Let’s begin with the most important item in this entire discussion, and that is that food is a luxury.
That’s right, having access to food during your GORUCK event is not guaranteed. As easily as you packed it in your ruck, the GORUCK cadre can decide to take it away.
So, as you plan on what to pack as food for your GORUCK event, know that all your planning can go out the window and you might just go hungry for 6, 12, or 24 hours.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about what food to pack.
Calories and Futile Math
When thinking about food for GORUCK events, many people begin to do the futile math to calculate how many calories they need to replace during their event. The thing is that when it comes to how many calories you’ll burn while rucking and doing PT sessions the math equals somewhere between a-boat-load and a-freakin-ton.
If you’re looking to replace calories, you simply aren’t going to be able to do it.
During my first GORUCK Heavy, I was fixated on calorie replacement. I bought these AWFUL bars that were like 600 calorie blocks of wood. I forced it down after the 12-mile ruck and it sat in my stomach like a brick, which did not help my PT test at all.
I learned then and there that playing the calorie game was just a losing battle. In a GORUCK event, food was more than just fuel.
Eat for Enjoyment
When it comes to what food to eat during a GORUCK Tough, Heavy, or Light, the best advice is to pack some food that you really enjoy.
Yes, you will get some calories from your food, and that is helpful. But, the real secret to your food is that it is more of a mental pick-me-up than anything.
When it is the middle of the night and, by the mercy of the cadre, you have 5 minutes to sit and have a snack, it is a wonderful thing to open your ruck and see your favorite bar or treat looking back at you. It will be food for your body, but if you do it right, it will be your mind that will reap the bigger benefit.
So, when deciding what food to pack, take things that you really like.
For me, that usually involves 2-3 Kind Bars and 2-3 packets of energy jelly beans.
Food for Teambuilding
I would add that food isn’t just about getting calories and a mental pick-me-up. Food is a great tool for team building.
GORUCK events are designed to help teach teambuilding and leadership through adversity. And, if you want to build some rapport with your team, the following phrase will work like magic: “Anyone want a piece of bacon?”
(Clarification: You should only say this phrase if you actually brought bacon with you. Saying it and not having bacon will have the exact opposite effect you were going for.)
At 2 AM, those words will magically lift the spirits of many a weary soul and endear you to countless team members.
Of course, bacon is a good one, but M&Ms or Beef Jerky have shown to produce similar responses.
The point is to always pack something in your bag that you are bringing for the sole purpose of sharing. Personally, I never eat beef jerky, but I always pack some and offer it up during breaks. There are always people who hear the offer and have that, “Are you serious? Hell yeah!” look in their eyes.
So, pack something to share.
Additional Food Ideas?
That’s my take on what food to pack for your GORUCK event.
But, what about you? What is your favorite food when doing a GORUCK event? What is your fueling plan? Take a moment and share them in the comment section below.
4 Replies to Best food for GORUCK Tough, Heavy, and/or Light
Chocolate covered espresso beans made me an instant celebrity at JWBH this year. Great article!
Your body handles food during endurance stress in different and unexpected ways. I found out I could do Gatorade on long bike rides until about 80 miles and only in mild weather. 100 mile ride in 115 degree heat had me vomiting up the stuff after the 80 mile mark. I had to switch to Skratch Labs instead. Moral: Don’t try new food or drink (or new equipment) during an event. Try your stuff out during a long workout and not during a GORUCK event.
Cashews! Brought a bunch of ziplock bags for myself and to share. Worked as well as bacon. The red tubs of cashews from Costco are perfect!
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