/ Climb Fat Boy Climb!

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Flacktronix 23 May 2019

Ok. On and off, I've climbed for 8 years. Started bouldering at the climbing hangar, ended up working for them, rebrand, all their design/clothing for years. It was amazing. Surrounded by some of the best people I've ever met. Got to see Shauna Coxsey's rise to mega stardom, got loads of tips from her coach Glennie, and loads of the other good guys there. Ged MacD is and always will be one of the most important people I've met.

We stopped going for one reason or another, but my daughter always wanted to go back. So 18 months ago we started climbing again at the North West Face Warrington. I shied away, as I've always been scared of the heights of roped climbing. But after a while, gave it a go. Figured she'd be more likely to go if I went with her. 

Now I love it. 

I'm 46. Massively overweight. 15st and 5'8". And I've always used my weight as the reason I've never improved. I've never climbed over V5. Stuck on 6a/6b. And happy to just climb for fun.  Until now.

I figure, I'll be able to climb with my daughter for longer, if I get better, get fitter, get stronger. So I'm setting a goal. In a years time, I hope to be able to climb through the 7-8's on most routes in most walls, boulder around the same, V7. I'm going to have to lose weight to do this. That's a given. But I've never had a goal of getting better before. We have a lot of fun climbing, I make up a lot of games to keep her training fun, we rarely chase grades. It's the movements I crave. She just gets pissed when she can't top something. She wants to compete at some point.

So, has anyone done anything similar? Training tips? Nutrition, supplements to use/avoid... Annoyingly, in the last few years I've fractured ribs, compressed a heel skateboarding. I've hyperextended my elbow and dislocated a finger (still swollen) while climbing. So I want to know can I achieve this. Get better, or has my metabolism now decided that's it. I'm more likely to injure myself now, is this a risk worth taking or will the hazards outweigh the aims. Do I just content myself with climbing for fun and stay safe or give it a crack...

I'm going to do a blog or website soon to monitor and share my progress.  Happy to share this journey if anyone else wants to join in!



Mike Stretford 23 May 2019
In reply to Flacktronix:

> I'm 46. Massively overweight. 15st and 5'8". And I've always used my weight as the reason I've never improved. I've never climbed over V5. Stuck on 6a/6b. And happy to just climb for fun.  Until now.

I think that's pretty good for your size. You'll be awesome if you get the weight off! Good luck.

Wanderlust 23 May 2019
In reply to Flacktronix:

You climb as well as me indoors, and I'm 11st and 6ft.

Agree with Mike...if you lose a few stone, you'll be absolutely crushing it.

I've never put on weight so can't offer any diet advice I'm afraid!

Good luck

Phil Scott 24 May 2019
In reply to Flacktronix:

Are you aware of the app MyFitnessPal? It's well worth a look at to help with controlling your calorie intake. I tried various diets etc and found that not necessarily following a strict diet (other than restricted calories), but just making better food choices was the most successful for me, and MyFitnessPal was massively helpful with that as it is so easy to use. From my heaviest, I've lost about 23kg / 3.5 stone using it and I don't totally restrict myself from eating anything - but it does steer you to making healthier options because obviously some foods (generally unhealthy foods) are so dense in calories, so you can eat far less compared with healthier options.

Assuming you are otherwise healthy, losing weight really comes down to simple calories in vs calories out, and you need a calorie deficit to lose weight. You won't be able to out train a poor diet.

I'd recommend by starting off just using the app to log your current food intake to see where you're at - if you currently aren't too aware of what/how much you're eating it can be a bit of a surprise. Likewise with some foods you would assume to be healthy, and just how many calories are in them.

In reply to Flacktronix:

One of my favourite stories, doesnt help but always makes me laugh..

Climbing at Birchen on a VS or maybe HVS and some old soak, wirey as hell, obviously climbed fo an eternity solos next to me. He looks down and says...

" Bit overweight arent you lad"  

I cant disagree with this so say "to be fair...yes"

He then gives me a nod and says "you can tell cos you have very good footwork" and then he just pranced up the remainder of his route.

Post edited at 17:09
Flacktronix 03 Jun 2019
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

The V5 was a while ago. I was making inroads into V4 at the northwest face (tough setting) before doing my finger. At the moment I just can’t crimp!

The thing that started this off was a guy saying “you’re quite graceful for a big lad”...

