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infrared


Apr 11, 2012, 1:49 PM
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Diet, recovery time, strength (beginner questions)
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20yr old male, vegetarian 6'1" 140lbs that just started climbing and looking for input on some questions.

Firstly, I've read some posts from vegetarian climbers about protein intake and found some useful information. However, I'm still concerned about building strength (but not necessarily muscle size). Since I am so thin and borderline skinny, I worry that I won't be able to build as much strength as needed to progress. Currently I am trying to eat around 100grams of protein per day but worry if this is enough. Any advice on this?

Secondly, I am curious as to the recovery time for a new climber. I feel that even on the second day (48hrs) after going to the indoor gym, I am still sore and not strong enough to repeat the problems I could do before (most v1s at my gym). It seems that 2 days should be enough recovery time so I am wondering if there is a diet issue or if it is just normal for a beginning climber to develop a 'baseline' of climbing strength.

I do feel that in the month or so since I started, I have gained a ton of forearm strength compared to before I started. However, I am wondering if there are any things I should look at to make my training more efficient so I can start going out and really climbing.

Thanks.


wmshub


Apr 11, 2012, 2:05 PM
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Re: [infrared] Diet, recovery time, strength (beginner questions) [In reply to]
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6'1", 140lbs, is borderline skinny? I'm 5'9", 145lbs, and I call myself on the skinny side. (Back when I was 125lbs I considered myself freakishly skinny, but you sound even thinner than that).

As for protein, 100g per day should be plenty but not all proteins are created equal. You probably know already, but just in case - Proteins are made out of amino acids, which come in several varieties. Some of these your body can make from other amino acids; these are called the inessential amino acids, because as long as you get protein your body will have these. Others your body cannot make, these are the essential amino acids. I think there are about a dozen essential ones. Very few vegetable protein sources have all the essential amino acids, so for example you can eat kidney beans all day long and get tons of protein, but you will still not be in best health for tissue regeneration because you aren't getting all the essential amino acids. Soy protein is a complete protein (ie, it contains all of the essential amino acids), and it's pretty cheap and easy to get, so if you want to be a vegetarian and build up strength and endurance, eating a lot of soy protein is a decent place to start.

Other than that, when I was 20 I could do heavy workouts every other day and while I'd still be a little bit sore from the last workout, I steadily gained strength so I wasn't overtraining. If you need to boulder every 3rd day instead then maybe your diet isn't so great, maybe you just naturally take longer to recover from workouts, or maybe you're just being too careful and ignoring the soreness will be fine. From what you said it's hard to tell which is the case.

Overall I'd say don't worry too much about it. Bouldering is hard work. You can endlessly tweak your diet and workouts to get the maximum strength gain over time, but unless that is a hobby in itself, you can look at the big picture and realize that bouldering every 3rd day and making steady (but not super fast) improvements is pretty good already.


infrared


Apr 11, 2012, 2:14 PM
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Okay, so I'm REALLY skinny. That's part of my worry about all this.

I try to consume complete proteins (eggs, soy, whey primarily). I drink a whey-based protein powder twice a day since it is not always feasible to get enough protein in that day for whatever reason. I tried a soy-based powder but found it tasted absolutely awful. Tempeh is my main source for this now.

You touched on my main question which was: what is the balance between efficient training and overtraining? Is training while sore inherently detrimental or should I feel completely recovered before going out again? I am only able to boulder now since I have no partner and figured it would at least give me a way to develop some strength until I can find a partner. I know that sport climbing long routes and bouldering are two completely different things, but I try to incorporate more endurance type things (repeated 'climbs' up and down an easier boulder problem).

Also, any tips on warm-up? I think the last time I went to the gym I encountered the 'flash pump' which seems to be a result of improper warm-up. Currently I just do easy traversing and then some upper body and lower body stretching.

Thanks again for the help.


wmshub


Apr 11, 2012, 2:27 PM
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If you are taking whey then sure, you're getting plenty of protein.

Your build sound a little like mine. I started weightlifting in my late teens because I was so skinny that my elbows looked like lumps in the middle of my twiggy arms. I had a friend who weightlifted, so I spent a whole summer working out with him, hoping to get huge. At the end of the summer I hadn't gained a single pound, but had gotten much stronger, and even though I hadn't gained weight I looked a lot better because at least I had decent shape to my arms and legs.

