Thursday, 18 September 2014

James Garden in Albarracin

Heres a short video of a problem I climbed called Bindu in Albarracin, Spain. Enjoy

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Hunters Moon-Alex Moore

I sat in my harness, swinging gently from the slightly overhung, near blank rock. In a befuddled voice I asked again, "A Dyno, really? from here to there?"
Alex Moore on the second ascent of
 Hunters Moon  E7 6b/c
"Yep, maybe use a crimp to help?"

Maybe not, I thought as a felt the small ripples in the wall, that I only wish I could hold. I gave the move just one more go before getting lowered to the ground so Tom could work it out.

On his first attempt Tom was only inches from the hold, on his second he had hit it dead on, although unable to stick it, The move is not really far (although too far to reach), its just made hard by being unable to get much force off the holds your going from. He then tried with the use of a crimp, using it as an intermediate and getting his feet high in the break, he was able to stick the move, almost static. He moved on to the top section, which isn't a push over either, involving a hand jam and a long reach to a crimp, more delicate moves follow. 

After top-roping a couple of times we were ready to try the route on lead, Tom went first, climbing quickly through the first section and taking a fair rest in the good holds of the break. Then the moved in to position for the crux, feet high and long reach to the crimp, then a quick jerk to the poor hold, shouting as he did so, which echoed in the Gully, adding to the already tense atmosphere. A few moves later Tom could rest on two hand jams in the break before committing to the the last hard moves of the route. And he'd done it, Found the route, put the stakes in so we could get to it and climbed it.           
Tom Bunn on the first ascent of
Hunters Moon E7 6b/c
After eating a bit of bagel, we went back down to the base of the route so I could give it a go. I felt dubious from placing the first gear to only reaching half way between the crimp and the ledge... The fall passed me by in my frustration, I came close the the base of the route, but the fall was safe and the gear was good. 

I pulled up the rope to the break and from there down climbed the crack taking gear out as I went. Back on the floor I thought it through in my head, I was more confident in a way, no longer scared for the fall. 

  I started up the route again, placing gear just as I did before. I took a sort rest at the break, moved on to the ledges and got my feet high, Made the long reach to the crimp and by twisting my knee further in I inched up the face, moving weight onto the crimp. Finally I lurched forward catching the ledge. More high feet and more big moves saw me to the next crux, almost too pumped to place gear I pulled over the top of the route. Celebrations were in order, and I still had half a bagel for such an occasion. 

A fantastic route for sure, the grade really does sit on a knife edge between 6b and 6c. We left the crag as a massive orange moon loomed overhead, hence the name, Hunters Moon.                   

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

BAT ROUTE 8C by Adam Jeewooth

4 days after my last blog on the 2nd June I Crushed  “Bat Route” Fr8C at Malham.  This is now one of the most popular 8sc at Malham and up there with best routes I’ve done.  The pressure of working away, holidays  and the threat of hot weather coming in forced me to give it my best shot one evening after work on the 6th of June.  The following link is a video of my ascent on the top crux of the route – I was emotional to say the least

Adam Jeewooth resting on Bat Route 8C

Adam Jeewooth on Cave Life

Adam Jeeowoth Buzing after Bat Route (photo Nick Bamber)

Adam Jeewooth in Janets Foss after Gordale
Since then I have climbed in south Wales and also had a few trips to Kilnsey and Goredale having some fantastic times with great friends and family.  In Gordale I climbed another 2 of the best routes in the country – Cave Route right 7B+ and Supercool 8A+.
Over the last 3 weeks Orla, Ruby and I have also spent some time in north Wales.  We  had a nice walk up Snowdon in the rain and I climbed at the diamond for the first time and loved it ticking the classic lower grades at the crag.  We have also had a fantastic 2 week trip to Ireland in the van touring.  Although I didn’t climb there as it rained every time I got to any blocs.....  After a full 2 weeks rest and recovery I’m more keen than ever to get out and crush.  Since arriving back Ive been out to the local crags, Malham, Longridge an Kilnsey. 

OH YEAH BIG NEWS– Get involved with the new Evolv Nexxos....... out now in the UK.... I LOVE THEM
Boom 8c Jee lol

Good Friends and beer after walking snowdon
The Diamond........WOW

Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Story of August...never forget who you are. By Jen Wilby

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
Lao Tzu

The scary thing is you do all this work and you fail. Is it better to try and fail or not to try at all? We all know the logical answer to that question, so why ask it? Sometimes your brain play’s mind games with you, sometimes it put’s you off kilt and on tracks which you never anticipated going down.

