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Long time the respected tourists asked Taymaz Adventure Group about the best nutrition in their Damavand Trek. Taymaz Adventure Group (TAG) found this interested info and is going to share it with you. Hope you find it helpful in your Damavand Trek.
Advice and clarification from Luis Rodríguez.
He is a Spanish climber with over 10 years of experience in rock climbing, who earned a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Sports Nutrition.
What is food and what is not food?
These concepts are closely related to each other, but still different.
Food is a carrier of nutrients and other beneficial / harmful substances. Choosing food is not an easy task as it seems.
The right approach to food choice requires knowledge.
Food includes such processes as: buying food, cooking, eating, it is all a conscious and voluntary act.
Therefore, we can say that proper nutrition is born inside, and food is outside.
Nutrition is determined by the components of food, and our body uses them.
This is an involuntary and unconscious act. Both are not hunger, but appetite.
Hunger is the desire to eat, for example after a hard day of climbing. And appetite is the desire to eat for pleasure (there is a desire, but what exactly to eat has yet to be chosen).
Rock climbing and nutrition
You need to start with the basics, first bring yourself to a balanced diet, and then to sports.
What is an Athlete’s Food Pyramid?
1. Good diet with quality food.
2. Calories adapted to your needs.
3. Distribution of macronutrients, that is, a sufficient amount of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.
4. Frequency of meals.
5. If necessary – food additives.
I am a proponent of less dietary supplementation, more food, and more exercise.
The dietary advice for climbers does not differ much from the recommendations for all other people, with the exception of some aspects, such as:Individual differences: people who exercise two to three times a day; those who are obsessed with physical activity, who take 10 routes a day; hours of work on the route
One of the main differences between rock climbing and other sports is the ratio of weight to strength.
This connection is very important, as long-term performance of strength exercises negatively affects the performance of the athlete.
It is this aspect that is key to understanding one of the biggest problems in the climbing community: the obsession with low body weight.
Nutritional complications in climbers caused by inadequate intake of nutrients (carbohydrates, protein, calcium, iron), which can cause muscle loss, energy deficiency, chronic fatigue and impaired immune function.Complications depending on the physical activity performed.
Sometimes it can be difficult to eat during exercise.
Gastrointestinal problems that make it difficult to digest large amounts of food and suppress hunger for several hours after you finish exercising.
For the right approach to nutrition, the athlete needs tools, advice and guidance to follow to break habits and false beliefs.
I would also like to add that just as you must learn to eat right, the climbing community must learn to leave as little footprints as possible on the rocks.
Nowadays, in popular climbing sectors, you can find a lot of used toilet paper, heaps of feces, and other organic and non-organic waste.
In general, littering in nature is a whole art.
Try to leave as few traces as possible, take all the waste with you, and what you couldn’t pick up – bury it in the ground with a shovel.
What to eat before climbing?
False myths The keto diet, the paleo diet, the zoned diet work best.
There is so much information on social media that most people just get lost.
I, too, once believed everything I read about on the net.
I considered myself a pro in diets, it seemed like I tried everything: paleo, zoned, dissociated, high, medium and low carb diets, keto, vegetarian, vegan, etc.
In the end, I realized that theory is good, but in practice, this approach is very difficult to maintain over time.
Some diets work and nurture good habits, while others destroy your brain.
And as always, the choice of such approaches is very personal and always depends on many factors.
Do you know what sport you do? What intensity do you climb? What is your goal when climbing?
First of all, you need to get rid of fat, improve the process of fat oxidation.
Then you will enjoy a day spent on the rocks (completing projects, opening new lines, even if you spend all day on insurance)I need
AA supplements, creatine, and more protein. Many climbers take supplements like AA, creatine, protein, and don’t even know why they are doing it.
They’ve heard about it on podcasts, seen other athletes, pros in other sports, take supplements and talk about their improved performance; then the climber thinks: why does it work for others, doesn’t it work for climbing too?
Ultimately, the climber is even afraid to stop taking supplements without really understanding where it will lead.
As with multivitamins, a varied diet is sufficient to meet the body’s micronutrient needs; supplementation is not required unless the body is deficient in them.
In some cases, the needs for vitamins C, B2, B6, A, E and D may be higher than most people.
In the case of vegetarians and vegans, it is important to take vitamin B12 supplements.
There are still very few studies examining the effect of supplementation on climbing performance, so the results are extrapolated from other sports dominated by interval loading and high intensity.
