/ Diet asistance: muscle building

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Flinticus - on 16 Jul 2013
Another poster's query reminded me to post this one.

I'm vegetarian, aged 43 (I think age affects the ability to build and maintain muscle) and have been using the local wall for the last two years, probably about 3 times per week. Presently I weight about 10st (and have for the last 20 years or so). However, over all the time I have been climbing my arms remain fairly...puny. While there has been a slight increase in muscle tone & mass, its not much. I notice that I tire out very quickly on severe overhanging bouldering routes, where my arms must take a lot of the strain (please don't reply about using your feet to take your weight: I know that), and I am getting fed up.

What could I add to my diet to help, keeping things as 'normal' as possible, i.e. less of the pills & powders.

I also get exerice through hill walking & cycling, neither of which improve things arm wise! I'm not looking for Arnie biceps or the ability to bend iron bars but just to pull myself over an overhanging roof more than once or twice in a session.
TheDrunkenBakers - on 16 Jul 2013
In reply to Flinticus:
> Another poster's query reminded me to post this one.
>
> I'm vegetarian, aged 43 (I think age affects the ability to build and maintain muscle) and have been using the local wall for the last two years, probably about 3 times per week. Presently I weight about 10st (and have for the last 20 years or so). However, over all the time I have been climbing my arms remain fairly...puny. While there has been a slight increase in muscle tone & mass, its not much. I notice that I tire out very quickly on severe overhanging bouldering routes, where my arms must take a lot of the strain (please don't reply about using your feet to take your weight: I know that), and I am getting fed up.
>
> What could I add to my diet to help, keeping things as 'normal' as possible, i.e. less of the pills & powders.
>
> I also get exerice through hill walking & cycling, neither of which improve things arm wise! I'm not looking for Arnie biceps or the ability to bend iron bars but just to pull myself over an overhanging roof more than once or twice in a session.

Apart from climbing, you might want to add some other strength training to your regime. lat pull downs, pull ups, bent over rows etc etc and so on.
dale1968 - on 16 Jul 2013
In reply to Flinticus: I have used this to good effect only 20mins in the gym so plenty of energy for other things, there are lots of routines though if you don't like the look of this one http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/bulldozer-training-4-day-mini-dozer-workout-split
dale1968 - on 16 Jul 2013
In reply to Flinticus:
o
> What could I add to my diet to help, keeping things as 'normal' as possible, i.e. less of the pills & powders.
>

Timing is important so a small amount of protien and carbs pre and post training, you might get fatter initially, but you can shed that subsquently
Shani - on 16 Jul 2013
In reply to Flinticus:

Your stats aren't much to go on. You weight 10st but what is your height and lean body mass?

With regard to your diet, protein timing is relatively unimportant (unless you train fasted). What does matter is that you get enough protein (about 2g per KG LBM), each day.

If your arms are puny, it is probably becuase your body has cannibalised your muscle. Make sure your protein sources are complete. As a veggie, whey powder might be a more important source of protein for you than if you ate meat.

Remember, your body grows in between training sessions so rest and adequate nutrition are vital. Eat plenty of starchy CHO after training (potatoes), and moderate fat.

The kind of training will affect your physique, but if you are getting stronger, you should see your arms and shoulders get bigger.

As for training, you need a training plan. Measure your progress. Set goals.
Flinticus - on 16 Jul 2013
In reply to Shani:
Thanks. Height 5'8'', LBM (last measured 2012) 90%.

I've been trying to increase my fat intake, especially after my long hill walks, often backpacking overnight, as I eat little on those.

What about nuts for protein, or, as mentioned on another thread, chia seed?
Shani - on 16 Jul 2013
In reply to Flinticus:
Should you want to go down the calorie-counting route, you need to calculate your maintenance calorie requirement. Then, using the protein ratio above, try a fat level of somewhere around 60g on a rest day and 30g on a training day. The rest of your daily calories should come from carbohydrate.

As a general approach try -20% calories on a rest day and +20% calories on a training day.

Assuming you weigh around 65kg, have LBM of 59kg and are 172cm in height using Harris-Benedict formula for BMR this will give you a daily caloric rate of about 1837. Going with the =/- 20% calories guide above (the aim of which is to gain advantage from fuel partitioning), this gives you:

T-Day Protein 118g
T-Day Fat 30g
T-Day Carbohydrate 457g

R-Day Protein 118g
R-Day Fat 60g
R-Day Carbohydrate 160g

If strength is your goal I'd chuck in deadlifting on one training day and squats pull-up work on another. Three sets of 4-6 reps (heavy) with good form. With regard to climbing, work on bouldering hard (take 3-5 minutes between attempts). For strength, less is more.

You sound ectomorphic so don't worry about getting massive - it won't happen.

As for protein sources - I favour meat but a quick Google should help you find some suitable ones for your personal dietary requirements.

