When we think of enhancing our climbing, one of the first things that may come to mind is more training or more climbing. Well, you’re right! That can absolutely enhance climbing.
But, before you run out to the gym or the crag, let’s break it down a bit further and ask ourselves what does the success of our training and climbing rely on?
It relies on our body’s performance!
The way we decide to nourish our body will affect the way it ultimately performs. Your body is the manifestation of every single thing you consume. So, when it comes to enhancing climbing performance we have to look beyond just physical training and understand that we can get the most out of our training when our body is operating at an optimal rate.
Cue the smoothie!
Smoothies are nutritional powerhouses ……and your new best friend!
They’re quick, simple, portable, nutrient dense, and after a bit of practice, they’re essentially fool proof.
Here’s how they can contribute to your performance…
Smoothies are one of the most versatile foods on the planet. They can be manipulated in essentially any way that you desire based on your current needs.
Need a quick, nutritious meal? Smoothie.
Want an energizing pre-climbing snack? Smoothie.
Need some post-climbing recovery nourishment? Smoothie.
Need to clean out some produce from your fridge before it goes bad? Compost. Just kidding! Smoothie!
Their versatility makes them especially simple to create, and hence, is an especially simple way to nourish your body. You can easily get a couple servings of fruits and veggies in just one smoothie, not to mention a multitude of essential vitamins and minerals. Smoothies are effortless nourishment, and proper nourishment is one of the first things you should be looking at to create a body that is healthy, strong, and capable of climbing for a lifetime. That is ultimately what we want, right? 🙂
They Deliver Quick Energy
Smoothies are liquid energy. They deliver energy and nutrients efficiently for those situations when you just don’t have time to eat a meal, let alone have time to make it in the first place or have time to digest it!
Being in liquid form, smoothies are very easy for your body to digest. Since your body requires a tremendous amount of energy to digest your food, this means that more energy can go towards climbing because less will be used during the digestion of a smoothie.
Also, since your body digests smoothies more quickly than a solid meal, it allows for your stomach to be relatively empty by the time you start climbing. This helps to prevent any gastrointestinal distress that can occur when you eat a solid meal too close to your climbing session.
Bloating and climbing just don’t mix! A pre-climbing smoothie that focuses on wholesome carbohydrates will provide you with adequate energy supplies and leave you feeling light, energized and ready to send!
They Enhance Recovery
The recovery phase is when you get stronger. You have a critical window of opportunity after climbing that you can really capitalize on if you choose to nourish your body wisely. After climbing, your body enters a rebuilding phase. But, although your ability to rebuild protein is increased right after climbing, adding in some carbohydrates and proteins can significantly enhance this process!
The recommended carbohydrate to protein ratio is 3:1. So, about 3-4 grams of carbohydrate for every 1 gram of protein. AND, guess what!? Your post-climbing meal or snack is best consumed in a highly digestible form….. Yes, you guessed it! Like a smoothie!
It’s relatively easy to get that ideal carbohydrate to protein ratio with a smoothie. The carbs increase your insulin response which has been shown to increase the rate of protein synthesis in your muscles, plus they also help replenish your glycogen stores (your climbing fuel!!), which have surely depleted from your wicked crux crushing session. On the other hand, protein supplies you with amino acids, which is a major component of your muscles.
Smoothies fit the bill perfectly when it comes to post-climbing nutrition. They’re highly digestible, they’re hydrating, they can deliver the right carb-to-protein ratio, and they can be made in advance and be ready for your enjoyment right when you’re done climbing. Overall, they’re the perfect tool to deliver exactly what your body needs.
They Have High Nutrient Density
Good nutrition in general involves selecting and consuming foods that have a high nutrient density. This means choosing foods that provide the most nutrients for the least amount of calories. The 6 nutrients are carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and water, and it’s not hard to create a smoothie that contains every single one of them.
To be a better climber, you must nourish your body in a way that can support the demands of climbing. Making sure you have a solid nutritional foundation is the first step. Climbing puts a lot of stress on the body, especially since we are constantly pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones, and our limits, and expecting stellar performance during every session. This type of effort burns a lot of energy and begins to deplete our body’s stores of nutrients. So, if you want to continue operating at that level (which I’m guessing you do), then you must continue to replace these nutrients.
Leafy greens in particular are a popular smoothie ingredient, and a foundational ingredient in every single smoothie I create. They are by far one of the most nutritionally rich foods you can find. Even if you aren’t a fan of greens, smoothies may just be the best way to get your daily dose of green-ness. Blend it up with some fresh or frozen fruit and you won’t even notice it’s there.
Feeling amped up about smoothies?
Then check out my Build a Smoothie Guide for fool proof smoothie making that also includes 5 recipes to help get you started.