It’s 11:00pm on a Thirsty Thursday night. I am thirsty, and I wish I had a beer, but that’s not the case. Instead, I’m sitting here on my couch watching “Core”, getting totally pumped up to go climbing this weekend at Taylors Falls. In fact, I might do some push-ups (which has very little transfer to climbing, lolz) just so I can get totally jakt before Saturday. Right?
Anyways, most of these guys are really lean. It’s not so much the climbing that makes climbers lean. In fact, climbing is not that metabollically challenging. The thing that makes most of these guys (and gals) so lean is that they’re dirt poor. Climbers featured in DVD’s are some of the best in the world, and more than a handful of them are very open about living out of vans, sleeping on random couches, or living in leftover Katrina trailers. If they can’t afford housing (though, I realize that it is a lifestyle choice for most of them), I can only assume they aren’t eating 3,000 calories/day. I don’t know any high-level climbers personally, so I can’t say for sure, but I’m willing to be they’re lucky if they get 2 really good meals. And, climbers are known to be pretty hippy so those two meals are probably pretty vegan or vegetarian. Doesn’t do much for carrying around extra belly fat….if that’s your goal.
Before I forget, check out the trailer for “Core”. It has some of the best cinematography I’ve seen in a climbing movie. It has some of the worst cinematography I’ve seen in a climbing movie.
Now, let’s keep going down this “I’m too much of a hippy to want to get a real job so I can eat like the rest of the gluttenous, fat ass Americans” road. (P.S. I wish I had the ability to be a hippy like that.) This got me thinking, “what would it take to go on a ‘minimalist diet’ like these guys?”
Well, for one, I’d need to occupy my time better. The people in these movies spend most of their day climbing. I, do not. Not only that, but when I’m busy and active, I’m not thinking about food. So what that tells me, is that I need to keep my body and mind in motion so that I’m not tempted to go to the fridge and eat any ‘ol thing that’s edible, regardless of nutritional (un)value. My strategy (when I’m at home) will be to down a full glass of water and do some push-ups or toss around some kettlebells for about 20 minutes. Not only does it burn calories and build muscle, but exercise is a natural appetite suppressant….until later in the day or the following. Catch 22, right?
Next up, I’d probably have to change the way I eat (besides eating less). Typically, I like to eat one really healthy meal a day for lunch and then a bigger, “unhealthier” dinner. The timing and portion sizes are probably ok, but if my goal is to get as jakt as some of these guys, I don’t think a supper consisting of a half a pound of summer sausage and a monster chunk of cheese is going to get me there very fast. That’s alotta calories, and not alotta volume. If I want to emulate the poor, hippy lifestyle, I’m going to need to eat a little healthier. I don’t think I’ll ever give up cookies though. Especially cookies and coffee for breakfast on the weekends. ::drooooool::
Lastly, I may try change the way I shop for groceries. Some people believe it’s healthier to buy fresher foods. That means going to the grocery story every night to buy just the fresh produce and meat you need for that night’s meal. From a bacterial standpoint, I suppose it’s “better”. From a macro standpoint, “meh”. My immune system is pretty bulletproof (except for allergies; those things cripple me for daaayyys) so I’m not real worried about bacteria. I’m also pretty (really) lazy so I don’t feel like driving out of my way every night for an apple. However, it will really make me aware of “what” and “how much” I’m putting down my throat each night. A little food consciousness nevery hurt nobody, did it? Nope, but double negatives do, kids. Learn good grammer, mkay?
So what do I think this “minimalist diet” could look like?
I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a lot of rice involved. Rice is cheap, climbers don’t have money. You can do the math, right? My gf is also Vietnamese so I don’t think she’ll complain (and she’s also a climber; HOT!).
There will most likely be a lot of greenery. Fresh herbs and weird leafy greens are incredibly cheap at the Azn (Asian) market. I can figure out some stuff to do with that.
