Nutrition for extreme sports

Mayur K. Ranchordas, Sean Hudson, Steve W. Thompson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


It has been well established that sound nutrition can accelerate recovery, enhance adaptations to training and improve performance. Competing in extreme sports places stress on the body, and conducting activities in extreme environments can exacerbate the physiological stress on the competitor. The physiological and metabolic requirements of different extreme sports vary greatly; thus nutritional requirements across the various extreme sports are diverse. Typically, for extreme sports that are longer in duration such as mountaineering, adventure racing, ultra-endurance activities and expedition-type events, the energy demands are much greater, and thus competitors should plan their dietary needs in advance. An inadequate diet and poor fuelling strategies can impair performance and increase the risk of injury and illness during events. This chapter discussed the various requirements across sports depending on the desired goal. Evidence-based weight management is discussed, and practical guidelines are summarised for athletes who want to manipulate body composition. Nutritional challenges, such as eating during travel, hydration and extreme weather conditions and cooling are discussed as well as some practical guidelines that athletes can put into practice to overcome some of these issues. Certain nutritional supplements such as creatine and beta-alanine can be beneficial for enhancing performance is certain extreme sports that involve repetitive explosive movements. Carbohydrate supplements and dietary nitrates may be beneficial for endurance-based activities such as adventure racing, ironman triathlons and cross-country skiing. The strategic use of caffeine supplementation may be beneficial for most extreme sports and in particular for extreme sports that are characterised by very long distances where athletes often choose to go without sleep for a period of greater than 24 h; while competing in events such as expeditions, caffeine can be used by competitors to help them stay awake and enhance performance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExtreme Sports Medicine
EditorsFrancesco Feletti
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783319282657
ISBN (Print)9783319282633
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


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