they provide high levels of absorption without causing digestive issues. It also contains the optimal combination of carbohydrates, leading to an efficient replacement of energy.
Hydration is essential during intense exercise. We recommend using an isotonic sports drink or electrolytes you can mix with water.
Training is crucial to improve your physical endurance, but the rest after training is equally important.
This also applies to nutrition after training. After workout, you must replenish your glycogen stores and provide your muscles with protein. This is called muscle recovery after workout.
Roughly, you need to ingest 20 grams of protein in combination with 1 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body mass. The best way to do it is by using a recovery drink.
Fat and dietary fiber
Fats are crucial also for hormone production, vitamin absorption, as a source of reserve energy, and due to their role as insulators.
Dietary fiber have numerous benefits for your digestive tracts and cardiovascular system.
But keep in mind that both fats and dietary fiber should be avoided before, during, and after physical activity, as they will burden your digestion and may cause stomach discomfort.
Dietary fiber also increases the volume of food, which might impair your ability to provide your body with a sufficient amount of energy.
Since both nutrients are important for your health, they should be a regular part of your diet — when you are not training or when your training is not performed at high intensity.
Since cross-country skiing requires a lot of energy, we recommend you ingest several smaller meals. Large meals might cause stomach discomfort and limit nutrient absorption. By ingesting smaller meals, it will be easier to get enough energy without unpleasant side effects.
With good dietary planning, you will be able to overcome the challenges represented by cross-country skiing challenges in an easier and more efficient way.
Since cross-country skiing usually takes place over a longer period of time and involves the whole body, you must supply it with sufficient amounts of energy.
Focus on carbohydrates and a quality recovery meal consisting of carbohydrates and protein.
Always take care of proper hydration by providing your body with fluid and electrolytes.
Finally, while you should avoid fats and dietary fiber before, during, and after exercise, these two nutrients should be a regular part of your diet.