WARNING: nothing new here
salmon sushi: ideal recovery food
Every year I take a selection of people out winter climbing and all year I see people blag out from lack of decent nutrition – tho they usually blame it on other things.
Its not magic – thousands of words have been written about eating right for climbing in the cold – but it is disconcerting to see someone whos payed a lot for their gear and trip to be let down by what they fuel themselves with. In part I can make up for a tiny degree of this by managing what they eat on the trip – in the end, the clients success is my success – but leading up to that…well, you gotta take responsibility sometime. This is not bowling were doing here.
Like twenty pull ups, a decent marathon time or a 2XBW deadlift, putting good things into your mouth is a fair indication of a climbers greater capacity.
Don’t just eat crap before heading out to climb. Your eating habits between trips is your platform for during trips, and no amount of analyzing your gear or watching Will Gadd videos will make up for ignoring a major factor to your performance.
Im not the only one whod gamble to say that crap eating is the biggest factor other than weather in undermining a trips success. One or two days out each week wont trip you into the red zone too far – particularly if you over-consume during the week anyway – but what will pull the rug away tho is a diet of garbage, deficient in the nutrients needed to get you thru the rollercoaster of a climbing trip; crappy sleep, dehydration, lack of fresh food, stress, irregular bowels, bizarre energy foods and enormous kcal expenditure – and that’s when things go well.
Like sharpening your tools, treating your gloves, drying your boots, studying the topos and airing your sleeping bag, good eating before and after trips is just a part of taking climbing seriously. Simply put; you can either do it, or not do it. So why not? You gotta eat, so why not make it properly? If it was a spectator sport in some nice stadium it wouldn’t matter – but its not. Its alpine climbing. The side effects of getting it wrong can include surgery for frost bite, hypothermia and death.
Whats here has all been said before. Id be a zillionaire one way or another if I could package it somehow new. But if youre not doing this already you are letting yourself down. If you wanted something where nutrition it made no difference you should have stuck with bowling.
Eat fresh stuff
Enzymes, fiber, vitamins and minerals are more present in fresh food. Also, lots of nutrients work in ratio, not just quantity, so by eating things as lived you get closest to that. Fresh food also means eating natural food, so even tho they can be stored for months things like nuts, seaweed and kim chee count as fresh. Some frozen stuff that’s snap frozen at picking is actually in better condition than produce that’s been on the shelf a week.
broccoli: a ‘heavy vegetable’ thats a good alternative to bread or pasta
The point is, dose your system good with lots of stuff that’s laced as little as possible with the sorts of things they preserve food with.
Your body takes a pounding when climbing, so providing it with the optimum amount of building material is necessary for recovery.
beef: winter climbers need solid amounts of protein too minimize loss of muscle mass
It need not always be from meat. Protein is everywhere. As always the quality is the important thing.
You need sugar for your brain to work. What you don’t need is so much it takes up kcal room from other things.
You absorb 300-400 kcals an hour – sugar is an easy way to suck up that. don’t waste it on crap simple sugars, consume the sorts of good complex sugars that come in dried fruit and gels. The odd nasty candy just to pick the brain up is smart use of sugar – thinking you will fuel a day at -10c on pop tarts and Fanta isn’t.
You need carbohydrates to fuel yourself and kick start fat metabolization. This is not the time to strip base body fat – that was summer. Its not hard, just avoid refined grains and replace them with ‘heavy’ vegetables (good name for a band that…), starchy fruit and cereals like buckwheat. If its got to be bread or pasta, get the whole grain stuff.
garlic bread: good for post-trip calorie re-gain
As far as getting your carbohydrates from pumpkin, broccoli, beets, carrots, bananas, avacados and soba noodles theres plenty to live off. The odd bowl of spaghetti, rice or fries wont hurt.
This branch of your diet is the most invasive to manage – but the results are the most noticable for increases in energy and metabolic function.
Eat quality fats
Fat from plants is good. Fat from fish is good too. Fat from mammals (and birds, and probably reptiles for all I know) is only good in small amounts. Fat from industrial processes is shit.
Alpine climbing is fat-consuming territory. Don’t shy away from the stuff, just eat the good version of it. Limit fat from legged creatures to the minimum of what you cant drain out it when cooking. Fat runs out of meat when heated, so any cooking method that lets it drain or float away is fine.
For vegetable fats, go to town.
Eat nutrient-dense stuff
Pack your system with enough nutrients to last. Yes, yes a handful of lettuce has the RDI of calcium for a day – but when the next fresh food is a week away, think ahead. Many nutrients hit thresholds then pass the excess from the system, so at least head off at saturation.
avocados: rich in oils, vitamins, quality carbohydrates and enzymes