Even novices to climbing know that you need the proper sustenance in the form of food to fuel a successful climb. However, the post climbing period when the muscles are fatigued and practically screaming for the nutrients it needs to recover is equally important. Food consumed in this period should aid in repairing muscles, preventing cramps, minimizing pain and refueling your energy reserves. Here are some nutrients and specific foods that can aid in that all important recovery period.
- Carbohydrates: Climbers should begin to consume “recovery foods” within an hour after an intense workout. At the top of this list should be foods that are high in carbohydrates such as fruits, fruit juices, bread, pasta and baked goods. Complex carbs can be found in foods like brown rice, whole grain bread, lentils, peas, beans, and vegetables. Complex carbs in particular help you to sustain energy levels throughout the day as well as help to restore and repair damaged muscles.
- Protein: Not quite as important as carbs is protein for recovery. Protein – in the form of amino acids – helps build muscles and strength. Foods that are high in protein include whole grains, animal products, nuts, beans, and legumes.
- Fats: Too many of us are conditioned to believe that all fats are the same when nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, there are several kinds of fat including saturated, unsaturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, etc. However, Omega-3 and 6 are “good” fatty acids. Recommended post-climb foods include nuts, seeds, olives, and salmon.
- Water: Yes, our old friend H2O was bound to appear in our list and for good reason. H20 is the elixir of life. Water is essential to the functioning of all our organs. Water also helps us to maintain focus, motor control, body temperature and it helps us fight off fatigue.
- Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins like C and the B-complex and minerals such as zinc are essential nutrients which many people struggle to consume in the right amount. For active people – such as climbers – consuming enough of the right kinds of vitamins is a critical part of the repair process. Vitamin C – found in citrus fruits, kiwi, peppers and broccoli – helps maintain cartilage and bone tissues. Zinc – found in oysters, nuts, seeds, and chicken – promotes growth and helps heal injured tissue.
At the end of the day, it is all about helping your body recover in smart and efficient ways. Food is the body’s fuel and it is essential that we choose the right foods to aid in the process of recovery. Our Denver rock climbing experts can give more information about which foods are best to consume before, during and after a climb. Rock climbing in Denver Colorado is safer and more fun when climbers know the importance of a proper diet. Shorten your recovery period by eating like a champion so that you can get back to the sport you love.