You are more likely to receive many more benefits by changing your diet than by taking supplements.
Carbohydrates are the “bad players” and make me fat.
The worst thing is to eat carbohydrate foods at night. Carbohydrates are to blame for everything Many climbers eliminate carbohydrates from their daily diet.
But it should be said that there are no products in nature that make you fat by them.
You can eat honey with a spoon every day, but if you don’t consume more calories than you expend, you will not get fat.You can also eat 8 kg of carrots a day, but if you exceed your daily caloric needs, you will gain weight, not to mention fruit.
What makes you gain weight is excess energy, not carbohydrates.
One problem with carbohydrates is that they enter the body in the form of sodas, desserts, sugary dairy products, baked goods or cakes.
I doubt anyone can gain weight if they eat baked sweet potatoes with pumpkin, leeks and a little Parmesan cheese.And, of course, you can eat carbohydrates for dinner.
Cereals, legumes, potatoes, fruits and vegetables.
I gain weight when I eat carbs
Yes, of course, you gain weight; glycogen builds up in the body, which will then be used for sports.
Thus, you can weigh even 1.5 kg more than at the peak of your workout. But this is not fattening.
It’s true that quantity matters.If you eat a lot and then constantly work on insurance or chill in the camp, then high-calorie food can be harmful.
My advice is simple: move more. You can’t eat rice and white pasta
Carbohydrates are the main energy substrate (analogous to gasoline for cars), and the depletion of glycogen stores is a limiting factor in athletic performance.
Nothing will happen if there are dishes made from refined flour and cereals; more important is how the rest of your diet works. What to combine rice and bread with if at the same time you eat enough fruits, vegetables and have reached the recommended amount of fiber.
It is useless to eat brown rice with bacon and pork sausage is useless.
Can’t take salt People with hypertension consume foods and snacks that are high in salt (almost 10 grams of salt per day from the diet, which is twice the recommended amount) and do not need additional salt.But athletes lose much more salt than sedentary people.
And even taking into account all the minerals and useful trace elements in food, it is salt that may not be enough.
Therefore, adding salt to food is not a mortal sin; on the contrary, it has its own benefits.
The inclusion of sodium (in table salt) in food or in post-workout fluids plays a fundamental role in fluid retention in the body, as it reduces the urine output associated with drinking water.
Sodium aids in the rehydration process by maintaining plasma osmolarity and thus the desire to drink.In addition, a lack of electrolytes can lead to muscle contraction and seizures.
Protein shake after workout or climbing Taking a pre-workout protein shake (essential amino acids + carbohydrates) has a greater effect on muscle protein synthesis than subsequent intake.But fast carbohydrate replacement would be very important if you are working on the same muscles for several hours (increasing training or, for example, trying to go the same route).
From here comes the importance of food while climbing.
When I eat carbs, they cause insulin spikes.Carbohydrates are divided into complex (in our diet: potatoes, rice, sweet potatoes …) and simple (glucose, galactose and fructose).
The simpler carbohydrates are, the faster they are absorbed by the body.
For example: if you just eat a plate of white rice, you will probably be hungry again in a short time, but if you combine this plate of rice with vegetables, chicken and nuts, you will surely not get hungry for a long time and will not raise your blood glucose level, its growth will be more gradual.
Another common example: breakfast of two toasts of white bread with butter and jam … 40 minutes later you are hungry again. But …
What if we replace it with whole grain toast with egg, tomato, avocado and fruit?
Keep in mind that when we climb a rock, we want the body to digest and absorb very quickly, which will provide you with the energy you need before you try again.
In this case, rice and white bread can be your best allies.
The More Protein The Better
Do you know how many grams of protein you consume per day? Do you really need that much protein for your exercise?
Most climbers and climbers eat a diet rich in protein, so they don’t need supplements, and in many cases, consuming large amounts of protein displaces other food groups, such as grains or vegetables, which in some cases are great for your body.
Olive oil is not counted because it is a healthy fat.
Olive oil is certainly the best source of fat if we choose from other oils, but it is a very high-calorie food and should not be consumed like water.1 gram of olive oil (9 kcal / g) contains more than twice as many calories as the same amount of carbohydrates or protein (4 kcal / g), which can easily lead to an imbalance between energy consumption and expenditure.
Common climbing eating disorders There are large gaps in the scientific literature regarding the physiological approach and nutritional requirements of climbing in order to optimize performance.
