The programme for the weekend has been decided: you're off for a hike in the mountains!

Whatever the hike and its difficulty level, it is important to properly prepare so you can make the most of getting away from it all and relaxing. As with any physical exertion, your body needs a minimum of resources to keep going in the magnificent, but sometimes hostile mountain environment.

1/ Balance your diet

In the mountains, a rich, balanced diet is your first key to success. Eating properly will help you to avoid hunger pangs and fatigue, as well as helping your body to cope with the specifics of the mountain environment, such as the altitude and cold.

Exertion fuel: 60% carbohydrates

Carbohydrates should make up around 60% of your diet. They comprise:

- Slow-burning sugars such as pasta, rice, cereals and potatoes.
They help you to conserve energy that can be used later on when the body requires it.

-Fast-burning sugars are used up by the body straight away. They include sweets and other foods with a high sugar content.

Combat the cold and prolong your energy: 25% fats

Fats are less easily converted to energy by the body, but this doesn't mean they should be neglected. They should represent around 25% of your diet. You are recommended to eat them in a 50/50 balance, as follows:

- 50 % animal fats such as cooked meats or butter.

- 50 % vegetable fats such as olive, sunflower or even soya oil, which are useful for providing you with energy.

To eat in moderation, but still good for you... : 15% protein

Necessary for conserving muscle mass and developing strength and power, proteins are generally the least commonly consumed foods during a mountain hike. They include meat, dairy products and eggs.

2/ Vary your diet and increase your portions

Your diet should above all be enjoyable. To make sure it is, vary the ingredients!
It is also important not to neglect portion sizes. You should remember that we tend to eat more in the mountains, as the body is placed under more strain at high altitudes.

3/ You should prepare for a hike at least 24 hours beforehand!

Skipping a meal the night before or breakfast in the morning would be a real mistake! You need to store the energy you'll need for the next day, principally by eating slow-burning sugars (pasta, cereals,...).

Breakfast is also an important meal. As well as the fun, sociable side of sharing a meal together before you set off, you're advised to eat generous, calorific portions a maximum of 2 hours before you start exercising. A good breakfast might include bread, jam, breakfast biscuits, tea and yoghurt.

Hydration, an essential element for success.

As when you expend any energy, hydration shouldn't be neglected during a mountain hike. It helps you to flush out waste products and compensate for water lost through sweating. Drinking regularly will also keep you going and improve your performance.

You are advised to drink small quantities of liquid regularly every 15 minutes. You can lightly flavour your water, or drink weak tea.

If you're taken by the idea of drinking from mountain streams, beware of water that is too clear... The nearby pastures might have contaminated them with bacteria!

Equally, once you've finished your hike, make sure you drink plenty of water to eliminate toxins. It's also good for preventing cramp!

In short, a correct, healthy and balanced diet, coupled with regular hydration will be a major factor in the success of your hike.

And as they are in the mountains, mealtimes are about sharing and sociability... we wish you all a great hike!

Most popular articles they're really popular
Conseils
How to adjust your ski bindings
This autumn, we learnt how to choose a pair of skis to suit your needs and aims, now it's time to learn how to adjust your bindings so you can ski in complete safety.
Conseils
What should you pack for your ski holiday?
Your ski holiday is approaching, as is the all-important task of packing your luggage. Being prepared for all eventualities without your suitcase bursting is the goal I?m offering to help you achieve with this list of essentials to pack before setting off.
Conseils
Legendary 3 Vallées runs
From locals to holidaymakers via 3 Vallées addicts, we?ve asked everyone?s opinion to ensure your ski tips will be itching to get onto these legendary 3 Vallées runs.
Thibaut P. | Val Thorens ski resort
Published by
Thibaut P.
CRM manager
On 11 July 2014
powder alarm tho !
you'll like that too your favourite topics
Conseils
How to choose the right ski equipment for your little ones
That’s it, this year you’ve decided to take your little cherubs skiing! To make sure their first descents are an unforgettable and magical experience, here are a few tips on how to make the right choice of equipment:
Conseils
4 top tips for tranquil driving on snow
Marine, a driving instructor on the Alain Prost ice-driving track, shares her advice and top tips for stress-free driving :
Conseils
The right settings for your GoPro
Having grasped its various functions, now it’s time to learn how to use them. Here are the perfect settings to get the best performance from your GoPro!
Conseils
Sleep like a marmot
It's holiday time, which is usually the perfect opportunity for a proper rest that gets rid of all the tiredness you've built up since the start of the year. Over the last few months, who hasn't secretly dreamed of sleeping like a marmot ?
Conseils
A holiday in the mountains: quality me time and we time
"On holiday, at last!" Do you say that to yourself too once you've arrived in resort, collected your hotel room or apartment keys, hired your snowsports equipment, bought your ski passes and got your skis on… ?
Conseils
The benefits of yoga in the mountains
Yoga, yoga, yoga… it's the trend of the moment! But why? And what does it really involve? We explain all the details!