View Full Version : Weight Maintenance

The Wicked Lobstah
10-30-2003, 11:59
I'm planning to thru-hike NOBO in 2004 and I'm wondering about my weight. I'm tall and thin (6'2" 145 lbs.) and have a lot of trouble gaining weight (I don't usually lose any either).

My question is, how much should I worry about packing on the pounds before I leave? Does anyone have any suggestions on how to gain weight? Am I going to lose a lot of weight on my thru-hike or is that mainly the case for people with weight to lose? What types of foods/supplements would people suggest during my hike to maintain my weight?

Thanks a bunch.

Blue Jay
10-30-2003, 13:30
I don't think you have to worry. Once males loose their body fat their weight stabilizes, I know mine does. Just eat as much as you can once you start. In towns eat fruits and vegitables, to make up for the nutrients you lack from trail food or you could dehydrate some before you go. Pizza and beer are health food on the trail.

10-30-2003, 13:38
Not sure if this will be of any direct help to you ...since weight gain/loss is such an individual thing, but here goes.

I'm 5'10" and started out at Springer weighing 188. I wouldn't say that I went out of my way to deliberately gain weight before my hike. Let's just say that I took for granted I'd lose some weight on the trail and wasn't too cautious about what I ate during the 4 - 6 months prior to my start date.

Like most thru-hikers, my appetite at first wasn't all that great. I think I was more tired than hungry during the first two or three weeks out of Springer. But then the "hungries" set in and I found myself able to eat just about anything at any time of the day and still not be satisfied (and still lose weight)

When I got to Harpers Ferry I weighed myself at the ATC Headquarters. Now granted, that scale may not have been in synch with the one I used before my hike ...but it showed me as weighing 158. I had a few more opportunities to weigh myself as I hiked further northward though and the number at the ATC seemed to be pretty accurate.

As I got further north I got more opportunities to eat at deli's and sandwich shops, which I thought would cause me to put back on some of the weight I had lost. But in the end I still weighed right around 158 at Katahdin.

Now for the bad news though ...I've been home for 2+ weeks and have already gained 8 - 10 pounds back. The old appetite hasn't fallen off yet. There seems to be quite a backlash, once you're activity drops off.

10-30-2003, 16:53
I'm 6'4" and started the PCT at about 213 lbs. I made an effort to visit the Indian buffet twice a week before I left and put on about 7 lbs before leaving. When I finished, I weight 193 lbs (ok, 4 days after finishing). When people would see me hiking, many times the first thing they would say, after finding out what I was doing, was something to the effect that I was looking pretty healthy for a thruhiker.

I ate a lot. Like 3-3.5 lbs of high calorie food a day. I hiked a lot of miles with Will Tarantino, who started at about 6'2" and was about 6'4" at the end of the trail (he's 20 now) and weighed 150 at the start. He didn't lose much weight at all. Maybe 5 lbs. But, he also runs the mile for William and Mary and had no fat on him to start with.

So, eat a lot on the trail and don't worry too much about it.

10-30-2003, 17:28
I wouldn't say it's necessary to pack on a spare tire before you start. I would suggest that the better physical shape you are in, the easier the first weeks are going to be on you. So, hike, run, snow shoe, x-c ski, etc. Be active.

But you do bring up one very good point. People fuss over their equipment selection, but don't devote an equal amount of time to planning how they are going to get enough calories along the way. So, I suggest that you come up with a plan for getting 4000 good calories every day.

10-30-2003, 17:40
I agree with Peaks...people will agonize over saving a few ounces of pack weight in regard to equipment & then spend too little time analyzing their food bag.

Many hikers do lose some appetite the first few days on the trail. Yet, these same folks are carrying 10-15 pounds of food on top Springer.

Most hikers can easily live on 5-7 pounds of food from Springer to Neels Gap.

10-31-2003, 09:29
Tell me if this assertion is true...

I get the impression that some AT thrus don't eat well when "on trail" for whatever reasons (lazy, gram weenies, $, lack of variety, etc.). And that they "try" to make up for it by eating like a horse when they get into town.

I wouldn't think that approach would prove to be very healthy. Seems like working to eat your 3.5K-6K calories per day ought to be one of your top priorites on a thru hike.

10-31-2003, 09:55
Unfortunately your assumption is correct ...at least from my experience. It's not a matter of laziness. It comes down to both the weight of foods and how well fresh foods will keep in your backpack.

Face it ...when we get into a town after 4 - 5 days out in the woods it's like a candy store. I personally never looked at it as "making up for my poor trail diet" but I did take FULL advantage of whatever I could get my hands on. For me it came down to "taste". Most foods I ate on the trail seemed to lack taste after a while.

First day out of a town a lot of thru-hikers will carry some fresh fruit or veggies but after that it tends to get back down to the dried foods.

You make a good point though ...and one that I did have to be cautious of from time to time. In my haste to intake the good foods in towns I did sometimes over-do it and wish I had gone a tad lighter. It was both a combination of "too much" and "too different" for me. My system would often revolt from those town stopovers and the first day back on the trail was less than pleasant.

10-31-2003, 10:06
The last few weeks on the PCT this summer saw me having problems digesting town food. That is, my body definitely wasn't happy with a bacon double cheeseburger. I'm not quite sure why this happened at the end, because once I got to Vancouver and Seattle, the problem disappeared. At least, it disappeared until Birdie and I went to an AYCE sushi and mongollian BBQ place in Van.

10-31-2003, 20:51
I wish I had your problem. I had plenty of weight to loose when I started the trail.

I think the big issue for folks who are already at their fighting weight when they start is to eat enough calories every day. I noticed in folks who had little or no body fat that their energy level on the trail was directly correlated to what that had to eat in the last 2-3 hours. It was really important for them to eat continuously. This usually meant lots of snacks on the trail to keep the glucose levels up.

When you body doesn't have any extra fat to burn it can't wait until a town stop three days later to catch up on the calorie deficit.

08-20-2006, 10:50
One of the top reasons for waking the trail for me is to finally get rid of this small amount of fat that wont go anywhere -though im just a small bit overweight. Eating less & better has always been a concern of mine - anyone else in a similar situation have any suggestions when it comes to purposely losing some weight but getting what you need