• Coming Back From Injury
  • Get Trip-Fit Fast
  • Systems Wall and Symmetrical Training
  • Coaching Climbing - How To Train Juniors with Care and Caution
  • Grip Trainers - Gimmicks, or Worth the Money?
  • Hangboarding for Endurance: Not Just for Power
  • Simulation Training: How to Do a Move You Can't Do
  • Planning a Year's Climbing
  • Portable Training Rigs - How to Stay Fit on the Go
  • How to Keep Your Job and Family and Still Climb at Your Limit
  • Suspension Training for Rock Climbing
  • Eat Fat, Climb Harder - The Ketogenic Diet
  • Witness the Mental Fitness: Set Thought Aside to Improve Performance
  • Mental Training Made Simple
  • Counterintuitive Climbing Tips to Change Your Game - Part 2
  • Endurance Training Tips for Winter
  • Five Counterintuitive Climbing Tips to Change Your Game - Part 1
  • Staying Power - How to Last All Day at the Crag
  • Attack and Defend - Tips for Effective Resting
  • Change Up - Plug the Gaps In Your Strength Training This Winter
  • Training While Injured
  • The Hard Way, Easier: How to Cope with Redpoint Nerves
  • Climbing Literacy - Get Better Instantly by Reading Routes
  • The Numbers Game - How to Use Your Age to Your Advantage
  • Injury-Free Bouldering: 15 Tips to Keep You Healthy and Strong
  • Injury-Free Boarding: 14 Training Tips to Save Your Fingers
  • The Truth About Caffeine and Climbing
  • Pushing Past Your Training Plateau
  • Five Strategies to Sharpen Concentration and Climb Better
  • Five Ways to Get Better Without Training
  • Beat the Burnout: Only Ondra Should Train Like Ondra
  • Effective Gym Training Strategies (for Route Climbing)
  • Should You Add Weight or Use Smaller Holds on a Hangboard?
  • Map Out a Plan with the Radar System
  • Managing the Fear of Falling
  • Projecting 101 – 6 Tips For Sending
  • Slowing the Pump Clock - Three Strategies to Prevent the Pump
  • Training on the Go
  • How to Train for Compression
  • Nutrition: Eating Your Way to Better Climbing
  • How to Dyno
  • General Conditioning for Climbers
  • Transitioning from Gym to Crag
  • Staying Strong to Perform Your Best All Season
  • How to Lose Weight for Climbing
  • Building a Better Climber: Final Phase - Peaking
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 7 - Power Endurance Training
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 6 - Endurance II
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 5 - Strength and Power II
  • The Training Effect - Steve House and Scott Johnston
  • Training for Climbing: Injured? Train Your Core!
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 4 - Power Endurance
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 3 - Strength Training
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 2 - Low-Intensity Endurance
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 1 - Conditioning Phase
  • Gain Confidence by Learning Not to Fear Falling
  • Get Better When You Are Scared and Pumped
  • Never Get Pumped Again
  • Gutbusters - Core Exercises for Rock Climbing
  • Rest ... or Else
  • The Intuitive Approach to Training
  • Free Climbing Tips: Why Get Stronger When You Can Get Better?
  • Crank Like a Russian - How to Power Train for Climbing
  • How to Mentally Train
  • Boost Power With Eccentric Training
  • Tips for Better Onsighting
  • Should You Lose Weight or Get Stronger?
  • Is Protein Important?
  • Getting Strong After a Layoff
  • Does Running or Biking Improve Your Climbing?
  • Training While Hungry
  • How To Use Microcycles
  • How to Improve Slab Technique
  • How to Unlock a Crux
  • How to Use a Hangboard
  • Using a Weight Belt For Training
  • Training During Pregnancy
  • Maximizing a Small Home Wall
  • How to Stay Psyched
  • How to Prevent Bonking
  • Best Ratio of Resting to Bouldering
  • The Importance of Finger Strength
  • Regaining Confidence After a Fall
  • Overcome Anxiety and Send!
  • Maximum Training in Minimum Time
  • Dynamic vs. Static Stretching
  • Do Forearm Trainers Work?
  • Ultimate Strength
  • The Secrets of Warming Up
  • Periodized Training For the Year-round Approach
  • Resting the Perfect Amount
  • How To Recover On Route
  • Does Creatine Work?
  • Recovery Supplement Truths
  • Euro Training Secrets
  • Can Old Guys Get Stronger?
  • Training With an Injury
  • How to Beat Fear
  • How Often Should You Rest?
  • Warming Up Without Warm-Ups
  • How to Develop Sloper Strength
  • Beating the Lactic Acid Pump
  • Video Spotlight
    Deep North: A Trip to the Arrigetch Peaks
    Deep North: A Trip to the Arrigetch Peaks
    Whipper of the Month
    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer
    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer

    How to Prevent Bonking


    Eating small meals helps keep my energy level up but I'm drained by 4 p.m., while large meals keep me satisfied but sluggish. What are some of the best foods to eat at the crag to feel energized throughout the day?

    —Amy Snyder | Blacksburg, Virginia

    Killian Fischuber has no trouble staying psyched, but declining motivation can affect anyone. Photo: Bernardo Gimenez. It is easy to be led astray by the hype surrounding the latest energy bar or drink, or to copy the strategy of a climber who cranks harder than you, but when it comes to nutrition at the crag there really is no better expert than yourself. For example, I have a high metabolism and need plenty of treats to get through a long day. In spite of what everyone knows about highs and lows from sugary foods, I simply can't face a day without a few chocolate bars. However, this could be disastrous for some and I know plenty of climbers who have to stick religiously to the rules. If you crave sugary foods but respond badly to them, go for things like fruit or nuts. Generally, it is best if your intake of carbohydrates comes mainly from cereal bars, high-quality energy bars, nuts and foods that are low in simple sugars but high in complex carbs. Foods such as bread, rice or pasta, consumed in small quantities every hour or two, will provide a steady release of energy. Many people find that white bread and pasta can make them feel bloated and sluggish and most understand this to be caused by the high glycemic index [See G. I. Yo! No. 167 for an explanation of glycemic index] associated with foods that are high in refined flour. Go for whole-grain products, or rice, which has a lower overall GI.

    Though you are doing the right thing by snacking rather than eating a large meal in the middle of the day, I suspect that an intake of high GI foods could be responsible for your 4 p.m. fizzle. That said, another likely cause could be partial dehydration. Few of us consume sufficient water at the crag and it is vital to sip at regular intervals. If you use energy drinks, go for the products that offer only complex sugars, or better, try recovery drinks that consist of a mix of protein and carbohydrates.

    Most of the information on sports nutrition is geared for activities where you need to sustain intense bursts of energy for no more than an hour or two. Crag climbing is fundamentally different in that you need to maintain a steady level for an entire day, with a few short bursts when you're on the rock.

    A key, related issue (for me at least) is the intake of caffeine. We are told just to have one or two small cups of coffee at the start of the day (too much caffeine can cause dehydration and give you the jitters) but I have found no better way of preparing myself for that final redpoint in the conditions window at the end of the day than a quick hit of caramel cappuccino. Again, this works well for me but others may wreck their chances by too much caffeine at the wrong time. Study and experiment. The tips above will help, but ultimately you must find a formula that works for you.


    Related Articles

    Eat Fat, Climb Harder - The Ketogenic Diet

    Nutrition: Eating Your Way to Better Climbing

    Should I Lose Weight or Get Stronger?


    This article was published in Rock and Ice issue 183.

    Reader's Commentary:

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

    Add Your Comments to this article: