I think we have all been there. You train hard for months in preparation for a trip. You eat well, making sure you get everything you need. The time comes, and you’re in the best shape you have ever been in. Then, something weird happens. You get to where you’re going, the trip you have been looking forward to, and everything falls apart.
Suddenly, you’re eating out all the time, not making sure to get the nutrients you need to recover and to perform. You’re drinking more, sleeping less. All the habits you formed while training back home fall to the wayside. Next comes the disappointment. You feel more tired than normal, your recovery does not feel efficient, and you don’t perform the way you want.
This is pretty common, and, to be honest, pretty understandable. We work hard both at the gym and in our day-to-day lives. Climbing trips are often vacations, and who doesn’t want to enjoy their vacation? It’s easy to get swept up in the fun of things, in the moment to moment pleasure of relaxing days, interesting food, and good friends. And that is what vacations should be like! That said, however, I don’t think you have to sacrifice performance to enjoy your vacation; you can send hard as well! Below are just a few tips to help you keep the fitness up while on a trip so you can enjoy yourself and send.
I cannot stress enough the importance of hydration. Brittle tendons tear and break, and excessive alcohol consumption tends us, as climbers, towards injury. This doesn’t mean you need to not drink at all; it just means that moderation is key and that you need to actively be on top of your water consumption.
Often times, on trips, we are hiking way more than normal. Rather than 3 hours in the gym, we are suddenly spending all day out at the crag, in the sun or shivering in the cold, trying hard and walking far. It is likely that you’ll need to up your normal water intake to keep up with the increased demands.
The same goes for your food intake. On vacation, we tend to swing in extremes: either eating too much or not eating enough. Try and find a middle way. Part of the fun of traveling is trying new foods, but if you want to perform at your limit you might have to compromise a bit. Make a plan! Take the time in the first few days of your trip to familiarize yourself with the foods available and try to come up with a diet that ensures you get the nutrients you need to perform and recover properly. Leave some space for in there for the foods you really want to try from the place you are visiting, but try and spread those meals out so they don’t tank your diet.
This point goes in conjunction with the above; it is very easy to fall short on your protein intake when on a trip. Vacation foods tend towards fat and carbs, because those are what taste good! Try buying some protein powder (or taking some with you) to supplement and to make sure you are getting the protein your body needs to rebuild muscle and recover adequately from session to session.
Again, if you supplement when at home and training, why wouldn’t you when you are on a trip and trying your hardest? There are many supplements out there that climbers use to facilitate recovery, to protect tendon health, to manage weight, and pretty much all of these can be useful on a climbing trip. I recommend checking out NutriClimb; they offer and all-in-one climbing based supplement that will cover your basic needs when on a trip. The product includes for example B vitamins and l-arginine to promote recovery and beta-alanine to reduce fatigue during performance. Basically, it’s all you need!
Just by paying attention to the things mentioned above, you will increase your performance and reduce your chances of injury while on a trip. I know the idea of being disciplined while on vacation can be hard to swallow, but, if you put in all that time training, you might as well give yourself the best chance of success when you get there! I hope this article proves useful, and go crush!
Originally written for https://stories.27crags.com/index/nutrition-tips-for-climbing-trips text and photos by Carlos Tkacz who’s a passionate climber, NutriClimb ambassador, 27 Crags Premium topo author, teacher, writer and traveler.
Thank you Carlos!
“NutriClimb is dedicated to helping climbers be the best they can be and perform their best every time. Through information, motivation, and high quality great tasting products. Join us on a journey to better performance!”