HTHs
MischaHY - on 16 Jul 2013
Sounds like you need to up your intake of carbs. Remember to build muscle, you have to eat all the calories you need for the day, plus all the extra to repair your body after exercise, then even more to actually build new cells. One thing I find excellent is homemade pizza, takes about 15 minutes to make from scratch and the same to bake, and packs approx 1000-1300 calories and nearly 150g of protein. Baked potatoes, pasta, savoury crumble bakes and pastry - all of these will work great. As for protein, if you don't eat enough dairy then use vegetable protein like quorn etc. I've been following the above and I've put on a lot of muscle mass in the past couple of months - you'll put on a bit of fat too, but you can trim that down once you've built some muscle up.

Oh, and don't listen to anyone who blathers on about meat being the only good way without using powders and pills, because they're talking rubbish.
ice.solo - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Shani:
> (In reply to Flinticus)
>
> Your stats aren't much to go on. You weight 10st but what is your height and lean body mass?
>
> With regard to your diet, protein timing is relatively unimportant (unless you train fasted). What does matter is that you get enough protein (about 2g per KG LBM), each day.
>
> If your arms are puny, it is probably becuase your body has cannibalised your muscle. Make sure your protein sources are complete. As a veggie, whey powder might be a more important source of protein for you than if you ate meat.
>
> Remember, your body grows in between training sessions so rest and adequate nutrition are vital. Eat plenty of starchy CHO after training (potatoes), and moderate fat.
>
> The kind of training will affect your physique, but if you are getting stronger, you should see your arms and shoulders get bigger.
>
> As for training, you need a training plan. Measure your progress. Set goals.

id go with this.

eat fresh, extra soy and pulses if youre vegetarian (milk if you do that), train the bits you want to see developed (pull ups, dips, push ups), rest deeply.
Ramblin dave - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Flinticus:
> I notice that I tire out very quickly on severe overhanging bouldering routes, where my arms must take a lot of the strain (please don't reply about using your feet to take your weight: I know that), and I am getting fed up.

I'm kind of an amateur at this and I'm willing to be corrected, but it sounds like you're failing on power endurance rather than pure strength. There's a squillion articles on this and most of them are probably bilge, but here's a sample one that seems mostly sensible:
http://www.moonclimbing.com/blog/school/the-3-training-phases-for-climbing/

Also, climbing three times a week is good, but when you go climbing do you train in an organized way with targeted sessions on recruitment training or hypertrophic training or whatever, or do you just go and try to climb stuff and see how many routes you can get up today? Because if it's the latter then it might be worth looking into the former before you consider dropping a climbing session for a weights session.

(Open question on this topic: I've read various things about different ways of training power endurance, with various different exercises, but the general theme seems to be repeated chunks of climbing that leave you fully pumped and unable to grip a hold with rests that only let you recover partially in between. So is any sensible exercise that has that basic pattern going to be reasonably effective?)
dr_botnik - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Flinticus: After a period of illness I managed to put alot of weight back on (and grow my shoulders) through eating lots of mars bars and doing kettlebell routines. I imagine any form of weight lifting that uses complex movements (i.e. more than one muscle, instead of isolation excersises) will work (google "complex dumbell routine") include some squatting style excersises as this will trigger your muscles to grow. Eat lots of porridge and eggs, but remember to keep up with the greens as well to balance all the vitamins and minerals your body will rinse as it repairs itself.

A vegan friend of mine was drinking soya-protein smoothies during her pregnancy, she blended the beans with a mixture of berries. I hear quinoa is also good as a grain that has a high protein content, sweet potatoes or plaintain should also be on your list. Green lentils and chickpeas are also a good source of protein. I think alot of body-builders use shakes because they're convienient. I used to work with a guy who religiously ate 18 eggs for breakfast, followed by 2 bowls of porridge and topped up mid morning with 4 chicken breasts, he was pushing 17 stone though!
lost1977 - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to dr_botnik:

> I think alot of body-builders use shakes because they're convienient. I used to work with a guy who religiously ate 18 eggs for breakfast, followed by 2 bowls of porridge and topped up mid morning with 4 chicken breasts, he was pushing 17 stone though!



whey shakes are not only convienient but based on actual protein content and cost probably the cheapest source of quality protein
dr_botnik - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to lost1977: ^^^this guy looks like he knows what he's on about!!!
Edd Reed - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Flinticus: I'm also a veggie and my wife has a nut allergy so we avoid having them in the house, low fat cheese, skimmed milk, pumpkin seeds, soy beans which can be dried or fresh are very high protein sources.

Just have a look at the lables next time you are shopping, a good complete veggie protein - as in it contains all the essetial amino acids is quinoa.

If I remember some more good sources I'll post again
shark - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Flinticus:

Timing is key - a protein and carb snack within 20 minutes after a workout is essential. Skimmed milk is good - maybe a tuna sandwich if fish is allowed.

You may be focussing in the wrong area as it might not be just arms that are the problem. At 10stone your power to weight should be excellent. I know climbers with skinny arms that can crank one armers. Core strength and knowing how to apply it might be the key to improving your performance on overhanging walls.

