/ Some advice please.

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L stonemonkeylives - on 06 Oct 2017
Good afternoon,

I've recently made the (long overdue) decision to get back into climbing. I haven't climbed for about 15 years (I know, right?) due to family and work commitments. In this time it's fair to say I've let myself go a little (I prefer the term cuddly), so recently I've joined a (non climbing) gym to try and become, well less cuddly.

I know as well as going to a normal gym, I should really go to a climbing wall and get stuck in. The problem with that is, I do feel quite self conscious about going to a wall and looking like an ungraceful chubster trying to climb, and I don't want to become disheartened and just quit the idea altogether (vain and stupid I know but there you go).

So my query is this; are there any areas, other than cardio, that I should be concentrating on? Are there any (non climbing) gym workouts I could be doing to make getting back on the wall easier? Any webpages, blogs or YouTube channels I should check out?

Any advice or guidance on this would be much appreciated.

summo on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to stonemonkeylives:
Not got time to answer fully. But build up slowly and as someone returning to form, warm ups, cool downs, stretching are critical to preventing any injury. The days of getting away with a lax approach are probably behind you.

I wouldn't worry about opinion, join a climbing club and wall, find a few reliable partners and just push for mileage up the lowest grade routes focusing on good form and using your feet. You might be surprised just what you can get up by Xmas using technique and balance alone.
Post edited at 17:11
3leggeddog on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to stonemonkeylives:

Go to the wall, train heavy get strong.
Trangia on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to stonemonkeylives:

No one gives a damn how "cuddly" you've let youself become. Just go for it*. Start on easy climbs and go for quantity rather than pushing your grades. Build up your strength and stamina. Push yourself when you feel like stopping.

You say "other than cardio"? Does that mean that you have rejected the idea of running/cycling? I hope not because whilst you are trying to build up your strength and lose weight you need to get into a regime of lots of cardio vascular workouts all the time. Again start gradually and build up to it.

And what about eating and drinking? Are you looking at what's going in? Go for a healthy diet, but don't rush it to cut back or you will just get hungry from the extra exercise, and binge.

Getting into shape and staying there doesn't just happen. You have to work at it all the time so that it becomes a way of life.

You say you have joined an ordinary gym. Have you found a personal trainer? If not, why not invest in one to advise you and keep you on the straight and narrow? It's tough and very easy to get disalusioned and depressed at apparant lack of progress. It's mental as much as physical and that's where you will benefit from an understanding trainer.

Fitness has to become a way of life, but with the increase in your climbing ability hopefully a way of life you will enjoy.

Good luck.

* Obviously if you are of a certain age and unused to hard physcal exercise it might be wise to first get your GP to give you a once over to ensure that things like your ticker are healthy!
FactorXXX - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to 3leggeddog:

Go to the wall, train heavy get strong.

and bugger up your tendons...

L stonemonkeylives - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to Trangia:

I am currently looking into getting a bike, so I can cycle to and from work. Running is an issue, as I have an issue with my knee, I dislocated it back in my old climbing days, with a bad fall while toe jamming and it has recently started to play up due to a dangerous fall (said sarcastically) from a kerb. I will definitely take your advice and look at going to a climbing wall though, even if it's just bouldering for now, I guess that helps too.

Thank you for your advice guys. ????

Pbob on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to stonemonkeylives:
Many years ago I did some instructing at a local wall. I remember an occasion when instructing a newbie bloke. He'd obviously spent a lot of time at the gym and fancied himself a bit. I put him on a rope and suggested an easy route to begin on. He had big arms and chest but evidently no finger strength at all, and had to retreat from half way up. I said all the right encouraging things and lowered him off. When he got to the bottom a very rotund lady who frequented the wall regularly started up the route (actually a harder route on the same panels). She had the fingers, the good footwork, the flexibility etc to make it look easy. The chap just couldn't cope with being outclimbed by someone he seemed to consider inferior. It made me smile.

I've also just returned to climbing after a nearly fifteen year rest. I use my local wall and I was also quite intimidated to start with. At the end of the day it doesn't matter how hard you climb, and it really doesn't matter what you look like. What matters is that you enjoy the climbing. If you want to be challenged, just challenge yourself to improve you own grades, and forget what anyone else is doing.
Post edited at 19:12
rgold - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to stonemonkeylives:

I get being self-conscious...but get over it. Most gyms have a reasonable complement of cuddly climbers, and some of them can climb really hard. You might even start a (coed!) cuddly climbers club and get other endomorphs to flaunt their blubber power while simultaneously working on slimmer profiles.