This is a tough blog to write, I’ve been struggling to put this month into words as it’s been a mixed bag of emotions…

The story of August …

For those who have followed the blog you’ll know I put together a training plan to take me right trough until the bouldering season and I was so psyched about putting it all together and seeing the results. I’ve swapped some sessions to play on the woody board, now named “The Crimp Shrine” which we are fortunate to have in the garage. This has been good as it’s all about power and strength and it’s not a forgiving board, but it is so much fun.

I’ve also been trying to do a lot more finger boarding, something which I haven’t been able to do due to constant finger injuries. I’ve always considered my finger strength to be my main strength, give me something to crimp on, no matter how small and I will make it work.

So it was time to try the one arm hangs….

I’ve said before that this is, by far, the hardest thing in my training, it literally drops me! So much so that I can’t do more than one session in 7 / 9 days and my fingers are totally gone during this time. So I’ve been super disappointed that I haven’t been able to push this part of the training more, I’ve probably only done 4-6 sessions of this since I started, which means that doubt has crept in as to whether I will be ready to do what I want to do this season.

I thought a great test would be to get on this stunning line:

We had the perfect opportunity when we went to visit a friend in the Peak and the wind was blowing! I’ve tried bit’s of this before but was always unable to link the middle to end part. For those who have tried it, I know the holds might look big, but with poor feet it’s basically a sideways campus on your fingers… no better test of finger strength, core and lock off strength.
I had an awesome couple of hours on it, linking most of it, figuring out my beta and working it until I couldn’t anymore. It’s a physical beast! It felt amazing to walk away knowing I had improved significantly from the last session. So why was there something in the back of my mind which was telling me I could have done more? So it begins…
My climbing partner’s weakness was always his finger strength, if there was a dirty crimp, or a slot (he’s got large hands) he was more than 9 times out of 10 unable to touch it. So Jerry’s Trav, for him, was his “will never do” problem, so he was a bit reluctant to go. I knew from the first time he stepped on it that day, he was going to do it. He walked across it, didn’t look like an issue, and then he kept throwing laps on it. Whilst I was so happy he had done something he never thought he would do, I knew that the training he had done on his fingers was paying off – so the thought that I knew I was having issues with my fingers hung heavy on my heart and mind. It just kept building…

Then it was on to North Wales for the Bank Holiday weekend, which has been planned, against all the planning rules we have, way in advance…the plan was to get the parents to look after the dogs and head to The Sheep Pen. I couldn’t have been more excited. On any normal weekend, if we had seen the planned forecast, we wouldn’t have gone, but I wasn’t planning on giving up a weekend up at the Pen without the dogs, I’d never been before.
Well… this video shows the story of Bank Holiday Weekend in North Wales:

Even watching that video, makes me emotional. As you can tell the weather was less than ideal, but I expected that. What I didn’t expect was for my fingers to totally die on me. After Pill Box Wall I felt like I had done a route and had got so pumped that I couldn’t feel my forearms. This feeling continued for many days after. Which made the Sheep Pen a mental challenge, one which, and I don’t normally say this, I failed at.
It wasn’t the weather, it wasn’t that I didn’t get much done, it was the fact my forearms felt like lead and I couldn’t even give the other problems a good go. For the first time ever, I wanted to leave and forget the whole thing. Normally I’m quite positive and just being out is a blessing. Something had changed and not for the better.

I spent the whole journey back silent, not lost in my own thoughts but totally numb. I crashed and burned…

On the Monday I had planned to get up and finger board and then do a session down the wall. Numbness turned to anger. I wasn’t going to train angry, so I spent the time trying to figure out what the heck had gone wrong.

Stress. I believe I had totally lost all sense of reality, why I climb and who I was and was totally stressed. I should have guessed as I’d not been sleeping well, was agitated, snappy and many of the other thing associated with this silent killer.

