Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In



Nutrition for Indoor Climbing

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

There is a void in climbing nutrition information that leaves climbers searching aimlessly for a comprehensive resource on how to eat to improve climbing performance. Born from this chasm: the definitive guide to fuel the send, Nutrition for Climbers. Nutrition for Climbers is science-based, taking complex nutrition science and translating it into practical ways to help you eat right to climb to your potential. 

Nutrition for Climbers is an excellent resource for gym and competition climbers looking for nutrition information to optimize their training in preparation for the competition season. In addition, this book is a tool for parents of competition climbers seeking to support their child/adolescent’s goals. 

What makes Nutrition for Climbers unique is how it provides representation of all body types, and does not encourage a “thin is best” mindset for climbing. It provides nutrition beta for all life stages, including pregnancy, and for adaptive climbers; the nutrition in this book is not just one size fits all. 

Fixed Pin Publishing is known for definitive and accurate guidebooks; the nutrition manual is the same level of detail and knowledge. Every climber related nutrition topic is at your fingertips: learn how to eat for all types of training phases, next level performance, to recover better, and heal from, and prevent, injury.

Written by Marisa Michael a sports dietitian, one of a few conducting original research on climbers and nutrition. Gorgeous illustrations and photos illuminate the book, as do exclusive interviews with Adam Ondra, Beth Rodden, Sasha DiGiulian and Hans Florine. 

Coming soon in 2020! Link to get notifications for book:

Below is an excerpt from Michael’s book, Nutrition for Climbers, from Chapter 3, Nutrition for Indoor Climbing.

Joe is an accountant. He’s in a rush in the morning, so he skips breakfast. He sits at his
desk all day, crunching numbers and mindlessly munching on popcorn from the break
room. There’s no real lunch to speak of, just some trail mix and an apple at his desk.
He sits some more, then drives to the climbing gym after work. At the gym, he feels
frustrated that he has plateaued in his climbing. He’s not getting stronger, and he hasn’t
climbed a harder grade in six months. He is irritable and slips of easy moves.

Joe isn’t real, but he represents many clients who come through my office door–
professionals by day, athletes by night. Under-fueled and overstressed, not making
gains and not feeling well.

If you are a climber who trains and competes predominantly in a gym, this chapter will
help you home in on specific nutrition advice that will help you progress. Even if you’re
a hardcore outdoor climber, you usually end up climbing indoors at some point, so the
information in this chapter will be helpful as well.

This chapter outlines how to eat for all these different scenarios. Keep in mind that
throughout this book, the recommendations are for adults. If you are a teen/adolescent
climber, there is a separate section just for you (see chapter 6). Many of these nutrition
concepts still apply to you, but teens/adolescents need to consider their growing bodies,
and thus may need to fuel differently.

A Climbing Session at the End of the Day (After Work or School):

This means you’ve had a long day of doing other things (like sitting at a desk, thinking hard, or participating in school PE) that may drain you. To feel fresh for a climbing session, it’s important to fuel right throughout the day as well as just before the climbing session.

Start the day right by eating a breakfast with both protein and carbohydrate. Eating within an hour of waking up will help your body be energized for your day. Eat according to your hunger throughout the day, usually every three to four hours. Lunch should be substantial. An afternoon snack an hour or two before you climb will help you re-fuel from your mostly digested lunch, but at the same time should be small enough as to not feel too heavy in your stomach when you start climbing.

Here is what a sample meal plan looks like for a climber who works or goes to school during the day, and climbs in the late afternoon or evening. Portion sizes will vary from person to person, based on calorie needs and current hunger level.

This sample menu gives you an idea of what to eat for multiple climbing rounds. If they are closer together, just have quick-digesting carbs as listed on page 35. If they are farther apart and you have 2–4 hours to digest something, you can have a bit more fat and fiber in your meal. Drink about 8 ounces (250 milliliters) every hour, or so, of either water or sports drink.

More from Marisa Michael:

What to Eat to Crush Your Comp