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sydneywaffa
10-20-2016, 00:53
I've read the average male thru hiker loses 10-30lbs. I'm 6'1" and 145lbs. I'm worried doing this will make me lose a lot more weight than I have to lose (I'm already a spooky scary skeleton). Anyone know if i should be trying to bulk before the trip or should I just not worry about it and hike on?

penny b
10-20-2016, 00:57
I haven't done the hike yet but I think you should be healthy as Dan be before your hike and maybe take higher calorie foods to keep up with what your burning .

Engine
10-20-2016, 06:53
The majority of those who lose large amounts of weight had it to lose before they started, most hikers who are already very lean won't lose much if any. If you keep your caloric intake up and eat well when you're in town you should be fine. If you do notice significant weight loss, take an extra zero day or so every couple weeks and eat high caloric density foods. Honestly, you'll be fine.

garlic08
10-20-2016, 08:09
Much of my pre-hike preparation is sitting on the couch eating, trying to gain weight (I normally cycle 3000+/- miles/year, and hike 2,000+/- miles.) A few pounds on my skeleton-like frame seems to help. It's usually gone in the first week, and then I need to keep to a high-fat trail diet (lots of nuts and cheese--I'm vegetarian) and eat every two hours while hiking or biking.

Nobody knows how you'll do, but it's possible to stay skinny and healthy with a good diet. I comfort myself that it's a good problem to have, when you see overweight folks really struggling in the first weeks.

BrianLe
10-20-2016, 11:36
I think the one certain thing is that you'll get "hiker hunger" sooner than most do. Most people carry more food than they need for their first stretch on a long distance trail, and even you might do so for the first stretch (?) but you can likely count on needing to carry more within a couple of weeks of starting. I suggest that you do at least some pre-trip walking, stair climbing in particular for the AT and some of it toward the end with some weight on your back, i.e., pre-trip training. Because it would really suck to have hiker hunger before you got your trail legs!

Comments about porking out a little at home beforehand and being willing to take an extra nero or zero now and then just to give your body a chance to fatten up along the way --- I definitely agree with those.

Leo L.
10-20-2016, 12:00
I'm about a similar size and weight like you, and never worried about being too skinny. Seems to be more of a cultural issue specific to the US.

Usually I eat myself up a few kilos if a longer hike is pending, and lose the same several kilos within the first few days in the hike.
Then usually hiker hunger sets in and I eat like crazy, keeping the weight constant.

QiWiz
10-20-2016, 14:19
Since you don't have fat to lose (I'm jealous), you will need to make sure that the combination of what you eat on trail, and what you eat in town, add up to how many calories you are burning on trail. If you don't do this, you will end up burning up your muscles for fuel, and this can bring your hike to a quick end. If I had no body fat to burn, I would be carrying at least 2 pounds of food with a relatively high fat content per day (4000-5000 calories/day) in order to not lose weight.

Hikingjim
10-20-2016, 14:39
if you can't gain weight at home, it'll be harder to gain weight on the trail.
So put on a few pounds and then keep up your food intake on the trail and you'll be all good! You don't HAVE to put on weight first, but it makes food planning easier if you have a couple extra pounds

turtle fast
10-20-2016, 16:27
If you look into those statistics, I have a feeling (from personal observation...and myself) that most of that weight loss was from people whom already have more fat reserves to loose. People whom I saw that were more fit to begin with I saw eat more calories to supplement their fat reserves. "Hiker hunger" (a point where the hikers body demands and thusly eats a large amount of calories) for them kicked in earlier. I had a fellow hiker eat almost an entire pizza and was amazed at himself as he'd never eaten so much before.

rashamon12
12-20-2016, 09:38
lol well i know personally i will loose some weight on the trail though i am fit and already have hiker hunger and am not on the trail... I just say keep your intake up and the more you burn the more you gotta eat. Vastly depends on your pace and how much you burn. 5000+ calories would be good in my opinion for you.

coyote9
12-21-2016, 18:15
I'm about a similar size and weight like you, and never worried about being too skinny. Seems to be more of a cultural issue specific to the US.