The answer…let it all go. Forget about the training and forget about the season. So I’ve changed my plan and decided to climb more, whether it be at the wall or outside. Just climb, bring back the fun, go try things, but the main thing I learnt from that weekend is about warming up. I used to be able to jump on anything to warm up, not any more. So I’ve decided to mix climbing with yoga. I’ve dabbled with yoga before but never felt the need for it. With the stress and frustration I’ve felt this last month, I’ve had the calling and yoga totally focuses my mind and chills me out – that is a blessing. So I’m doing one day of climbing and one day of some yoga to help me stay grounded. What ever will be will be. It’s not that I’ve given up – I just need to go back to who I am and it’s not all about the training, it’s about having fun and trying things, getting out of my comfort zone.

I guess The Arch Article – Finding Fun & breaking Plateaus by Taking it easy has put into words what I couldn’t, it’s worth a read.

Apologies if this blog is poor read, I’ve written it a million times and tried to be more positive, however this month has just been one of those times I’ve lost my natural flow – time to regroup.

On the plus side – the weather is cooling down and I am very much looking forward to getting back outside, it’s been somewhat lacking this year!

Happy Climbing <- Ironic!

Friday, 29 August 2014

CoolBean Bars – Home made no-bake protein bars packed with good stuff - created by Karen Varga

How much protein you need seems to vary considerably depending on who you're asking, but the most consistent guideline that I’ve come across is to multiply your weight by 0.8 (not very active), 1.3 (active or pregnant), or 1.8 (extremely active) to get a number of how many grams of protein you need based on your weight in kilograms. So if for example you weight 65kg and are generally active then you’ll need roughly 85 grams of protein a day. 

You can get protein from a number of different foods, but you’ll find that it can be quite hard to get as much as they recommend if you lead an active lifestyle. The other thing to remember is that while a sirloin steak does give you a high dose of protein, it also contains a large amount of saturated fats and cholesterol. Fish contains a very good source of protein, but some fish also contains mercury and there are guidelines on how much of that fish is ok for your body. So it is a good idea to do your homework on what foods you rely on for protein and be aware of what their limitations or negative properties are. 

Which protein bar to choose??
As a vegaquarian (veggie & fish eater) I’ve had to become a lot more conscious of making sure I do get enough of the essential components in my diet, with protein being one of the most crucial of these. I use protein shakes, but sometimes I want something I can sink my teeth into! I’ve tried various protein bars but the problem I find with the commercial bars is that they are very high in sugars, or even worse, sweeteners, as well as carbohydrates and saturated fats (most often sunflower oil, palm oil or palm kernel oil), and of course artificial flavourings and colourings. Also the quality of the protein in them is not always the best. 

It’s all in moderation though, and some of these protein bars are not that bad. But I wanted a protein bar that is high in good quality protein, low in carbohydrates and sugar and artificial stuff, but tastes great! After searching high and low I could not find anything that provided this off the shelf, so decided to make my own!

The CoolBean Bar is packed 100% with good stuff.  And they’re pretty damn tasty too! (well, at least I think so :)

Before I give the actual recipe, let’s go through the ingredients that make them so healthy and tasty ...

Although carbohydrates often get a bad rap, oats are one of the most underrated health foods.  Oats provide sustained-release energy (low GI), which means they have a low effect on your blood glucose level and insulin production and help to stabilize your blood sugar and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. They are also full of vitamins and nutrients, can aid in the prevention of disease and even help you manage your weight.

I like to use the natural raw “chunky” oats.  Rolled oats (quick cooking oats) have been steamed, pressed and dried, which removes some of their fibre content, which accelerates digestion and raises the food's GI.  The chunky oats also just have a chewier texture which I like.

Whey protein contains all of the essential amino acids (EEAs), making it a complete protein source. It’s particularly high in a class of EEAs referred to as branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs. 

Whey protein is one of the most easily digested proteins by the body.  In fact, it is key to understand a bit about this, otherwise you’ll be wasting your money on drinking whey protein shakes where most of the protein isn’t even being absorbed by your body!

Whey is absorbed at a rate of about 8 grams to 10 grams per hour, and navigates your gastrointestinal tract within a matter of 1.5 hours. This means that the maximum amount of whey your body can absorb from a shake is about 12-15 grams.  Anything over that amount just passes straight through. Having your shake with milk instead of water helps to slow down the absorption rate a bit, something about the protein in the milk combining with the whey protein which slows it down (you can read more about it online). 

This is also what inspired me to create my CoolBean Bars ... the additional proteins and fibre and such like in the bar help to slow the digestion process and enable the body to absorb the maximum amount of protein it can.

