Eating in the boat is something I do a lot. During practice, I spend between 10 to 13 hours in the boat each day. There is no way anyone should starve himself or herself during such a long period of time. My body is programmed to eat every 3 to 4 hours. I have followed this eating pattern for many years. After 3 hours, I can tell it is time to eat. Eating in the boat is a necessity.
About 4 years ago, I met a man named Ken Hoover. Before Ken, I considered myself educated on proper nutrition. Well, I was to an extent but not near where Ken is. Ken brought my knowledge of nutrition and “fueling” your body to a new level. Ken had me and other anglers wear a heart rate monitor during practice and tournament competition. He was dropping science on me.
After a number of days of tracking my output, we knew what I was burning. I was burning between 2200 and 4300 calories during the tournament hours. That is a ton. My average was around 2600. Now we knew that I needed to eat close to 2600 calories a day during tournaments in order to not be calorie deficient. Going in the red with calories does not allow your body to function properly, causes crazy swings in blood sugar, and makes it harder for your body to recover.
The point of all Ken’s input was that I need to “fuel” my body to maintain stamina, focus, and to maximize recovery after being on the water. I was eating more than any of the anglers Ken works with before he met them butit was still not enough. I was about 1000 calories short every day. The year before I met Ken, I lost over 20 pounds during 5 months on tour. It was a lot of muscle mass. The first year I worked with Ken, I weighed the same after the season as I did when it began. The facts don’t lie.
What you eat is not as important as eating the proper amount for your body. My diet consists of protein bars, fruit, a sandwich, a protein shake, and something different to keep it new. My protein bars of choice are Supreme Protein bars. They are made well and taste great. I usually make up a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It is not rocket science to fuel yourself properly but eating healthy food does cost more than eating junk food.
The last ingredient to boat food is water. Lots of it is very important. When you are only slightly dehydrated, your cognitive skills are not as sharp. Many people drink sodas and/or lots of coffee. A cup of coffee in the morning is fine but sodas don’t make it in my boat on a regular basis. Only when it is above 80 degrees I will put an electrolyte drink in my boat. After lunch one electrolyte drink is all you really need in addition to lotsof water. When it is extremely hot outside, I will drink close to a gallon of water while on the boat.
Boat food is very important. Eat a good breakfast. Eat good boat food. Eat a sensible dinner. Maintain your weight but more importantly, you will fish better. When you fish for a few days in a row or weeks on end, eating right is the difference between feeling like getting up in the morning or going back to bed. I would rather get up and fish! After I eat, of course.
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