Usually I eat myself up a few kilos if a longer hike is pending, and lose the same several kilos within the first few days in the hike.
Then usually hiker hunger sets in and I eat like crazy, keeping the weight constant.
I believe the OP is actually referring to a medical condition in regards to a body fat deficit.

cliffordbarnabus
12-22-2016, 00:21
I've read the average male thru hiker loses 10-30lbs. I'm 6'1" and 145lbs. I'm worried doing this will make me lose a lot more weight than I have to lose (I'm already a spooky scary skeleton). Anyone know if i should be trying to bulk before the trip or should I just not worry about it and hike on?

your bmi is normal. even if you lose some weight, doubtfully 10-30 pounds, you'll still be just below normal. walk. enjoy. have fun!

Dogwood
12-22-2016, 01:07
Waist? Body Type?

Sounds like you're an ectomorph.

Sounds like if you are an ectomorph body type your wt is on the low side.

If what you mean by bulk up pre hike is add muscle I'm all for it. Some if's though.

One word about Garlic, Brian Le, and myself that I know about is that we're all accomplished LD hikers having some ability to manage our wt, body fat %, and energy expenditures on 2000+ mile hikes. And, if Garlic and Gadget are physically as I last remember them I would assume we all know how to adjust our diets and caloric intake to allow for more or less body wt. FWIW, even if you do "bulk up" it has been my observation that it's better to maintain body wt somewhat generally on a thru rather than allowing wide - 15% or more - body wt swings unless you're over weight and that can entail issues in itself. You rare NOT over weight. You sound like you don't have wt to lose!

Dropping 15 or more lbs with a starting wt of 145 lbs being 6'1"" is not a healthy wt for you. And, I don't care what waist and body type you are.

colorado_rob
12-22-2016, 09:07
Seems like a valid concern, but i wouldn't get too worried, as said, bulk up a bit just before, if you can. I'm 6-1, 175, and i lost about 10 in a half AT, but put on 5 just before. If you like beer, as i certainly do, a couple a day can really help put on those pre hike kilograms! Bacon cheese burgers on the side....

Have you read any skywalker hiking books? Good reads, and he has your issue, probably more so (he's almost 7 feet tall, don't remember his weight, but he was all skin and ribs). Check them out.

foodbag
12-22-2016, 10:25
I only made 610 miles but even so lost 12 lbs. in just two months, from 157 to 145. I had it to lose but I wonder what would have happened if my feet had cooperated for the entire length of the trail. Methinks I would have been pretty skinny.

When I stopped hiking the weight went right back on much more quickly than it came off! Fast forward from 1999 to today and somehow I have managed to get back to that 145 and stay there. If I ever get the opportunity to get back out there for a couple of months I'll have to gain a few pounds before I start....

Dogwood
12-22-2016, 18:54
For one as yourself, without having had significantly added body wt pre hike, consider resupplying more often. This allows more food wt per day to be carried hence possibility of more calories and possibly wider nutritional profiles on trail and more calories eaten in town when you buy along the way at larger towns so at least you can maintain your current wt. However, it's an incorrect assumption that many LD hikers have that they can magically atone or make up for 5-6 days of calorie/nutritional on trail deficits in a gorging off trail in town buffet extravaganza visit. Body doesn't work like that. This is a common assumption. IMO, patterning drastic yo yoing of daily calorie intake and significantly fluctuating body wt can lead to eating disorders that can become more apparent post hike. It's observed post hike by many LD hikers in the beginning of their careers having body wt issues.

