/ Importance of body weight in climbing

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L Sherpa Sheelah on 16 Nov 2016
Hi everyone,

I would like to understand the importance of maintaining a good body weight in climbing. I can't find much material on it so would welcome thoughts from members who may have some experience of climbing at different bodyweights. Essentially I have a couple of stone that I would like to lose. Am female (older variety) who is just over 10 stone and could be and have been quite comfortably 8 stone 4, say, and still not be skin and bone. Am 5 foot 3. Were I to be substantially lighter would this hugely benefit my climbing do you think? Of course climbing is not the only reason to lose weight but it would help to understand the impact of so doing and likewise not to be hugely disappointed if it didn't particularly change anything.

Am currently climbing around 6a.
Many thanks
snoop6060 - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

5'3 and 10 stone seems reasonable and defo not the factor holding you back at 6a.
ChrisNaylor - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:
I went from 12'9st to 10'2st this year between March - September whilst I was training for a triathlon, with my body fat dropping from almost 17% to 9% whilst I gained 5kg of lean muscle mass.

I definitely noticed a difference on the walk ins (although this could be due to the amount of cardio I was doing) and more importantly I can now hang for longer and feel a lot more comfortable on over hanging routes, previously I had always favored slab climbs.


Edit: spelling.
Post edited at 16:34
Lord_ash2000 - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

It's important to note that losing fat and losing weight are not the same thing. In climbing your power to weight ratio is very important. So lets say you have X amount of physical strength in your fingers, arms, shoulders etc, if you can keep that strength level but lose weight then you've got less weight to lift with the same power, meaning things will be easier.

Of course alternatively, you can keep the wight and increase power but muscle is also heavy and ultimately it all comes down to your fingers to support the total body weight which will go up as power levels (muscle) increases.

So don't worry about your total body weight but losing the fat and replacing it with muscle will make you a better climber in power terms even if the overall weight stays the same.
La benya - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to snoop6060:

i dont wish this to be taken as rude, and i hope it wont as the original question is about ideal body composition and weight....

That sounds really heavy to me. At 5'3 for a lady she could stay in the healthy body fat range and drop 3 stone.

no idea if its the limiting factor, as i dont know how long the OP has been climbing, technical expertise etc. but, in my experience weight is a massive factor. at my fighting fit best, i weighed 75kg with <10% BF. i now weigh 90+kg with a <10% BF (started playing rugby, got big legs now) and i would attribute roughly a whole number grade to the weight gain (bouldering)
La benya - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

Agree entirely with this. losing weight as an exercise is silly, losing fat is great.
slab_happy on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to La benya:
> That sounds really heavy to me.

10 stone is 140 pounds, which for 5 foot 3 is near the top of the "normal" BMI range.

> At 5'3 for a lady she could stay in the healthy body fat range and drop 3 stone.

If she dropped 3 stone, she would be 98 pounds and clinically underweight -- which is, according to all the stats, rather more dangerous medically than being mildly overweight. And if you're female (of the older variety in particular), being underweight is going to seriously increase your risk of osteoporosis.

Whether the OP could safely lose some body fat (and sustain the loss) and whether that would benefit her climbing is a different question.

But it seems unhelpful to go telling people that a normal BMI is "really heavy" and that they should aim to be underweight.
Post edited at 16:50
Marek - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

Based on my recent experience I'd guess that if you lost half a stone you'd gain maybe a half grade indoor (steep and juggy 6a+) and nothing outdoors (more technical).
Toerag - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

I'm ~85kg and I notice how much harder it is on my fingers than when I was 80kg. I'm 6'1" so both weights are within the 'acceptable' BMI scale. As stated above, ideally you'd lose as much weight as possible without losing health and power.
Mick Ward - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

If you want to improve from F6a, the most probable (I stress probable!) thing to go at first would be improved footwork. A good way to do this is low level traverses where you aim to be really slick. The 'golden triangle' is at the ball of your foot. Apart from stuff like heelhooking, you should be using this 'golden triangle' for most moves. Watch people with really good (and not so good... and downright bad!) footwork and you'll see what I mean.

Also throw a toprope on something harder (say F6b/F6b+) and have a play around. See what works/doesn't work. If you have a good sequence, redpoint it. Move your redpoint grade up, then your onsight grade (say three grades below) behind it.

Dropping a stone (carefully!) may be part of your strategy if you want to get say from F6c+ to F7b+. But not right now.

Mick (shoving yet another chocolate biccy down his neck!)
rallymania on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

technique and "mileage" will probably help more than losing weight on it's own.

how often do you climb?
La benya - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to slab_happy:
Personally i think putting an stock in BMI is dangerous. its a terrible way of measuring any type of fitness. For example, i am classed as clinically obese.

18 as a BMI is right on the threshold of 'safe'... 'safe by the standards of an industry aimed at catering to a population of sedentry pigs. aiming a little or a lot lower is not necessarily a bad thing.

being underweight because of neglect will increase your chances of osteoporosis... being 'underweight' because of a willingness to be so, and active management of you diet and exercise route certainly wont.

EDIT- Just to add.... alot of these BMI charts suggest that someone can be 5'3" and over 170 and still be in the normal range..... that is mental, unless you are a slab of pure muscle with shoulders 8ft wide
Post edited at 17:19
3leggeddog on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Mick Ward:
Good point Mick, but you can only have good footwork if you can see your feet!

To the OP, follow all of the advice above and lose some weight, if you are new to the sport you will make gains from all the advice
Post edited at 17:30
slab_happy on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to La benya:

> Personally i think putting an stock in BMI is dangerous.

I agree that BMI is a rubbish measure in various ways: for example, it doesn't factor in heavy people who have a lot of muscle, which I'm guessing is the group you fall into. And there's a lot of evidence that -- in terms of overall health outcomes -- the "normal" range needs to be expanded *upwards*, to cover what's currently considered mildly overweight at least.

However, the evidence on the risks of being medically underweight is very clear. And there's less room for ambiguity there; if you have an "overweight" BMI, it says nothing about how much is fat and how much is muscle, but if you're "underweight" you're going to be critically short on one or the other or both.

> 18 as a BMI is right on the threshold of 'safe'.

7 stone at 5 foot 3 is a BMI of 17.3, where the lower cut-off for "normal" (on the NHS calculator) is 18.5.

> .. 'safe by the standards of an industry aimed at catering to a population of sedentry pigs.

What industry? The medical "industry"?

Also, are you actually arguing that people should deliberately aim for a bodyweight that's significantly lower than considered "safe" by the medical profession?

> being underweight because of neglect will increase your chances of osteoporosis... being 'underweight' because of a willingness to be so, and active management of you diet and exercise route certainly wont.

In this case, the osteoporosis risk is directly related to what happens hormonally when your body fat drops below a certain level. And your bones have no way of knowing whether you're doing it "willingly" or not.

Have you ever heard of the "female athlete triad"? Because it happens to women who are very actively "managing their diet and exercise", and it still messes up their bone density.

> EDIT- Just to add.... alot of these BMI charts suggest that someone can be 5'3" and over 170 and still be in the normal range..... that is mental, unless you are a slab of pure muscle with shoulders 8ft wide

I don't know what BMI charts you're looking at, but I was using the official NHS one.
Fiona Reid - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

I'm 5ft 2 and have lost just over 10kg over the last 18 months or so. It's definitely helped my climbing on overhangs etc as I can hold on a tiny bit longer than before and thus have a bit more time to work out harder moves and thus more chance of success etc. Grade wise it's probably made a 0.5 to a full grade difference, maybe more if a route suits me. On slabs I don't think it's made the blindest bit of difference though.

My original BMI was 26.5-27 so a little overweight but given I'm pretty powerful (I walk, ski, climb, bike thus have a lot of muscle) I doubt many folks would have described me as "fat". My BMI now is about 22.5-22.9. At my heaviest I was around 67kg (I actually might have been more but I didn't own working scales till a year back!). I'm now between 56-57kg.