I like whey protein but there’s nothing stopping you using whatever your preferred type of protein is.  I use a protein isolate, as opposed to a concentrate – concentrate tends to be more affordable but does not contain as high a protein concentration and contains a lot more carbohydrates.  I also use a non-flavoured version as I don’t like all the added sugars and sweeteners and such like, and much prefer to flavour my bars or shakes with healthier options like cocoa powder, peanut butter, coconut, fresh or frozen fruit etc.  That way I can also enjoy different flavours and not be stuck with a massive tub of just one flavour.

Cacao nibs are bits of the same cacao beans that go into chocolate bars, however they are less refined than chocolate liquor or cocoa powder and thus are more nutritionally potent.

Health wise, cacao nibs' greatest claim to fame is their flavonoid content. Flavonoids are antioxidants also found in tea, grapes and berries, and they appear to improve health by altering cell-signaling pathways. They say more research is needed, but some studies also suggest that flavonoids might help prevent cancer as well as brain ailments such as Alzheimer's disease.  Cocoa has also shown to reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Cacoa nibs are quite bitter and it might take a bit of getting used to for you. When I first heard about them and their benefits I immediately ordered a couple of bags online, and as soon as they arrived I excitedly added some to my cereal, expecting a nice chocolately (but healthy) kick. But whenever I bit into one the taste was really quite bitter and I didn’t like it. However I now love the cacao nibs and the taste of them! – this shift in my taste buds may be down to a gradual getting-used-to-the-taste thing, or it may be down to the fact that I have become an 85% dark chocolate addict, and have greatly reduced on my sugar intake per day, which means I don’t need much sugar for things to taste sweet and have gotten to quite like a bit of bitter :).
These yummy green seeds are packed with protein, vitamins and minerals. On the protein side, 100 grams contains 19 grams protein ... just slightly less than the protein-per-gram content in a chicken breast!  They are a good source of several minerals, including iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, which is good for the heart, as well as zinc, a mineral that supports healthy immune function.  These seeds also supply niacin, or vitamin B3, which aids in circulation, and are said to have certain anti-Inflammatory benefits. They do have some fat content (30%) but almost all of this is heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats ... so the good fats!

Besides just being a delicious addition to almost anything (I add desiccated coconut to my cereal, porridge, protein shakes, yogurt, nut mix, and even to my Indian and Thai curries :), coconut contains lots of minerals, fibre, and substances that boost immune function and help your body fight disease. 
Raw coconut is rich in medium-chain triglycerides, which convert into monoglycerides and medium-chain free fatty acids during digestion - two substances your body uses immediately for energy rather than storing as fat.

In addition to their metabolism-boosting properties, medium-chain triglycerides may curb hunger more effectively than other forms of fat, leading to a lower calorie intake over time. As a result, the specific fats in raw coconut may promote a healthy body weight and help you shed unwanted pounds.  For me it’s not so much about the weight bit but more the fact that coconut contains healthy fats which appeals ... you need some fat in your diet so better for it to be heart-healthy fats.

Almonds are naturally low in the dreaded saturated fat, with a high percentage of the fats found in almonds being of a poly- or mono-unsaturated nature. The unsaturated fats found in almonds are known as oleic and palmitoleic acids and, much like the fats that are found in olive oil, these help reduce bad cholesterol whilst increasing good cholesterol! Almonds are also a nut high in fibre, and they are packed full of vitamin E. The high levels of vitamin E found within almonds helps to boost immune support. They contain high levels of magnesium and calcium, which alongside the vitamin E promotes improved levels of immune function and overall health. Almonds also contain manganese and copper, which help produce and raise energy levels, and can also aid in the stabilisation process of levels of blood sugar.

And just like the coconut, I find almonds to be extremely more-ish ...  life for me would just not be the same without almonds and almond butter!

The important thing to note of course is the type of almonds and almond butter that you use.  The nutritional benefits of raw vs roasted almonds are apparently exactly the same, with the only difference between them being that roasted almonds are digested more easily by the body due to the change in texture (raw almonds have a rigid texture). So really on that front just go with whichever you prefer.  If you choose roasted then make sure that they are dry roasted (i.e. not oil roasted), and do not get salted almonds, whether raw or roasted.  For my almond butter I also only use products that do not have any added salt, sugar or palm oil ... just 100% pure roasted (or un-roasted) almonds.