It's common for a thru-hiker to have daily caloric needs in excess of 4500-5000+ cals/day. If you are an ectomorph as I'm assuming, characterized by being lean and thin and having a very low body fat %, running constant daily caloric deficits is going to eat your muscle mass. Ectomorphs typically have a hard time bulking up in the first place. Worth repeating QiWiz's post: "Since you don't have fat to lose (I'm jealous), you will need to make sure that the combination of what you eat on trail, and what you eat in town, add up to how many calories you are burning on trail. If you don't do this, you will end up burning up your muscles for fuel, and this can bring your hike to a quick end. If I had no body fat to burn, I would be carrying at least 2 pounds of food with a relatively high fat content per day (4000-5000 calories/day) in order to not lose weight."

Even if you do "bulk up" pre thru but aren't able to keep it on or maintain your wt you're again ultimately back at the same place of possibly withering away, in effect kicking the can down the road to deal with at a later date. So, better to learn how to manage your body wt than ride the body wt roller coaster to such drastic extremes.

Maybe Skywalker can answer for himself but since I don't think he posts here often I'll further what Colorado Rob said. Remembering Skywaker looking emaciated and fatigued from my first on trail meeting and then seeing him having better energy levels and better able to maintain his ectomorph body wt on second and third on trail meetings wt I asked him what he was now doing differently. If I recall correctly, paraphrasing, he said he had to take the greater daily food wt/volume hit combined with resupplying more often and adding more fat % in his total daily caloric load. Skywalker aims not to so drastically yo yo daily caloric intake or allow so drastically yo yoing his body wt. Since Bill is 6'11 combined with his LD hiking approaches he has a 7000 cal/day avg he needs and aims for. He wrote about it in one of his PCT books. Nice guy. Gentle giant. Soars over me even though I'm 6'4".

coyote9
12-23-2016, 13:13
I do agree with some here that a bulk in both fat and muscle may help with initial shock on trail nutrition. (He must maintain cardio while doing so) On the note of town food to close a gap on a caloric deficit however, it is my professional opinion that the human body is adept for feast and famine and will store a short increase in calories (feast) for a later time of increase stress/low calorie intake (famine.) You dont eat 5K cal in one sitting but over a day in town with a hiker appetite: easy. Those calories will be used and stored.

Dogwood
12-23-2016, 17:16
Yes, for short term by those more able because they are already holding onto abundant stores of wt and fat but the OP is talking about long term 5 months. And, I'm talking about possibly inadequate DAILY caloric intake...famine over that duration. Running a daily calorie deficit wk after wk for that length when he doesn't have the muscle mass or body fat on him to rely on during the long term physical and mental rigors of a 2200 mile hike is going to reduce what muscle mass he does have. It isn't a 21 Day Survivalists type show situation, or a 1 day gym or running workout followed up by post workout recovery with the amenities of home or town, or a situation where the OP is in the high range of healthy body fat/wt for his height. Even on survivalist shows with folks with the body wt and body fat % to lose they are fatigued in 2 weeks and they are rather stationary not walking 15 miles each day up and down mountains.

"You dont eat 5K cal in one sitting but over a day in town with a hiker appetite: easy. Those calories will be used and stored"

To some extent over the short term that can suffice but this extended onto a LD hike over 5 months does not equate with stabilized body wt or energy levels. A thru-hike is an endurance event of 4-6 months.

LD hikers running a daily calorie deficit of 1500- 2000+ cal per day over 5 days don't suddenly make that energy up with a 7500 - 10000 cal gorging at a buffet without consequences. Running calorie deficits like this, which are not uncommon for five days, by one such as an ectomorph will eat into muscle mass. The 7500-10000 cal in town gorging doesn't somehow magically replace the muscle loss. The idea that short term gorging addresses all the consequences of long term famine is a flawed concept.

