Knowing that chasing Elk in the mountains was going to be a tough challenge, the last thing I wanted to leave to chance was my nutrition. Being in the mountains miles from the nearest food source (other than the elk we are hunting) meant that whatever we needed to thrive had to be carried up the mountain in our packs.
Chasing elk up and down mountain-sides at 10,000 feet with everything on my back, I knew that I needed nutrition but did not want excess weight.
In the months leading up to the hunt, I focused on more than shooting my bow. My food, exercise, and even mental practice centered on being ready for the mountain.
Cold showers and studying about Elk helped to prepare me mentally. My training program focused on endurance and work capacity. I cut weight, from 205 down to 195, while maintaining strength. I practiced fasting to make sure I was able to go hours without food. When chasing elk there may not be much time to sit down and start a fire to cook a meal.
By eliminating added sugars and focusing on the main source of my diet coming from fat and protein, I trained my body to be fat adapted. With a ketogenic approach including less than 30 grams of sugars daily, my body was able to run on high-quality fats at an optimal level.
When choosing the foods that I would carry up the mountain I prioritized high-quality fats and protein. With my body being accustomed to running on fats, and since each gram of fat contains 9 calories (energy), I was able to carry more energy in less weight.
Next, I ensured that I had protein to maintain my muscle mass and help repair and rebuild from the physicality of the hunt.
My target was 3000 calories a day while on the mountain. Since I normally consume a little over 3000 calories in a day, I knew that 3000 calories would be the minimal amount I would need with the physical and mental demands that the mountain would provide.