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Rock climbing is an intensive sport; one that involves strength, endurance and cardio-vascular exercise. It is important that you treat this activity as a sport in terms of training, nutrition, recovery period and supplements needed. In fact, healthy food habits are essential to help you reach your optimum potential as a climber. A few dietary guidelines are mentioned below.
Rock climbers are almost always in a state of dehydration when they are climbing. The amount of energy they expend often causes them to feel thirsty all the time. Improve your diet by drinking at least a liter of water when you are climbing. Make it a point to stop for frequent water breaks. By paying regular attention to your hydration levels during training, before and after a climb, you will see an improvement in endurance and energy levels within a month.
You also need to reduce the number of sugar-based drinks you have, till you are able to cut them out completely. Sugar increases glucose and insulin levels in your body, giving you a rush that comes crashing down in a short while, leaving you fatigued and breathless. Any excess sugar that remains in your body and that has not been converted into energy during your workout will turn into fat and get stored in your cells.
Instead of picking up energy drinks and sugar-laden coffees, choose water. If you crave carbohydrates, satiate yourself with an appropriate snacksuch as an energy bar or a berry smoothie.
What your body needs before you hit the climbing gym or the crag is energy. The best way to get this is from the right food sources. Recommended snacks for a climber include fresh fruits like bananas, grapes, cherries, mangoes, pears, kiwis and pineapples. Vegetable crudités of carrot and boiled beets or beansfor a perfect, pre-climbing snack. Eat a light, well-balanced meal from a combination of these a few hours before you climb and you will see the results. Eat these fruits and vegetables raw as far as possible, or combine them to make salads or smoothies, with milk. Nuts of all kinds may also be included. Each of these snacks is easy to pack and carry on a climb as well. Constantly replenish your energy levels by eating small amounts of carbohydrates, measuring up to 200 calories.
While both training and climbing, your body goes through as much stress as that of a professional athlete, it is essential to give your body the right kind of nutrition to help it recover and get ready for the next climb. Ideally, your recovery meal should have carbohydrates and proteins in a ratio of 3:4. Carbs may come from fruits and vegetables, eaten raw or boiled. Proteins may be included in shakes. Right after a climb, a low-fat milk-based drink would serve as a good protein infusion. In a few hours, follow this up with your recovery meal. Rest your body completely for up to 48 hours, indulging only in a few simple exercises to give your body enough time to recover.
Putting together a healthy diet is easy, with the variety of salads, interesting drinks and snacks you can make. Healthy can well turn out to be delicious for climbers!