If you're climbing 6a you'll probably notice a difference if you lose weight but I suspect that you could gain as much or more with improving technique, body position, footwork etc etc. You also mentioned you're "older", some strength training may well help you too. A mate recently did this and the improvement to her climbing has been quite impressive.
keith-ratcliffe on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:
Not exactly an answer but if you can find videos of John Dunne or Don Whillans you will see that technique - particularly footwork can compensate for their extra weight.
Post edited at 20:43
La benya - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to slab_happy:

> 7 stone at 5 foot 3 is a BMI of 17.3, where the lower cut-off for "normal" (on the NHS calculator) is 18.5.

Splitting hairs a bit here, as she says she's a little over 10st so you can forgive my flippant round number assertion of 3st off. Giving even a slight bit of wiggle room will allow her to stay in your 'normal' range.

> What industry? The medical "industry"?

Well, yes. And the fitness industry. As I said this (along with most 'normal' metrics for body composition) are tailored to your run of the mill sendantry coach surfer that needs to be made to feel better about being tubby.

> Also, are you actually arguing that people should deliberately aim for a bodyweight that's significantly lower than considered "safe" by the medical profession?

I think it would be wise for people to take this sort of stuff with a pinch of salt, do some reading around the subject and determine what's sensible for themselves. As I said, if I listened to the charts I would be crying into a cupcake. Being well below or well above the 'normal' limit in unto itself is not bad. I have to admit this is probably my own prejudices, but being slightly under must be better for you physically than being slightly over...?

> In this case, the osteoporosis risk is directly related to what happens hormonally when your body fat drops below a certain level. And your bones have no way of knowing whether you're doing it "willingly" or not.

Again, I'll admit I don't know a lot about menopausal women's hormonal changes and its effect on physiology. I was coming from what I know about physical exercise promoting bone density. Do you know what the the greater effect?

> I don't know what BMI charts you're looking at, but I was using the official NHS one.

Whatever the first one on google was. The 'normal range spans a crazy amount, and is in my opinion an experience of healthy athletic bodies, significantly biased towards fatties.
thebigfriendlymoose - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

> Not exactly an answer but if you can find videos of John Dunne or Don Whillans you will see that technique - particularly footwork can compensate for their extra weight.

I thought that John was reasonably svelte when he did his hardest sport routes (still chunky in absolute terms compared to the likes of McClure I'll admit). He would reportedly lard-up a bit over winter and slim down over the season whilst getting himself route-fit for his projects - training heavy with his own built-in weight-belt but then climbing thin when it counted (I guess modern gurus would call it "integral hyper-gravity training").

Stone Idle - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

A friend reckons it is easier to lose weight than get stronger. I have both lost 20 lb and got stronger and my grade has gone from 5a to 6b. It all helps, as do performance boots.
1poundSOCKS - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to thebigfriendlymoose:

> I thought that John was reasonably svelte when he did his hardest sport routes

If you watch The Big Issue he's climbing some pretty hard stuff (maybe not his hardest) and doesn't look in the best of shape. Worth watching to see his footwork, how he gets the weight off his arms on the steep stuff. But obviously he was insanely strong as well.
Mick Ward - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> Worth watching to see his footwork...

"The two best Brits for footwork? John Dunne and Ian Jones." (Stevie Haston. Not known for throwing compliments around like confetti. Wish I'd get one; after 40 years I'm still hoping!)

Mick
Damo on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:
Numbers themselves only tell part of the story - there are so many human variations.

Proportion of fat to muscle in your 63.5kg?
Are you 'naturally strong'?
Do you have more fast twitch than slow twitch muscle fibres?
Wide shoulders, deep chest or all in your legs?
Are you flexible?
Do you have the basic climbing techniques right (i.e. resting on ligament, not flexed muscle, keeping your heels lower, moving your bodyweight well, balance, not freaking out and overgripping etc).

At your height, weight, age etc, if you're climbing 6a then (in real world civilian terms) you're already climbing well so probably have most of those non-strength techniques dialled, therefore wondering about gaining a bit of extra oomph is normal. Depending on those varying compositions above, perhaps you could afford to lose a little bodyweight, or equally it could be that you should stay as you are and not lose any. 5'3" and 63.5kg is not huge.

Power-to-weight ratio is more important than any overall weight number. Some of this is genetic, some trained. And by it's nature it is affected by bodyweight, but also, unlike genetics, can be improved by training. Unfortunately, it is one of our physical aspects that really suffers with age, so you can still be in good shape, have whatever bodyweight, but still not have the P2W ratio you had when you were 19, so some aspects of climbing will just be harder. Maybe you train more, maybe you improve other areas to compensate, maybe you be satisfied never climbing 7a, maybe you take up sailing instead - all perfectly valid responses.

In terms of basic physics, yes, having less weight to move up will make things easier, all other things being equal, which they rarely are. But climbing is almost never a clean mechanical lift, so such a basic equation means little (not nothing, just little). I'm tall and lean with strong arms and lats - and I long ago lost count of the number of shorter, beefier people with chunky asses and spare tyres who climb much harder than me.

As others have said, improving footwork will help a lot, as for most people at most grades. But at 6a, you're getting onto terrain that rears up much more than a VS so the weight will be coming onto your arms much more. Your fingers and forearms are little muscles to be holding the weight of *any* body.

Regardless of bodyweight, you may find doing some specific training to strengthen your arms, your grip and your lats/shoulders (for hanging) will help you. Your bodyweight probably won't change, unless you change your diet, as it's diet more than exercise that affects fat loss and overall body weight. A bit of finger/forearm training probably won't power you up over 7a but it will make you feel more secure at 6b and give you time to sort your footwork out ;-)
Post edited at 22:25
stp - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

Of course climbing is not simply about power to weight ratio. It's technique too and the mental aspects of climbing play a very large role. But assuming those aren't holding you back significantly I would think dropping 2 stone would make a huge difference to you climbing ability - or at least potential. I think just a few pounds can make a noticeable difference to anything that's on or near your limit. This is particularly true for finger strength, which is one of the most important strengths for climbing.

And when you see the difference if you're really into your climbing then you have a huge incentive to stay at a lower and more healthy weight. Being lighter also means less strain on your joints, tendons etc. so the risk of injury is reduced as an added bonus.

Have you got a diet plan for losing the weight? High fat low carb diets seems pretty effective to me, as is intermittent fasting.
lummox - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Mick Ward:

Indeed Mick. Seeing John float up stuff when he was most definitely not as his fighting weight was an amazing sight.
Toerag - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to slab_happy:

> I agree that BMI is a rubbish measure in various ways: for example, it doesn't factor in heavy people who have a lot of muscle, which I'm guessing is the group you fall into. And there's a lot of evidence that -- in terms of overall health outcomes -- the "normal" range needs to be expanded *upwards*, to cover what's currently considered mildly overweight at least.

You're forgetting that extra weight means extra strain on all sorts of parts of the body - the heart, the joints etc. It doesn't matter if the weight is fat or muscle, it's still weight. If I were my 'ideal' weight of 76kg no-one would recommend I spend all my time wearing 8kg of weight distributed around my body, which is effectively what I am doing.
JackM92 - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

Losing weight helped me massively. In May I dislocated my shoulder after a trad fall, and over the next couple of months dropped from 82kg - 75kg (at 184cm), with the weight loss being mostly upper body muscle.

Before the injury I was pretty strong, handstand press-ups, pull-ups with a 25kg weight plate etc...which is all a bit irrelevant for climbing!

