Staying energized during the day?

What do you eat and drink on the playa? Share ideas, recipes and advice here.

Staying energized during the day?

Postby Skyote » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:27 pm

This will be my second year at BM, my first was in 2007. I tried to mentally prepare for the heat, so I wasn't shocked when I arrived that it was so damn hot. Unfortunately, that did nothing to physically prepare me for the unbelievable energy-sapping powers of the heat. I really feel like I missed out on a lot because I was simply so exhausted during the day. I was eating, drinking tons of water, shading myself from the sun, and wearing very little, but still felt like I was made of wet cement.

I've found a lot of advice aimed at avoiding heat exhaustion and heat stroke, but nothing that really speaks to simply not having any energy to do anything. When I did venture out I was ready to collapse after maybe an hour of wandering, then it was back to the camp for more napping under the shade structure. When it gets that hot in the default world I simply take it easy, but I don't want to do that all week at BM because I will miss out on the wonderful things going on during the day.

So what do you veterans do to keep your energy up and feel good during the day? Or am I just a wimp?
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Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:40 pm

You are not a wimp. I've been butt-kicked by a combination of heat and altatude (now at 4,000', that's wimpy!) many years. One year I finally felt human on Exodus Monday! (Okay, that was the year I took six bags of iv fluid, so that might have had something to do with it.)
In general, I believe that being in better shape helps. Naps in shade structures during the day help (there's a reason why hot climates tend to have siestas.) Hydration helps. If you've got time and money for this camping in AZ or NV for a few days on the way in might help. And be gentle with yourself.
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Postby ConnieH » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:44 pm

who has energy during the day after being up all night? :lol:

Seriously, though...being from a climate similar to the playa, I still can't go all day and don't expect myself to. Maybe accept the fact that you will miss stuff, you can't do it all, there is way too much to see and do. Embrace the cooler night life, or the nice early mornings pre-noon. Also, too much alcohol zaps my next day energy, so I try to take it easy if I don't want to sleep all day. And too much napping actually makes me feel more tired, sometimes a walk around the block re-energizes me.
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Postby geekster » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:48 pm

Don't eat a lot of carbs during the day. Eat protein. Even greasy, salty, protein like bacon. Pickled anything is good for you out there. Dill pickles, etc. Don't go eating a lot of starchy stuff during the day. Carrots are great and so is stuff like gazpacho. Avoid a lot of alcohol. I like beer but I drink the watery crap beer during the day with less alcohol, like a cheep American light beer.

I add a couple of measures of sports drink powder to my hydration pack full of water. It doesn't make a full strength drink, you can just barely taste it, but it adds a little extra energy to the water.

My breakfast might be a tin of kippers, a cup of coffee and a strip of bacon if there's some handy. No pancakes, waffles, bread, etc. Your body will crave the carbs later when it gets cold. That is the time to eat the pasta, bread, corned beef hash, etc.

Get a good night's sleep. Really.
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Postby Savannah » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:52 pm

How to get out more during the day:

* Parasol for short trips. Keeping that sun directly off me helps.

* Resolve. :) (Good luck)

* Spray bottle filled with cooler melt, for self-misting. It's also funny to watch campmates mist themselves. Lots of squealing. Some people also keep their sunscreen in the cooler.

* Canned coffee doubleshots or other caffeine--but make sure to hydrate better than you do back at home. And don't forget some salty snacks to help hold onto that water.

* If you are tenting it, and need a lot of sleep (like I do) sleep by 2am because the sun will probably wake you by 9am . . . and if you went to sleep at sunrise, you may now be too sleepy to leave camp but too hot to sleep. Aaauuugh.

* Acceptance: Bring an extra cot or lounging camp chair for your shade structure so you can attempt a nap in the shade. If you are modest, bring a flat sheet so you can sleep with minimal items on without feeling so vulnerable that you can't fall asleep.
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Postby Skyote » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:59 pm

Okay, sounds like my experience wasn't too abnormal then. But reading this advice, I bet sleep was as much a culprit as the heat! I wasn't drinking much alcohol (didn't feel like it, it turned out) but I was staying out until the wee hours most nights, and then the heat got us out of bed soon after.

Geekster, that's advice I'm very glad to hear--not only do I love pickled foods, my bf and I avoid grains and sugar and eat lots of fat and protein :D I'll make sure we'll have lots of bacon and pickles! I don't think I could force gazpacho on my tomato-hating and soup-hating bf, but I love it.

Thanks for the advice you guys! I will make sure to allow rest, try to get enough sleep at night, make sure I'm constantly hydrated, and just accept that it's hot, hot, hot :)
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Postby geekster » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:16 pm

Also, when it comes to electrolytes, people generally get enough sodium but not enough potassium and calcium. One thing that helps is a product called Lite Salt from Morton or you can make your own. It is 1/2 regular sodium chloride table salt and 1/2 potassium chloride "salt substitute". You can get calcium fortified orange juice but my kippers have a good bit as the fish is smoked bone-in so it is bones and all (sort of like some forms of canned salmon, too) and has a lot of calcium.

