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Do I REALLY need carbs to rock climb???

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  • Do I REALLY need carbs to rock climb???

    Hey everybody! I'm a 24 year old female who discovered climbing at a local, indoor gym about two months ago. I recently registered to be in a competition and I've been trying to find training tips. Every single article I've read about climbing is telling me I need to be eating a low-fat, high-carb diet, blah, blah. I'm familiar with the Blueprint and it makes sense and felt great before I started climbing. I'm at the gym 2-4 times a week, climbing intensly for an hour or so. Should I be eating some carbs before or after? Or in general??

    The other thing is that I'd like to lose five-ten pounds to help with my I'm stuck between wanting to restrict calories and carbs, and wanting to not deprive my body of anything it needs to get stronger as well!

    Thanks so much for any advice!!!

  • #2
    For a one hour workout? No. Even an intense one hour workout, no.

    I used to do indoor rock climbing for 3 hours, 3x a week, and still didn't need to eat like a marathoner. It's not the same type of workout. Rock climbing is a great full body workout with the occasional explosive move but it's not like running for hours.
    High Weight: 225
    Weight at start of Primal: 189
    Current Weight: 174
    Goal Weight: 130

    Primal Start Date: 11/26/2012


    • #3
      the low-fat, high carb recommendation will be pretty standard in most articles linking fitness and nutrition. it certainly works for people, which is why there probably hasn't been much recommending of other options. but, you can count on plenty of strength and energy while eating low carb. plenty of people here rock climb while keeping carbs low.

      the best thing you can do though is experiment to see what works for you. if you've already been eating a low-carb primal diet, keep at it and keep climbing. keep a log of how things go for you. then, in two weeks, try adding in potatoes and starchy veggies, climb, and log the differences.
      you can lose weight and get stronger with both methods of eating, so it's a matter of figuring out which works best for you.


      • #4
        Unless you are an endurance athlete, you don't really need carbs. Having said that, I hope you are just limiting them, rather than completely eliminating. You don't want to miss out on some good nutrients.


        • #5
          NO! I eat healthy carbs in the form of veg btw but I do not carb up.

          I just completed a 2.5 hour competition fingers were shredded, toes were cramped and my muscles were seriously pumped - all this on a primal diet.

          I believe on the day I ate a BAS for lunch about 3, grabbed a handful of nuts before the comp, climbed from 7-9:30 came home and ate diner.

          In the summer I was down in Canmore, had bacon and eggs for breakfast, at 7:00 30 min walk into the crag, climbed till 2 then a 30 min walk out for lunch.

          In other-words adapt to a primal diet and you will be more than fine.
          Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
          Don't forget to play!


          • #6
            Thanks so much everybody for the comments! I'm definitely going to keep doing what i'm doing-eating primal and climbing. I just wanted to make sure I want going to hurt myself- it will be nice when conventional wisdom and the primal lifestyle are one and the same!


            • #7
              Hey Kaylz, welcome to the sport of climbing! I actually have a comp coming up myself, week after next in Albany. For what it's worth I eat about 150g carbs daily and I'm quite active.

              Everyone is different, but to answer your question -- no, there's no reason that you have to eat a certain amount of carbs just because you climb. I'm sure you'll find that you can climb well on a wide range of macro ratios. I've climbed great on very low-carb, moderate, and high carb. You'll zone in eventually on what feels best for you overall (not just in climbing, but as a lifestyle way of eating). Just focus on the PB and let it happen naturally.

              Have fun in your comp


              • #8
                No. Carb-loading may be necessary for the worst (and I mean only the worst) of endurance events - but not for rock climbing.

                If you want to shave unnecessary pounds just eat paleo/primal and don't look back. Counting calories (or carbs) becomes unnecessary when eating the right types of foods. Only necessary when eating the wrong foods. Eat primal and drop all the old rules you learned from people telling you to eat things you shouldn't eat.

                Eat.... and climb like a caveman.


                • #9
                  No. You don't need carbs to rock climb. You also don't need fat to rock climb. If you aren't eating enough fat, your body will manufacture palmitate out of excess triglycerides from the protein and carbohydrate you're overconsuming. Similarly, if you're not eating enough carbohydrate, your body will manufacture glucose by breaking down lean tissue or converting the excess protein in your diet into glucose (while you store the excess fat, if any is in excess).

                  Both of those metabolic pathways are fairly inefficient, so if you want to perform optimally you're best off consuming a healthy mix of both fat and carbohydrate so you don't force your body to convert excess macronutrients into deficient macronutrients. Try eating equal calories from healthy, Primal sources of fat and carbohydrate with moderate to higher protein intakes and adjust accordingly until you feel you're performing best. I like starting at 33% fat, 33% carbohydrate and 33% protein and adjust accordingly. I find 33% protein is about that magic number, so skew your fat and carbohydrate while holding that protein. I eat about 30% calories from protein at all times, and around 30% fat and 40% carbohydrate. That seems to give me maximum performance, and I have a very sedentary job and lift heavy weights 3 days a week with minimal cardio.
                  Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 01-24-2013, 09:40 AM.
                  Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.