The most noticable difference is that rockovers on slabs are now far easier.
david100 - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:
I am tall and thin with a perfect bmi and peope always assume that this will give me a climbing advantage. On slabby reachy problems it does but as the wall gets steeper other things such as weight come into play. I boulder a lot and I find that shorter people of average bmi seem to do better than myself on he steeper problems. I think it is the issue with more weight on the arms and hands. Simple physics would suggest that especially on slopers there is a limit to how much force can be generated by the hand especially with an open hand grip ( co-efficient of friction x area). I wonder if other tall climbers feel as if they have a weight handicap.
slab_happy on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Fiona Reid:

> You also mentioned you're "older", some strength training may well help you too.

+1 Speaking as a female of the somewhat older variety, it's definitely harder for us to build muscle and we can use as much of it as we can get (and we're generally not in danger of gaining so much muscle mass that weight from excess muscle becomes anywhere *near* a problem).

Also, if you do decide you want to try to lose weight, strength training will encourage your body to hang onto muscle mass as much as possible in the process, so that the weight you lose comes more from surplus body fat and less from muscle.
flopsicle - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

Hi Sherpa!

I'm a slender (10st) 5'7" mid forties woman and I think my weight does make a difference but as I also have a 'hefty' appetite, so avoid weight gain via exercise, it's impossible to pull apart the effects of fitness from those of weight. I couldn't diet to save my life!

Footwork is huge and I think especially if you haven't Charles Bronson biceps to sweep your mistakes under. It can be a bit frustrating when people say 'it's not your shoes' or 'it's not your weight' when, regardless of grade, everyone is still feeling at their limit so any advantage still feels real (and probably is!). I think it's easier to look at the other suggestions like footwork as parallel options open to solid improvement. The right footwear still helps, just the right footwear is unlikely to be a toe crushing down-turned implement of torture! Weight still matters but you don't need to be a ripped whippet to plough forward.

My exercise schedule is pretty hard work but that's as much due to my love of food as that of climbing. I could do with another stone off, and that thoughts helps me at least not put it on but doesn't stop me roasting the carrots with the chicken or having a bottle of beer.

I can find myself envying very light, muscular climbers but I suspect they forgo stuff to get there and probably feel a bit envious of apple tart with double cream eaters! I know there are people envious of my shape - perhaps they would be less so if they had to run up the hills I do to stay that way.

I think as long as you stay healthy, vibrant and as happy as you can the climbing improves nicely with practice. The hardest part for me has been recognising that whilst constantly raising my own bar and climbing with people far more skilled.
Mick Ward - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Mick Ward:

> If you want to improve from F6a, the most probable (I stress probable!) thing to go at first would be improved footwork. A good way to do this is low level traverses where you aim to be really slick. The 'golden triangle' is at the ball of your foot...

Apologies, what I meant (and didn't write!) was that it's that little triangle at the tip of a climbing shoe, where your other toes are crushed towards your big toe. When you see people plonk half their climbing shoe on a hold, they're kind of trapped - and yes, we've all done it. But if you put this little triangle on first, you can pivot/swivel to make best use of the hold. Conversely if you're deliberately resting on a hold, you want your foot as flat on it as you can to relieve strain in your calf. But then, when you're moving off it, you go into 'golden triangle' mode.

I only realised I hadn't described it properly yesterday, after a few hours sitting on an ab rope (always useful for letting your mistakes drift up to the surface of consciousness). And then I forgot again - so sorry!

People with really good footwork have a deftness, a lightness about it which is a joy to behold. If you have a look at a John Dunne video, you'll see what I mean.

Good luck!

Mick

1poundSOCKS - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to david100:

> I wonder if other tall climbers feel as if they have a weight handicap.

Maybe we should ask Adam Ondra, Chris Sharma and Dani Andrada.
GridNorth - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

A good strength to weight ratio is the key factor rather than outright weight. If you are heavier you need to be stronger. Good footwork is also important but I always find it amazing that my footwork is better when I feel strong so the two are inextricably linked and there are times when it's about pure strength and stamina no matter how good your footwork is. Whether a lack weight or a lot of strength is the better advantage is anyone's guess but it's no accident that most of the best climbers, obviously with some notable exceptions, tend to be slight of build, have a good strength to weight ratio and a large positive ape index which IMO is more important than outright height. Sometimes height is an advantage but with it comes weight and that is ALWAYS a disadvantage.

Al
The New NickB - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

Generally be very cautious of advice on the Internet, especially about weight loss.

From a totally blind perspective, your current weight seems fairly healthy, but you could also probably lose some weight without a detrimental impact on your General health, you will know better than me of this is true. Do not however try and lose three stone as someone suggested.

It is important that you don't see weight loss as a golden bullet, you need to continue to work on your technique and at maintaining strength. I weigh less than when I climbed at my hardest, but that is because I don't climb as much and have lost some upper body strength.

Despite what some say, BMI is a useful tool, as long as you understand its limitations.
L TheFasting - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

I'm pretty new to climbing, but I can give you a perspective based on the other sports I've done before. Mainly powerlifting.

In powerlifting you can see similar thinking but in regards to height. So people instead of buckling down and working hard, say that "I'm too tall and my proportions are wrong" to excuse bad progress. I'm not saying you do that with weight and climbing, but I've only been in the sport for a little over a month and I've already heard someone say that they can't climb hard because they're too fat.

In powerlifting even if you have the most horrendous proportions (long femurs, short torso) you can still progress if you work hard enough. They just have to become stronger in some areas to overcome it. I suspect it's the same with climbing. Even without losing weight, you can probably perform at a really high level if you keep plugging away at it. However, it might take a heavier person longer and more work than others do might be needed.

So that's one aspect of it. The nocebo effect of thinking your performance is limited by an external factor.

In addition, if you spend a lot of time in a big caloric deficit, you're more susceptible to injuries, you hardly build any muscle or strength, and other hormonal changes happen that can affect you mentally. I lost a lot of progress in my old sport because I was cutting too much.

As a guy who has a lot of experience cutting weight, I'd suggest to preferably stay at your current weight, and keep working to get stronger. If you want to cut weight, then keep climbing as hard as you are now or preferably increase volume (to spare muscle mass) and eat just slightly less so the weight slowly goes off. It might take a long time, but it won't hurt you as much.
planetmarshall on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Mick Ward:

> "The two best Brits for footwork? John Dunne and Ian Jones."

God, don't say that. Ian's head's big enough as it is.
eroica64 - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to rallymania:

My 2 cents; if you have a level of technique and do a level of mileage then losing weight can help a great deal. A 7-10lbs loss = half a grade increase at indoor walls works for me.
Michael Hood - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to david100:

> I wonder if other tall climbers feel as if they have a weight handicap.

Basic geometry, weight is roughly proportional to volume so it's got a cubic relationship to height.

Now obviously height does give some advantages but all other things being equal, I at 6 foot will weigh approx 1.7 times the amount of someone who's 5 foot and hence need 1.7 times their strength to be able to do the same "power" moves.
Andy Hardy on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Michael Hood:
But short people have to make more power moves than lanky ones

Edit to add, unless you are larger by the same amount in each direction, then your cubic relationship isn't correct either
Post edited at 13:18
Fraser on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to slab_happy:

> 10 stone is 140 pounds, which for 5 foot 3 is near the top of the "normal" BMI range.

The calculator I used says it's borderline overweight. I assumed 40 y.o. ("older variety", although putting 20 y.o. gives the same result) and 10'1" (she said "slightly over 10 stone") and the OP's height is 5'3", which gave a BMI of 24.9.

Source: http://www.nhs.uk/tools/pages/healthyweightcalculator.aspx

> If she dropped 3 stone, she would be 98 pounds and clinically underweight -- which is, according to all the stats, rather more dangerous medically than being mildly overweight.

Dropping 2 stone would put her right in the middle of the healthy range on the same calculator

> And if you're female (of the older variety in particular), being underweight is going to seriously increase your risk of osteoporosis.

