FitnessThe Real Life Diet of Snowboarding God Travis Rice
Professional athletes don’t get to the top by accident. It takes superhuman levels of time, dedication, and focus—and that includes paying attention to what they put in their bellies. In this series, GQ takes a look at what athletes in different sports eat on a daily basis to perform at their best. Here’s a look at the daily diet of the world’s best snowboarder, Travis Rice.
Travis Rice has stretched the boundaries of snowboarding more than anyone ever before, going deeper into the backcountry and scaling higher peaks than seemed humanly possible. In his new documentary The Fourth Phase, he and his crew—including the legendary Jeremy Jones—push the limit, conquering the most technical, insane lines in the world, from Japan to Alaska.
You might think a bunch of snowboarders are ripping bongs and ordering Domino’s, but not only is Rice riding down some of the most mind-boggling peaks known to man, he’s hiking to the top first. They do still use helicopters in the backcountry, but a good portion of The Fourth Phase necessitated hoofing to the summit before cruising down.
Which means they can’t show up to the mountain with a stomach full of Mountain Dew and microwavable burritos. Rice’s diet, packed with dark, leafy greens and lean fish, sounds more like an Ironman triathlete than a dude shredding the gnar. But the affable 33-year-old Jackson, Wyoming, native—who was wiped out by an avalanche in Alaska during filming—said it’s helped lengthen his career.
“Even with focusing on working out, conditioning, training, stretching, recovery, mobility, and yoga, I still was having hang-ups,” he says. “I think diet was the next and real final frontier for me. Food is really important—probably the most important thing to my ability to continue to operate at a high level. It's the evolution of these certain things that have been able to keep me healthy. You can’t ride the youth wave forever.”
He puts an emphasis on probiotics and fish with low metal levels, and snacks almost exclusively on fruit (his current obsession is dates). But these days he’s all about shoveling greens down his gullet. “For greens, the darker the better,” he says, laughing. “Kale, chard, arugula. Don't give me none of that iceberg lettuce shit.”
“A big smoothie with frozen fruits—lots of blueberries, raspberries if I have them—and hemp milk or almond milk. And then a handful of dates. If it’s a big day in the mountains I’ll eat eggs, too.”
“A big lettuce wrap with turkey or bison—whatever lean meat is available. Then avocado, peppers, and Vegenaise.”
“I love a majority dark greens, protein-style dinner. Halibut, whitefish, or salmon. A big salad with just olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little bit of cayenne.”