Speaker Series: Climbing Nutrition

Speaker Series: Climbing Nutrition

  • Posted by Kaleigh
  • On February 8, 2018
  • Comments

Dr. Shannon O'Grady (pictured below) will be at The Front this Thursday, February 15th at 6PM to teach us about fueling for our beloved sport of climbing, but we couldn't wait to pick her brain! We asked her a few nutrition-related questions in advance, and we are psyched to get even more information.

What's your background with sports nutrition?
I've always been a runner, but my interest in the overlap between sport and nutrition ramped up when I started training for longer endurance events like Ironman, Lotoja, and Leadville 100 MTB. If you're competing in events of that length and don't make nutrition a priority you will either a) not finish or b) crawl across the finish line. During this time I also received my doctorate in Biology at the U of U with an emphasis in nutritional physiology. As my athletic interests changed, I began to focus on sports nutrition in a broader sense, interested in not only what endurance athletes needed to fuel properly and maximize recovery but also what athletes with more of a strong emphasis, like climbers, may need. I think this is what interests me most in sports nutrition: how what we demand of our bodies can change both how we need to fuel and what may be of benefit as we push our performance limits. I currently work for Gnarly Nutrition as the Director of Product where I head up all new product development, internal/external education, and make sure that everything Gnarly sells meets with the highest quality standards.

How long have you been climbing?
On and off for the last 15 years.

What do you think is the most challenging aspect of fueling for climbing?
It's easy to forget to eat and drink at the crag and I think neglecting both of these can lead to underperforming and potentially injury.

Is there any prevailing misinformation in our sport right now related to nutrition?
1) There are a lot of new protein powders available and many make claims about their positive impact specifically on joints and tendons, but in reality most of this is not substantiated by science, at least relative to other high-quality protein sources.
2) Fat adaptation (ketogenic diet) as a performance climbing diet.

If you could tell climbers just one thing about fueling for their sport, what would it be?
In terms of fueling, carbohydrates are your friend. Attention should be paid to type, quantity, and timing - but the energy systems that climbing taps into depend on carbohydrates. Also, don't be afraid of high-quality protein, consistent intake throughout the day will pay dividends when it comes to recovery.

In any sport, we are bombarded with supplement companies trying to sell us on their products. What are the top three things to watch out for when choosing a supplement?
1) Outlandish claims
2) Artificial ingredients
3) Proprietary Blends

« RSVP to Shannon's presentation about Climbing Nutrition on our Facebook event page! The event is free!