When I go bouldering I’m that person surviving a long session on an energy drink and sour jelly sweets. Psychologically they are the things getting me up the problems, when in reality they just give me a caffeine infused sugar spike, so when my energy levels crash later on so does my mood. Needless to say climbing feels harder and a good time can quickly turn bad, but this is easily fixed by making better snack choices.
Depending on how you train when you climb depends on what your body will need to re-fuel. Generally I think it’s good to have something more substantial to eat an hour or so before climbing. Anything slow release and carbohydrate based like banana and pancakes, (personal favorite, I am a pancake fiend) peanut butter on wholemeal toast or yoghurt and granola are high-quality munchies. Add a cup of coffee and you’ll be good to go for a couple of hours.
During the climb if you need that quick surge of energy, something fast acting like jelly sweets are great for a swift one/two hour session. However if it’s a long day at the wall your body might appreciate something more slow burning. I find the best food snacks are anything in a wrapper so I don’t end up eating chalk. Individual malt loaves, a banana, mini cheeses or dried salami sticks are all good. Eating little but often for a day of climbing seems to be key, as having a long break and a larger meal can leave me feeling sluggish, and wanting to nap instead of climb.
Drinks-wise water is always good, having regular sips keeps you hydrated and any hunger at bay. If you want to get fancy you can concoct your very own isotonic sports drink for a longer session. Simply mix 1 part fruit squash to 4 parts water, and add a pinch of salt.
Ultimately like most things in life, what you eat all depends on you as a person because you know yourself best. I can’t comment on the best thing to eat post climb, because I have been known to devour a burger followed by cheesecake and a couple of beers after a long day climbing. I’m no professional but I don’t think that’s ideal for nutrition or health, but I can confirm it taste pretty damn good! However, if you want more in-depth information, from an actual professional, on what to eat for all climbing aspects then check out this article here.
Hopefully this post has made snack choices for keeping your psych up and hunger levels down much easier. Let me know your preferred food alternatives in the comments.