It's also common for LD hikers experiencing drastic yo yoing body wt, blood sugar, and energy levels when exposed to a wide selection of in town supermarket, restaurant, fast food, and gas station low quality food to gorge on empty calorie junk food. This can have varied wide ranging consequences despite the thought that consuming any calories from any source are all equal. Food is not just calories. A calorie in food is accompanied by a much wider range of nutrients and impacts that affect energy and well being. Now we throw in an alcohol, coffee(as I can) binge, etc and it's not just the added consumable wt that's the cause for the observed lethargy as hikers exit the in town vortex but their changed dietary, consumption, and lifestyle patterns. The roller coaster emotional ride and dealing with fluctuating stresses of LD trail life(YES, there are stresses on a hike, it is not a sit by the pool or inside the casino type "vacation"!) add to eating disorder potential.

It is a valid concern for the OP given his situation to maintain his body weight. He wouldn't be asking this question here if he didn't have a concern. He should be considering how to approach this pre hike. I applaud him for his consideration pre hike.

atraildreamer
12-23-2016, 18:00
I've read the average male thru hiker loses 10-30lbs. I'm 6'1" and 145lbs. I'm worried doing this will make me lose a lot more weight than I have to lose (I'm already a spooky scary skeleton). Anyone know if i should be trying to bulk before the trip or should I just not worry about it and hike on?

This is from an article I wrote for WB, and can be found here:

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php/58026-An-Interactive-Tool-for-Weight-Control?highlight=

"
Why Backpackers Lose Weight


Take the example of a 180-pound man, 40 years old and 5 10 (70") tall. He is planning a weeklong hike of 7-hour days carrying a 35 pound pack. The spreadsheet calculates his daily basal calorie requirement at 1,831 calories. The ExpandedNutribase.xls chart gives a figure of approximately 446 calories/hour x 7 hours/day x 7 days for a total of 21,830 calories to be expended in exercise. To this figure add the basal calorie requirement of 1,831 calories x 7 days (21,830 + 12,817=34,647 total weekly calories. This equals a requirement of 4,950 calories per day and factoring in the 10% thermic effect, 4,950 x 1.1= 5,444 calories needed per day. Since the typical backpacker carries and consumes around 3,500 calories/day (according to many posts on the forums), we see that there will be a calorie deficit of 5,444 - 3,500 = 1,944 calories/day, or 7 x 1,944 = 13,608 calories for the week. This results in a weight loss of 13,608/3,500 = 3.89 pounds for the week. Multiply this through a 4, 5 or 6-month thru-hike and you can see why backpackers experience large weight losses. "

Expect to lose weight, usually after your body starts to adjust to the hiking. Expect to gain it back when the hike is over.

Dogwood
12-24-2016, 00:26
So, AtTrailDreamer, assuming your analysis is correct, you see no issue for a 6'1" 145 male losing 15.5 lbs lbs PER MONTH(3.89 lbs/wk) over 4-6 months losing it largely in muscle mass? Should the OP take that wt losing and "regaining it" scenario as a given as if it's a viable healthy valid body wt approach? :confused: :-?.

Even if the OP loses 4 lbs per month at the end of a 5 month AT thru-hike that leaves a 6'1" 145 starting wt male at a VERY UNHEALTHY UNDER WEIGHT LIKELY ENERGY ROLLER COASTING QUICK TO FATIGUE emaciated looking 6'1" male at 125 lbs. SORRY, that is not a healthy individual. That's a person that has withered away. The OP is asking how not to let that happen.

