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Climbing training and fitness

Sara Lingafelter
Sara Lingafelter
4 min read

So, it just happens that I’m in “dietary surveillance” mode… it has nothing to do with the new year, and more to do with failing in that regard prior to our Red Rocks trip. I had hoped to get my weight back down to my most healthy weight for climbing prior to our trip, and did not meet that goal. Motivation is a huge issue for me — motivation, and the fact that I absolutely adore food. I’m motivated to climb, constantly, but my lousy joints dictate that I (1) rest adequately, and don’t overclimb; and (2) keep my weight down to keep a bit of stress off my joints. So, it’s that time of year when I marshal my resources and try to drop the five pounds that crept back on over the last year and a half or so.

And, truth be told, I’m a cheapskate. I am going to supplement my climbing gym membership with a local gym membership just for the next month or so to help me get back on track, but mostly that’s for the incredible yoga class that I’m in love with, and also to spend time with a girlfriend who’s also on the exercise bandwagon. Other than the yoga class and the social time, I could take or leave the other gym — it’s expensive, and I prefer dividing my workouts between home and the climbing gym anyway.

So here are my cheapskate tips on dietary surveillance and climbing fitness.

I’m not actually sticking to the Discovery National Body Health Challenge
— it may work better on non-Macs, but I’m having trouble customizing the food program on my Mac so I’m only using it for progress tracking since my waist measurement is a better indicator of the healthfulness of my weight than my actual weight in pounds any given day. But, if you’re up for eating what they tell you, this looks like an adequate low-calorie option with exercise. 1200 calories a day is entirely too low for me — I lose weight at 1500+ calories a day given my exercise level and I starve on 1200 a day — but as a general outline, this program looks like it might be helpful for some. I like that it comes with a number of “eight week freebies” with other service providers, also.

Speaking of, Podfitness is one of the freebies. The concept is that you pick your music, you pick your workout, and the website mixes a workout program with voice overs by a personal trainer, to give you the perfect combination of your music and a good workout. I’ve got an eight-week trial membership, and after the first day I thought I’d cancel right away, but the product has grown on me. I tried two workouts the first day — a yoga one, and a pilates one. Both were incredibly difficult to decipher (even though I’m familiar with both yoga and pilates basics) and I didn’t make it through either. At some points, I couldn’t hear the trainer over my music, so was not impressed with either of those mixes. Then, I hit on Combined Training with Jody Olson and ding! ding! ding! It’s a hit! The combined training (at-home circuit training with free weights, a stability ball and a mat) is easier to follow, and delivers a really good overall-fitness workout. I didn’t mind that it took almost an hour, and I stayed motivated throughout. I actually woke up a little bit sore in the core this morning, which is cool.

Finally, after paying for several (and, being a featured spokesmodel for one) online diet programs in years past, I decided to check out the free options this time around. The USDA has launched MyPyramid, which calculates a “food pyramid” customized for you, along with a tracking system for tracking your food intake and exercise output. This is not a commercial system — it is, quite obviously, a big brother operation. But, it is free, and it works reasonably well. I’ve been using the food journal for a few days, and the drawback compared to commercial sites is that you can’t add custom foods, but it does include a “frequent foods” function, so I’m finding the system pretty efficient to use. The real funny is when you set up your activities — someone at the USDA has quantified the energy output necessary to butcher animals, cook indian bread on an outside stove (I am not kidding), and “Implied Walking; Putting Away Clothes, Laundry” whatever “implied walking” means. My favorite are the “Don’t Know” categories. “Don’t Know – Cleaning, House or Cabin, General” has a caloric output associated with it.

Finally, the RockClimbing.com forum on training has some excellent tips. A recent thread on weight training when injured is going in my “Saved” file — it’s got a good couple of messages from a trainer with good advice for all of us about training for climbing, not only when we’re injured. Eric Horst’s books are the bible, but it’s nice to hear thoughts on training for climbing from other folks as well.

So those are the cheapskate with a computer ways to help make your new years resolutions a reality.

Sara Lingafelter

Sara (Grace) Lingafelter takes steps forward and backward toward a right-sized life on a daily basis.