Weight control for climbing

Weight control for climbing

It helps to have a good power to weight ratio for climbing. This isn't just about losing weight, but about your body composition too. This article provides practical advice and suggestions to improve your diet.

Since muscle is heavier than fat, what really matters is body composition. The ideal is to have more muscle and less fat and therefore a greater power-to-weight ratio. To reduce your body fat and improve your muscle content, the best foods to eat are the starchy, high fibre wholefoods such as baked potato, brown rice, couscous, muesli, porridge oats, thick lentil soup, pasta with tomato and red pepper sauce, wholemeal bread sandwiches made with thick slices of bread and avocado or tuna fish fillings. These same foods are the ones recommended for long-term energy and recovery after exercise.


To reduce your body fat and improve your muscle content, the best foods to eat are the starchy, high fibre wholefoods such as baked potatoes
 

Are you going wrong?

Some people cut down on carbohydrate foods when they are trying to lose weight, believing that they are 'fattening'. Wrong! Firstly, any food is fattening if you eat too much of it. Secondly, refined carbohydrates (biscuits, cakes, ice-cream, chocolate, instant puddings) are loaded with sugar. This makes them easy to eat... and easy to overeat. Also these foods tend to be high in fat as well as sugar. This makes them a concentrated source of calories.

What this means in practise is that you don't have to eat very much of them, before you have swallowed a lot of calories. If you find that you put on weight easily, but don't seem to eat much actual food, this could be the reason - you are eating the wrong type of (highly-processed) food. 

Bad influences  

Carbohydrates become fattening when you add other fatty foods - such as butter on toast, mayonnaise on salad, cream on scones or cheese sauce on pasta. Fat is a concentrated source of calories (1 gram of fat provides 9 calories; 1 gram of carbohydrate provides only 4 calories). By simply replacing a few high fat foods with lower fat alternatives you can dramatically cut your fat intake (and boost your carbohydrate intake).

Good alternatives
  
Swap high fat food for a low fat/higher carbohydrate alternative.

Learn to love Ryvita...
Ryvita
  • Swap croissants for plain bagels or a wholemeal scone with a scraping of butter.
  • Swap Tuc, Ritz or Cream Crackers for Ryvita.
  • Swap a thin crust pizza with extra cheese for a thick crust pizza with less cheese and extra vegetables.
  • Swap chocolate cakes for raisin bran or a banana nut muffin.
  • Swap crunchy muesli for corn flakes, bran flakes or, preferably, porridge or unsweetened muesli.
Tops tips to lose fat
  • Eat 'real' foods - as close as possible to their natural state. These are bulky foods and help to make you feel full compared with highly refined ready meals and fried foods.
  • Eat regularly - little and often, rather than one big meal at the end of the day.
  • Avoid eating late at night. Do not snack through the evening.
  • Make small, long term changes to your eating habits rather than going on a crash diet.

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