Yes, but losing weight would be better for the OP's other organs, which should be just as important, if not moreso, than any risk of osteoporosis.
Timmd on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

At six foot, when I suddenly lost a stone and a half - down to ten and a half stone, due to type 1 diabetes, I suddenly found climbing easier. It's not the only thing which would help though, flexibility and technique and strength all help too, and it might possibly be the case that it's only on overhangs were weight makes the biggest difference. If you have other reasons to be losing weight, probably do it for those and see what happens for climbing?
L TheFasting - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Fraser:
Moving from high side of normal BMI to underweight won't help OPs organs. In a study done on middle aged women, being underweight led to less life expectancy and lower quality of life than being overweight or obese. Being in the normal range was best.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3865852/
Post edited at 14:17
L Sherpa Sheelah on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to TheFasting:

Thanks TheFasting. Fortunately there is not any risk of being underweight for me anytime soon
L TheFasting - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

Yeah I'm just saying don't let the bodyweight thing get to you. It can be a crutch to justify bad performance for some, I bet.
Noelle - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

If you want to lose some weight, and can do so safely, then I wish you the best.

Just don't expect to suddenly be able to climb harder. I am female and climb with lots of other women, who are completely different heights, builds and weights, yet we all climb around the same level.

For me, doing a training cycle which involved lots of volume bouldering, paired with specific strength exercises, helped me improve a lot lately. I also gained 4 pounds!!!
BarrySW19 on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to slab_happy:

> I agree that BMI is a rubbish measure in various ways: for example, it doesn't factor in heavy people who have a lot of muscle,

Yeah, but such people are generally clued up enough on sports and fitness issues to know the limits of using BMI. The BMI measure is designed as a simple formula for people who don't really know much about fitness.

People to whom BMI doesn't apply are generally a very different group from those who complain about BMI not applying to everyone.
brianjcooper on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Stone Idle:

And good footwork.
gethin_allen on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:
1.5 stone is quite a bit of weight both to carry and to lose.
An easy way to determine the effect would be to strap 10 kg (about 1.5 stone) to your body and try and climb something, you're bound to notice quite a big difference.

Obviously if you just starve yourself to lose the weight you'll lose muscle as well as fat so how you go about losing this weight (if that's what you decide in the end) is probably the tricky bit that I wouldn't know a thing about.


Fraser on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to TheFasting:

That's an interesting study. However, my suggestion - and yours - was that the OP should aim to get into the middle of the healthy zone, (losing two stone would take her there) not becoming underweight, as you seem to have implied.
Mick Ward - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to planetmarshall:

> "The two best Brits for footwork? John Dunne and Ian Jones."

> God, don't say that. Ian's head's big enough as it is.


Brilliant footwork. Irresistible to women. Born and raised in 'the centre of consciousness of the universe' (Allen Ginsberg). It's a tough job being Ian Jones - but he's big enough for it (just!)

Mick

meffl - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to ChrisNaylor:

> I went from 12'9st to 10'2st this year between March - September whilst I was training for a triathlon, with my body fat dropping from almost 17% to 9% whilst I gained 5kg of lean muscle mass.

Well in that case what are you doing on here? You should be off making your fortune from the millions of lifters and bodybuilders who would love to know your secret.




ads.ukclimbing.com
RX-78 on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to TheFasting:

it would be nice to see if other factors were also considered. The study states that the "The data were collected prior to the current obesity epidemic, suggesting that today’s overweight and obese elderly may be different from their counterparts measured in the 1990’s." Did socio-economic factors play a role? In the past being overweight was linked to wealth so does wealth play a part in obese men having such a good result. (think of the term fat cat bankers etc) Also if some proposed explanation for this was offered as being obese is also linked to a wide variety of diseases, not associated with being of normal weight? I have seen proposed that as obese people are often medically monitored more than normal weight people (due to obseity being linked to diseases) that this means other illnesses may be found and cured in time that would not have been found in time otherwise.
stp - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

Just in case there's any doubt remaining:

How to become a Stronger Climber FAST !
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbYU6XPmPJY
Fraser on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to RX-78:

It also stated that the participants' health was 'self rated', which struck me as a bit unscientific.
L TheFasting - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to RX-78:

That's possible. But I think obesity has for a few decades been more associated with poverty than wealth. One thing that complicates the theory that obese people are more monitored medically is that some tests are less effective or not doable at all if you're obese. That depends on how obese the person is though probably. If I recall correctly they also recover slower from surgery and have a higher chance of complications due to surgery and anesthesia.
ChrisNaylor - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to meffl:
No secret at all, I cut out refined carbs and sugars, stopped drinking alcohol for ~6 months, bought myself a bike (plus wetsuit and running shoes) and I got myself out every other night to start with. I upped the intensity until the month before. My weight fluctuated during the first few months but by May I was in a good routine. Come race day I'd lost the gain in muscle mass and was at my lowest weight 10'2 but I've sinced gained 1% bf and my weight is up to 10'11.

Besides any 'lifter' or 'bodybuilder' that's aiming for a size 28 waist and a disheveled look that causes their mates to ask if they're ill at every given opportunity is definitely doing something wrong.
Post edited at 22:39
meffl - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to ChrisNaylor:

Go on, do share how cutting refined carbs and buying a bike put 5kg of lean mass on you in six months.

Also how the same routine took it off you in the same time frame.

Did you track this, measure it and if so how? Or did you just pluck the numbers out of thin air.
Quiddity - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:
Leaving speculation about how much weight you should or shouldn't lose aside, think about what you are going to do with any resulting gains in strength/weight ratio. It is a basic principle of training - progressive overload - that your body will over time adapt to any increased or decreased stimulus. So if you drop even a modest amount of weight, you will temporarily gain a boost in relative strength, but you need to use it or lose it - because if you continue your usual routine your body will over time adapt to the lowered training load and get weaker.

In other words, weight loss on its own is only part of the picture, if you want to keep the increase in relative strength you need to increase either the intensity or volume of what you are doing at the wall to match the decrease in intensity from carrying less ballast around. You don't say anything about your routine but it could be adding an extra weekly session of bouldering into the mix on top of your route climbing. On the other hand, trying to lose weight while at the same time increasing your training load puts you at prime risk of getting injured so be sensible and make changes gradually.
Post edited at 08:14
Si dH - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:
You should obviously ignore most of the advice on here about your general health, as you know your own body & situation better than anyone else.
From a climbing focused perspective though I'd say two things:
1) early in my climbing career I lost half a stone on an alpine trip with no rock climbing or training involved, and when I got back I immediately jumped from VS to HVS. You do need to actually climb harder stuff in order to maintain the benefit though, as Quiddity says.
2) now with much more experience and from improving a lot more I can say I've learnt this: improving your technique and getting stronger are both very important. But however strong you are and however perfect your footwork, you will always climb harder if you are lighter. There are no exceptions to this unless perhaps at very low grades where weight is all on your feet.

Do with this info what you will - ultimately you should ideally aim to lose some weight at a rate that is healthy while still also training strength and technique. And yes, it's definitely possible to do both. Of the three, losing weight is the easiest and fastest except when you first start.
Post edited at 08:40
ChrisNaylor - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to meffl:

My progress was tracked using a body comp. scanner at the gym. My weight remained static for the first few months and I was coming back to exercise after being pretty sedentary for 12 months. My weights may be off slightly but the heaviest I have recorded is 12'9 and my lightest was 10'2 with the largest gain in mm being 5kg from the start of March to mid September however I did not maintain this mass throughout which i put down to my diet.

The point I was making was with losing weight I now enjoy overhanging routes a lot more and I feel like I can hang for a lot longer when I need to whereas before I had always favored slab routes. That said the most noticeable difference I found was that I am now a lot stronger on the walk ins as opposed to the climbing.

The dislikes weren't from me by the way.
Ciderslider - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

I'm quite chubby and getting quite old as well - but I've recently recently discovered that technique, and in particular footwork really does help - in the last six months or so I've gained nearly half a stone of chub (due mainly to ale) but my climbing seems to be moving on from the plateau that I was at for what seemed like ages.

