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 By: Jens Larssen  | Date: 2008-09-17  | Category: Tips & Tricks    | (1) Comment  
 8a.nu

By Vladimir Arnaoudov Here is the long version

The essential nutrients required for normal body functioning are proteins, carbs, fats, minerals, vitamins and water.

 

Proteins are essential to growth and repair of muscle, skin and other body tissues. Foods that are natural sources of proteins are eggs, diary products, meat, fish, beans, nuts and seeds.

 

Carbs are our main source of energy. They constitute the essential body fuel. Carbs are divided between simple carbs (sugars) and complex carbs. Complex carbs rich foods are rice, pasta, bread, muesli, potatoes. Chocolate, candy bars and sugar are richer in simple carbs.

 

Fats are an essential nutrient that the body needs to process vitamins and minerals. Fats can be cowboyishly labelled good fats and bad (for the health) fats. The bad fats (saturated fats) are found in butter, lard, coconut oil, dairy products (especially cream and cheese), fat meat, chocolate and candy bars. Good fats (unsaturated fats) are found in nuts and fish (among others) – some of them (omega 3 and omega 6) are essential for human growth.

 

Minerals and vitamins are essential nutrients that our body needs in small amounts to work properly. Minerals and vitamins can be found in varying amounts in a variety of foods such as meat, cereals (including cereal products such as bread), fish, milk and dairy foods, vegetables, fruit and nuts.

 

Water: drink plenty of it, both during exercise and rest, on hot and on cold days. Drink minimum 2 litters per day.

 

Carefully planned nutrition must provide both an energy balance (i.e. about 2000 calories for women and 2500 for men per day) and a nutrient balance (generally considered to be 45-65% carbs, 25-35% fat and 15-35% protein). Climbers will need to tweak these somewhat depending on their lifestyle and priorities. Weekend warriors who have sedentary jobs should try to keep their intake of fats and simple carbs low (especially on non climbing days) whereas travelling vagabonds can afford to be a bit less disciplined. Also, it is sensible to increase the carbs intake on climbing days and the protein intake on rest days.

 

Some practical suggestions

 

The recovery meal: This is probably the most important meal for a climber. Following a hard climbing session a climber’s energy stores are depleted and some of the muscle fibres are damaged. The recovery meal is crucial in order to allow you to replenish your energy reserves and to repair your muscles to be able to climb again soon. In order to replenish energy reserves you need to eat carbs, as soon as possible after climbing. Consuming carbs (approximately 2g per kg of body weight), and approximately 30g of protein within 2 hours after exercise speeds up the recovery time. My ideal dinner between two climbing days is a big pasta meal and 100-150 grams of chicken breast.

 

The pre-session meal: If you are going to climb you need energy i.e. carbs. As a rule of thumb, avoid too much proteins and fats before a climbing session (mixing carbs and proteins can slow down digestion). Endurance athletes famously eat rice or pasta for breakfast on training days. I have tried it and it works fabulously for me. Also allow at least an hour between a meal and a climbing session (the larger the meal the longer you should allow for your body to digest at least partially the meal).

 

During a climbing session: If you are planning a hard day out climbing, to avoid depleting your energy stores try to have light snacks every two hours. Avoid fats or proteins as this slows down digestion. Fruits (especially bananas or dried fruits), whole meal bread and … some pasta (no tomato sauce – try it with some sugar, it tastes surprisingly good) work quite well.

 

Day off meal

If you are planning a day off, it makes sense to increase your protein intake to speed up the muscle fibre repair process. However you will also need some carbs (complex carbs!) to keep your energy reserves. Unless you have a good metabolism, avoid exceeding the recommended calories intake as excess food (especially sugars) may be converted into fat.

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