/ Power weight

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Ciderslider - on 15 Oct 2013
It's probably been covered ad nauseam but I'm wondering if it's really going to be worth all the pain to try to stop eating crap and drinking beer in order to up my power weight for climbing.
Now I know that there are lots of other factors (technique etc) but if all the other factors stayed the same, but I was exactly a stone lighter - what difference would it really make ???
Ciderslider - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider: Meant to include that I want to drop 1 stone
Cake - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:
On hearsay, I think you might just notice that you can hold on for longer. Also, I suppose it depends on what proportion of your weight that stone would be. If you weigh 20 stone, you may not notice so much.

For climbing harder, it may well be easier to just train more (or better/more strategically, etc.) to get the same gains. However, of course, there may be other benefits of losing weight that make the sacrifice worth it.

Cake

P.S. Not wanting to sound smug, but I am one of those types who naturally has hardly any body fat and I have certainly noticed that I seem to have more power than others all other things equal.
Turbo tommy - on 15 Oct 2013
The difference is HUGE, assuming you aren't so obese that 1 stone is not significant, which very few people are. The difference in power to weight ratio is massive, and it definitely improves your climbing noticeably.
Jonny2vests - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:

What's power weight?
remus - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider: It depends a lot on how you are climbing at the moment, your history and what your goals are.

To give a few examples, if you've been taking it easy and climbing at VS for the last 10 years then specifically aiming to drop weight isn't necessarily the best thing. You'd most likely be better of focusing your efforts on learning to consistently try hard and getting out climbing on a more regular basis (i.e. at least 3 times a week). If you are overweight some weight loss will inevitably occur.

On the other hand if you've been doing specific training for the last couple of years and you're looking for a bit of a boost for an upcoming trip then dropping a bit of weight is a relatively good option.

Worth noting that unless you're overweight (whatever that means) then dropping weight isn't a long term option. You can see good short term gains but you will never see continued improvement through weight loss.
Rob Parsons on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:

> ... if I was a stone lighter - what difference would it really make ???

You could get some idea by making yourself a stone *heavier* - wear a rucksack weighing 14 pounds - and seeing what difference that makes when you're climbing.

Personally - as well as climbing - I like drinking beer, and eating a bit of crap now and then. So I try to make room for all three.
duchessofmalfi - on 15 Oct 2013
This topic has been extensively argued here recently, eg:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=561617&v=1#x7475506

and

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=552193&v=1#x7370672


My 2p is I lost over 2st and gained 1/2 grade which I put down to new shoes. The only correct answer is "it depends", it probably won't hurt to lose excess weight or balance your weight towards climbing but training probably helps more.
Michael Gordon - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:

If you're overweight, losing weight is a good idea and certainly won't harm your climbing. If you're not overweight then probably don't bother.
CurlyStevo - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:
Knowing you I think the biggest noticeable gains will be indoor sport climbing (but will help similarly at places like portland), at approx your BMI which isn't too shabby IMO (especially for an old git ;) ) I've found in the past that a stone lost would mean you could climb atleast 1 sport + grade harder possibly two (ie F6b to F6b+ or F6c ish).

It won't obviously help that much with specific technique such as the crux of slabs or cracks but it will give you a fair amount more omph especially on steep sustained ground.
CurlyStevo - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to remus:
"Worth noting that unless you're overweight (whatever that means) then dropping weight isn't a long term option. You can see good short term gains but you will never see continued improvement through weight loss."

I don't think that's true, but obviously it depends on the definition of overweight. I'm currently at the upper end of normal BMI, if I lost a stone and kept it off I wouldn't be underweight (although I wouldn't want to loose more than that) but I would be climbing harder I can guarantee that. Keeping it off would be the hard bit.
Ciderslider - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider: Thanks for all your input. Just to clarify I'm 52 years old been climbing about 2-3 years. About 5' 10" on a good day ;-) and weigh 12 stone.
I am reasonably strong and do alot of indoor bouldering - which was partly what prompted this question.
Now I know that moves that I'm doing on an indoor bouldering wall have no real bearing on what I do outside - but - if I can get massively stronger (and obviously my body is not going to respond to training as it did when I was 20) then surely if I was a stone lighter I'm going to be able to hang upside down on roof type routes for longer ?
Then finally when I grow a pair ultimate routes like Flying buttress Direct and the sloth might go without potential panic/epic ?
Ciderslider - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: Hey Wooks, you say the sweetest things ;-)
tlm - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:

Being a rather weak person, I've also found that if I am lighter, I am more confident about my ability to cling on and not let go, which in turn makes me bolder.