Post edited at 06:21
Flacktronix 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Phil Scott:

Cheers Phil. I’ll look into the app.

gravy 03 Jun 2019

eat 10% less and exercise 10% more, don't snack, cut back on alcohol, stick with it........

asteclaru 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Flacktronix:

You're not the only one. I'm 24 and 5'10". Back in March I weighed 17.5 stones and the hardest I was climbing indoors was 5. I've lost around 1.5 stones since then and I now frequently (i.e. most sessions) climb 6a, with the occasional 6a+ as well (as long as it's not too crimpy - I can't crimp on small holds yet, my fingers just hurt too much). It's not a huge jump, but I'm rather pleased with my progress. 

I'm planning to lose another 2 stones by next March - I don't know how that will translate to climbing progress, but it certainly cannot hurt.

Apart from the weight loss, I think what helped me the most is watching videos of John Dunne climbing - for whatever reason I used to think that because of my size and weight I'm not able to have 'delicate' footwork so I used to compensate by relying on my arms too much. But watching him climb made me go 'if he can be delicate and smooth, then so can I', which certainly made a big difference on my footwork and how I approach climbing in general.

It can be done, just keep at it!

Lornajkelly 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Flacktronix:

Join us in Fit Club!  

I got a lot of weight off in a short space of time a few years ago by going teetotal.  It's not necessarily for everyone but cutting back can often help because on the one hand there are calories in alcohol, and on the other many people (including me) get snacky after a few beverages.  Finding your weaknesses is useful, and also being realistic about what you can and can't stick to in terms of an eating plan.  I have an extremely sweet tooth, and have failed more times than I can count to reduce sugar in my diet.  I know being able to do so will help me, but I know my brain and I know that I have no control over some of the things it does.  

As for exercise, finding what fits in with your day-to-day routine is the best way of succeeding.  When I've managed to lose weight quickly it's from things like cycling to work and circuit classes at lunchtimes.  If I have to make time for it, I find that I can't sustain it long enough to form the habit.  I've never actually completed couch to 5k, though I've jumped in and out at various points numerous times - this is why.

Short-term and long-term goals also key.  I couldn't manage to kick-start losing weight for my wedding until I bought a ticket for a work formal event and bought myself a dress on ebay that was a size smaller than I was at that point and promised myself that, come hell or high water, I would wear it.  I wore it.

In reply to Lornajkelly:

I guess the OP should buy a dress then - maybe start with a 14 and see how you go?


yodadave 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Flacktronix:

Brother in law asked me a while back how i'd lost so much weight in the last few months. I hadn't noticed any change in weight, never owned scales. However for me it was the Crimpd app core workouts. Only 20 mins or so and very achievable of an evening, also as others have said quit drinking.

I can't get to a gym, so for me something short and achievable at home was really important.

Flacktronix 07 Jun 2019
In reply to everyone, thanks! 

I rarely drink anyway. That was my dad's demon, not one I want to carry. I bouldered last night for the first time in a while, and even with the sore finger, surprised myself. The injury has made me go back to basics, and work on simple things. A mate I used to climb with noted immediately how well I was moving. 
I'm feeling really positive. I was going to do the Keto diet alongside, but I know I'll crash. So, one thing I'm doing, is not dieting, but fuelling. 
I cycle to work daily, it's about 45 minute round trip. It knocks about 350 calories off me. I'm limiting myself to 1500 a day, but eating proteins and carbs when needed. I've hit the gym hard on Monday Tuesday this week, climbed routes on Wednesday for about two hours, slab work mainly. THen bouldered for a good 90 minutes last night, and to be fair, I'm feeling like I can do something tonight. The "fuelling" system is definitely working. I'm having the SIS Whey 20 pouches before gym workouts too. 

I can feel now, that when the weight comes off, the climbs will get easier. The grades will go up. 

Back in my bouldering shoes last night too, wearing the edgeless La Sportiva Futuras. Hated them at first as I couldn't get the toe to stick at all.  Absolutely love them again. 

Flacktronix 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Phil Scott:

MyFitnessPal has been great. Limited myself to 1500 calories, most days I've hit over 700 calories burned, over 1200 2 days. And I've been able to see where I am eating carbs, proteins etc. Relate it to my training, either gym, wall or bike/run.  It's going to be a brilliant tool. 