You need more than just sodium.
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Postby oneeyeddick » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:29 pm

Not getting completely baked before Noon also goes a long way in not needing that afternoon nap.
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Postby Skyote » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:33 pm

geekster wrote:Also, when it comes to electrolytes, people generally get enough sodium but not enough potassium and calcium. One thing that helps is a product called Lite Salt from Morton or you can make your own. It is 1/2 regular sodium chloride table salt and 1/2 potassium chloride "salt substitute". You can get calcium fortified orange juice but my kippers have a good bit as the fish is smoked bone-in so it is bones and all (sort of like some forms of canned salmon, too) and has a lot of calcium.

You need more than just sodium.


That's all really good to know, I wasn't aware of the specifics. Calcium shouldn't be a problem as we'll have hard cheeses and yogurt for snacks. We'll also be eating a decent amount of meat all week so potassium might be okay there as well, but I'll look up some playa-friendly foods to supplement. I think I'll avoid the kippers for now, though, the only time I bought bone-in canned salmon the spinal column was right there. I just couldn't do it...
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Postby Skyote » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:34 pm

oneeyeddick wrote:Not getting completely baked before Noon also goes a long way in not needing that afternoon nap.


Damn, there's my problem right there!
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Postby Skyote » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:38 pm

Savannah wrote:* If you are tenting it, and need a lot of sleep (like I do) sleep by 2am because the sun will probably wake you by 9am . . . and if you went to sleep at sunrise, you may now be too sleepy to leave camp but too hot to sleep. Aaauuugh.

* Acceptance: Bring an extra cot or lounging camp chair for your shade structure so you can attempt a nap in the shade. If you are modest, bring a flat sheet so you can sleep with minimal items on without feeling so vulnerable that you can't fall asleep.


We've got different sleeping arrangements this time, so hopefully I can sleep a bit later. We were in a mostly unshaded dome, thus awake with the heat last time; it certainly had an effect.

And yeah...as many times as I read "you won't see/do it all" I feel guilty if I feel I'm missing things! But I will dutifully take naps when necessary ;) And hopefully with these ideas I won't need them nearly as much as before.

Thanks for the ideas! A parasol is on the list now, btw :)
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Postby Trishntek » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:44 pm

Natural sea salt has all the electrolyte trace elements.
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Postby mudpuppy000 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:48 pm

You need to rest sometime, can't go nonstop for a week without crashing. :) It's important to listen to what your body is telling you to do, and not overdo it.

If the heat is getting you down, you can stick your feet in an icewater bath. I guarantee that'll cool you off FAST. :D I also found that cruising around on my bike was alot more pleasant than sitting under my shade structure baking.
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Postby alt12 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:55 pm

do not under-estimate the importance of electrolytes.... drinking water is not enough and sometimes can be dangerous as you are diluting your bloodstream's electrolyte balance when you're just pounding water after water after water....

In my camp we used to have a heatstroke case literally every year until we started using a cooler with highly diluted gatorade powder....it makes a HUGE difference....

This year we're taking it up a notch with NUUN electrolyte tablets, which is pure electrolytes without sugar..... I'm buying a bunch for my camel bak when I am out and around as well... any sports store will have electrolyte tablets....
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:03 pm

1. Hit the sauna for a couple of weeks before you go "home".

2. Electrolytes, it's what the body craves.

3. Pace... your... self.
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Postby Skyote » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:11 pm

Ugly Dougly wrote:1. Hit the sauna for a couple of weeks before you go "home".


Hey, my bf's fancy gym has a sauna, that's a great idea!

alt12 wrote:This year we're taking it up a notch with NUUN electrolyte tablets, which is pure electrolytes without sugar..... I'm buying a bunch for my camel bak when I am out and around as well... any sports store will have electrolyte tablets....


Great idea! I've seen those around. I don't think I drank any electrolyte-enhanced anything last time, just lots of water. Possibly part of the problem :/
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Postby Skyote » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:16 pm

mudpuppy000 wrote:You need to rest sometime, can't go nonstop for a week without crashing. :) It's important to listen to what your body is telling you to do, and not overdo it.

If the heat is getting you down, you can stick your feet in an icewater bath. I guarantee that'll cool you off FAST. :D I also found that cruising around on my bike was alot more pleasant than sitting under my shade structure baking.


Brrr! One thing I did figure out (right before leaving, of course) was to wet a bandanna in the cooler--a damp, ice-cold neckerchief was awesome.

Thanks mudpuppy :)
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Postby some seeing eye » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:17 pm

While I would never advocate people take drugs, synthetic or natural, you might do some research on melatonin, a hormone in the body that regulates sleep and is available over the counter. It can be used to shift the body sleep cycle to combat jet lag.

If you have a cool comfortable spot to sleep, that's dark in the day/ use a sleep mask you can shift a 6-8 hour sleep block to any time you desire by starting the melatonin a few days in advance, keeping in the dark on your new sleep time, getting as much light as you can on your new wake time, and eating meals in your new wake time. Do not try to operate a moving vehicle when you are asleep or your body is biochemically asleep.

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Postby geekster » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:23 pm

Also, you don't need to drink so much water that you "piss clear". A light yellow is fine. You don't want to piss brown, though, and if you are, that is the sign that you need more water.