I've found it relatively easy to lose weight when I choose to, but almost impossible to keep it off over a long time - it always just seems to creep up, no matter how good my intentions. Only slowly - maybe one pound every couple of months, but over time it adds up and then I have to cut back a bit in order to lose it.
Daniel Heath - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:

Yes, you can improve your P/W in two weeks by dieting, when it may take months to make the same results by getting stronger. But it is short term for most people. It can also encourage unhealthy eating habits (too less or too much). Personally I wouldn't recommend it for Flying Buttress Direct.

Just go for it! Confidence is more important than weight on that particular route IMHO
Ciderslider - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to tlm: Interesting , that's what I was thinking.
What is really weird is that a few years or so back I was always between 13.5 st and sometime almost 14 (really felt quite chubby then).
I lost about two stone in 2005 when I ran a marathon, and have essentially kept it off since then.
Although I eat all the wrong things (and drink way too much ale) I am very active (for an old git) and I think that this is the only thing keeping me from planet chubb.
Part of me thinks that if I'm just a bit careful with what I eat (and drink) I could be lean - rather than having a smallish muffin.
I did put a stone in weight into a small backpack and can't imagine how much harder trying some of the sustained roof boulder problems would be.
Also since bouldering I am alot less scared of running out of juice on strenuous moves, and maybe think that further weight loss might take that further.
Ciderslider - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Daniel Heath: Sure yep I fully get what you are saying - but if I was lighter still that would surely increase my growing confidence in my own ability to stay calm on steep ground (knowing that I wasn't going to run out of steam ).
DubyaJamesDubya - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:
> It's probably been covered ad nauseam but I'm wondering if it's really going to be worth all the pain to try to stop eating crap and drinking beer in order to up my power weight for climbing.
> Now I know that there are lots of other factors (technique etc) but if all the other factors stayed the same, but I was exactly a stone lighter - what difference would it really make ???

It really depends on how happy climbing a harder in the grades will make you vs how happy 'eating crap and drinking beer' makes you, since I presume you climb for enjoyment, only you can answer that. In my experience you can still eat some crap, drink beer and maintain a reasonable weight. It's just a question of how much.
mattrm - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:

You're exactly the same size and weight as me. I found that when I went from 13st to 12st, I increased in a grade or so.

I'm currently dieting towards 11st. Well less dieting, but I've changed my normal day-to-day diet to have a lot less 'fatty carbs' eg less chips, crisps etc and replaced all that with lots of fruit and veg. My weight is slowly (1lb a week or so) going downwards. I still have a few beers on a friday night and the odd chocolate bar/piece of cake as well.
Offwidth - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:

Borrow a weight jacket from one of the local wads and put 5kg in that. Carrying it a sack doesnt give the right weight distribution. Weight loss makes a big difference so long as your new weight is still in the healthy range. Going underweight needs real care with diet to retain the ability of the body to recover and repair.
SteveSBlake - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

I recently lost three kg and am settling at 70kg, (6'). I haven't noticed a huge difference on trad or sport (but don't do that much of either) however when bouldering it's made a big difference.

Steve
teflonpete - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:

Slightly different in the way I've noticed the difference, but, 18 months ago I was tipping the scales at 13 1/2 stone but climbing (indoors) 2 - 3 times a week and was reasonably strong. I was climbing 6b at my local wall (soft grades). I've barely climbed at all over the last 18 months and done no training whatsoever but I've been eating less. I'm now about 12 1/2 stone, possibly a bit under, but I'm noticeably weaker than I was. However, after barely climbing for 18 months, I went back to the wall and can still onsight 6a+, including steep stuff. Reckon I could pull a 6b or two out of the bag next time. When I was climbing regularly and my weight was constant at 13 1/2 stone, a 4 week lay off was enough to drop me down half a grade. So, although the weight loss hasn't improved my grade, it has noticeably lessened the impact of not training for a considerable amount of time. I would assume that if I was as strong as I used to be, and my head was in the same place, the reduced weight would probably be worth half a sport grade improvement.

