As in any sport or intense physical activity, nutrition is a key component of climbing success. This is especially true as we reach the end of the summer, where the threats of dehydration and heat exhaustion add to the nutritional demands of strenuous climbing. Whether you are an amateur climber practicing at a climbing gym or a veteran of the highest peaks on earth, the nutrition guidelines below will greatly improve your odds of a successful, fulfilling climb.

Avoid the junk, go for the good stuff.

This will be obvious to any veteran climber or athlete, but its paramount importance makes it worthy of mentioning here. Before and during your climb, focus on light, lean foods, and stay away from processed and fatty foods. While a breakfast of fried bacon and eggs will certainly seem appetizing before a climb, it will do little to help get you to the summit. Boil the eggs and skip the bacon. Alternatively, foods like nuts and fruits, while still high-calorie, are jam-packed with nutritional value, and will actually aid your climb instead of bogging you down.

Snack as you go.

The nature of rock climbing often makes for a prolonged session, requiring an extensive energy base. This will vary depending on your goals or skill level, but either way, a climb is a distance run, not a sprint. Pack some almonds or trail mix for the event, and remember to snack intermittently. Account for any allergies as necessary; if nuts are a problem, opt for small pieces of fruit. Avoid eating too much at once, focusing instead on maintaining a healthy energy level throughout the climb.

Stay hydrated!

Last but certainly not least, drink water. The importance of hydration cannot be overstated. Rock climbing in the heat and humidity will obviously cause fluid loss through sweating. You need to make sure you are sipping water as you go, so you need to have a steady supply on hand. Finally, avoid gulping down large quantities at once.

Rock climbing is a sport but unlike any other. The unique combination of skill and nutritional requirements can be demanding. Proper nutrition before and during the climb should be a priority, and should not be taken lightly. With proper preparation and the right mindset, you can optimize your chances of success.

About: Daniel Epega is an environmental consultant serving a wide array of clients in the manufacturing industry. By combining his Environmental Science background with three years of experience in the public sector, Daniel Epega assists organizations in developing solutions that maximize efficiency while remaining in complete compliance with environmental regulations. In his free time, Daniel Epega enjoys yoga and rock-climbing.

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