Have you found that you tend to get a bit of a slump in energy after lunch on your tramping trips? Or that you feel tired all of a sudden after you’ve eaten? Well, we have done the research and here is why you feel this and how you can beat it or prevent it!
First off, why does this happen? Why do you get tired after lunch? I mean, you’ve just eaten a good old serving of food to bolster your energy to get you through the afternoons tramping, but you are just ‘bogged down’ with tiredness. In straightforward terms, it’s because your body is going through a whole lot of steps and changes to get that food digested. There is no perfectly known answer to why we get tired, but there are some very possible reasons.
- Often our tramping lunches are quite a protein and carbohydrate-rich food to aid muscle recovery and give an extra boost of energy. This causes two things to happen. The first is as the proteins are broken down, they release Tryptophan Amino Acids. Your body then uses this to create Seratonin, which is known to be responsible for drowsiness.
- Carbohydrate-rich foods also trigger the production of Serotonin, and Tryptophan Amino Acids, again resulting in feelings of drowsiness. This makes it a great idea to have a carb and protein-heavy meal for dinner.
- The foods you eat cause a blood sugar spike, which causes insulin to be produced to bring that down. If you have a significant spike in sugar, then your pancreas will produce a higher amount of insulin, causing a potential “low” before your body normalises its sugar levels in the blood.
- There is some thought that there is an increase in blood flow to the small intestine, which results in a slight (but apparent) decrease in blood to the brain, causing this drowsiness. This one is a little sketchy because a large breakfast would have the same effect if this were the case.
- Another of the theories that are out there is it is an evolutionary behaviour. We are more alert before we eat to find food, and then once we have filled our bellies, our bodies can relax, which causes us to get sleepy.
- Sometimes it comes down to a medical condition such as anemia or some form of food intolerance, or a thyroid condition if these are causing you to have the energy slump in the afternoon on your tramping trips you should see your doctor.
So what can we do to prevent this when we are tramping? It doesn’t matter which of the above six reasons is correct or not; there is a couple of convenient ways to reduce your afternoon tiredness. These are all quite simple, and you’ll notice in no time a difference with that afternoon dip of energy.
- Get more good quality sleep. This is obvious, right, but I’m not talking about just staying in bed a bit longer to get another hours sleep. I am talking about good quality sleep. Having a good sleeping pattern, such as a routine before bed, not looking at screens before you sleep, and even having a warm drink before bed, will help here.
- Eat smaller amounts more often. Instead of that full meal at lunchtime, try having some more snacks during the day. You might feel like you’re eating more, and you may well be, but it will help to prevent such large productions of Seratonin and Tryptophan, reducing the drowsiness.
- Keep active. You’re on a multiday tramp, your active already; that’s why you want to beat this afternoon lull, right? What we are meaning is when you’re at home, make sure you get plenty of regular exercise.
- If you have the time, don’t fight it, have a nap. Having a short trackside rest can help with that lull. This is not always possible, but if it is, then why not?
Here are a few suggestions for your tramping lunch and snacks to help prevent the lull from coming to get you.
- Radix Nutrition Keto 400 Lamb, Mint & Rosemary is an option low in carbs to help reduce serotonin production. It is also straightforward to prepare, with only taking 5 minutes to rehydrate. An excellent choice for a tramping lunch if you do need a full meal.
- The Crafty Weka Bar Berry, Berry, Beetroot Bar is a significant boost in energy and a brilliant morning tea on your tramping trip.
- Gu Energy Salted Caramel Shot a quick hit of glucose to help overcome the dip in energy. If an excess of insulin is the cause of your energy lull, these are a great way to balance the blood sugar.
- Clif Bar Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Bar is a delicious and easy to eat on the go snack. While they have a good amount of protein, they have many complex carbs to prevent the insulin spike you get after a blood sugar spike.
If you need some ideas for when to eat during the day, check out just below and see what we suggest to prevent an after lunch haze.
- ‘Mid-morning’ – A bar such as the Nothing Naughty Plant-Based Salted Caramel Protein Bar.
- ‘Lunch’ – Another sort of bar and some Bier Sticks. Something along the lines of The Crafty Weka Bar Date & Orange Bar paired with a Canterbury Biltong ‘The Italian’ Bier Stick.
- ‘Mid-afternoon’ – Something easy to eat that will give you a little boost to get to the end of the day. The Clif Bar White Chocolate & Macadamia Bar is a brilliant choice here.
- ‘A quick boost’ – When you need some easily accessible glucose for a bit of a strenuous section, try either the Jelly Belly Sport Beans or Gu Vanilla Bean Energy gel.
Hopefully, you can beat the post-lunch energy drain when you are out tramping with a couple of these suggestions. Let us know how you get on in the comments below.