Performance Nutritionist Emily Whitehead gives an insight into keeping a polar expedition team performing.

Nutrition plays an important role in helping to support the health and well-being of the team, so they can perform optimally both physically and mentally on the ice, whilst facing the extreme environment and weather conditions. Recovery after each day is also very important so that the body can refuel, rehydrate and repair, in preparation for the next day of physical endurance.

The team has limited space and weight on the pulks for food, as they carry scientific equipment, fuel, tents and other essential equipment for the expedition. The foods for the expedition must be lightweight, calorific, nutritious and compact. To further reduce weight and space, the majority of the food was repackaged whilst sailing on Polar Latitudes – SeaVenture in preparation for the expedition. The team members have different calorific intakes, with some having specific dietary requirements, which have to be taken into consideration for food planning, as well as many other additional factors.

The main meals/desserts, provided by Expedition Foods, are freeze-dried which then can be rehydrated. The team members also carry a ‘nutty bag’ in their jacket which contains various snacks to graze on throughout the day to keep their energy levels sustained. Whilst skiing the team also carry flasks in their rucksacks containing either water (melted snow), energy drink or electrolytes to keep hydrated.

Due to the constant storms, attending to emergency equipment damage and building ice walls, at times eating and drinking has been sporadic throughout the day. However, despite this the team are continuing to eat and drink well to maintain their energy levels and keep hydrated.

We also enlisted BetterYou to provide supplements for the team. During the team’s training, the team provided blood samples which were analysed and supplements plans were implemented based on the results. This was repeated prior to the team’s departure and again supplement plans were adjusted accordingly.

The team have also been fuelled by Raging Bull Biltong and The Oink Company


Many thanks to all of our friends, sponsors and supporters who are backing the Antarctic Quest 21 expedition, including:

NAAFI Team Army/Team Ethos Costain Group PLC BetterYou Ltd Applied Satellite Technology LtdGreencastle Consulting Klättermusen AB Fjellpulken AS Polar Latitudes Clean Planet Energy PlanetLabs.Earth LGfL Devon and Plymouth Chamber of Commerce Royal Geographical Society Prof Dr Ger Graus OBE Phil Carrotte Tim Ellis Twin Science & Robotics Verofax Limited Alpenverein Osterreich Beyond Exploration Shackleton Whisky Paul Read Martin Holland, FRGS USNAR Polar Science and Technology Program The Ulysses Trust Expedition Base Camp Anjuli Selvakumaran Elliot Brown Watches University of Plymouth Utrecht University The University of Manchester Durham University University of Tasmania Challenging Habitat AndrewSmedley PippaWhitehouse Colonel Paul John Edwards MBE The Honourable Alexandra Shackleton Lieutenant General Richard Nugee CB CVO CBE AngelaMilne Simon Ussher Nigel Marley MichielvanDenBroeke ImogenNapper Emily Whitehead Kate Retallick Claire Grogan FRGS Charlotte Braungardt 

Emily Whitehead is a performance nutritionist and works with adventurers, elite and recreational athletes. Emily is the nutritionist for the Antarctic Quest 21 expedition

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