Lessons From Last Chair — Pass the Miso

Lessons From Last Chair — Pass the Miso

How Mark Abma stays healthy and hydrated during long stints out of bounds


IT MAY SOUND TRITE, but eating healthy and staying hydrated should be at the forefront of any skier’s mind, especially those venturing far off-piste. To empower you to take command of your diet, especially before a day on the skin track, we called up veteran professional skier and health guru, Mark Abma, to get the lowdown on his daily routine. Take notes on how a high-fat diet keeps his energy levels soaring, pay attention to his commentary on the healing aspects of CBD—a non-psychoactive extract of cannabis—and, if you’re thirsty, apparently nothing beats a thermos full of miso soup while out exploring.

It’s first-thing in the morning and you’re about to hit the skin track all day. Do you have a coffee or breakfast to get things going?

Researchers have been finding that fats give you longer, sustained energy than sugar. So, basically, I load up on fats. For much of the past year, I’ve been on the “bullet coffee” program, and I make a coffee smoothie, essentially. That means I’m adding MCT oil, which is very high fat and is really easy for your body to digest. I [add] ghee, which is a clarified butter, and I’m adding a chocolate protein powder. That’s my initial get up and go. That’ll keep me going until 12, maybe 2 o’clock [in the afternoon].

What’s something that you rely on for a little extra boost of energy while you’re out on the skin track?

I’ve got two different things that I roll with. A friend of mine makes a CBD bar, basically, it’s loaded up with protein and fats. I roll with that and, this company Hana, they have this daily superfood that comes in these little packs. Between one of those bars and one of those Hana One packs, I’m loaded with energy.

What do you find that the CBD does? Do you actually notice anything?

CBDs are really well known for being able to light up your endocrine [hormone] system. You’ve got receptors through your whole body and you’ve got a ton of CBD receptors, so by feeding your body CBD, you’re able to light up this whole system. This largely contributes to your mood and energy levels. After having a CBD product, like those bars, I find that I have a high level of energy and clarity.

Do you have any good stories of who introduced you to these practices or why you started using certain products?

More often than not, I gain most of my knowledge from podcasts. There’s so much rad information out there. There are a couple of people I listen to: one is Bulletproof Radio…and even Joe Rogan, they’re all advocates of high fat diets. Because it’s a longer, sustained energy.

There was one trick that I did learn from a guide: if you’re ever feeling sick, just mow down on a whole clove of garlic. It burns and it doesn’t taste that great, but I’ve had amazing results from it. When my glands are starting to get swollen and I think I’m going to start going downhill, I’ll mow garlic. Within an hour or two, I’ll start feeling good. It’s amazing how quickly it works. It’s pretty hardcore, man. Especially if it’s a pretty decent chunk of garlic. It feels like it’s burning away any kind of sickness you have coming on.

And it’s burning away any potential of you kissing a cute girl at some point in the next week and a half. But, I digress. If you were to have some lunch on the mountain, what would that be?

I’m a big fan of wraps because you can pack a bunch into them. I’m not a huge fan of eating too much bread; I find it gets soggy. Wraps contain things really well and they are [also] easy to pack. I can take my leftovers, throw it in a wrap and call it good. It’s kinda like the kitchen sink: you can just go through your fridge and throw whatever you want into it.

SKIER: Mark Abma | PHOTO: Eric Berger | LOCATION: Myoko Kogen, JPN

How do you stay hydrated?

Going back to first thing in the morning, I crush as much water as possible. During the day, I’ll bring a hot tea or miso [soup]. Firstly, [the miso] tastes super freakin’ good. I find that if it’s cold out, I’m not that interested in drinking cold water. I know I should be, but I don’t. That’s where I really enjoy having a miso because, fuck, it just tastes super good and it’s got healthy salts, so if you’re sweaty, it’ll help replenish you. The other great thing about miso is it’s a fermented food and fermented foods are really good for gut health; and gut health directly correlates to brain health. It’s amazing how key it is to have a healthy gut to have a healthy state of mind.

Okay, so we’ve made it through the day of skiing. What is your favorite way to unwind?

That’s a big one. I really do enjoy a cold beer after a long day, for sure. For skiers, it’s a bit of a culture, coming back to the cabin or back to the bar, and kicking back, shooting the shit and having a beer with the boys, you know? I don’t think having one beer is a big issue. I’m also a big proponent of drinking a water alongside that. Hydration is key. Crush a coconut water.

To wrap up, what is one of the tricks of the trade to staying energized on a long day in the backcountry?

Like I was just saying, it comes back to water. If you’re going to drink coffee in the morning, compensate with water; if you’re going to have a beer or a glass of wine later on, compensate with water. Keeping our bodies hydrated is one of the most important things we can be doing. If we can keep our bodies really well hydrated, that’s one of the tickets to the fountain of youth. It’s so simple, but it’s something that is often overlooked.

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