I definitely would work out even when sore. All summer long I always felt at least a little bit sore. It didn't seem to do me any harm at all. But it's a tough call, I hear that overtraining can lead to injuries, so you don't want to push yourself too hard. You should pay attention to your body. If you are getting stronger over time then you probably aren't overtraining; if at every workout you feel more beaten down and weak than the one before, then you need to ease up.

I'll let other people talk about bouldering warmups and bouldering vs. longer routes. I'm still pretty new to climbing myself (been doing it for a few months now) so I don't have much to add there.


granite_grrl


Apr 12, 2012, 4:59 AM
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Re: [infrared] Diet, recovery time, strength (beginner questions) [In reply to]
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infrared wrote:
Secondly, I am curious as to the recovery time for a new climber. I feel that even on the second day (48hrs) after going to the indoor gym, I am still sore and not strong enough to repeat the problems I could do before (most v1s at my gym). It seems that 2 days should be enough recovery time so I am wondering if there is a diet issue or if it is just normal for a beginning climber to develop a 'baseline' of climbing strength.

How new of a climber are you? (a few weeks, a few months, almost a year?). With any new exercise it's going to kick your but the first few times you do it. Once your muscles adapt you can start increasing the volume.

There's not clear answer to your question, but to me 2 days of recovery and still hurting doesn't seem strange for a new climber. If you are finding significant weakness when you return to the gym after a couple of days then you might be flirting with injury to try for another hard workout. I would suggest taking either an active rest day (get the blood moving through your arms, but don't really work them) and maybe work on your endurance (traversing the gym, look up ARCing for something more specific).

Your body will adapt. Personally, I like to do at least two days on of climbing because I like to make most out of my weekends. If I went really hard day 1 then I usually can't climb quite as hard on day 2 but I can still put in a good performance.



As far as the nutritian questions....I would consider creating another thread looking specifically for other vegetarian climbers, but it sounds like you're getting plenty of protien.


styndall


Apr 12, 2012, 8:24 AM
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Re: [infrared] Diet, recovery time, strength (beginner questions) [In reply to]
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infrared wrote:
Okay, so I'm REALLY skinny. That's part of my worry about all this.

I try to consume complete proteins (eggs, soy, whey primarily). I drink a whey-based protein powder twice a day since it is not always feasible to get enough protein in that day for whatever reason. I tried a soy-based powder but found it tasted absolutely awful. Tempeh is my main source for this now.

You touched on my main question which was: what is the balance between efficient training and overtraining? Is training while sore inherently detrimental or should I feel completely recovered before going out again? I am only able to boulder now since I have no partner and figured it would at least give me a way to develop some strength until I can find a partner. I know that sport climbing long routes and bouldering are two completely different things, but I try to incorporate more endurance type things (repeated 'climbs' up and down an easier boulder problem).

Also, any tips on warm-up? I think the last time I went to the gym I encountered the 'flash pump' which seems to be a result of improper warm-up. Currently I just do easy traversing and then some upper body and lower body stretching.

Thanks again for the help.

With respect to your diet, the amount of protein you're getting sounds just fine. Unless you're trying to do something really specific, don't fret over the diet too much.

With the overtraining question, what you probably need to pay attention to is your elbows. Elbow tendinitis is really common, particularly when you're both light and just starting out. If you start to get elbow pain, back off the training a bit. It's okay to climb if you're still a bit sore from the last time, though.

I'm essentially exactly your height and build (6'1", 145-150-ish), and a vegetarian, but 12 years older than you, and it's not held me back.


(This post was edited by styndall on Apr 12, 2012, 8:25 AM)


boadman


Apr 12, 2012, 12:01 PM
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It also depends on the type of training you're doing. Generally, as a new climber, you should be focusing on volume and you should be able to climb a lot, 4 or 5 days a week shouldn't be too hard to sustain. You will see more gains from more frequent shorter sessions (less than 2 hours) than you will from wasting yourself once or twice a week. Figuring out how to move is obviously your highest priority, and climbing as many routes as you possibly can is the best way to do that. Someone will probably jump in and recommend that you get the Self Coached Climber, and read it, which probably could help you shortcut some of the learning process.


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