UofDoboe
12-24-2016, 00:55
I had this exact concern when I started my thru this year. I was 5'9", ~145lbs. I've always been scrawny, definitely the "ectomorph" body type. Keeping weight on was a constant struggle on the trail. At my worst, I dropped to ~124 lbs and was definitely feeling the effects. I was sluggish, out of energy even on easier terrain. The heat of a Virginia summer (I did a flip flop) didn't help either. I went through a couple cycles of getting onto a scale at a hostel (no telling of course how accurate they were), seeing a terrifyingly low weight, panicking, drastically upping my food intake on trail (my trail family was great at nagging my to eat constantly). Over time, I'd slip back to my usual eating habits, losing weight until I reached the next bathroom scale. You do get sick of eating constantly - it becomes a real chore. I did try to "bulk up" before the hike, but honestly I think that just made me work harder in the beginning. I got thru by being obsessive about the caloric intake. I was very much nutrition-clueless when I started (and still am not that savvy). For a long time, I was eating the wrong things (not enough calories or no fat etc etc) and not frequently enough (e.g., 2 packs of instant oatmeal is not enough to get you through to lunch). By the end, I was eating "by the numbers", shopping based on the nutrition information more than anything else. No real revelations on food choices -- the usual thru hiker staples are well-established (honey buns, fruit pies, oreos, rice sides, olive oil, gatorade). But I had to force myself to eat way more frequently than I wanted to. I did start hitting towns more frequently when my weight started getting dangerously low which is a pricey approach but helped. I even changed my diet in town (e.g., I'm not an ice cream lover, but forced myself to eat at least a pint a day in town). I ended up stabilizing my weight in the mid 120's and completing my thru, but by the end it had turned into a race against time. So all of that is to say: It can be done, but keeping your weight up is a real task you'll have above and beyond what most people deal with on trail. It's a full-time job. Read up on nutrition, start looking at common backpacking foods (remember, there's more to life than the number of calories -- look at fat & carbs too, e.g.) Learn to love olive oil on everything. Save up some extra money since you'll be buying more food than most.

coyote9
12-24-2016, 08:12
+1 Bang on brother.

atraildreamer
12-24-2016, 18:20
So, AtTrailDreamer, assuming your analysis is correct, you see no issue for a 6'1" 145 male losing 15.5 lbs lbs PER MONTH(3.89 lbs/wk) over 4-6 months losing it largely in muscle mass? Should the OP take that wt losing and "regaining it" scenario as a given as if it's a viable healthy valid body wt approach? :confused: :-?.

Even if the OP loses 4 lbs per month at the end of a 5 month AT thru-hike that leaves a 6'1" 145 starting wt male at a VERY UNHEALTHY UNDER WEIGHT LIKELY ENERGY ROLLER COASTING QUICK TO FATIGUE emaciated looking 6'1" male at 125 lbs. SORRY, that is not a healthy individual. That's a person that has withered away. The OP is asking how not to let that happen.

It has been a few years since I wrote the article. The example I posted was just a mathematical analysis of a continuing calorie deficit. I never meant to suggest that a hiker continue on to emaciation. Since then, I have done a lot of reading and research on diet and nutritional requirements.

The standard America diet (SAD) now includes a high percentage of processed foods, harmful fats, sugar and starches, and a dearth of micro-nutrients, that have had a detrimental effect on our physical condition. As long as we are not engaged in activities that require a sustained, high expenditure of energy, (eg.- long-distance hiking), we can continue a course of improper eating.

Once an individual has been on the trail for an extended period of time, the body starts rapidly adjusting to the physical and energy requirements of the hiker. The muscles are starting to grow stronger and larger and the energy needed to power them on the hike is also ramping up.

The typical SAD food that once satisfied, however imperfectly, the nutritional requirements and cravings of the body are now being displaced by signals from the body, whether they are consciously perceived by the hiker, or not, for a better grade of food to burn as metabolic fuel.

Consider the number of posts on this, and other forums, that relate how quickly appetites change on the trail. How the food stops at restaurants and markets usually involve higher-quality, protein and good-fat containing foods, along with fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in the micro-nutrients needed by the body, and how much prepackaged food supplies are abandoned or given away. Is this food fatigue, or a response to the body sending signals that it needs better fuel(food)?

I suspect that the hikers who maintain a fairly constant weight on a long-distance hike have been eating, before the hike, a diet that contains the high-quality foods that the body needs to sustain the energy output needed for maintaining and building.