For comparison, I'm 5' 10", fairly broad across the shoulders and an old git of 45. ;0)
andic - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:

Going from 92kg to 85kg made a big difference to me; about 1 1/2 grades from getting 6b (font) about 50% of the time to cruising 6c+

But the great thing about climbing (I find) is that your technique catches up really quickly and once you know a move you can get it in almost any situation. I maintained my gains even after putting some weight back on.

I think losing weight is a good way to be able to "access" harder routes which will teach you better movement and give you more permanent improvements
jkarran - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:

> if all the other factors stayed the same, but I was exactly a stone lighter - what difference would it really make ???

Noticeable. You'll feel stronger and tire slower. Might be worth an F letter grade to me at a guess, I haven't actually tried losing the weight, only adding it and other parameters never remain constant for long.

Is it worth it? You'll probably be and feel healthier. Climbing wise it depends on your goals and motivations, that and how acutely you'd feel the loss of pies and beer!

jk
Offwidth - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to jkarran:

I was just thinking about a diet myself then you go and mention pies and beer.
teflonpete - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to jkarran)
>
> I was just thinking about a diet myself then you go and mention pies and beer.

Pie and beer diet! :0)
andic - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

Pie is just stew with a lid on it, its practically paleo, where is the harm?
teflonpete - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to andic:

And beer is one of your 5 a day, it's made from plants. :0)
DubyaJamesDubya - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to andic)
>
> And beer is one of your 5 a day, it's made from plants. :0)

So five beers a day = healthy living!
teflonpete - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:
> (In reply to teflonpete)
> [...]
>
> So five beers a day = healthy living!

Spot on! :0)
monkey man - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:

Seemed to work ok for John Dunne,
sorry I appreciate not a hugely helpful answer, personally seemed to make a differnce to me, I think part of that was in giving me more confiedence
Mick Ward - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:

> Also since bouldering I am alot less scared of running out of juice on strenuous moves, and maybe think that further weight loss might take that further.

Well it will, but...

My guess is that physically you could fly up FBD and Sloth right now. The latter is probably best described as VS climbing in an E2 situation. They're both head games. Yes, more power means you're less likely to power out and feeling light can feel good. But they're still head games. You could probably have a load of pies and a skinfull the night before and, if you felt good and were with a supportive belayer, fly up 'em leading.

I'd just get loads more HVS/E1 under your belt and (as I suggested in an email to you), if need be, use Subluminal as a laboratory for learning and mistakes. Maybe headpoint some E2s. If you're very confident at HVS/E1, it's more likely your head will be in shape.

If you want the weight loss anyway, then fine (as long as you're careful). It will make stuff like breaking into F7a much easier. But confidence and support will get you up FBD and Sloth.

Mick

Wayne S - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:

Hi, my view is to suffer the lack of cake and beer. You can only get so strong, loosing weight is way easier than trying to squeeze the last few percent of strength through training (and less prone to injury).

For me 115Kg was equal to struggling on VS

79Kg = leading first E3!

Though its better to look at weight loss as a long term project, maybe over 6 months, all assuming you have weight to loose!

As much as BMI tables are knocked, and for years I told myself I was big built so BMI didn't apply to me. I am now in the healthy range and feel very well on it!

The hunger eases after about 6 months!

Wayne
Jonny2vests - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Mick Ward:

Yep, all that.
Ciderslider - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Mick Ward: Cool, thanks Mick (wise words as always). I think you've probably hit the nail on the head.
I think I've been getting to much time in on the bouldering wall (is that possible), and when am I ever going to need the type of moves on trad that I'm doing bouldering (maybe in the next life ;-))
Also been trying my heart out there and have reached the point where a few pounds less chubb would help on some of the more extreme problems.
But trad, as you say is more of a head game (in alot of cases) and I'm simply not able to spend as much time on it as I'd like.
Mick Ward - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:

Mark, hang on in there. Don't get disheartened. Your best leads are ahead of you. You'll see...

Mick
CurlyStevo - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:
I disagree the thing holding you back on grit trad is technique not head stuff, your head is rock solid, way more than mine is!!!

On our last trip you didn't manage to clean second 2 out of 4 of the HVS climbs I lead (I dogged one of them). That wasn't a head thing.

I think if next year you concentrated on top ropeing southern sandstone instead of bouldering indoors in brighton you'd see some real gains in your sandstone technique (remember gritstone is a type of sandstone and IMO does climb quite similarly).

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