• Building a Better Climber: Final Part
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 7
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 6
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 5
  • The Training Effect: Methods by Steve House
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 4
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 3
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 2
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 1
  • Catch of the Day
  • The Unnatural Way to Climb
  • Too Hard for a Caveman
  • Never Get Pumped Again
  • Should You Add Weight or Use Smaller Holds on a Hangboard
  • Injured? Train Your Core!
  • Cheap Tricks
  • How to Mentally Train
  • How to Power Train for Climbing
  • Boost Power With Eccentric Training
  • Tips for Better Onsighting
  • Should You Lose Weight or Get Stronger?
  • Does Running or Biking Improve Your Climbing?
  • Is Protein Important?
  • Getting Strong After a Layoff
  • Training While Hungry
  • HowTo Use Microcycles
  • Improving Slab Technique
  • How to Unlock a Crux
  • Best Ratio of Resting to Bouldering
  • Training During Pregnancy
  • Using Your Hangboard the Right Way
  • Maximizing a Small Home Wall
  • How to Stay Psyched
  • How to Prevent Bonking
  • Using a Weight Belt For Training
  • Regaining Confidence After a Fall
  • Dynamic vs. Static Stretching
  • Overcome Anxiety and Send!
  • The Importance of Finger Strength
  • Do Forearm Trainers Work?
  • Maximum Training in Minimum Time
  • Dialing in Crampon Technique
  • Ultimate Strength
  • Periodized Training For the Year-round Approach
  • The Secrets of Warming Up
  • Beat the Ice-Climbing Pump
  • Resting the Perfect Amount
  • How To Recover On Route
  • Does Creatine Work?
  • Can Old Guys Get Stronger?
  • Recovery Supplement Truths
  • Euro Training Secrets
  • How to Beat Fear
  • How Often Should You Rest?
  • Training With an Injury
  • Avoiding the Gear-Placement Pump
  • How to Develop Sloper Strength
  • Warming Up Without Warm-Ups
  • Beating the Lactic Acid Pump
  • Video Spotlight
    Weekend Whipper: Groundfall at Frog Buttress
    Weekend Whipper: Groundfall at Frog Buttress

    Recovery Supplement Truths

    04-Dec-2009
    By

    What do you think about drinking recovery supplements, such as whey protein or glutamine, throughout a day of cragging? We're told it's best to drink those after exercise, but it seems to me that the slow drip is more suited to a sport with short, powerful 15- to 30-minute bursts (aka a pitch) every hour or so over the course of an eight-hour day. I've been experimenting with a climbers' cocktail my friend (who invented it) calls Whey-Gay, which is a mix of whey protein and Gatorade powder in a liter of water. I definitely feel more recovered between burns, but I'm wondering if that's just all in my head (it's hard to tell with so many shouting, angry voices in there).

    —Jim Jones, Salt Lake City, UT

    I'D BE WARY OF MAKING cocktails with sports nutritional products. Better and safer to get the stuff that's been properly blended and tested. The voices might go away, too!

    Sipping a carbohydrate-based drink during prolonged endurance-based activities will improve performance. During exercise, the body absorbs fluids better than solids and a carb-based sports drink will satisfy the priority of hydration as well as keeping levels of muscular glycogen as high as possible. An additional benefit to be obtained from carbohydrates, whether mid- or post-exercise, is the increase of insulin levels, which are vital for recovery, and also a reduction of the hormone cortisol, which can increase the effects of stress during exercise. Second, recovery drinks that contain a mix of carbohydrates and protein (usually a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio) are widely regarded as excellent for post-exercise recovery. The protein element evidently assists with muscle repair, and the carbohydrates provide the energy. You could wait until your next meal but you will seriously miss out on your full recovery potential if you wait longer than an hour. The studies all point to the notion that getting one of these drinks straight down the hatch right after training is very wise.

    Whether you need the protein component during exercise is not as well researched. However, one study on the subject was made by the Allied Health Sciences Center, Springfield College in 2001. Full details can be found online in the Journal of Exercise Physiology, Volume 4 No. 1, January edition. The study concluded that a carbohydrate-protein drink following glycogen-depleting exercise may facilitate a greater rate of muscle glycogen resynthesis than a carbohydrate-only beverage, hasten the recovery process, and improve exercise endurance during a second bout of exercise performed on the same day. The advice seems to be that energy/recovery drinks taken during exercise won't do you any harm and they may well do you some good.

    Neil Gresham is one of the world's premier climbing coaches. He has climbed 5.14a sport, E10 trad and M10 mixed. Log on to the forums at rockandice.com to ask Coach Gresham your training questions.

    Reader's Commentary:

    Don't want to use Facebook, but still want to comment? We have you covered:

    Add Your Comments to this article:
    Hello