I'm not sure if this should be in the training forum or not, but I'm specifically interested in peoples eating approaches for big days in winter.
I have generally eat between 1200-1800 (sometimes fluctuating an hour at either end) and just have water, salt water or coffee outside of that. I haven't done many big days out since before covid and when I have, I've just given up on the IF and snacked throughout the day on things like home made fruity flapjacks and/or a sandwich.
For those who regularly practice time restricted eating, what are your approaches when you go winter climbing or have big mountain days? I always find that if I eat when I'm out, I feel slower and lethargic but if I don't I'll also hit a wall where I need energy.
I usually skip breakfast during the week having dinner 7pm ish then not eating again until after 1pm the following day. If I go out for a big day I eat normally i.e. have breakfast, snacks and sandwiches when I'm hungry.
I never lack energy or hit the wall, so I think this regime works for me, but everyone is different.
Big days in winter? I have a big breakfast then either a light lunch or (preferably) eat as soon as we finish climbing i e get back to the sacks (unless weather/ time/ conditions are a problem necessitating getting down sooner)
As long as I've had a big meal (lots of carbs) the night before, I can get away without eating but I've been intermittent fasting for a long time (~40 years) so maybe my body is used to the abuse.. However, I tend to have a muesli breakfast and then some wine gums during the day and perhaps some salami these days as I have hit the wall (legs bonked good and proper). I also have a very extra sweet blackcurrant drink (20% concentrate and a heaped tablespoon of sugar).
Not very healthy but if I eat anything more then I'm really mentally sluggish and don't enjoy myself.
I did the Welsh 15 3000s fasted. I felt great on the Yr Wyddfa section, very ropey over the Glyders and coming down Tyfan, but from Pen Yr Olwen onwards, I felt really good.
On big days that stretch me, i definitely have a 'down' period that requires pushing through.
> I did the Welsh 15 3000s fasted. I felt great on the Yr Wyddfa section, very ropey over the Glyders and coming down Tyfan, but from Pen Yr Olwen onwards, I felt really good.
> On big days that stretch me, i definitely have a 'down' period that requires pushing through.
What's the point of - or the idea behind - such an eating pattern? (Serious question, since I've never heard about any of this before.) In reverse, why not just carry food and drink, and eat when you feel you need to?
If you are decently fat-adapted then you are wearing several days of fuel. Downside is the pace at which this fuel is made available, at best you are limited to 95% of the power that carbs can give you.
I haven't done IF for a while because my self-discipline crumbled, but I was doing either a 36 or 60 hour fast per week, as well as only two meals a day (brunch and dinner) on the days when I did eat. I need to get back to it because it really worked for me.
When I went for a big day out I just sacked it off, ate a massive breakfast and took cereal bars/sandwiches out with me, then a huge feed when I got back in the evening. Seemed to work fine.
The massive breakfast is key for me anyway though, in winter I really struggle to eat when I'm out until the climbing part of the day is over, it just makes me feel sick.
> What's the point of - or the idea behind - such an eating pattern? (Serious question, since I've never heard about any of this before.) In reverse, why not just carry food and drink, and eat when you feel you need to?
I've been IF'ing since the late 00's. I gravitated towards it on the back of experimening with a low carb diet; essentially I generally felt less hungry and gave up processed foods. I started skipping breakfast and by 2008 found a guy called Martin Berkhan who pioneered a more formal approach to IF.
The reason for doing the Welsh 15/3000s was to see how hard I could go without food. It turns out i could go for at least 24hrs. After completing my experiment i was ready to turn around and do it again; it was profound. I also did it in Vibram 5 Fingers! Lightweight approach.
I still fast, using a Targeted Ketogenic Diet. At 50 I effortlessly maintain around 10% bodyfat (alghough it takes willpower to get much under). No calorie counting , I still eat junk on the odd occasion and drink booze once a week or so, but don't jog nor starve myself.
Middle aged spread has passed me by. Not even close to it. I eat when hungry, usually twice a day.
> I have a big breakfast which keeps me going until 10am when I have a snack, then I fast until lunch at 12
How is 2 hours without eating a 'fast?
In short... take time, lots of it.
Over time, you'r body will take heed, and start to live with your eating habits.
I used to have a fairly continental eating habits, so no breakfast (only water, juice and lots of coffee), then a soup & salad lunch at around 11 or noon.... possibly a light snack pre-workout and then a hefty meal at ~9 or ten in the evening... This was fairly uncommon where I live, but since I like to sleep and biked to work, it made no sense to waste time for breakfast and then nearly puke when yer biking... The light lunch was Ok to get me through the remainder of the workday and into the gym, where a light snack again made ok'ish training... and then the heavy meal was what really fueled me the day.
Alterations from this were hard... but I could still eat a big breakfast if I forced myself... so this was what I did for when would be out the whole day (climbing, skiing, ski-touring)... And during the actual day out, it was something like gummy bears, nuts and raisins or such. Followed by a monster meal when I got where I would be sleeping...
But as I have gotten older, this really doesn't work that well anymore... I still don't eat breakfast that often (more than before though), but the lunch is often heavier and dinner is often a lot earlier (thanks to kids... they need to eat after work, so they can do their hobbies in the evening).
What's the purpose of eating in this way for you? And what do you hope to get from eating this way when you're out for a big day?
> I have a big breakfast which keeps me going until 10am when I have a snack, then I fast until lunch at 12, which is normally a sandwich( well 2 sandwich’s actually…and a couple of biscuits). I can normally them manage until 3pm when I have some fruit which reduces the urge to eat biscuits( sometimes I have the fruit and the biscuits!). Tea is always at 6pm, normally 2 courses, then I graze on crisps and red wine until bedtime. Most nights I manage to fast from 11pm until 7 am the next day.