Also as has been said - chuck a top rope on harder stuff and give it a go - it's the only way you'll get better. Also positive mental attitude really helps. If you think you're a lion you will be one, and if you think "I'm shit, I can't do that" then you will be shit.

And yeh if you're doing loads of overhanging stuff weight loss will help - but there are loads of other things you can do to get better.

Good luck
Matt Vigg - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to ChrisNaylor/meffl:

Well one of the dislikes was from me. What you said sounded perfectly plausible to me Chris so dunno why some anonymous internet person feels the need to be an arse about it. In my experience people don't talk to each other like that much in real life but it happens all the time online and it's unnecessary, you're clearly a patient man judging from your replies!
ChrisNaylor - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to Matt Vigg:

Patience is a man's greatest virtue,
Or so the saying goes.

I just don't see the point of descending into an argument trying to justify myself to somebody over the internet...
meffl - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to ChrisNaylor:

Well enjoy the circle jerk. What you claimed is totally implausible as anybody who is educated about these things will agree. Using a body comp scanner at a a gym for corroboration shows your level of knowledge (hint:they are worthless). It deserves calling out because it will give uninformed newbs unrealistic aspirations. There's enough of that BS about already.
L Sherpa Sheelah on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to rallymania:

Hi rallymania, I was only climbing occasionally but in last couple of months twice a week. I have gone from 5 with my best grade 6a+ in that time. I feel as if everything will come together soon.
L Sherpa Sheelah on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Fiona Reid:

Thank you Fiona. Will definitely be trying the holistic approach. Well done on your weight loss. How did you manage to do this and have enough energy keep your climbing training up. That is another challenge. I will chip away at the weight and work on everything else as well.
L Sherpa Sheelah on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Stone Idle:

thanks, definitely motivation to chip away at the weight!
L Sherpa Sheelah on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Damo:

Thanks for comprehensive reply. Yes my fingers do feel a little sore recently. I am giving them a few days to recover in between climbs which seems to work. Hopefully if I manage to not injure them, they will gradually adapt. Will try to modify diet as well.
L Sherpa Sheelah on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Mick Ward:

Thanks Mick for your posts. I have been told my footwork is nice. 6a climbs seem to work with this but the 6bs seem extraordinarily harder, as if I need to walk up the wall with my weight on my fingers on holds that are either too small, slope the wrong way, etc, etc. Guess it just needs a bit of time. At the moment they seem impossible but it wasn't long ago that 5s did as well.
L Sherpa Sheelah on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

thanks, will definitely check these out.
L Sherpa Sheelah on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to stp:

Thanks stp. Seems it is well worth me chipping away at the weight. I am ok with that but it is tricky on climbing nights because I end up having a snack before, during and protein shake and snack after. Which altogether would way exceed an ordinary dinner!
L Sherpa Sheelah on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to david100:

Very interesting. I always thought taller thinner climbers had the edge whatever, but can see that you still have proportionally more weight on not proportionally bigger hands and fingers necessarily.
L Sherpa Sheelah on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to flopsicle:

Thanks flopsicle. Definitely need to maintain a balanced view or climbing could be disappointment central - always someone better. I am improving every week at the moment but need to be prepared for when I don't!
L Sherpa Sheelah on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Mick Ward:

thanks Mick and for your other replies. Will definitely try for the triangle except when resting.
L Sherpa Sheelah on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to GridNorth:

thanks GridNorth, some interesting points. Off to look up the ape index now!
L Sherpa Sheelah on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Ciderslider:

thanks Cider. Good points - very important not to let frustration creep in. Will keep at it all.
L Sherpa Sheelah on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Quiddity:

Any interesting point here. I will remember to keep pushing if I get stronger so that I make the most of it and adapt further.
Fiona Reid - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

> How did you manage to do this and have enough energy keep your climbing training up.

Basically the 5:2 diet over the spring and summer reverting to 6:1 over the winter months. Aside from that no real changes to my diet except for replacing post hill 200gr bags of crisps ( between 2 of us! ) with either popcorn or just waiting till dinner time.

For me 5:2 seems to work as you eat the stuff you normally eat on the non fasting days and thus there's no feeling of you can't eat x,y,z etc. When I'm on holiday i just eat whatever, I'm usually walking or climbing every day anyways.

The first few weeks were pretty grim as your body gets used to the fasting days. I found that eating nothing except tea / coffee / water during the day then having a decent low calorie dinner works best but everyone is different. Some folks have a small breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I've climbed indoors and outdoors plus run 5-7km on fasting days without any real issue. I'd not want to do a big hill day though as I think you'd feel too tired. Over the winter months I found 2 fasting days just didn't work as I got cold and felt wrecked on the hill thus reverted to 6:1 over the winter.

I don't really train for climbing, I just climb, walk etc. I've always been pretty strong. I don't think I'm any stronger now, just I can hold on a bit longer than I could.

The only down sides of losing my lard is that it's cost me a small fortune buying new trousers! I also feel the cold more than I used to (mostly my fingers) but that could just be getting older too.

keith sanders - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Mick Ward:

I've seen you Mick your good .
ukb shark - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to ChrisNaylor:

> I went from 12'9st to 10'2st this year between March - September whilst I was training for a triathlon, with my body fat dropping from almost 17% to 9% whilst I gained 5kg of lean muscle mass.


Well doner on the weight loss.

Assuming your body comp stats are correct then I'm struggling with the maths here. At 177lbs you had about 31lbs of fat and at 142lbs you have about 13lbs of fat. So you lost 18lbs of fat which accounts for bringing you down to 159lbs. Where did you lose the further 17lbs from if not from lean muscle mass? and if you actually gained 5kgs (ie 11lbs) of lean muscle mass then that is 28lbs of loss unaccounted for.
ukb shark - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:
Re the discussion on BMI this is a tool that is useful guidance for the general public. It is less useful for athletes or aspiring athletes as it doesnt take into account body shape or muscle mass. For athletes % body weight is a more useful measure to determine the lowest level you can drop to without becoming unhealthy. It is difficult to measure accurately so using a mirror (ribs protruding, gaunt cheeks etc) and pinching your midriff are additionally informative reality checks as to whether you are overdoing it.
Post edited at 19:10
Si dH - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:

> Thank you Fiona. Will definitely be trying the holistic approach. Well done on your weight loss. How did you manage to do this and have enough energy keep your climbing training up. That is another challenge. I will chip away at the weight and work on everything else as well.

If you don't fancy Fiona's 5/2 approach, then it's emminently achievable to lose weight whilst training for climbing on a more normal diet. I've found what works for me is to run a moderate calorie defecit in the week when I'm on a rest day or if just doing fingerboarding, but to eat (a lot) more on days out climbing, and also some more on week days when I do more calorie-intensive training eg indoor climbing. You just need to make sure you give your body the calories it needs when it needs them, and not when it doesn't.
One way I've found helps the above for me is by having low calorie salads with no carbs for weekday lunches, but eating more calorie dense foods at weekends.
Liamhutch89 - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to ukb shark:
Depleted glycogen stores which are present during and after dieting can account for a lot of weight. As an ex bodybuilder I used to gain almost 2 stone following a diet just by eating a ton of carbs for a few days with no fat gain. The muscles would swell and feel extremely tight with the extra water retention drawn in from the additional glycogen.

However, that was at well over 200lb and very low body fat. At 10 stone I can't imagine there is sufficient muscle to account for 2 stone of glycogen storage and it is more likely the body fat calculations are wrong - usually body fat percentage is hugely underestimated as most measuring methods are unreliable.

A man should usually have a full defined 6 pack when they go below 12%, sub 10% and the skin all over the stomach becomes almost paper thin and as you approach 5-6% every single vein shows through translucent skin and it's not healthy to maintain for long periods of time (or probably at all).

