Rock Climbing Training: What to Eat? Rock Climbing Training: What to Eat?

Even the best rock climbing training programs cannot turn into successful outdoor performances if unaccompanied by a proper diet. Moreover, some inappropriate nutritional habits may lead to serious injuries. There are some rules that rock climbers should follow to be healthy, strong, flexible, and have great powers of endurance.

Common Nutritional Guidelines

Rock climbers should be aware of some common nutritional guidelines, including the basic principles of well-balanced and activity-adequate diet. In the first place, you have to avoid junk food and processed products. These are rich in calories but contain low amount of or no vitamins and minerals. Prepare your daily and weekly plan by paying more attention to the basic food groups. Have frequent meals, every three to four hours, to maintain insulin levels and help recovery. Avoid dehydration and drink plenty of water. Do not substitute water-like drinks for water.

Complex Carbohydrates, Fatty Acids, and Proteins

Try to include complex carbohydrates in your diet. These are found in vegetables, fruits, grains, and starches. Complex carbs are the source of fuel for your activities and contain vitamins, minerals and fiber.  

A number of essential fatty acids regulate your body functions. Foods such as nuts, fish oil, butter and dairies will provide you with these essentials.

Proteins are also absolutely vital for your proper diet, with low-fat meat, fish and eggs being the best protein-sources.

Climbing Workout and Meals

When you prepare your rock climbing training dietary plan, you should consider the three stages of the climbing workout or outdoor performance: before, during and after the training/climbing.

Pre-training Meal

The pre-training/climbing meal is important as it prevents exhaustion during the session. Many rock climbers say they feel better, lighter and quicker when they climb or train on an empty stomach, but this approach is rather risky and may lead to dehydration, worsening your power (strength)-endurance. So, a light, well balanced meal that contains complex carbohydrates, proteins and fats (low intakes) is recommended a couple of hours before the workout/performance. You can have wholegrain cereals or sandwiches made with wholegrain bread. You should avoid raw vegetables and fruits or any food known for its laxative effect. Do not try new foods and drink about 400 to 600 ml of water a couple of hours before the session.

During Training

You should take small amounts (up to 200 calories) of carbohydrates throughout the climbing.

Recovery Meal

The recovery meal after a hard climbing session should contain carbohydrates and proteins in a ratio 3:4:1. You can replace the immediate post-climbing meal with a drink (a large cup of low-fat chocolate milk, for instance) and have a recovery meal a couple of hours later. As the full recovery takes approximately 24 to 48 hours, you should rest more and do only light exercises two or three days after the rock climbing performance.   

    Finally, when trying to achieve a high strength-to-weight ratio, some rock climbers may suffer a dramatic weight loss. This is quite dangerous because muscles loose their strength and endurance, the immune system weakens and the risk of more serious injuries goes up.  



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