Improve Your Sport Climbing (16): Nutrition and Body Composition, Part 2 (HARD)

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Today’s entry covers the top three areas of priority for climbers to focus on in a nutrition plan, as covered in my recent interview with Dr. Dan Benardot, leading nutrition expert and author of “Advanced Sports Nutrition-2nd Edition.”

Q: What are the top three things athletes/climbers should focus on in a solid nutrition plan?

A. Never get hungry, never get thirsty, and eating small meals frequently is better than eating three large meals a day with the same amount of calories.

One of the things people don’t often realize is that insulin is produced exponentially according to calories consumed, meaning that the greater the caloric load in a given sitting, the more insulin you’ll produce. Controlling the insulin response is a key to keeping body fat down. Big, infrequent meals increase insulin production. If you allow your blood sugar to get low, your body will have a proportionally huge fat production at your next meal – no matter what you eat.

By allowing your body to get hungry, you can actually lose muscle [more on this in the next entry]. Satisfying your blood sugar needs helps keep your appetite-controlling hormones at bay, so insulin is better controlled. It’s better to eat six small, well-balanced meals a regular intervals throughout the day than to eat three huge meals with lots of hours [time to get hungry] in between each meal.


This multipart series of blogs and articles starts here, in case you have to catch up – you’ll also find a full table of contents, complete with links, in that entry. My designation of each area as “easy,” “medium” or “hard” is purely subjective. I’ve arrived at the designations from my personal experience garnered from 20+ years of climbing along with observations I’ve made as a climbing coach/certified personal trainer. You may find some of the areas harder or easier to change. You also might not agree with me or my take on things. That’s fine – feel free to take it or leave it as you wish! Also, remember that the information I provide here is purely offered as advice and that no exercises or training program should be undertaken without receiving medical clearance from a healthcare professional.

One other caveat: As will be true for all of the entries and articles in this series, if you’ve already mastered or maxed out the topic at hand to the best of your ability level, you’ll reap far fewer benefits or none at all from my suggestions – good for you that you figured it out, but sorry I couldn’t help you out more. Happy climbing and training!

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