Perhaps in addition to doing a series of shakedown hikes to test equipment, etc., a hiker should adjust their diet and start consuming foods that will contribute to muscle-building and provide sufficient high-quality fuel for a hiker's metabolism prior to starting the hike?

lumberjaime
12-24-2016, 19:35
For perspective, I'm 6' flat and started my AT thru hike at about 145. I did slowly lose weight for about the first half of my hike, dropping to 135 at my lowest *confirmed* weight. When I checked at the end of my thru, I was back up to 145. I suspect that there was lots of fluctuation in between. Though I'm pretty slim, I feel confident that I was NOT burning muscle. I hiked with (past, actually) a few people at various points who WERE burning muscle. You could tell by their smell (it is a particular odor, obviously we all reek) and general lack of energy.

Like Dogwood said, good for you for thinking of this and preparing for it well beforehand. More than "bulking up" or trying to store extra fat before your hike, I would suggest increasing your calorie intake generally while focusing on a diet that gives you a good balance of protein, fat, and vitamins. Having good general health before starting is going to get you a long way, rather than forcing your body into extremes that it may not be able to handle.

And remember, never let yourself get too far away from your best friend Little Debbie!!

Engine
12-25-2016, 06:34
For perspective, I'm 6' flat and started my AT thru hike at about 145. I did slowly lose weight for about the first half of my hike, dropping to 135 at my lowest *confirmed* weight. When I checked at the end of my thru, I was back up to 145....

Coming into Hiawassee 135 pounds, after the Daniel's AYCE buffet, 145 pounds... :D

Seriously, it's pretty much impossible to carry enough food on the trail, especially if you are doing big miles and want to eat something besides fat and processed sugar. You have to make the effort to get those extra calories in town and that is made easier if you remember it's often easier to drink lots of calories than it is to eat them.

There are 710 calories in a Whopper with cheese, but the large Chocolate Ice Cream Shake has 950 calories.

A Boost VHC (very high calorie) provides 530 calories in an 8oz serving, and the Ensure Plus has 350 calories in 8oz.

A large orange juice has about 280 calories.

One of my favorites, a 12oz Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA has 294 calories...:rolleyes:

Just by grabbing those high-calorie drink options as you eat your way through town days, you can seriously increase your intake. This approach also has the added benefit of allowing for healthier food choices while still keeping calorie intake high.

Don's Brother
12-25-2016, 12:56
I've read the average male thru hiker loses 10-30lbs. I'm 6'1" and 145lbs. I'm worried doing this will make me lose a lot more weight than I have to lose (I'm already a spooky scary skeleton). Anyone know if i should be trying to bulk before the trip or should I just not worry about it and hike on?
Before I hiked in 2013, I asked a former successful thru-hiker for the best piece of advice he could give me to prepare for my hike. His reply was, "Gain weight." I was 62 years-old and weighed 180 at 6'0" before I started. When I finished I weighed 158 even though I ate a large number of meals in restaurants. I would strongly recommend that you try to gain some weight before you depart.

Dogwood
12-26-2016, 03:04
...The standard America diet (SAD) now includes a high percentage of processed foods, harmful fats, sugar and starches, and a dearth of micro-nutrients, that have had a detrimental effect on our physical condition.


These same patterns of mainstream large scale SAD eating carry over to trail consumption norms particularly for AT thru-hikers who tend significantly to be less or non experienced LD hikers.



...Once an individual has been on the trail for an extended period of time, the body starts rapidly adjusting to the physical and energy requirements of the hiker. The muscles are starting to grow stronger and larger and the energy needed to power them on the hike is also ramping up.


It's not so much muscles become larger is the norm. It's more accurate to say people become leaner is the norm. It's evidenced by those that hike ALOT- Swami, Nimblewill Nomad, The Skurk, JPD, Anish, etc. They are not bulky folks. They may indeed have a stronger more muscular lower half but they aren't typically hugely muscle massed overall developed such as a "body builder."