I’m going to limit my protein until my current activity level changes. And by “limit” I mean, just eat a little less than I normally do now. And by “current activity level changes” I mean, the new, totally tubular climbing gym is opening up next month and is less than 2 miles from my apt. I plan to spend 4-5 days/week there for multiple hours most of the visits. At that time, I’ll probably re-think this strategy. Oh! Right! Protein. Will most likely come from my same sources: eggs, chicken, fish, deer, cows. BUT, I’m going to decrease my cow meat and increase my fish meat. This is probably healthier anyways.
Nuts. Lots ‘n lots ‘o nuts.
Beans. They’re filling. They’re also why hippies stink. Think about it.
Chocolate. The 60%-70% dark kind.
And that’s about it. I know, nothing real challenging, right? Pretty much just, “hey, A-hole, clean up your diet, and you’re done.” Yeah, that’s the easy part though. The hard part is going to be eating less. And when that gets hard, staying active and sticking with the water/workout method won’t be quite as fun.
I’ll report back in a month or so, and let you all know how it’s going, and if I plan on changing anything once I start hitting the gym consistently again.
In the meantime, I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. I’d like to hear if you’ve done something like this yourself and why. And if you happen to be a world-class climber stumbling across this post for some ungodly strange reason, I DEFINITELY want to hear what you have to think, especially that whole living out of a van thing.
Don’t Miss Your Chance
I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.
Then I took control.
You can too, and it starts right here.
Some friends of mine and I had a pre-climbing ritual meal. The night before a climb, we had Vietnamese food and German beer. I have no idea how this got started…one of my climbing buddies cooked killer (hot) Vietnamese food and German beer is always welcome, so it just became a tradition. I also remember being voracious after a climb…not so much during it. Honestly, I don’t think it’s the diet, like surfers some guys eat consciously and some eat junk…I think it’s being in the elements and working your whole body as often as humanly possible that leans you out. BTW, how was your trip to Wyo?
Don’t get me wrong, climbing all day long and not eating, or eating minimally (whatever you wanna carry to the crag), is a great way to shed fat, but that’s just it: activity – food = calorie deficit. Obviously, some will eat junk and some will be health conscious. I just can’t imagine that someone living out of a van is gonna go to Chipotle after and spend $8 on one meal.
You pre-climbing meal is nearly identical to my post-climbing meal. Lol! I have found that I climb better when my stomach is a little empty so I am absolutely starving after climbing. If I’m at the gym, I’m typically with the gf and we head to a Viet restaurant or make Viet soup back home. Then, if we’re outdoors, beers always sound so good. I might have to pick some up for this weekend!
I think you’d be surprised just how much food dirt bags can eat. I lived out of a car for 6 months of this year. When I finally reached my destination I became a professional routesetter with a crew of dudes which includes 2 v14 climbers, a 5.14c climber, 4 v13 climbers, and 3 other v10+ climbers. I can give you first hand feedback that these dudes eat what they want when they want. We go out for gigantic chipotle style burritos for lunch pretty much every day. Daniel Woods and Paul Robinson have been known to eat a dominos pizza and twix bars at the boulders before crushing. Alot of these guys might give up comfortable living arrangements, but it’s rare to see a top level athlete sacrifice food intake. If they did, performance would soon decline.
I do daily 16-22 hour fasts, so I may eat 1 or 2 meals a day and that’s it. I started this the beginning of this year & love it. No more worrying about wtf I’m eating next or whether or not my muscles/strength will decrease. Just the opposite happened, I’ve become leaner and stronger.
How’s it going for you so far? Would love to hear.
I just learned the term “dirt bags” in respect to climbers. Sounds like a totally bro thing to do, and I am more than willing to go “dirt bag”….for a weekend. lol. I’m also more than just a little bit jealous of your experience. Not just for hanging out with those amazing climbers, but just for the experience itself. I would also love to do that some time.
I also value the feedback on some of their eating styles. I would assume people would do that from time to time, but I had no idea it was a daily thing. Living out of a van is now even more intriguing.
I’ve been doing fasts for over a year now, and still do them while practicing this “minimalist” eating style. I wrote a 3-week update you can check out for now. I need to write another one soon. It didn’t go so well over the Holiday’s, but I was able to get back on track more easily and shed the fat even faster than the first time around. Thanks for the comment!