Chicken burger (or tofu) or Greek salad? Why rock climbing nutrition is a game changer.
July 10, 2020
Before you go for the send ….. Likely we’ve taken a rest day prior, we take a moment, slow our breathing, put ourselves in a good mindset, make sure we are warm,…. But how many of us make sure we have the correct energy input to satiate the demand of that physical exertion? Maybe you had a tin of tuna or a protein shake, but why did you choose those things? Maybe you didn’t eat anything at all cause you wanted to feel ‘light’….
Whether you are gunning for an Olympic spot, are on the national climbing team, have some awesome outdoor projects or just like to get to the climbing gym a few times a week, most of you would love to climb stronger. What you eat and drink each and every day, will determine how hard you can train, how hard you can pull in a session, how much impact you training session will have and how well and how quickly you will recover for the next session. It will also determine what kind of old person you are going to be. Whether your bones are going to make it, what shape your heart, body and brain are going to be in.
Most climbers are happy to follow a finger board protocol or a climbing endurance prescription but nutrition can prove trickier. Nutrition is the thing that everyone knows something about, because we all eat food. However, it is a key component that is rarely done well and that has the biggest impact. You can’t out train a bad diet.
When we are eating food, we are aiming to:
• Improve and maintain optimal body composition and strength.
• Preserve and improve health and immune function.
• Help us to train longer and better i.e. improve concentration, delay fatigue.
• Fuel training adaptation and promote recovery.
• Perform at our optimum in competition or on projects.
• Reduce chance of injury.
To do this well we need to understand how much energy is needed each day, the right mix of fuel to put in and how to get the timing right.
Effective sports nutrition starts with good daily nutrition, taking into account your activity level and food preferences. A sustainable eating plan is one that includes a variety of foods that you love to eat and that can be maintained over time, while providing adequate nutrients and achieving your optimal competition/performance weight.
So have a think about your current climbing and bouldering performance and goals. Have you plateaued? A lot of us may not be improving no matter how often we go to the gym and hang on small edges, something as small as adjusting your nutrition will help to make massive differences in your training, your muscles will have the fuel to continue to strengthen and you will have the energy to have longer sessions without risk of injury. Just because we train a lot does not mean we will improve! Sport specific training is only a piece of the puzzle; nutrition and recovery are such a huge aspect of climbing your best.