...Consider the number of posts on this, and other forums, that relate how quickly appetites change on the trail. How the food stops at restaurants and markets usually involve higher-quality, protein and good-fat containing foods, along with fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in the micro-nutrients needed by the body, and how much prepackaged food supplies are abandoned or given away. Is this food fatigue, or a response to the body sending signals that it needs better fuel(food)?


Sure, appetites change once thru-hiking. After all, how many people are burning 4000-7000 cals per day and exercise similarly as a backpacker/hiker averaging 15+ mpd over sustained 8-16 hr durations? Most people off trail are not exhibiting this level of calorie burning or excising to this degree of physical, emotional, and mental effort.

Again , the same questionable common food opting patterns of U.S. citizens that tend to reach for prepackaged highly processed often nutritional dismal food like products and largely problematic fast foods promoted en masse by the food industry during off trail lifestyles occur once in town. I'd say the food norms are largely different than you portray for the in town or convenience store resupplying AT thru-hiker. Although thru-hiker in town food selections vary the food opted for norms tend toward those craving milk shakes, mega cheeseburgers, frozen prepackaged trans fat loaded burritos, greasy french fries, bar food(often fried), deli subs globbed with fat mayo and asst mega processed deli products, pizza?/frozen is fine for most, pepperoni and sausage being the most common, AYCE buffets of oily/fried/low quality food, ice cream(not even real ice cream made with non artificial ingredients), chips/cheese doodles/fried pork skins/bagged junk food of all manner, nutritionally dismal so called "nutrition bars", candy, and the typical U.S. b'fast of eggs, denatured flour biscuits, southern gravy - bacon grease and empty calorie flour, margarine -real butter if you're fortunate, cheese - often the cheapest available, cured nitrate containing bacon, sausage(scary what's commonly put into sausage, the butcher's dream way of making a profit on what's typically waste), vegetable oils, copious amounts of java w/ more sugar and possibly dairy, and/or maybe some highly sugary reconstituted concentrated fruit drink..a diet largely addicted to whatever the food industry puts in it's food like prepackaged highly processed products.

Sure, I've seen some order large salads of greens and produce with maybe some cheese, tuna, or roasted chicken over the top with EVOO and vinegar dressing but that's not the norm, at least not on the AT from AT thru-hikers.

So, for AT thru-hikers heading out of town to display lethargic physical and mental effort it's not just the added consumable wt or the emotion involved in heading away from perceived creature comforts it can also be the shock to the system of suddenly gorging on mega calories often mega empty calories possibly(likely?) heading back to the trail carrying inside them undigested unassimilated food in their digestive systems. This approach is even heralded as good as if it doesn't have negative consequences. Eat all the calories and junk food you want is often the mantra as if it has no affect on performance, emotional and mental well being. This occurs at a time of often decreased physical output and caloric needs too during in town stays.

Bronk
12-26-2016, 11:40
I lost about 50 pounds over 5 months hiking 850 miles. 35 pounds of that was in the first 30 days. I recently did a 60 mile trip over 5 days and lost 5 pounds. I tend to not be hungry the first few days of a trip and eat very little as a result.

What I did find on my long hike was that while I didn't get hungry, I did get very tired. It took me awhile to figure it out, but once I did my weight stabilized and I stopped losing. When I started to run out of gas and get sluggish, I'd stop and eat something. So pay attention to your energy level. Eat more than just 3 meals a day. There were times when I was eating 10 times a day. Take advantage of town stops to beef up your calories. Eat lots of protein (50+ grams a day) and lots of fat.

Bronk
12-26-2016, 11:40
*correction...50 pounds over 4 months.

Dogwood
12-26-2016, 23:14
What was your starting wt? 35 lbs in 30 days wow 1lb+/day. wonder if you were holding some significant water wt? Have you kept it off?

Bronk
12-30-2016, 16:19
I started at about 220 and was 167 when I got to Waynesboro. I weighed myself at Mountain Mama's when I came out of the smokies and I weighed 185.

