Climbers, Listen Up: This Is Climbing Nutrition – Straight Up!
For any athlete, the fact that a proper diet is necessary in order to excel at any given sport goes without saying. Most sports have been very well documented in terms of the effect the sport has on one's body, and the nutrients a person, therefore, needs in order to prepare for and recover from that sport. However, this is not the case with rock climbing. The reason isn't that the sport is less common than, say, hockey, but merely because it's harder to research from an objective scientific perspective. Fortunately, with the help of a climbing treadmill (yes, such things exist - no, I don't know where you can get one), scientists are making good strides in terms of creating controlled environments in which to study rock climbing. (I feel like climbing treadmills could open up the sport to all the people who, like me, suffer from vertigo.)
What is apparent is that rock climbing gives the body a very different sort of workout from other sports. Whereas an athlete's oxygen consumption will usually rise dramatically with most sports, such is not the case with an expert climber: their oxygen consumption remains basically the same, while their muscles find their way to fatigue nonetheless. There are also practical considerations to be kept in mind: a climber can't exactly keep a gym bag full of extra snacks on hand. Lightness and compactness are both factors in choosing the ideal snack for the climber for after they've begun their climb. There are also questions about the proper beverage to drink during the recovery period. Did you know that after strenuous exercise, you have only a 45 minute window of opportunity to get the right kind of rehydration in order to make the most of your workout?
Check out the story below to the 'Pacific Health Labs' website and read up on everything they're learning about the perfect nutrition for the serious climber.