• 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
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    Should You Lose Weight or Get Stronger?


    Despite typically eating healthily, I put on a few pounds and still haven’t lost them. I am a medium stocky build and could probably do with losing a bit of muscle. Is it better to get stronger, or lose weight? What’s your take?

    Tim Tucker | Fort Davis, Texas

    Carrying even a little extra baggage makes a difference. By increasing exercise and managing food intake, you will climb stronger. Photo: Merrick Ales.Crash dieting is not the answer. Not only do hardcore diets take all the joy away from climbing (and life) but they make weight control more difficult by disrupting your metabolism. However, a sustainable, common-sense-based approach to weight control is just as important as a training program to anyone who is serious about improving their climbing. It is a sobering thought that you are better off doing no training for two weeks and losing three pounds than training while gaining a pound or two.

    Take me as a case study. I have always shirked from weight control and focused on training, but last year I started training with a weight belt. When you climb wearing an extra five or six pounds, you understand immediately how much stronger you would climb if you lost an equivalent amount of weight.

    While I have never classed myself as overweight, I have always had a little excess to trim away. Though most of what I had to lose was muscle rather than fat, I decided simply to moderate things a little. I cut out deserts, stopped eating cakes with my coffee, and limited my portion sizes. Every time I put the usual amount of rice or pasta in the pan I simply tipped half a handful back.

    For breakfast I started having a slightly smaller bowl of cereal with one piece of toast instead of two. I also weighed myself every day to follow my progress. Surprisingly, I hardly noticed any difference in terms of how hungry I felt, and I realized that I had developed a habit of over-feeding myself. I lost six pounds over three months (most of which was probably muscle) and then went out to Kalymnos and climbed better than ever in my life.

    In retrospect, I would never have achieved the same results purely by tweaking my training and ignoring the issue of weight loss. If you only focus on training, then you can only improve by training harder and harder, and the penalty for that is often injury. But if you drop a few pounds (as well as training), not only should you improve more, but you may be less likely to get injured as you will be putting less strain on your tendons. Thus the weight-control assists the training and the training assists the weight control.

    I know that sports nutrition is a complicated topic, but my tips for weight loss are basic. Just become aware of your food intake. Ask yourself if you really need it or if you are just comfort eating. Of course you must also make sure you are achieving the correct balance of nutrients, and not adversely affecting your health with an eating disorder, but this is another subject.

    Even though this approach is infinitely easier, more sustainable and more effective than crash dieting, you still shouldn’t do it all the time. Make sure you build in recovery phases where you allow yourself a few pies and cakes as a reward.


    Related Articles

    Eat Fat, Climb Harder - The Ketogenic Diet

    Nutrition: Eating Your Way to Better Climbing

    How To Lose Weight For Climbing

    This article was published in Rock and Ice issue 187.

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