I made the mistake of going out and buying new clothes when I got off the trail and within 2 months they didn't fit. I gained back about 20 pounds and stayed between 180 and 190 for the next 3 years or so...then I got a job behind a desk and have fluctuated between 225 and 250 for the last several years.

Engine
12-30-2016, 17:14
I started at about 220 and was 167 when I got to Waynesboro. I weighed myself at Mountain Mama's when I came out of the smokies and I weighed 185.

I made the mistake of going out and buying new clothes when I got off the trail and within 2 months they didn't fit. I gained back about 20 pounds and stayed between 180 and 190 for the next 3 years or so...then I got a job behind a desk and have fluctuated between 225 and 250 for the last several years.

I was reliably between 180 and 195 since I graduated from high school. Prior to retiring in September, I spent the last year of my career behind a desk...I was 214 pounds when I retired, even though I managed to get a run in 3-4 times a week. Since September I'm back down around 195 again and still losing weight, all because I'm now free to work on that long ignored honey-do list. :)

We aren't meant to be stationary for most of the day, it kills us slowly...

Wyoming
01-02-2017, 23:52
A lot of interesting responses above.

Another aspect of this subject is what I call the 'efficiency' effect. What I mean here is that as you progress up a long trail you get into really good condition. This type of conditioning results in a much more efficient physical machine and that machine does not burn calories in quite the same way as it did when you were sitting at home or just starting the trail. Even if you train a fair amount (which most do not even attempt to do) you do not arrive at the trail in anything like the shape or strength you will have after 500-1000 miles - excepting folks like Anish in this statement.

One burns more calories per mile in the beginning just because they are often carrying a lot more weight than they will be later. Obviously. But as we all know folks who are, or turn themselves for a time, into a pretty serious athlete become a lot more efficient in their activity and thus do not require the same calories as they consumed before reaching that level. And different bodies react differently to the kind of stress entailed in long distance hiking. Endurance compared to power. Naturally skinny people will have a weight they tend to stabilize at and reach it pretty quickly. People with a lot of body mass will spend a lot of time burning off the fat and then burning off the mass of muscles which have no use in hiking - upper bodies just melt away, but they too will eventually stabilize.

And some are genetically gifted. If you look at the general calorie consumption numbers given earlier and then think about what Anish is doing it is clear she does not burn calories like the rest of us. If she did she would die of wasting away as for her you would end up with calorie requirements in excess of 10,000 a day and there is no chance of her carrying and eating that amount of food.

When I hike, no matter what weight I start at, within just a week or two I settle in at about 160 lbs. When I was much younger than I am now and was putting out efforts like we do when we are putting in 20+ miles a day I really needed about 4500 calories a day to maintain weight. Now that I am in my 60's I can still cover the same daily mileage and my weight still goes right back to that 160 or so, but the calories I need to maintain it now are significantly less - more like high 3000's to 4000 a day.

I agree with this idea of when one hits town they cannot fix what is wrong with the hiking diet in a day. I don't even consider eating a salad when in town - except what is in my hamburger. It is chicken fried steak, eggs, biscuits and gravy, milk or pizza or burgers and fries, and pasta or more burgers and fries and sometimes ice cream. When I leave town I often have a couple of breakfast burritos wrapped up in the pack or a pizza or a sack full of egg mcmuffins. When you are hiking like we do you need LOTS of fat in your diet, less protein than most think, and the rest carbs. I always carry a bag of fritos and also carry summer sausage and cheese and tortillas. Lots of mixed nuts, energy bars (not many candy bars though), granola bars, dried fruit, pop tarts, peanut butter m&m's. I don't cook on the trail. I only carry ramen if it is a really long food haul and I have to keep the weight down - and yes I hydrate it cold and eat it that way. Some times I carry the instant potato packs. I find I do better on energy during the day if I eat something very frequently - never more than 2 hours is best and have a good sized meal mid-day.