Cocoa powder comes with the same health benefits as the Cacao Nibs above, just in lower doses as it is more refined. I’ve read things about cocoa having anti-depressant benefits, anti-cancer properties, lowering LDL cholesterol, reducing the risk of blood clots, increasing blood flow to the arteries, lowering high blood pressure, and boosting cognitive performance!  That’s a lot from a little bean :)

These benefits are an added plus, as the main reason for adding the cocoa powder is for the flavour and a little bit of sweetness.  Again quality is important – I like Green & Blacks cocoa powder which is just 100% pure organic cocoa powder, no sugar or anything else added.

Flaxseed is categorized a super food - a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. Flaxseed is an ancient food, prized for its healing properties as far back as 650 B.C. Today, most people eat flaxseed because it is a source of healthy fats, fibre and other disease-fighting nutrients. Flaxseed can be eaten whole or ground, but note that the body cannot break down the hard outer shell so either you need to make sure you chew your tiny flaxseeds to break the shell or grind them!  As such, I find it easiest and most beneficial to pop them in the food processor or blender and grind them first.

Flaxseed is low in saturated fat and high in cholesterol-lowering unsaturated fat. It's also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are recommended as part of a heart-healthy diet. It is high in fibre, and much of the fibre in flax is soluble fibre, which attracts water and forms a gel. Soluble fibre slows down the emptying of your stomach, making you feel full longer, and it helps to stabilize your blood sugar. There is also evidence that it may help reduce your risk of cancer, but this is not conclusive yet.

As you can see from the above ingredients, these CoolBean Bars are really low in sugar (in fact, there is only 2 grams of sugar per 100 gram of bar).  As mentioned above, I have consciously tried to reduce on my sugar intake, and now find that I’m able to appreciate the natural sweetness in raw food types a lot more. As such, the CoolBean Bars get their flavour and “sweetness” from the coconut, almonds and almond butter, cocoa powder and cinnamon.  Even the pumpkin seeds have a slight sweet taste for me!

But depending on your preferred sweet-levels you might want to add a little something more.  For some healthier options you could add a bit of honey, raisins and/or dried cranberries, or dark chocolate chips. I often melt some dark chocolate and drizzle it on top of some of the bars ... for those harder training sessions when I need a bit ova sugar boost!

So without further ado, here is the recipe ...

Cool Bars!
~CoolBean BARS~

Makes about 9 bars (approximately 40 grams each) - I often double the recipe to make a bigger batch

  • 1 cup Oats
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp Raw Cacao Nibs
  • ¼ cup Unsweetened Desiccated Coconut
  • ¼ cup Pumpkin Seeds (unsalted)
  • ¼ cup chopped Almonds (roasted or unroasted, unsalted)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp Flaxseed/ Linseed (ground or crushed)
  • 1 cup Whey Protein powder (isolate)
  • 1/3 cup Almond Butter (or Peanut Butter if you don’t have Almond Butter)
  • ¼ - ½ cup Milk (see guidelines below on how much milk to add)


  1. Spread the oats out on a baking tray and dry roast at 180 degrees Celsius for about 15-20 mins. Every 5 minutes or so, give them a stir so they get evenly roasted. Leave them to cool a bit on the side.
  2. Mix all the ingredients from the oats down to the flaxseeds in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the whey protein powder, almond butter and milk. This will be a very sticky gloopy mush!
  4. Now add the protein/ almond butter/ milk gloop to the dry ingredients and get your muscles out because now comes the hard part ... mixing it all together!  It is really stiff work but you want to make sure it is all mixed up evenly, and that all the dry ingredients are mixed in. I mix with a sort of stabbing/ cutting motion. If you’re on the higher side of the milk content (see below) then the mixing will be easier, but still quite hard work.  In the end you will have a pretty firm blob of protein bar!
  5. Press the blob out onto a baking tray (or anything similar ... the bars are unbaked so it doesn't need to be an oven dish) to the desired thickness. Mine are usually about 1cm thick. I usually break off pieces from the large blob and mash it down, then add another blob and so on.
  6. Put the tray into the freezer for about 20-30 minutes.  This just helps to harden it which makes it easier to cut (less sticky and more compact).
  7. Cut into desired shapes and size.  I usually cut mine to be rough rectangles of about 4cm x 5cm x 1cm, and about 40 grams in weight.