> I never lack energy or hit the wall, so I think this regime works for me, but everyone is different.
My regime is almost identical except just after the red wine I add a cheese sandwich around 10:30 - 11pm. The thought of waking up hungry in the middle of the night terrifies me.
I do. Becasue that's how metabolism works. To add, I'm are certain we have had this debate before, so I'm not really interested in it again. Not eating might work for you, but I'll stick to pouring lovely carbs in my mouth thanks.
And before you ask - I'm 178cm, 69kg and have low enough BF to see my abs, without calorie counting or effort in any way.
> I do. Becasue that's how metabolism works. To add, I'm are certain we have had this debate before, so I'm not really interested in it again. Not eating might work for you, but I'll stick to pouring lovely carbs in my mouth thanks.
> And before you ask - I'm 178cm, 69kg and have low enough BF to see my abs, without calorie counting or effort in any way.
"Not eating"? I most certainly do eat! I don't avoid carbs all the time (Targeted Ketogenic Diet). It's WHEN I eat that defines the fasting. I reckon I eat around 2300kc to 2800kc a day.
It's great you've found a strategy that keeps you lean, but if your profile is correct 32 would be very young to be showing any middle aged spread - especially if active. If you maintain abs at 50 'without calorie counting or effort in any way', I'll be a tad more interested in your approach.
> What's the purpose of eating in this way for you? And what do you hope to get from eating this way when you're out for a big day?
Id played around with it for a little while and then U had a long recovery from COVID. I noticed that the less strict I was with it, the worse my symptoms were. So it's helped a lot with normal life but now I'm getting back to a stage where I can work on my fitness and do bigger days out without ruining myself for the next week, I'm just curious as to how to approach it. I've noticed in the past that when I'm strict with my eating window, I don't get hungry and I generally feel better and have loads more energy,but if I have a breakfast or eat late one day, then it takes me a few days to a week to getting back to seeing those benefits. The data are clearly in that it's beneficial for health and longevity and if it's working for me in other ways it just seems like an improvement to my life. It also feels like a bit of a super power, I know people that struggle with focus or get grumpy if they are hungry, if I don't eat until the evening or don't get to eat at all then it doesn't seem to effect me or make me feel hungry and that's come in handy a few times. I've also noticed that it takes zero effort maintaining a consistent body weight since I started it, doesn't seem to matter too much what I eat.
Thanks for everyone's comments, interesting to hear how other people approach it.
I had a 15 hour day on the Ben today and due to outside influences let's say, I didn't get to eat a lot! I had taken a small sandwich of pate and butter,a buttered hot cross bun and a bit of buttered malt loaf. Bit random but I hadn't had time to make anything and you can't go wrong with malt loaf.
A couple of crows (or ravens?) stole everything apart from the malt loaf while we'd left our bags below the comb to scout out routes! They undid the top zip on my bag and chewed through the pocket on my partners. They had started on the malt loaf but we must have got back before they'd snaffled it.
I could definitely have done with some wine gums near the end and some salt in the morning but in terms of energy levels I was buzzing and apart from aching feet I could have gone on for a bit longer.
Sat in the back of the landy after eating a big bowl of pasta I am pretty useless for anything but bed now! I do still wish I had some wine gums though, I've been thinking about them all day!
Everyone is different (cliche but true). I don’t follow any diet, tend to have a big meal the night before and then often don’t eat much during the day, just a few snacks. This is ok for an 8 hour day but if it’s a big day with lots of leg work on top of the climbing I need to make sure I eat more. Again, mostly snacks as there isn’t enough time for sandwiches and they’re heavy and not very practical in winter. On occasions, I’ve hit the wall due to not eating enough - not nice and potentially dangerous.
I take sandwiches and eat parts of them like a snack if I start feeling hungry during a day out, that way I don't feel full whilst being able to keep up my rate of work. Presumably gradually the benefit of the digestion of the food seeps into my metabolism, giving a lower height curve over a period of time. For the same reason I have porridge for breakfast (or brose), and sometimes I don't want to eat all day. I also take oatcakes with me for that lower curve effect.
I do also take bars with me, such as 9-bars (intermediate glucose level) and Stoats(higher levels of glucose) for when I'm really running out of energy.
> I If you maintain abs at 50 'without calorie counting or effort in any way', I'll be a tad more interested in your approach.
We all maintain abs, is it really necessary to see them?
> 15 hour day on the Ben today and due to outside influences let's say, I didn't get to eat a lot!
Enforced IF often seems to be the way on big winter days.
I once went all day climbing in the UK eating nothing including breakfast (by accident and mistakes there was no food available at all - our planned breakfast and lunch never turned up). I nearly collapsed at 5 PM. Very luckily I was able to eat a few minutes later. And then felt fine and recovered
> We all maintain abs, is it really necessary to see them?
It's a good proxy for BF. For me this is important as I'm around 85kg which makes climbing hard. So it's important i don't carry excess if i want to advance.
Possibly but I wonder whether the weight difference between visible abs and only just invivsible abs is big enough to make a significant difference?
A set of scales is cheap and far more accurate for weight measurement than a vanity proxy.
> And Pete. I'm going to go without food for an hour. A faster fast.
That's nothing. There's the 11-second fast
> A set of scales is cheap and far more accurate for weight measurement than a vanity proxy.
But they're not good for checking body composition, unlike abs as a proxy.
Given that an active job and leisure activities mean that I carry a reasonable amount of muscle I'm happy to work on the assumption that sitting midrange on my ideal BMI means that my body composition is not too far "wrong".
I could certainly reduce my weight a luttle by reducing my fat levels but with a current focus on endurance events I'm reasonably happy to carry a small "fat reserve" for when I need it
This Winter Conditions page gives a summary of what is being climbed at the moment, what is 'in' nick and what the prospects are...