Maximum torque for the send: Nutritional hacks for rock climbers

Last October I bought a new motorcycle.  It’s a 2018 Yamaha MT-09 (supposedly the ‘MT’ stands for maximum torque).  It is a blast to ride.  Super quick and yes . . . torquey.  The first few days that I was riding it, I couldn’t get this silly grin off of my face.   It was just so much fun.  I raced motocross in my younger days, and this street bike actually reminded me of one of my race dirt bikes. 

Then the fuel light came on. Stopping at our local QT, I quickly filled up was off again.

But it wasn’t quite the same.  The bike didn’t feel as responsive.  That’s when I looked at the little sticker by the fuel cap:  PREMIUM UNLEADED GASOLINE ONLY.  I had purchased a high performance motorcycle and was feeding it the cheapest fuel I could buy. 

We do this a lot as humans. 

Our bodies are highly tuned, top of the line, complex performance machines.  They don’t just have to go fast; they have to evaluate, make decisions, relate to other humans, fire millions of neurons to move hundreds of muscles, and even repair themselves every minute of the day.  And that’s just as we walk to the gym!  

Yet the fuel that we place inside of these incredible bodies of ours is often less than optimal.  In our effort to get our bodies back on the road as soon as possible with the least expense, we do as I did with my MT-09. We fuel up quickly, on the go, with low octane junk foods.  And then we wonder where all the energy went.

Now I know, there are as many different ideas of what constitutes a healthy diet as there are climbing shoes with blown out toes. That doesn’t mean though that you can’t make some better choices in your day to day refueling efforts.  So here are my top seven tips to improving your nutrition for the send:

Quit using food as a reward.  One of my biggest paradigm shifts came when I began looking at food as fuel rather than a treat.  Sure, I still enjoy cookies and ice cream and fried chicken, but that is the exception; and hopefully never the motivation behind why I am working out so hard (it takes 1048 burpees to burn off that slice of cheesecake. Just in case you are counting).

Drink more water. You’ve heard it a hundred times and you know it is true. Water has zero calories, zero trans-fats, and zero preservatives.  It also helps to give you a feel of being filled up and is essential for almost all bodily functions.  Drink a glass before each meal and have a bottle of water close by throughout the day (preferably in a Bliss water bottle).

Ditch the carbs. I know: carbohydrates are the fuel of the body.  Unfortunately, as Americans, we have prostituted those poor carbohydrates into slaves that we think we can’t live without.  The truth is that almost everyone could cut their carb intake in half and probably still have more than enough calories for the day.  Especially bad are the simple carbs like sugars, white breads and pastas. These cause radical blood sugar peaks that are followed by insulin peaks that result in lower blood sugar and a craving for more carbs.  Can we all say        D I A B E T E S?

Protein. If you use only one supplement, as an athlete, this is the one.  Add a protein shake to your morning ritual.  It will provide the essential amino acids that you need through the day to build lean muscle mass (it’s only 245 days until swimsuit season).

Prepare your own meals.  Processed food sucks.  It doesn’t taste anything like a fresh cooked meal (or even sandwich), is filled with preservatives, additives, sugars and all kinds of things I can’t even pronounce. If it’s boxed or canned, save it for the apocalypse (it will probably still be good).

Add fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts to every meal. Yup, your mom was right on this one. (By the way, have you called her this week? You really should call her.) 

Moderation is your friend.  I like comfort foods and snacks as much as the next guy.  But do we really need an extra-large bowl or super-sized discount just because we were ‘good all week’.  Splurge, enjoy the decadence, but leave the epic sizes to descriptions of El Cap.  

So there you have it. Seven simple nutrition hacks that will have you lean, mean, and sexy; just like my motorcycle (but I bet you still won’t be able to do a wheelie at highway speeds).

Follow your Bliss,


Skip to content