How much milk to add?
I add the milk so the bar is not too dry or powdery. Less milk means it will be dryer and more crumbly, more milk means it becomes more chewy and softer. I usually add about a 1/3 cup of milk (a bit more than a ¼ but not quite a ½).

Due to the milk content in the bars, they need to be kept in the fridge, and will only last in the fridge for max 2 weeks.  So I wrap mine in foil and keep them in the freezer, and just keep a small supply handy in the fridge. They are fine to be out the fridge for the day, so grab one before heading out to the crag or before work, and it will be fine to eat later that evening at the climbing wall.  If you don’t end up eating it then you can put it back in the fridge and it’s usually fine the next day. But definitely don’t leave it out the fridge for too long!

Nutritional content of the CoolBean Bar/ per 100 grams
Energy 1960 kJ
Protein 36 grams
Carbohydrates 18 grams
~ Of which sugars 2 grams
Fats                            28 grams
~ Of which saturates 6 grams
Sodium 0 grams

The CoolBean Bar contains just over 33% protein, and has a 2:1 protein to carbohydrate ratio.  It’s super low in sugar and contains zero sodium (I think we get enough sodium from all the other food that we eat during the day!). It does contain quite a high fat content, but as detailed above, almost all of these fats are the healthy fats which are an essential component in ones diet.

So stop reading and get mixing and make yourself some CoolBean Bars!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A summer of personal bests - Flo Tilley

My long summer after my GCSE’s has nearly ended but when it seemed like I had months still to go, back in July, we had a family trip to Arco, Italy, climbing on some stunning rock, swimming in the lake and relaxing; followed directly by the Open Youth Bouldering and Lead comp in London. Just a few weeks after we were climbing at the Grandparents local crag, Kilnsey, where I climbed my hardest route to date and finally finished a project.

Deep water soloing on Lake Garda

The Kilnsey trip crew; Naomi Tilley, Orrin Coley, Alex Norton and my self, stayed in the Grandparents ‘Bothy’, with Sarah Pashely and Billy Ridal joining us later.

 I finally managed 50 for 5, 7b+, a climb I first got on around a year ago but because of winter and the seepage, I only really worked it this summer. As many who have climbed it will agree the last two, three moves are the crux, with the rest of climbing getting increasingly harder on the way up.

A few weeks before this trip I got on Pantomime 7b+ and got no where, this week however I got back on, worked it and did it in a day. I was psyched after that to get on something harder.  

Pantomime 7b+
So after watching Billy onsight it, and Orrin do it third go, I got on Biological Need, 7c. To start with I was thinking no way do I have the fitness for this. But  I spent another day working it and on our last evening I pulled on, I was climbing it well, I passed the last crux, I was so close, but I stopped thinking and didn’t move my foot and fell reaching for the jug. A massive jug. What a heart sink. It was slightly frustrating to say the least.

The next morning we had a couple hours before we left so we headed up to the crag for one final attempt. To start with I kept falling off on the slabby, cruxy start, my foot kept slipping and time was ticking. I started to feel negative and doubted whether I could actually do it again, but with positive talk and me chanting as I was climbing ‘I do believe in fairy’s’ I got myself up, this time catching the jug. 

So the trip finished on a high, with me red pointing my first 7c, Billy doing is first 8b, Ecstasy and Naomi also achieving her personal best. We went home buzzing.  

Just before the holiday comes to a close I’m back down to Exeter for the Deep Water Solo comp at the Quay Climbing Centre, all I can say is I’m glad I got a practice at some DWS on Lake Garda in Arco, wish me luck!

Deep water soloing on Lake Garda

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Experimentation By Jen Wilby

" Walk your talk and believe in yourself, because at the end of the day, the dumbbell and diet don't get you in shape. It's your accountability to your word."

This month has been all about the dumbbells and diet, and I am not talking about diet in the short term, but about a long running "diet" which is ultimately about a healthy life style. With the goal being at optimum fighting weight before the Grit season arrives. How do you know what your fighting weight is? It's the balance of being light enough that your power to weight ratio feel's good, you do not struggle with your body weight, yet it's also about being able to function at this weight, being able to work hard, recover and function normally. Either side of this balance and you won't be at your optimum. This is a trial and error process, and a very personal one, only you know where it is, and be honest about it. Personally for me, I was last at my fighting weight in 2011, when I was training for routes. Doing laps and laps of routes in high temperatures, which meant, the weight fell off. Since 2011 I have struggled to get back to this weight, the reason being I'm not doing routes, so I'm not doing the endurance work, and it required a lot of discipline, which diminishes the older and older I get. This isn't a sob story, it's fact. 

