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Supplements, during rest week or not.

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 Wooj 14 May 2020

Hi. I am taking my training seriously at the moment due to Covid and wanting to climb v10 either this year or next. I have a 4 week programme which I’m following religiously. The 4th week is complete rest from climbing specific exercises. No hangboarding, campusing, pull ups or climbing on my woodie. I still do some antagonist, core and yoga though. What I want to know is do I continue taking my supplements during the rest week? What are people experiences/opinions?

Daily supplements are 50g whey protein, 5g Creatine, 5g Beta Alanine & 5g collagen with Vit C tablet. 

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 Jezz0r 14 May 2020
In reply to Wooj:

From my own limited research, I would suggest continuing to take the beta alanine (if it's worth it for climbing? I've taken it for rowing, where the evidence is pretty robust) as the papers I've read suggest it takes a long time to build up in the body, it's not an immediate thing.

Presumably you need less protein if you're exercising less, but it comes down to how much you have in your diet anyway.

I've seen nothing to suggest the other two are worth taking so I can't comment.

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 MischaHY 15 May 2020
In reply to Wooj:

Are you taking your collagen within the correct time window? (30-60 mins before loading fingers). 

If not it's likely to be having little to no effect. 

Rest/recovery weeks are times when your body is recovering to training and good, complete nutrition is just as (if not more) important in these times than it is in times of high loading and training. 

Hope this helps. 

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 Iamgregp 15 May 2020
In reply to Wooj:

I’m no expert but I’d recommend you continue. Muscles repair as rebuild on rest days not whilst they’re big worked so it’s important that you keep giving your body the fuel it needs on days off.

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 johncook 15 May 2020
In reply to Wooj:

I'm no expert, but if you are taking that many supplements because you 'need' them, a serious look at you diet would be in order. It could be that, like many, you have succumbed to advertising and current on-line fads and trends. I notice that you miss out turmeric, the current cure all fad!

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 MischaHY 15 May 2020
In reply to johncook:

> if you are taking that many supplements because you 'need' them, a serious look at you diet would be in order.

Creatine and Beta Alanine are taken to improve tolerance to higher training intensity and aren't available in sufficient dietary quantities to have the desired effect. Both of them are well researched (especially Creatine with thousands of studies) and certainly aren't 'fads'. 

Effects of Beta-Alanine supplementation: https://www.climbingnutrition.com/supplements/beta-alanine/ 

Effects of Creatine supplementation: https://www.climbingnutrition.com/supplements/creatine/ 

Whey protein and Hydrolyzed Collagen/Vitamin C (these last two are grouped because the desired effect is co-dependent) are both supplemented to improve recovery during and after training. Whey protein is most commonly supplemented due to people not wanting to eat loads more meat which I think we can all agree is basically a good thing regardless of your dietary choices. Hydrolyzed Collagen/Vitamin C are used shortly before training with the goal of circulating collagen peptides in the bloodstream during the loading of soft tissues in climbing (or more often fingerboard training) with the aim of incorporating them into tendon and ligament structures and thereby building a stronger tissue and reducing injury risk. 

Effects of Collagen supplementation: https://www.climbingnutrition.com/diet/protein/an-update-on-dietary-collagen-protein/ 

Effective sources of dietary protein (including whey): https://www.climbingnutrition.com/diet/the-best-sources-of-protein/

All of these supplements have a very strong basis for usage in scientific evidence and have absolutely nothing in common with 'dietary fads' or tumeric, which goes great in curry. 

> I'm no expert

Perhaps consider dedicating the time it takes to type the post to doing some learning and becoming slightly less of a 'not expert' next time? Just because something doesn't apply to your personal life and experience within climbing doesn't mean it is untrue or a 'fad'. 

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 Wooj 16 May 2020

Thanks for the info folks. I hasten to add I am not just a climber. I do general conditioning and gym work for which I have taken supplements for ages. The only climbing specific one I’ve recently started taking is the collagen vit c combo. Trying everything and anything to help cure sore elbows and improve joint/ligament strength as I’m the wrong side of 40.

Nice post MischaHY btw!

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 charliesdad 16 May 2020
In reply to MischaHY:

All your references come from climbingnutrition.com, which recommends you source supplements from it’s sister company, (and admits that they pay kickbacks to nutrition.com if you buy from them).

Not exactly unbiased, are they?

A 5 minute search on any of the supplements recommended will find many, many other sources, most of whom cast serious doubt on whether they do any good at all. 
 

But feel free to keep making sh*t up if it helps you, o expert one.

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 ElArt 17 May 2020
In reply to Wooj:

I’m 48 and hydrolysed whey protein helps with recovery a lot. Don’t train that hard but the difference is noticeable and I’m Veggie. 

I don’t think I’d take it during a rest week though as I don’t think there is a need unless the Antagonist work develops this. I’d just eat a good diet. 
 

I’d keep taking the VitC obvs but not sure on the Colagen? I’m Interested though as a virtual  OAP. 