By the way this is no knock on your hard work and results. The numbers don't really matter, as long as you're happy and feel fitter, stronger or healthier, that's fantastic so good on you
Post edited at 22:51
ukb shark - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Liamhutch89:

Forgot about glycogen/ water retention but like you say it still doesn't add up or rather subtract down with the readings given
sebastian dangerfield on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Si dH:

> 2) But however strong you are and however perfect your footwork, you will always climb harder if you are lighter. There are no exceptions to this unless perhaps at very low grades where weight is all on your feet.

Yup

> Of the three, losing weight is the easiest and fastest except when you first start.

Depends how easy you find losing weight! That aside, I've always thought that I'll save losing the weight until I can climb quite hard. Seems to me that's a good way to get the tendons, ligaments ready for harder climbing plus weight loss. Admittedly I've been thinking that for a few years and have yet to get to the climbing harder... but I reckon if climbing is your only reason to lose weight it's the right way to go.

ukb shark - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to sebastian dangerfield:

> Yup

> Depends how easy you find losing weight! That aside, I've always thought that I'll save losing the weight until I can climb quite hard. Seems to me that's a good way to get the tendons, ligaments ready for harder climbing plus weight loss. Admittedly I've been thinking that for a few years and have yet to get to the climbing harder... but I reckon if climbing is your only reason to lose weight it's the right way to go.


Sounds like excuses masquerading as unsubstantiated reasons to me ;-)
ukb shark - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to ukb shark:

> Forgot about glycogen/ water retention but like you say it still doesn't add up or rather subtract down with the readings given

http://www.livestrong.com/article/307905-glycogen-and-weight-loss/

Re the above article they quote 2kgs for regular glycogen store +water stored in the muscles and liver.

Ive been curious as to whether strict adherents of keto diets lose their glycogen stores on a permanent basis?
Liamhutch89 - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to ukb shark:

In my experience, which is by no means scientific, keto diets absolutely lead to a depletion of glycogen stores and a drop in performance. Mileage may vary in climbers who may not notice a strength drop as it is offset by weight loss, but eating in a deficit and keeping carbs high is usually the best method to lose weight for most athletes evidenced by looking at the diets of sports men and women over a range of sports where a weight cut is required (e.g. combat).

Also, in my experience (again i'm no expert) carbs are far more important than protein. Protein needs are massively overstated (perhaps perpetuated by the supplement companies?) and it is often said a gram per lb of bodyweight; however, I have personally had better measurable results by reducing protein to around 0.8 to 1 gram per kilo of bodyweight and increasing carbs and fats to make up the extra calories. Again this is personal experience, but there's plenty of studies backing up lower protein requirements.
ukb shark - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Liamhutch89:

I have had good results from a low carb approach (not capable of going as extreme as keto) and found the loss sustainable and no absolute strength loss (ie weighted deadhangs also including equivalent body weight loss) or indeed loss of energy when climbing. In fact the energy ups and downs and cravings of a "normal" diet are far worse.

As an indication my normal adult weight over the last 30 years has been in the range of 159lbs to 165lbs occasionally going as high as 168lbs and when in redpoint mode I considered my "fighting weight" to be 157lbs to 159lbs.

Following the low carb approach in 2015 I maintained a range of 151lbs to 154lbs for a few months during which time I climbed at my hardest. I came close to this range this year as well and am currently at 154lbs which up until two years ago would have been pipe dream.

Anecdotally there are quite a few good climbers out there quietly experimenting with this approach (no doubt influenced by Dave Macs actual success on Practice of the Wild as well as his stature as a sports scientist) and my impression is that the results have been positive. It does however turn a lot of accepted thinking on its head though.

Liamhutch89 - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to ukb shark:

That's great if you have a plan that works then I'd stick to it too.

You would absolutely lose the same amount of weight if the calories were reduced via other means - reducing protein and/or fats - but as you mentioned, carbs can certainly induce peaks and troughs in energy levels which can be a big negative for many people.

All diets more or less come down to a calorie balance and there are many methods in achieving that, which all have pros and cons. The best one for any one individual is the one they can stick to that gives them positive results.

I'd like to add that I tried intermittent fasting before and had excellent results, it's definitely legit but it can be hard to keep up with a social life!
BloodyJam on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to ukb shark:

I would 2nd the low carb approach. My experience is more driven by using it for running but the results for me are pretty impressive with regards weight loss and performance levels. The low carb approach has always been a bit controversial but its also used by a fair few decent runners.

Regards weight in general, I am a very average climber with no real technique worth mentioning, however going from 13st to 12st stone earlier this year using the above approach aim at my running time took me from about 6b to 6c+/7a in the space of about 3 months.

It was all back to front as I climbed less (1day/week) ran more (3day/week) and got better at climbing. i think it was driven by the finger strength to weight ratio going up + good recovery rates meaning a could just circuit for ages when training stamina.
ukb shark - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to BloodyJam:

Nice work.

(have you checked out you-know-where yet?)

sebastian dangerfield on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to ukb shark:

> Sounds like excuses masquerading as unsubstantiated reasons to me ;-)

I'm pretty sure my theory of lagged weight loss relative to climbing development is sound! (If I could just try hard at climbing at my current weight I'd be able to prove it, but things just keep getting in the way)

Question: assuming a healthy weight and reasonable athleticism - you wouldn't want to lose weight other than for climbing and you've reasonable natural ability - what grade would you reckon you might want to start trying to lose weight at?

(For ref. I'm 34, 5'7, 68-70kg, when I was a fit youngster I was about 64kg, currently boulder V4, climb 6c, reckon there's loads of trying hard gains to be made before I need to diet)




sebastian dangerfield on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to ukb shark:


> Re the above article they quote 2kgs for regular glycogen store +water stored in the muscles and liver.

> Ive been curious as to whether strict adherents of keto diets lose their glycogen stores on a permanent basis?

There's some interesting stuff about weight spikes on keto diet related to water retention here. https://ketogenicdiary.wordpress.com/tag/climbing/
ukb shark - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to sebastian dangerfield:

> I'm pretty sure my theory of lagged weight loss relative to climbing development is sound! (If I could just try hard at climbing at my current weight I'd be able to prove it, but things just keep getting in the way)

You said climbing heavy "is a good way to get the tendons, ligaments ready for harder climbing plus weight loss". But if you were lighter you would be training and pulling harder (or should be) in absolute terms so the the stresses on tendons and ligaments would be the same.

Like with many things achieving 90% of perfection is doable witgh effort and application whilst 100% requires disproportionately more effort and focus for that extra 10% and usually at the expense of effort and focus on other important factors. If you can find a not-to-obsessive eating lifestyle and habits to get you down to a permanent target base of 10% body fat that should be the goal (Dave Mac says as much). Then for hard redpoints or trips (when you will be motivated to do so) shave an extra 1 or 2kgs for peak performance. Easier said than done. Im just about there. Alcohol is my achilles heel.

> Question: assuming a healthy weight and reasonable athleticism - you wouldn't want to lose weight other than for climbing and you've reasonable natural ability - what grade would you reckon you might want to start trying to lose weight at?

See above. Any grade if you are aspirational to improve. Think of it like deadlifting. If you can lift twice your bodyweight then forget about it as any additional performance is unlikely to benefit your climbing. Do a couple of lifts every other month and if it drops below 2x then do a few sessions to get back up there.

