• Sportrock

Eat Your Way to Better Climbing

Updated: Jan 20


girl in a hat in the autumn forest eats from a plastic container.

Poor diet is responsible for almost half of all deaths in the United States, according to research reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


Americans are likely to overeat high sodium food and processed meat and were less likely to eat nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables.


A proper diet is even more critical if you’re performing physical activities like rock climbing. A bad rock climbing diet makes it less likely you’ll get through the climb.


Read on for five nutritional tips that will help you create the perfect climbing diet.

Get More Protein

A rock-climbing diet is definitely easier if you’re eating meat since you have access to high quality-proteins like grilled chicken and lean beef. But it’s also possible for vegetarians to get enough protein; it just requires more creativity.


Milk and cheese are good options, at least if you aren’t lactose intolerant. If you are, try yogurt, since it’s easier to digest than other dairy-based products.

Eat the Proper Carbs

You can’t go out in public without hearing a stranger discuss the benefits of the keto diet. While it works for some people, rock climbers need some carbohydrates in their diet.

Carbohydrates should consist of around 40 percent of your diet. That percentage can be a little lower or higher based on other factors.

Carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and oats are especially suitable for a mid-climb boost. Talk to your climbing partner and figure out a list of foods to bring on the next climb.

Don’t Go Too Long Without Food

We all get busy and feel like we don’t have enough time to eat. But eating at consistent intervals is vital for all rock climbers.


Our blood sugar drops when we go a few hours without eating. Low blood sugar makes us tired and cranky.


Those are bad enough feelings when you’re working in an office. They can be downright dangerous when you’re scaling a rock face.

Before climbing, time your meals so that you’ll feel energized but not bloated. Avoid heavy foods that will slow you down on the day of a climb.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration is a rock climber’s worst enemy. If you weigh 150 pounds, that means you should be consuming at least 75 ounces of water a day. That’s not all; you need to drink another cup for every hour of physical activity.


If you have trouble drinking enough water, add in coconut water or low-sugar sports drinks for extra flavor. Sports drinks also add electrolytes but make sure to avoid the sugary formulas.


Recover the Right Way

A successful climb creates a high that makes you want to get back out there as soon as possible. But you need to give your body enough time to bounce back.


Have some carbs and protein within a few minutes of finishing the climb. Resist the temptation to celebrate with pizza or other high-fat foods that slow down your digestion. Stick to muscle recovery foods like cottage cheese and salmon.

Rock Climbing Diet and Fitness

There’s an old exercise cliché that says, “You can’t outrun your diet.” You also can’t outclimb it. The best rock climbers’ workout in the world won’t matter if you combine it with a poor rock climbing diet.

For more climbing fitness tips, check out our blog about weight training.