And don't start on the bouldering wall. Most gyms have a spectrum of climb difficulty and you will almost certainly be able to do the easier ones with your 15 year-old technique set, which will reactivate the second you touch rock (er, plastic).

Nothing the matter with a regular gym, some basic body-building exercises might help prevent injuries as you get back into climbing, and cardio is a good thing no matter what. But none if it will work if you can't manage some kind of reasonable dieting as well.
Lusk - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to stonemonkeylives:

Sod everyone else, do your own thing.
When I used to train, many many years ago now, find a wall with a gym attached.
We used to go down Salford Uni wall, not the greatest but it did the job, then after climbing go next door into the gym.
30 mins on the rower at max heart rate, as many as we capable of doing, dips, pull ups, sloping sit ups, forearm curls etc etc.
It can get you amazingly fit if you stick at it
stp - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to stonemonkeylives:

Sounds like the main focus should be your diet. Cardio is definitely helpful but long term I think diet is far more important for losing weight. I was listening to a science podcast today about how keeping yourself pretty hungry for at least the first few weeks of a diet is really helpful. Eating too much blunts the brain's satiety endorphins so you tend not to feel satisfied until after you've eaten too much. This seems to tie in with a lot of positive experiences people have hand with intermittent fasting. The other key factor is to not over do it. Losing weight slowly but consistently over time is likely to be much better in the long run in that once slim you're more likely to stay slim. I think the 5:2 diet is pretty good way to lose weight.
L stonemonkeylives - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to rgold:
Thank you for the advice guys.

In regards to dieting; I have a pretty good diet anyway, as my wife needs a clean, healthy diet due to health reasons. My biggest issue is portion sizes, which is something I have started to address, including a reluctant reduction in alcohol consumption.

I work in an office for long petiods of time, so my biggest issue is inactivity. Over the last 15 years or so I've become lazy and addressing that and motivating myself are the biggest challenges I found so far.

My thoughts in regards to bouldering, is that it's easier to access. I don't really have any climbing friends local anymore, so my though was to go boulder, meet some folks and then start on pitch climbing. I am in the process of trying to get a friend to come bouldering with me, with hopes of converting him into a climber as it did me.

I will check out all your advice guys, and again I would like to thank you all for your advice and encouragement. It really has given me the itch to get climbing again.

Post edited at 11:06
Malarkey on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to stonemonkeylives:

I think everyone has given good advice... but to answer your question directly whilst training finger strength and pull ups are useful the easiest thing you can do to prepare is PLANKS.

It's really easy to build up the basic core strength just watching telly. It's tough but you don't need to go to the gym, get sweaty and there is virtually no risk of injury. You can do it virtually every day and measure your improvement in minutes and secs. Start with Front, side, then progress over the weeks to raised single arms, raised single legs, wide arm and so.

Its the easiest improvement I made.
Offwidth - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to stonemonkeylives:

rgolds advice is some of the best available on UKC but he doesn't have much experience of modern UK bouldering walls that give plenty of volume of low grade bouldering and stamina traverses that will probably be ideal for you. I used to train stamina doing laps on a top rope but these days I mainly do bouldering circuits quickly. You will also make friends quickly at the wall and won't be out of place being a bit overweight. You do need to be careful when starting again, to protect fingers from injury as tendons take a lot longer than muscles to get strong. Warm up, start easy and don't overdo the difficulty; warm down and stretch; do not start any formal climbing training or try and push your grades straight away.
Sam Beaton on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to stonemonkeylives:

Your profile doesn't say where you are but the customers of the walls here in Sheffield have really changed in the last 15 years.

Nowadays the walls here are full of people of all shapes and sizes and abilities in the way that they never used to be.

If you can, just turn up to a wall at a busy time and have a quick look at the people in there. You might find it reassuring

(On the minus side it's getting a bit tiresome going to the Works and seeing endless 12 year olds who can climb better than me)
L stonemonkeylives - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to Sam Beaton:

I live in between Wakefield and Leeds, so I have access to a few walls around me. I think I will bob into Leeds Wall this week, to look for some climbing shoes and what not (plus it's the wall I used to use back in the days, so I Know where it is).

As for 12 year olds being better than me, I had that issue 15 years ago never mind today lol.
Offwidth - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to stonemonkeylives:

Your lucky... possibly as many good walls within half an hour as anywhere in the UK.

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