Nutrition for Climbers
Some notes about what you eat, the importance of protein for building muscle strength and when to have a milk shake.
Nutrition is just a fancy word for the food you eat. All food gives us energy, measured in calories, so there is no such thing as Junk Food – Fast Food yes but Junk Food no. It’s all food and as the saying goes we are what we eat. The key is to eat a varied diet ensuring your body gets all the vital food groups, vitamins and minerals it needs. There is nothing wrong with eating a burger and French fries, but you can’t live on this alone, the body needs other foods to provide you with all the chemicals it needs to survive. Your body is a chemical factory which has to be in balance, too much of one thing and too little of another and it won’t function how it should.
All those fancy diets may or may not work it depends on who you are. The most important thing to remember is that to lose weight the sum of the energy you use through exercise and your body’s metabolism must be less than or equal to the calories from the food you eat.
Energy Used (exercise) must = or be > Energy In (food)
If input is greater than output you will put on weight. Not withstanding you will gain weight by building muscle, but you will look fit not fat.
Diet for endurance sport
When your body works it uses energy in the form of carbohydrates, these come from your food. With endurance sports your body has to be refueled or it will go to its fat reserves and use those, which isn’t a bad thing. To break down the fat, protein is required, so during an endurance event protein intake is a must. If not, protein is extracted from your muscles which will weaken them.
The importance of protein for climbers – milk shake magic!
As you exercise, you strengthen and improve your muscles but if they doesn’t have the protein to build with, then they can’t grow bigger or stronger. Just like body builders, climbers must take in protein either during or after exercise. The best form is milk. That’s why Alter Rock sells milk shakes. Whey powder is just dried milk with some other bits added which you add water to. Body builders use this. We don’t want to be body builders, we just want strong muscles, but we do need to keep them in shape. Like most chemicals that pass through our bodies the body will only absorb what it needs. Extra protein can not be stored. Body builders need extra protein to develop their muscles, they will absorb the extra they take in but under normal exercise conditions having a normal diet will give your body enough protein.
A good source of protein is meat, but this is high in animal fat, which can cause gall and kidney stones and along with that the recommendation is you should only eat 65g of meat a day (that’s a single sausage!) Excessive meat intake is also linked to bowel cancer.
After climbing or any physical exercise including work, your body will be looking to rebuild its muscles and it is protein that it will require, so on the way home try buying a milk shake instead of the fizzy pop or energy drink. Your muscles will thank you for it.