Breakfast is your moment to get plenty of energy into your system and have the time to digest it properly before your race starts.  The ideal energy source for moderate to intense exercise is carbohydrates; not too much fibre but plenty of easy to digest and filling carbs, like oats or multigrain bread.  Feel free to top your meals with extras like maple syrup and nuts for a mix of fast and slow burning energy.

Coffee lover? Caffeine is great for improving alertness and reducing the feeling of fatigue, so a big cup of coffee or tea will go great with your carb rich breaky.


If it has been 3+ hours since breakfast, we recommend a small snack 30 minutes before the race starts, this will bump up your energy level. An XACT ENERGY fruit bar is a perfect mobile snack to keep your energy reserves up and can be eaten easily between race check-in and the start line. Plus they stay soft, even in the freezing cold.

Gatineau Loppet skier


Aim to take an energy gel or chew like the XACT ENERGY fruit bar every 30-45 minutes from the start of the race - something easy to eat with 100 calories of simple carbohydrates.  The number of gels or bars you should eat depends on how long it will take you to ski your race distance. Use this table to help plan your fueling needs:


XACT Energy bar


45 mins


1 hr 30 mins


2 hrs 15 mins


3 hrs


3 hrs 45 mins


4 hrs 30 mins


5 hrs 15 mins

Gatineau Loppet skier aid station


Your hydration needs will vary depending on how much you sweat, which will likely be affected by the temperature and how you dress.  You should drink more fluids if you are sweating more or going for hours. Even in the cold you will lose fluids after being active for a few hours.

By adding electrolytes to your water, you will help absorb your fluids quicker and reduce the risk of delayed digestion issues.


  • No need to eat more because it is cold. Once you are active you will warm up.
  • Avoid foods that freeze up!  Many granola bars and gels hardened up in the cold weather, right to the point when chewing will be a workout in itself!   XACT ENERGY fruit bars have been tested in the extreme cold and stay soft! 
  • Think about where you will stash your fuel. With poles and mittens, the stash pocket needs to be easily accessible.
  • Keep your fingers warm.  Opening gels and bars is next to impossible, especially if you are one of those who gets numb fingers in the cold.  If you can keep your hands warm you can more easily open your XACT ENERGY!
  • Prior to your race, you can use a pair of scissors to snip the tip of your XACT ENERGY packet to make it even easier to tear it open while skiing.


Congratulations on finishing your race!! To start your recovery right away, start by putting on dry, warm clothes and eating a snack with a mix of carbs and protein (4:1 ratio is about right). An XACT PROTEIN Wafer with a banana or bagel is a great idea: XACT Protein has 15 g of protein plus plenty of vitamins to kick start your recovery. If you prefer non-dairy protein, check out our XACT PLANT-BASED protein wafers. Now you’re ready for that celebratory beer (or hot cocoa)!


Not familiar with the XACT NUTRITION product range?

A great way to try a selection of the products mentioned here is with the XACT Discovery Pack which has 6 XACT ENERGY fruit bars (1 of each flavour), plus 1 Choc XACT PROTEIN wafer (our fav).