> (For ref. I'm 34, 5'7, 68-70kg, when I was a fit youngster I was about 64kg, currently boulder V4, climb 6c, reckon there's loads of trying hard gains to be made before I need to diet)

Excuses, excuses ;-)
ukb shark - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to sebastian dangerfield:

> There's some interesting stuff about weight spikes on keto diet related to water retention here. https://ketogenicdiary.wordpress.com/tag/climbing/

Made good reading. Nothing I would disagree with. Full marks to him for going full keto. I couldnt
mark s - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Liamhutch89:



> Also, in my experience (again i'm no expert) carbs are far more important than protein. Protein needs are massively overstated (perhaps perpetuated by the supplement companies?) and it is often said a gram per lb of bodyweight; however, I have personally had better measurable results by reducing protein to around 0.8 to 1 gram per kilo of bodyweight and increasing carbs and fats to make up the extra calories. Again this is personal experience, but there's plenty of studies backing up lower protein requirements.


totally agree with you, i find carbs better for strength and size. i can make gains on 100 g of protein at 100-105 body weight

as for the OP ,lighter the better.
sebastian dangerfield on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to ukb shark:

> Excuses, excuses ;-)

I suppose it is - hadn't though of the climbing harder when lighter angle.. I have plenty others excuses though ;-)
sebastian dangerfield on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to ukb shark:

> Made good reading. Nothing I would disagree with. Full marks to him for going full keto. I couldnt

Is booze your only barrier to keto or just loving carbs?

(Apparently you stop wanting the carbs after a while)
nutme - on 23 Nov 2016
Normally I can feel about 5kg difference. I am male and weight 63kg with 170cm height. Whenever I get to 70kg mark I notice a huge drop in climbing grades (from 7b to 6c sport). It's quite simple to prove. Just climb with 5kg backpack and see how much harder it will get.

In reply to sebastian dangerfield:

> (Apparently you stop wanting the carbs after a while)

Even pizza? My girlfriend is keto, but every time I make a tasty pizza with artichokes, asparagus and gorgonzola for myself she is lurking around and mewing like a homeless kitty.
sebastian dangerfield on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to nutme:

> Normally I can feel about 5kg difference. I am male and weight 63kg with 170cm height. Whenever I get to 70kg mark I notice a huge drop in climbing grades (from 7b to 6c sport). It's quite simple to prove. Just climb with 5kg backpack and see how much harder it will get.

Sounds about right - reckon I'd make 7a if I lost five kilos. Losing five kilos sounds tough though!

> Even pizza? My girlfriend is keto, but every time I make a tasty pizza with artichokes, asparagus and gorgonzola for myself she is lurking around and mewing like a homeless kitty.

Maybe she just wants the toppings. Sounds an awesome pizza
ads.ukclimbing.com
ukb shark - on 23 Nov 2016
C Witter on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:
An interesting and sensitive topic!

I think one of the things that attracts people to climbing is that it is a sport that many different people of different shapes and sizes can all find enjoyment in. Climbing involves bringing together so many different skills (e.g. agility, balance, flexibility, finger strength, core strength, ability to read routes, ability to put aside fear, ropework, etc.), so it's rarely one physical factor (e.g. strength, height, weight) that holds anyone back.

Nonetheless, I often find that people get hung up on one "problem" they have. E.g. "My problem is, I don't have finger strength" or "my problem is, all the routes are for tall people and I'm too short." Sometimes there is an element of truth in these assertions. E.g. bad route-setting can lead to routes where being over 5'7 means there's no problem beyond standing up and being under 5'7 means wild dynoing or smearing on poor crimps. However, I think this element of truth obscures the greater untruth, which is that being, e.g., taller, lighter or suddenly much stronger would make you a better climber. It's not helpful to focus on these things because they're unrealistic and they're often about protecting the ego from having to address other issues where changes can actually be made (e.g. that you're putting too much pressure on yourself to succeed, rather than accepting and enjoying yourself; that you're not testing yourself by climbing elsewhere; that your route reading is not as good as you think; that you're not confident enough to try harder moves and enjoy failing on them).

Which brings me to the point: if you want to lose weight, fine, and climbing better could be a good incentive (e.g. it helped motivate me to quit smoking). But, it's not easy to lose weight, and it is too easy to explain away the challenge of climbing as a "problem of weight". Given how difficult it can be to lose weight, focusing on weight could easily lead someone to become frustrated and unmotivated, taking the fun and enjoyment out of their climbing, rather than leading to benefits, as they tell themselves: "I can't climb well because I'm too heavy, and I'll never improve because I can't lose weight."

Instead, as others have said, at grade F6a I'd focus instead on enjoyment, getting in mileage, and varying my climbing - keeping it interesting, rather than letting the bullsh!t mill of training and so-called "self-improvement" dominate the experience. And - finally - own your climbing and take pride in your successes, rather than measuring yourself against others.
Post edited at 09:22
1poundSOCKS - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to C Witter:

> Instead, as others have said, at grade F6a I'd focus instead on enjoyment, getting in mileage, and varying my climbing - keeping it interesting, rather than letting the bullsh!t mill of training and so-called "self-improvement" dominate the experience.

When I climb indoors, I enjoy my sessions more when I am training. Gives me focus and feels more rewarding, and hence more enjoyable. Occasionally I can't be bothered, and just mess around, or try to do a few hard problems to see where I'm at (focus on performing rather than training), but it's not as rewarding.
C Witter on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:
That's fair enough. But, I'm sure you can agree that there is a massive focus on training in climbing that means people put too much focus on grades and obscures the fact that there are other ways to do climbing...

E.g. the OP says "Am currently climbing around 6a", rather than saying: "I've climbed a fair bit in the Lakes and am hoping to get into longer Alpine style routes" or "I'm good at technical slabs but am trying to improve my ability to climb steep routes in preparation for a sport-climbing trip to Spain" (and here the main obstacle to "development" might be time, money and company rather than weight, height or finger strength) . In other words, the understanding of what climbing is, and of what developing climbing abilities is, seems to have been narrowed.

That's important for me because "I want to climb at 6b" is a bit of a depressing undertaking, the way I see it, whilst "I want to learn to trad lead" or "I want to climb Central Buttress" or "I want to feel happy about my climbing and find a climbing partner who's positive and good company" seem like better aims to me.

Meanwhile you say "when I climb indoors", meaning that climbing must be a much bigger picture for you than improving indoors...

Or do you still take issue with what I said?

p.s. I hate this "dislike" button. I find it pathetic that people think it is an interesting or useful thing to do, to click "dislike".
Post edited at 10:18
1poundSOCKS - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to C Witter:

> Or do you still take issue with what I said?

Well I don't think training and self-improvement are "bullsh!t".

I find trying to improve as a climber really enjoyable and rewarding. The OP appears to want to improve, and training is really just focusing on improvement (as opposed to performing).

> But, I'm sure you can agree that there is a massive focus on training in climbing that means people put too much focus on grades and obscures the fact that there are other ways to do climbing...

I'm not sure about how much focus there is generally, and I'm not sure I'm qualified to say whether there is too much or not. It would be difficult to quantify.

> Meanwhile you say "when I climb indoors", meaning that climbing must be a much bigger picture for you than improving indoors...

It's all about outdoors really. That's why I'm not so bothered about performing indoors. Indoors for me is dominated by training and self-improvement. And I find it more rewarding like that.
C Witter on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

Yes, clearly they're not bullshit. If you're going to become the next Dave McLeod, maybe getting to grips with training methodology is a sensible step. But, what I wrote was, don't let the bullshit mill of training/self-improvement dominate the experience. And, what I'm pointing to is the way that many climbing "resources" and publications put the focus there - on training and improving - as well as many climbers that you talk to (it's not really difficult to quantify: you just have to listen to the way we often talk about climbing). This meshes with a broader culture that's recently put a lot of extremely dubious emphasis on "wellbeing" and self-improvement. Dubious because it pretends that everyone is in complete control of their circumstances, self-responsible for their failures and successes, and that 'productivity' is the divine principle that governs not only work but also recreation, relationships, family, curiosity, self-worth, etc. This is a dangerous myth to get caught up in. It's the kind of proto-fascistic urge that leads people to consider others as a 'drain on society' or a 'waste of space'. It's also the kind of myth that leads to depression, when our aspirations are stunted by circumstances beyond our control (like, a contracted job market).