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 cb294 17 May 2020
In reply to MischaHY:

Taking collagen for recovery is blatant woo.

There is no physiological mechanism to deliver partially digested collagen from the gut to the sites in the body where it may be required, and to then reassemble collagen fibers from the fragments.

They need to be assembled by connective tissue cells, like other proteins one amino acid at a time. For that, it will help if you have sufficient protein in your food, the exact compostion is pretty much irrelevant.

CB

edit> as it crops up in the discussion below, I am an expert with a good understanding of how extracellular matrices are formed, did a postdoc on the topic.

Post edited at 08:55
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 flaneur 17 May 2020
In reply to Wooj:

The climbing nutrition website says Beta Analine has little or no effect for bouldering. Climbers have experimented with Creatine since the 90s. Consensus is the weight gain is counterproductive. Collagen: see CB’s comment. May be a case for protein if your diet is deficient. Have you estimated how much your usual diet is providing already?

I don’t know if your profile is up-to-date but if you’re sport climbing 6c then dietary supplementation is not addressing your primary limitations. 

More generally, it’s depressing how successful the body-dysmorophia industry is in getting its claws into climbing. 

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 cb294 17 May 2020
In reply to flaneur:

Creatine supplement does make sense, though, as it will help the amount of training you can withstand. The question is then rather whether you can put in so much training that  the faster recovery starts making a noticeable difference.

ElArts comment about feeling a difference when supplementing a veggie diet with whey hydrolysate is also plausible, if you do not take extra care protein can easily become limiting when the requirement increases through training.

CB

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 MischaHY 18 May 2020
In reply to charliesdad:

Not sure about all of this fella.

Brian who writes the website I linked to is a respected expert in sports nutrition with a specific focus on climbing and is very rigourous about sharing information which is as valid as possible based on our current understanding of the science. I trust his (and others) knowledge in this area, but I've also done some time reading some of the papers and research behind various supplements to have a good understanding of where opinions come from. 

I personally can understand when an expert in a field chooses to augment their income with an associative role in a production company. This doesn't automatically devalue their scientific opinion although I can understand your hesitation in that regard. In that situation I can only recommend you read the studies behind individual supplements - but these are generally not so easily digested and so I prefer to link to articles or similar as they are friendlier to those dipping their toes into the subject. 

That being said, all of the supplements OP mentions (with the exception of collagen which only has a couple of studies on the potential mechanism and may not work in the way we're assuming) are backed by a robust body of science which can be found with a few clicks though Google scholar. I personally dont use Creatine, for example, because although it does have a positive effect on power endurance, I found that it causes a bad pump whilst route climbing (this is also well reported, I can't remember the exact term for it). 

I grew up vegetarian and latterly developed a milk and soy allergy. For this reason in order to eat sufficient protein etc I either eat a lot of meat or delve into the various powders on the market (far more environmentally friendly as a bonus). 

I'm not an expert but I do respect the opinions, research and quality science of those who are, and I do my best to make sure this is what I communicate. Apologies if this came across as inappropriate in your eyes.

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 MischaHY 18 May 2020
In reply to cb294:

It's certainly an opinion that hasn't solidified in testing as of yet, but there are a couple of papers out there indicating that collagen peptides make it into the bloodstream complete. 

Happy to play the cautious hand on this one though as by the sounds of it you're far deeper into the topic than I am! 

I also come at it from the angle that a little extra protein and vitamin c is certainly not going to do anyone any harm. 

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In reply to Wooj:

I find this guy interesting and entertaining and importantly he is looking at the science and not trying to sell you anything.

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCXrqErU_TjqiHAHJkzITAvg

Doesn't relate to specifically to climbing, but is informative on supplements and building strength and various forms of fitness.

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 cb294 18 May 2020
In reply to MischaHY:

Sure, a bit of extra protein cannot hurt if you want to build up muscle power, but that could be lentils, a steak, or whey hydrolysate. I know which of the three I would drop from my menu! 

As for the collagen peptides, how would a fibrous tissue cell reassemble them into extracellular matrix fibers? I really do not see it. The collagen fibers will have to be made as full length proteins and then secreted by fibrous tissue cells, after which they can diffuse or be actively transported a certain range away from the cell before being incorporated into the meshwork of the ECM. Actually, if they were incorporated at all, short fragments could even weaken the network!

I presume the idea behind eating collagen to help your tendons is the same kind of naive marketing that suggests eating lots of sulfated proteoglycans to help regenerate cartilage in arthritic joints. This simply does not work either except giving you more gloriously smelly farts!

Creatine is a different situation, as supplementation will indeed measurably raise its levels throughout the body as it is a soluble small molecule, and it can be shown that this correlates with quicker recovery and thus allow more intense training schedules.

I can also confirm this anecdotally from my judo competition days 25 years ago, where I would take creatine while training multiple times most days (typically running or weights in the mornings, one or two judo sessions in the evenings). Below such training loads that run against the limit of recovery I doubt that it has much effect. You would be MUCH better off first increasing your training volume.

CB

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