Rich2002 07 Jun 2019

Hi Nick

Restricting yourself to 1500 cal a day and exercising as you are is unsustainable. When thinking about how you eat try an view it as your long term life style. No matter how you loose your weight if you can not sustain it forever you will slip back when you stop/life gets in the way etc. (life is too short to be always hungry). Its a good way to get started as I am sure the weight will start to drop off but you have to think long term. Stay strong and enjoy the progression.   

asteclaru 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Rich2002:

Completely agree with this. 

Starving yourself will not work for long.

You can actually lose weight by eating anything you want - just as long as you burn more calories than you are eating.

Get yourself an activity tracker that has a heart rate monitor: that way you'll have a decent estimate of what you're actually burning. I've found the Fitbit Charge 2 very good (the Fitbit app is also excellent for tracking the calories you're eating, so you can have a clear view of in and out calories).

For example, I have a Basal Metabolic Rate (i.e the number of calories your body needs to consume just to survive) of around 2000 calories. I then try and walk at least 10 km everyday, which is usually another 1000 calories burned, depending on how I get to 10 km. If I also go to the gym or the climbing wall, I usually burn another 500 to 1000 calories on top of that. 

I aim to have a calorie deficit of 500 to 1000 calories a day, so most days I can eat 2500 calories and still lose weight. The bigger the calorie deficit, the more you will lose, but it's recommended to not exceed 2 pounds of weight loss per week.

Post edited at 12:33
Graeme G 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Flacktronix:

I'm 5' 6" and was almost 14 stone last year. Lost 2 stone sticking to 3 Bs and 3Cs - cut out booze, bread and biscuits and chocolate, cake and crisps.

Snacks? Fruit, fruit and more fruit.

Unfortunately not managed to stick to it and have put 1 stone back on but I'll get motivated again soon, hopefully. Have to say it didn't make a blind bit of difference to my climbing.

Post edited at 16:25
misterb 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Flacktronix:

I like you had a fair bit of spare timber 2 years ago (15+stone at 5"9) and had not climbed much for 7-8 months , when i went back to training properly it was very hard especially on my fingers and skin which was the worst aspect, and the fact that i had gone backwards from 7b to barely redpointing 6b was a bit disheartening

Basically i went back to basics and did a lot of volume climbing with hardly any training like limit bouldering  or hard redpointing , worked on my overall fitness to get that back to a good level so i could train progressively harder for longer.

two months of that and i was pretty fit but had not made the jump back to good form and also my skin was forever playing up and sore finger joints were not much fun so i had to diet as the weight was the limiting factor to progression

I used myfitnesspal and a semi keto veggie rich diet for about 10 weeks and was very strict taking in no wheat , mostly off the booze and just carried on training the same as i had been before although for the first month on low calories i did a bit more easy aerobic and less power based training

i pyramided my calories up from 1200 a day (first 2 weeks, very hard) to 1400 , 1600 , 1800  to 2000 after 8 weeks and really felt amazing on 2000 a day and the best bit was i dropped 13kg in the 10 weeks

after that i didn't follow a diet strictly for 6 months but was climbing obsessd as i basically jumped right back past my former best to a new high point of 7c due to losing 2 stone and i didnt put any weight back on even though i went back to booze a bit and wheat to a certain extent too

basically you will feel almost invincible if you lose 2 stone and your fingers will thankyou for it

Good luck

Flacktronix 08 Jun 2019
In reply to asteclaru:

Absolutely. I use a Apple Watch with myfitnesspal, and as I said I’m fuelling, i know what you both mean about unsustainability and when training I have gone over, I don’t think the app lets you post a update if you’re calorie deficient. Looking at your numbers it’s very similar to what I’m doing, I cycle 9 miles a day, got a husky so she needs a good couple of walks too. 

Once the initial weight has dropped I’ll assess what I’ve been eating and see what is healthy. I’m certainly not starving myself. In fact my eating hasn’t changed much other than cutting crap out. It’s easy to see where the weight has come from this way. 

Feeling good, taking my daughter and 3 teenage girls to the Hangar today and not filled with dread so... cheers again all. I am taking absolutely everything here on board.

Flacktronix 08 Jun 2019
In reply to misterb:

That’s brilliant and makes a lot of sense.

