First, let’s talk about why you’re really asking the question: Because you’re worried that, unless you know exactly what to eat before skydiving, you’re going to see it again.
If you’re concerned, it’s probably because you know yourself to be particularly susceptible to motion sickness – or you’ve happened across viral footage of a tandem student grappling heroically with The Nausea Monster. We’ll agree that those are pretty unfortunate images of an unnerving possibility.
But wait! There’s good news.
We’re here to tell you not to worry so much. In actual fact, getting sick while skydiving is a fairly rare thing indeed. Statistically speaking, you are not going to get sick on a tandem skydive. It goes without saying that there are exceptions to that rule, but – if you know what to eat before skydiving, and how – you can stack the deck in your favor. Here are our best strategies to keep your food down while you go up.
Tip #1: Definitely DO eat
The question shouldn’t be ‘Can you eat before skydiving.’ It should be ‘What’s the best way to eat before skydiving.’ You should definitely, definitely eat. Eating sensibly for a tandem is a good idea, just as it is a good idea for life in general.
Don’t arrive for your tandem skydive too far in either direction: empty or way-topped-up. If you don’t eat, your blood sugar will be super-low, so you could end up feeling woozy and uncomfortable during your jump. If you eat too much, all your precious blood will be on call to see to digesting the content of that giant omlet instead of making its way up to your brain where it belongs. (Besides: The shaking, rattling and rolling endured by that over-full belly is very likely to make it give up on its job entirely.)
The elegant solution: Eat a normal, healthy meal of sensible size. It’s that simple.
Here are some extra helping-hand tricks of the trade: If you’re super-nervous, it may feel like a Herculean effort to get some calories in. If that’s the case, don’t eat! Drink. Blend up a high-calorie smoothie, then sip it on the journey to the dropzone and in the waiting area. Lots of peanut butter, bananas and berries will do the trick nicely. Also: Be prepared! Pack a few healthy snacks for your dropzone day to keep your blood sugar in the sweet spot.
Tip #2: Call for backup
If you already know that motion sickness is a problem for you, then you’re probably already savvy to the things that help. Make sure you have what you need! If you use the magical bracelet, bring the magical bracelet. If you take motion sickness medications, bring them along and take them at the appropriate time.
The same thing happens to your stomach in freefall as on a boat or in a car: A whole lot of jiggling. So: If you have any other rituals that you do before a long car trip or a rockin’ ferry excursion, make sure you do them before you jump.
Tip #3: Don’t Quit Drinking
When you go skydiving, make sure you’ve been drinking! But hold on there, tiger. By that, obviously, we do NOT mean that you should drink alcohol. Don’t go anywhere near alcohol when you’re skydiving, for any reason. Any reputable dropzone will turn away a prospective tandem student suspected of recently having had alcohol, without refund. We’re no exception to that rule. Drunk skydiving isn’t going to happen, under any circumstances, and doesn’t make the experience more dope – only worse. Because you won’t jump.
What we do mean is that you need to keep hydration in mind when you make your skydive. Dehydration is quite sneaky, but its symptoms are massively exacerbated with exposure to altitude. Also notable: It’s easy not to notice dehydration when you’re excited. To stave it off, make sure to keep drinking water and other hydrating fluids both before and after your skydive.
…Okay. Confession time. We lied to you.
Even though you now know what to eat before skydiving – and drink, and do – your situation is hopeless. You will get sick from that tandem skydive. Sorry.
Here’s the good news: it almost certainly won’t happen while you’re jumping. It’ll happen once you’ve landed. From then on, every time you see a gorgeous cloud or a beautiful sunset, you’ll be homesick. You’ll ache. And you’ll know there’s only one cure: To zoom back up and get another taste of freefall. But if that’s sickness, we don’t want to be well.