In block one I’ve altered this very little. Shakeology in place of the vitamins and striking the light from the beer is the extent my diet so far. Beer is worth some discussion at this point because comparing mass produced beer, even light, to microbrews is like comparing Wonderbread to homemade whole 9-grain.
Beer has a long history in fueling climbing performance. Inebriated pub banter has led to some of the boldest ascents of yore. I personally recall a few hazy evenings in Yosemite’s Mountain Room bar followed with my friends goading me to lead a pitch that I had no business trying because I’d boasted, a few pitchers into the previous night, that “it might not be too bad.” I doubt I’m alone when I say that some of my scariest leads came about due to beer.
But that’s not what I’m talking about here. Nutritionally beer can be better than a lot of the junk we eat regularly. Mass produced beer, however, is the junk we eat regularly as it’s made from the same crap ingredients that fill most of what you find at the corner 7 Eleven and the middle isles of your local supermarket. Mass produced beer doesn’t even bother with traditional ingredients and, instead, is often fermented rice mixed with various by products of genetically modified corn and/or soy production. Microbrews (real ones, at least, as the big corporations sell imposters that still contain nothing but junk and are flavored by extracts) actually use various plants (barely, hops, etc) in a combination that has a decent nutritional profile and are loaded with phytonutrients. So when Arnold boasts “Milk is for babies. I drink beer,” in the classic film Pumping Iron, it was only veiled hyperbole. As a performance fuel, handmade beer is nutritionally superior for adults than mass produced pasteurized milk.
Beer aside, I generally don’t diet during the first block of an intense training program. You need to eat in order to fuel recovery and I generally eat fairly well. My goal in any volume phase is to fuel for recovery and not to worry about weight loss or any sort of body composition change. Over the course of the program I will make dietary changes in order to address it. If a program has a power phase, as the WFH does, I’ll generally do it then because power requires more rest, shorter sets, and burns fewer calories. For that I plan to dust off another chapter from the archives but that’s a topic for another time. Today we’re talkin’ about beer. And climbing.
If you hauled beer up here you’re crazier than I thought.
I may be crazy, amigo, but I’m not stupid. I didn’t haul it up here. You did. It’s in your pack.
pic: beer is such an iconic part of climbing that it’s used in ads, or at least is was in the pre-photoshop 80s.