Six Tips for All-Day Climbing Energy

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all_day_energy_coffeetapeclimb.JPGYou know the unfortunate 3 p.m. slump, where suddenly you go from feeling strong to feeling a strong urge to nap. You’ve been climbing and belaying since 7:30 a.m., but there’s still five hours of potential climbing time left before sunset—Don’t waste it.

Your initial thought might be: I’ll just chug a Red Bull. However, if you’re like me, you’ll be up till 1 a.m. and have to ingest even more caffeine tomorrow to compensate. There are other options. Here are six of them:

  1. Drink juice water. This sounds like a mom drink, but adding 6-8 ounces of 100 percent fruit juice to your Nalgene will give you a few extra calories to keep your energy up throughout the day. This is especially important for those who often forget to eat, and this better tasting water will make you want to hydrate more too.
  2. Eat a snack. Like I said above, it can be easy to forget to eat when you’re focused on climbing and then belaying your partner. But your body needs fuel—calories—for optimal performance, and sometimes just having a piece of fruit or half a pb&j can be enough to give you an energy boost without making you feel too full to try hard on your next burn.
  3. Bang out 100 jumping jacks. If you’ve been sitting around for a while, your body might just be in relaxation mode. Wake up with a five minutes of jumping jacks or a few sets if pushups. This will get your heart rate up and can help you re-warmup for your next climb.
  4. Sip some green tea. If you’re dying for a little caffeine boost, then drink iced or warm green tea instead of a sugary, dye-filled energy drink. Green tea has less caffeine, so it won’t keep you up all night, and a short list of antioxidant-rich ingredients, making it a much healthier option.
  5. Take a 20-minute power nap. This doesn’t work for those of us who have difficulty sleeping in the dirt. However, if you’re lucky enough to be an anywhere sleeper, this might be your best bet if you’re hitting an exhaustion wall—especially if you got less than five hours of sleep the night before. Taking a 20-minute nap has been shown to increase alertness and improve motor-learning skills—think muscle memory for beta-intensive climbs—so, if you’re bouldering or single-pitch trad or sport climbing, this could be your sending solution. Sneak away to your car or grab a crash pad and find a quiet spot to snooze. Just be sure to set an alarm on your phone or watch to make sure you don’t oversleep and give yourself a few minutes afterward to fully wake up before climbing again. If you’re roped climbing, plan to belay at least once after you awaken, and, if bouldering, try an easier problem or two before you start pulling hard again.
  6. Celebrity Tip: Take a cookie break. By now we all know that Alex Honnold frequently fuels his climbing days with cookies. But did you know that Hayden Kennedy also takes afternoon cookie breaks in Rifle? If you’re lucky enough to have a mini oven in your van like Hayden, then you can take a few extra minutes to bake a fresh batch. If you’re like me and own a Subaru without an oven or stovetop range, then you might want to just pack your favorite double-chocolate gas station variety or try this climbing cookie recipe for a homemade healthier option.
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