Water by itself simply flushes out electrolytes. But you don't need to go stupid on the electrolytes either. A scoop of gatoraid powder in your hydration pack and a dill pickle should work great.

People on some forms of medication might want to check with their doctor before messing with their electrolytes, particularly people on blood pressure meds.
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Postby gyre » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:24 pm

Don't underestimate the altitude.
And that fucks up your sleep, which fucks up your acclimating.

Really helps to spend some time at altitude before you get there.

Cirrus and ola loa have better drinks than gatorade.
I think b man uses the no sugar cirrus.
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Postby Savannah » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:36 pm

Also, you don't need to drink so much water that you "piss clear". A light yellow is fine. You don't want to piss brown, though, and if you are, that is the sign that you need more water.


Indeed, I'm told that a lot of the "piss clear" thing means "pale, and not cloudy", rather than literally no-color (which is difficult if you're taking B vitamins, haha!)

I remember being disturbed my first year because I thought literally no-color was the objective, and try as I might, I could not quite achieve it. But I was fine . . .
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Postby Hoolie » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:58 pm

There is a combination of things working against you on the playa. Heat, altitude, and very dry air. These things combine to dehydrate you quickly, and the dry air evaporates the sweat off you fairly immediately, so it can mask how much you are sweating. I once saw the inside of the medical tent out there, and it was full of dehydrated people on stretchers with IVs in their arm.

I know you mentioned you "drank tons of water," but that may have been part of the problem. I see replenishing salt/electrolytes has been covered already, but here's some additional info. Click the link for the full article.

Hyponatremia, also called water intoxication, is generally the result of drinking excessive amounts of plain water which causes a low concentration of sodium in the blood.

Causes of Hyponatremia
During high intensity exercise, sodium is lost along with sweat. An athlete who only replaces the lost fluid with water will have a decreased blood-sodium concentration.

Symptoms of Hyponatremia
The early warning signs are often subtle and may be similar to dehydration and include nausea, muscle cramps, disorientation, slurred speech, and confusion. At this point, many athletes drink more water because they think they are dehydrated. Unfortunately, water alone will increase the problem of hyponatremia. At the most extreme an athlete may experience seizures, coma, or death.

Treatment of Hyponatremia
At the first sign of symptoms an athlete should drink a sodium containing sports drink or eat salty foods. Ideally, an athlete should plan ahead and estimate his or her fluid loss and need for sodium replacement during the event, and stay on a hydration schedule during the race.
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Postby phil » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:12 pm

Naps.
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Postby Rice » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:24 pm

No you sure are not a "wimp"!

I have MS, My first two burns were ok at night, but my ass was kicked (ground into a pulp and then scattered in the wind) during the day!! It turns out that I really need to pace myself during the day and do a little more stuff at night. Getting proper sleep also seems to help (ok 4-5 hours a night).

I always got depressed sitting in my camp because I was too tired (I thought I was missing too much stuff). Then I realized that I saw some pretty cool stuff anyhow, met lots of cool people and it was a amazing experience.

Now, my 4th burn, I am just going were the wind blows me, no expectations, no worries. Hell, listen to that body!! you only get one...

See ya on the playa.

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Postby Token » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:40 pm

Isn't there a vest made with that gel that soaks in vast amounts of water then evaporates slowly and cools you off.

Then there is the half tab of Ritalin for a 4 hour bump, but I'd talk to a physician before trying that route.
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Postby junglesmacks » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:44 pm

How about don't ignore your bodies basic nutritional needs?

Bring some nice extra strength multi-vitamins and a 12 pack of 5 hour energy shots. I'm a daily user of All-One powdered vitamins + whey protein + creatine and I never have to even touch caffeine. Take care of your body while you are out there.. Hell.. take care of it when you are off the playa, too..

Check out All-One. They are a Santa Barbara based company that has been around for 30+ years. Their stuff is the best.

http://www.all-one.com/en/
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Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:31 pm

Skyote wrote:
oneeyeddick wrote:Not getting completely baked before Noon also goes a long way in not needing that afternoon nap.


Damn, there's my problem right there!

See, my problem with the getting baked was that stupid solar oven never got hot enough.
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Postby gyre » Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:40 pm

I've had potassium issues before unrelated to water, probably stress.
Not on the playa either.

Stress?
Ring a bell?
Travel, lack of sleep, set up, etc?

I've also been warned about overdoing some of the supplements.
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Postby sportsmobile » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:13 pm

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Coconut Water

Postby Coastburner » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:26 pm

I've been to Burning Man 7 years in a row and this will be my eighth. I always drink a lot of water but last year I brought a case of coconut water. It's great as it's natural and has potasium, Electrolytes and is just good all the way around. I've only been hung over once on the playa and once was enough but in the default world, I drink coconut water if I've had a little too much wine with the same night or the morning after and it does wonders. I'm not talking about Coconut milk, this is pure coconut water. There are a few brands out there but go to a whole foods or a natural store or look on Amazon and you'll find it. It's magic water for sure and really made a difference for both me and my girl last year.

Have fun and yes, it's rough when it's hot but that's burning man so you need to adjust and make the best of it.

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