Moreover, these approaches are not well developed, and climbers often base their nutrition strategies on personal experience, success or failure.
The most common mistakes in climbing:
Wanting to lose weight very quickly
trying to lose weight during competition season or when the route is ready.
Skipping breakfast or lunch
Low amount of carbohydrates in food
Testing different eating patterns without scientific basis (different diets)Energy deficit (LEA) Energy deficiency is the mismatch between the energy consumed by an athlete (diet) and the energy expended in exercise, resulting in insufficient energy to support the functions the body needs to maintain optimal health and performance.
The consequences of energy deficiency in athletes are:
· Menstrual dysfunction.
· Osteoporosis, especially in women.
· Repetitive injury and illness.
· Sleep problems.
· Lack of iron.
· Stopping progress·
Psychological problems such as depression, social insecurity, and fear of weight gain.
· Eating disorders.
· Endocrine disorders: decreased testosterone levels, changes in hormones that regulate appetite, increased cortisol levels.
· Stagnation or deterioration in performance due to impaired glycogen metabolism or protein synthesis with a decrease in muscle mass and loss of strength.
· In the long term – limiting the ability to fully realize sports potential and negative health consequences.
Weighing every day Many climbers weigh themselves daily, once or even twice a day, giving them information they think can help improve their sports day.But do you know what your anthropometric measurements are? Do you know how much muscle mass you have? How much fat? Water? Glycogen? How are you feeling? Are you eating right?
All of this matters much more than what your scale says in the morning.
Chronic calorie restriction One of the most common dietary practices is chronic calorie restriction, usually by reducing carbohydrate intake to very low levels, regardless of volume or intensity of exercise, to achieve or maintain low weight and well-defined body muscles.
Many climbers think this will improve their performance on the rocks.If you follow this approach for a long time, the body is damaged, which can lead to an eating disorder.
Don’t drink water If water bottles had a sticker that said “drinking water reduces performance,” no one would go to workout with a bottle of water.
The onset of fatigue is mainly due to a decrease in glycogen stores, and dehydration occurs due to the loss of water and the subsequent removal of electrolytes through sweat.
Hydration is the first measure to be taken with exercise, as dehydration affects athletic performance for a variety of reasons:
· Reduces the supply of aerobic energy to the muscles.
· Limits the removal of lactic acid from the muscles.
· Decreases strength.
Controlled alcohol use A very common practice among climbers is to finish climbing or training with a glass of beer with friends.
Climbers are not worried about drinking two or three beers after climbing, but they are afraid to eat baked potatoes or a plate of rice, because carbohydrates are the “devil”, and because of this they get fat.Drinking alcohol immediately after exercise has been shown to affect carbohydrate synthesis, muscle glycogen synthesis, lipid metabolism, and protein synthesis.
Here are some general guidelines to help you improve your habits:
Dedicate most of your day to invisible training: sleep more, eat and drink better, move more, meditate, visualize, fully recover from injury or hard training, diversify your social environment, devote more time to your family.
Food is a very important factor to consider; before, during and after climbing.
The ideal diet for climbers is a diet high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat.
This diet will change depending on the season, weight gain or weight loss.
Choose the right carbohydrate sources and combine them with other food groups for complete meals.
On a day off, do not force yourself to do another sport. You don’t have to exhaust yourself. On this day, you should not give up carbohydrates.
This is your day off from climbing; enjoy it because tomorrow is a hard day of climbing, your muscles and your brain will thank you.
Train your intuition.
If certain foods are unsuitable for you on climbing days, it may be because you are choosing the wrong foods or because you are not taught to eat correctly during your workouts.
Drink properly before, during, and after exercise.
Drink 400 to 600 ml of fluid two to three hours before training.
Climbers engage in high intensity interval loads during which it is impossible to rehydrate.
Take advantage of the breaks in between attempts to replenish the lack of fluid in the body, as thirst is not the only indicator of hydration.
Despite the tolerance to alcohol, from my point of view, drinking it during exercise is harmful.
Don’t worry too much about your metabolism.
Train hard, climb all kinds of routes (short, long, bouldering, speed,…).
• Don’t eat everything, stop eating badly, and improve your attitude towards food.
• What works for me does not mean that it works the same for others, and vice versa.
But this means that there are general eating patterns that should be followed. In any case, before you radically change your approach to nutrition – consult with a nutritionist.