Climbing is not about 'productivity' - about 'making the most of winter' or 'making the most of your training session'. It can be conceived of in other ways: in terms of community, poetry, place; as welcome or as escape; as therapy, belonging, or transgression; as exorcism or communion. It can be a way of enjoying being unproductive - a way of basking in the glorious waste of it all (what, after all, is the point of using all this energy, time, feeling?). It can be a way of loafing at your ease, and of just being in a particular moment and place. I feel these are healthier things to encourage than training and grade improvement.
1poundSOCKS - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to C Witter:

> If you're going to become the next Dave McLeod, maybe getting to grips with training methodology is a sensible step.

Got nothing to do with what level your at, for example a bit a silent feet while warming up is training. And it makes the warm-up more enjoyable.

> And, what I'm pointing to is the way that many climbing "resources" and publications put the focus there - on training and improving - as well as many climbers that you talk to (it's not really difficult to quantify: you just have to listen to the way we often talk about climbing).

I talk about about climbing all the time , but a lot of the time about trips and destinations, and also about training and grades. But reflecting on that doesn't quantify the focus of the climbing media, IMO. I couldn't even quantify what I talk about.
sebastian dangerfield on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to C Witter:

I didn't dislike your post - FWIW I think it's quite thoughtful, well written and expresses a reasonable point of view.

Here's why I think people did dislike it though. Different people enjoy climbing for different reasons and enjoy different things about it to different extents. Some people enjoy self improvement, pushing the grade, training side of it more than others. Others might focus more on the experience, getting out there etc. Your side of this tends to criticise the other side quite a lot, in a pretty superior, condescending way*. People, quite understandably, don't like that and probably can't be bothered to argue about it either. Hence the dislikes. (*That criticism doesn't go the other way.)
stp - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to C Witter:

You seem to contradict yourself:

1. Climbing helped motivate you to quit smoking.
2. Don't bother losing weight for climbing.

Regardless of how well one climbs losing weight has to be a good thing. Like quitting smoking you'll likely have a longer life and have a better quality of life, more energy, feel better about oneself. I find climbing a much better incentive to keep my weight down than living longer because the results are immediate and in the present: every time I go climbing I'll notice if my weight is much different.

To put it another way I know 9a climbers who smoke. So one could argue: why don't you resume smoking, enjoy life and climbing and don't let 'self-improvement' dominate your experience?


> Given how difficult it can be to lose weight

I think losing weight and keeping it off means changing one's dietary habits permanently. I don't think it has to be so difficult if one approaches it with this in mind. Quitting smoking is difficult too, but very worthwhile, regardless of climbing. Well done for giving up btw.
C Witter on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to stp:

and in reply to Sebastian (thanks for the message):

I don't contradict myself; I just express a view that accounts for two possibilities co-existing in a non-contradictory way. Sure, it's good to lose weight if you want to. But, it's not good to live in a culture where being overweight is criminalised. Nor in a culture where we're obligated to turn even relaxation into work.

Of course, training for climbing will help you achieve greater ambitions, and I don't dispute the value of that. I'm just trying to point out that there is something undervalued in its opposite: enjoying climbing at your grade; refusing the urge to climb the grade ladder. And I think it is an urge that is hard to resist. I certainly find that I don't/can't completely resist it, and it can become a source of deep frustration; i.e. when other things aren't going brilliantly, I put a lot into climbing; consequently, it becomes quite pressured in a way that is unhelpful to me and means that climbing ceases to be all those other things it can be - in a word, fun.

Thanks for the dialogue!
Steve Perry - on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to ChrisNaylor:

How did you specifically lose the weight Chris?
1poundSOCKS - on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to C Witter:

Have you ever read "The Rock Warrior's Way"? Not everybody's cup of tea, but it is possible to be keen to improve, work hard to improve and be happy with failure. It's not always the case is it, but I've had some great days out not really getting up anything I'd consider hard. Just have plenty of excuses ready.

But there sometimes obvious rewards from improvement too, other than just grade chasing. Malham and Kilnsey are my best local sport crags, and the climbing isn't easy, so it's very rewarding to be able to go there for the last couple of years, before that it probably wasn't worth it. And I'd love to do a free route on El Cap one day, but again that'll take improvement.

But obviously if you don't want to improve, that's fine too.
duchessofmalfi - on 29 Nov 2016
Power-to-weight clearly matters in climbing.

However "weight" as such is of lesser importance at lower grades than training and technique.

Weight (absolute) clearly matters at the higher grades because some aspects of finger strength are limited and key limitations.

In my experience, I lost a substantial amount of weight (>20%) and experienced no gain in climbing grade until I trained with a specific aim of maintaining (and not further losing) my weight. The training resulted in better technique and greater strength and my grade improved. As my grade improved I benefited from my finger strength to weight ratio being more favorable but before training it made very little difference. If I train for power / power endurance I go up in grade and my climbing becomes a lot more powerful and dynamic but it requires constant maintenance and does not affect my weight substantially.

Overall weight is a complex picture - losing spare weight helps, losing weight per-se is a mixed bag. Training definitely makes a difference regardless of whether or not it affects weight. Training is a faff so it all depends on your motivation: climbing harder isn't necessarily more fun (mind you sliding down the grades is always hard to bear).


stp - on 30 Nov 2016
In reply to C Witter:

> enjoying climbing at your grade; refusing the urge to climb the grade ladder

I completely agree with this as an option, whatever makes one happy really. Climbing is such a diverse activity there's lots of different ways of going about it. None can be seen as right or wrong. Just having a reason to get some exercise in beautiful place with a bit of adventure is more than enough justification.


But...

> it's not good to live in a culture where being overweight is criminalised. Nor in a culture where we're obligated to turn even relaxation into work.

Hmmm. I think of being overweight as pretty negative. I look it at it as a health issue that needs putting right. You'll have a lower quality of life and a shorter life if you're overweight. Obesity now leads smoking as a cause of death I believe. Not sure about criminalizing it just as I wouldn't criminalize cancer. But I think it's pretty bad when I see obese children. Sometimes this can be viewed as a form of parental neglect though I suspect more down to ignorance about diet and living in a toxic culture when junk food is pushed so much. A sad state of affairs.

So I see it has a problem and one that we shouldn't be complacent about. Anything that motivates one to take better care of themselves has to be good thing.

paul mitchell - on 01 Dec 2016
In reply to Mick Ward:

John Kirk great footwork too.Sight solo Hairless Heart.
henwardian - on 23:45 Sat
In reply to Sherpa Sheelah:
Ok, I'm not going to read 100 replies so I'll probably repeat what others said but here goes anyway:

1) Weight alone is not holding you back at 6a. Best plan to get better is to climb with people who are climbing 6c or so - a level above you but somewhere you can easily aspire to because it's not too far away. If everyone you surround yourself with climbs a bit harder than you, there is much more motivation to get better. If everyone you surround yourself with climbs not quite as good as you, you are likely to feel like you are already climbing well enough thanks. (not really that this is necessarily a fully conscious thought process).

2) At a certain point weight probably will hold you back but that will be a LOT further down the line. Giving a weight and height only lets you calculate a bmi which is of dubious use at best and downright silly at worst. Much better would be to get someone with a pair of callipers who knows what they are doing to calculate your percentage body fat and set a weight loss target based on that. You can google to find out what body fat percentage is healthy in women but from memory I think its like 8% = death, 15% = thin, 20% = slim, 25% = average, 30% = fat.

Overall it might be depressing to start off with the idea that just losing weight will make you a better climber when you are at 6a and finding out that that isn't the case because weight is not the limiting factor. You could do a lot worse than find a competent climbing coach and pay for a couple of hours of "diagnosis" where that person could tell you what your faults are and what you should do to become a better climber and you can then go away and work on those rather than working on losing weight.

Of course literally _everyone_ who is a climber that I know is always going on about trying to lose weight so I think it's as much a part of being a climber as taping your questionable pulleys.
Post edited at 23:46

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