Book an hour with a movement oriented coach to get some feedback.
Flinticus - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
I tend to start off with a warm up (stretches) then do some easy traverses then a harder traverse then start off with a few easy bouldering routes, increasing difficulty until I am focusing on those at the top of my ability.

I've googled hypertrophic and can see why my legs are strong, as I tend to incur hypertrophy when hill walking & cycling.
Flinticus - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to shark:
A movement oriented coach sounds good. Might even be available at the TCA.

Shani - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to shark:
> (In reply to Flinticus)
>
> Timing is key - a protein and carb snack within 20 minutes after a workout is essential. Skimmed milk is good - maybe a tuna sandwich if fish is allowed.

I think you are over-egging this. I wouldn't go so far as to say it is 'essential' - certainly not in all cases and certainly not within 20 minutes after a workout.

You could eat CHO several hours after training and glycogen levels will still be restocked about 8-24hrs later. If you do multiple workouts in the same day (using the same muscles), it might be more important - but even then your muscles will probably have sufficient glycogen remaining. If you had a meal a few hours before your workout then your body will still be digesting this. A PRO + CHO meal will keep your insulin levels high enough to stop protein breakdown for 4-6 hours. Protein synthesis rises about 3-4 hours after exercise peaking at about 24 hours.

Like I said above, it *may* become more important to eat close to post workout if you've trained fasted - and there is also some evidence that older athletes or those training multiple times a day *may* benefit from this approach.

Ramblin dave - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Flinticus:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave)
> I tend to start off with a warm up (stretches) then do some easy traverses then a harder traverse then start off with a few easy bouldering routes, increasing difficulty until I am focusing on those at the top of my ability.

If you look at books like The Self Coached Climber, they talk quite a lot about how to use a bouldering wall to build up strength, as opposed to using it to have a fun session climbing with your mates (which is a perfectly reasonable way to climb but less likely to get you strong quickly). In particular there's a lot about the difference between sessions of recruitment training via working individual moves at the absolute limit of your ability to pull, sessions of hypertrophic training via doing greater volume of problems at about your onsight limit and sessions of power endurance training by doing multiple sets of back-to-back problems with only partial recovery between sets.

I tend to keep this stuff at the back of my mind rather than adhering to it rigorously, but then I'm a fat bumbly.

I also sometimes wonder whether people who find it easier to get strong using weights / fingerboard / campus board training do so partly because it's easier to get into the mindset for the sort of boring repetitive training that really helps when you're using something that's clearly designed for boring repetitive training rather than a bouldering wall where the temptation is to have a go at what your mates are trying, have another go at the route you couldn't do last time, try to figure out the trick for a "thinky" problem, stop for a chat, repeat something easy but cool looking to impress your mates etc. Whereas the reason that someone like Dave Mac generally reckons you should prioritise bouldering above all else if you can is that he's very good at getting into that mindset on a bouldering wall (and that he has a wall in his attic that he can set exactly the right sort of problems on and then have exclusive use of...)

Sorry, this has wandered well away from the original diet question...
lost1977 - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Shani:

agree with you that its not essential the 20 min rule, over the years i have experimented and in some cases (mainly dependant on type of training done) i may not even take in protein until 1hr + after training (opting for carbs post workout)
ads.ukclimbing.com
andic - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Flinticus:

I am happy to be shouted down (by people who know more about it) on this idea but here it is:

If you are veggie are you eating a lot of tofu/soya? AIUI soya based foods can suppress testosterone levels and so you are less able to build lean muscle.

Also if you really want to grow muscles using climbing you need to climb more slowly keeping muscles unter load and eat plenty of calories there is loads of stuff on t'internet
shark - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Shani:
> (In reply to shark)
> [...]

> and there is also some evidence that older athletes or those training multiple times a day *may* benefit from this approach.



What are you implying?
KingStapo - on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to Flinticus:

At the start of the year I embarked upon a regime of intermittent fasting; 2 days a week of 600 calories and also no food before 2pm each day. After 3 months I'd gone from 74kg to a plateau of 68kg (I think i'm 5'8'' tall). That loss of mass helped me climb much better first of all. Especially in terms of my ability to pull round overhanging routes and generally power.

I also embarked upon a regime of weights (heavy dumbbells really), pullups and leg raisers as well as climbing on the wall i built in the garage (45degrees, about 2m high), about 4 nights a week and had a portion of whey during the 'training'.

I'd say my arms and shoulders are noticeably bigger (just), my abs are much leaner and everything is just more toned and ripped looking. I'm not saying I look like an Adonis, but i'm very chuffed with the outcome, and the relative ease with which it was achieved, and also the improvement to my climbing by dropping mass and increasing muscle (really by not that much!)

My next trick is to continue weights to big-up my arms and reduce daily fat to under 50g. Which is bloody hard when you're a big fan of cheese!
dr_botnik - on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to shark:
> (In reply to Shani)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
>
>
> What are you implying?

I lol'd


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