• Kate Sielmann

What To Eat Before Climbing Kilimanjaro?

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

You should be eating a balanced diet of carbs, proteins and fats. The reason why - Food is your fuel, just as fuel is food to a car. It is the energy that causes you to move. If you’re nutrition is too low on carbohydrates, you won’t have the necessary nutrients to fuel one of the most important functions in your training – Aerobic Fitness.


We have this thing called your Aerobic Metabolic Pathway. This basically refers to the process of turning fuel (carbs) into glucose and then into 36 ATP molecules that then provide the necessary energy to your muscles to perform long, steady endurance type exercises. For example, walking at a medium pace for long periods of time, going for a 5km run or cycling at a medium pace for a couple of hours. Those are all examples of the workings of your aerobic metabolic pathway.


Make sure you are getting all three macronutrients from good clean sources, for example sweet potato rather than a French fries or a nice lean steak rather than the meat from a burger patty.


If you were looking for an actual nutritional plan or diet then I’ll tell you now, you won’t find it here or anywhere in my resources. Cookie cut, one size fits all diets and nutritional plans do not work. Your body and digestive system is different to the next persons and what may work for your mate, won’t work for you. It is so important to calculate your specific calorie needs and then further divide that calorie amount into the perfect carb, protein and fat ratio. If you need help doing that then have a look at my book: “A Step-By-Step Manual To Mountaineering & Trekking Around The World”


You’ll find everything you need to know in The Nutrition Chapter and so much more!


Here’s The Key Thing About Eating To Prepare For Kilimanjaro:

You must change your mindset to know and understand that what you eat is the fuel that you need for your training. If you aren’t training in your absolute peak state then you aren’t reaping the benefits of those hours spent sweating.


So, how do you know if you’re fuelling your body correctly?

If you find yourself feeling lethargic and unmotivated to do your training sessions then you are more than likely under eating or eating the wrong macronutrient ratios. If you haven’t got the energy to train then you really, REALLY need to look at your food intake and make some serious changes.


You should feel energetic and alive throughout the day, and even more so when you start your training session. If you aren’t feeling that then you must reassess your nutritional intake.


If this is you and you’re finding yourself struggling to get through each training session and you’re totally confused on what you should and shouldn’t be eating then check out the following link and let a trained Sport Scientist and avid mountaineer help you: Mountaineering & Trekking Training


How To Get In Shape For Kilimanjaro


The goal with your physical shape is to be light and lean. The lighter you are, the less weight you have to carry up the mountain. This does not mean that you need to be skinny. It means that you need to be light with a good amount of lean muscle mass, and that is achieved by eating a balanced diet and training hard.


For the men reading this, remember that muscle mass is still weight. Whether you are a solid 90kg of muscle mass or a solid 90kg of fat, it’s still 90kg that has to go up the mountain.


The goal with your nutrition before climbing Kilimanjaro should be to fuel your training sessions but also slowly and steadily drop 0.5kg per week WITHOUT affecting your training regime. If you are dropping more than that then your calorie intake is likely too low. If you aren’t dropping any weight, then you’re calorie intake is likely to high.


The Importance Of Additional Supplements As You Prepare For Kilimanjaro

Avoiding getting sick before not only allows you to train consistently and therefore consistently reap the benefits of all your hard work but over a period of time, building up your immune system will prepare you for the sometimes not very hygienic conditions of mountain life.


The following supplements are important as you prepare for Kilimanjaro in order to boost your immune system at a cellular level.

Here are three of the most important supplements I recommend my clients take when they are working with me on The Mountaineering & Trekking Training program. I recommend these specific ones because they not only boost your immune system at a cellular level but are also essential for the production of antibodies:

  • Vitamin C

  • Vitamin B12

  • Iron

A Final Note On How To Prepare For Kilimanjaro

Preparing for Kilimanjaro requires so much more than just adjusting your nutritional intake and taking a few supplements each day. You must integrate your nutritional changes with a mountain and trekking specific training plan as well training your internal dialogue and outlook – your mindset. If you study the professional climbers of this world, you will notice they all have a few certain mentality traits in common. They train with focus, they eat with intention and they think from the perspective of “it’s possible”.

I know you aren’t a professional climber, and neither am I but I make sure when I am prepping for a mountain, I behave, train and act like one. Climbing a mountain requires your absolute best and anything short of that and she will send you home defeated and with a whole lot of newfound respect for high altitude adventures.


Train, eat and think like a pro and you’ll find yourself standing on Kilimanjaro’s summit, breathing the fresh, crisp air of a 5,895m mountain.

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