Know what you mean about the fingers , 

I blew a finger, crimping on a V4. Really angered me as it’s a climb I should had flashed but I couldn’t get half way up it. And it dawned on me if I wanted to get better the weight had to go. Technique was there, but.... 

Flacktronix 13 Jun 2019

Week one, lost 4lbs and climbed well. Gym has been hard but fun. Climbed last night with lads who climb regularly above me and had texts from them this morning saying how well I did. The finger injury has forced me in to slabs, and it’s paid off. Route reading and general movement feels great. Two 6b  ( top rope) under my belt. 

Eating well, fitness pal is great. Using a few supplements, beta alanine, amino acids and collagen. Can honestly say I’ve not felt fatigued like usual. Got some great tips on how to get the most out of a session at the wall.

Note on the finger injury, researched taping and doing it right means I can climb on it. Still won’t crimp hard but it’s not flaring up.

so far so good!

springfall2008 13 Jun 2019
In reply to Flacktronix:

>setting a goal. In a years time, I hope to be able to climb through the 7-8's on most routes in most >walls, boulder around the same, V7. I'm going to have to lose weight to do this. That's a given. But I've

I'm sure if you train and lose weight you can get from 6b to low 7's, but most people never climb F8a so you might be being a bit too optimistic there. It's good to aim high but also good to be realistic.

Flacktronix 19 Jun 2019

Week 2, lost 3 more lbs. Climbed a lot, and hit the gym a fair bit. 
Gone back to a bit of bouldering as I took my daughter and a few of her friends to the Hangar and had a lot of fun, surprised myself, and a couple of mates. 

Seem to have plateaued a little, and feeling the fatigue. Guess it was bound to happen. There's a few bugs swept through the house too. "Dieting" is going well. No issues there, and I don't feel any guilt if I grab a slice of cake any more. I just whack it on the app, and work round it. Got a 6b+ this week, which was purely down to improved technique and confidence. 

Climbing again tonight with some good guys who are training for a Swiss Alp trip, so I'll be pushed. So far so good!

Kemics 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Flacktronix:

No sugar and no booze

I had a friend who was a solid 6c climber, without any additional climbing training he lost 4 stone through running and rocketes through the grades 

Shaunhaynes99 24 Jun 2019
In reply to Flacktronix:

 In simple terms eat less exercise  more if you a on calorie deficit  you will loose weight, 

Personally I find for losing  weight I go low carb/ keto with an omad eating plan, it can get a bit complicated  for a writing forum so have a look on YouTube and it explain,it,

Personally I think  lots of smaller changes that dont really affect your life are better then big dramatic  ones that could affect in a big way. E.g instead  of saying I'm going gonna go cycling 3 times a week which  I never do. I just get up 30 mins earlier to walk the dog a bit further in the morning or walk in to work and cycling to the climbing way which are all easily  manageable things and dont throw my old routine out therefore I stick to them and it makes a big difference 

A lot of weight  loss gain is about insulin  levels,  I'm currently  6 3 and about 14 and half stone but trying to get back down to and 13 and a half so I know how unenjoyable lightening up is. 

Post edited at 05:22
ericinbristol 24 Jun 2019
In reply to Flacktronix:

Great stuff, go for it. A couple of suggestions:

Get Dave MacLeod's book 9 out of 10 Climbers Make the Same Mistakes. It will help you progress in many ways.

Climb with a range of different people: ideally ones who climb harder than you and who are psyched for your progress.

Shaunhaynes99 24 Jun 2019
In reply to ericinbristol:

> Climb with a range of different people: ideally ones who climb harder than you and who are psyched for your progress. 

I did on Sunday and  was really good to  she how other people moved on the way on some of the routes  I wasnt  sure on how to do the moves on 

Flacktronix 27 Jun 2019
In reply to ericinbristol:

Cheers Eric. That book's been on my radar for a while, I'll get a copy now. 

I'm climbing with lads who are currently around the 7s. Couple of them are climbing the Matterhorn next month, and I learn a lot from them. They all really get behind you too, even a perfectly climbed 5 gets a cheer. I'm actually getting as much out of climbing with lads climbing a few grades lower than me too. As I can guide them from the bottom, it makes you consider movements from a different perspective. I've climbed very little other than the big slab (13 metres I think) for the last month, and I honestly believe it's made me a better climber. My footwork in particular has got a lot more precise.

All good.

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