The last training cycle involved eating what ever I fancied, when ever I fancied it. There were times, especially during the strength phase that I was exhausted, physically and mentally, sometimes, training just couldn't happen. It was sweet while it lastest :) This cycle I've made some changes thanks to Optimal State

The first thing I did during the scheduled two weeks off between cycles was go through a detox. It was hard to find the right one, so it was a bit of a gamble. The detox was for 9 days The first two days involved no food, yup, two whole days of no food.

During these I consumed a lot of Aloe Vera Gel, which is possibly the worst tasting thing ever. This was to flush out the system. I also had a lot of green tea, which is what I think saved me. The two day's were hard and all I thought about was food. However, at the end of the two days, I realized that the body does not need a great deal in order to function. My body does need a bit more to be sociable though :) The following seven days involved having the usual gel and supplements, but with the introduction of a certain size meal. What was interesting about this, was that I couldn't eat the full meal in one hit and it showed me that I don't eat, on a normal day, that much food anyway. So I split the food up so I ate at regular intervals, about every three hours. 
At the end of the nine days, I felt amazing, lost 5kgs, which I feel could be more if I exercised during this, and I had a lot of energy. I never realized this was possible with so little food. It proved that it's all about what you put it and until you cut out the sugar, caffeine and all the other additives, you don't know how much better you could feel. 
After the nine days, I went back to drinking coffee, tea, eating less than ideal foods, and I felt horrific and I mean awful! So now it's all about moderation, with a view to do the nine days again before the Grit season, but to sustain that throughout, to hit the optimal fighting weight.

The first sustainable change is the introduction of the Protein supplement. I've dabbled with this many years ago, but not consistently. At the moment I add the Natural Nutrients Grass Fed Whey Protein. It is a complete protein source and more details can be found on the link above. I add this to a smoothie each morning. My favorite smoothie for anyone who wants to try it came courtesy of Lanch Green. 

It includes:
  • Hemp Milk - nice nutty taste
  • 1 Banana
  • Blueberries
  • Milled Hemp & Flaxseed (various combinations available with Q10, B12 additions)
  • Whey Protein
  • Brain Octane Oil which provides energy for the brain, or MCT Oil which is like coconut oil but better. 
  • A table spoon of peanut butter (check for palm oil folks!) Meridan do a good "free from" butter. 

This tastes awesome, and you can add what ever you fancy, but here you have the raw ingredients for a great set up for the day. I make sure I have this every day and I am recovering way better than in the first cycle. Sure I ache, but the energy levels stay high so I am able to train better for longer, or harder for a shorter time. I have my pick really, which was not the case before. I have tried other Protein sources but most are full of loads of extra stuff which is pretty poor for you, there is an article here on the differences:

The second sustainable change is to take, a number of times a day, BCAA's (Branched Chain Amino Acid), B12 and Iron supplements. The BCAA's help promote recovery and fatigue. With this and the B12, again, energy levels are improved. Win win! I have not introduced the Bullet Proof yet but I will when the season starts.  If anyone has any questions on the above just drop me a line, or comment.

So, with all this extra energy and recovery, what have a done with the dumbells? 

Alot of the above! Single, max strength pull up. One pull up, that's all! If you follow the blogs, you will know my weakness by a country mile, is the ability to control and pull my own body weight. So this strength phase is all about that. 

Strength training has included a bit of work on the rings, I'm having to be super careful due to the strain puts on the tendons, and it's all about the dips with the aim of improving top outs and to stop them from being so comical :) Sorry folks!

The other thing I have been experimenting with it one arm hangs on this beauty:
They are, by far, the hardest thing I have ever had to try and do. Should be worth it though.

At the start of the year I had a very specific training plan and was convinced I could stick to it 100%, however, sometimes things just get in the way (by choice!).

During these time's I do get a guilt trip and wonder if I will come to regret it. When you are training and not climbing it's difficult to get a perspective of what's going on and why you are doing it. I am really looking forward to the season up here, there are so many crags which I have not explored and it's going to be a whole winter of new adventures.

One thing that has been keeping me busy is The Depot's Summer Bouldering League. It's a series of four rounds with a final in September. Climbers have about a month to try to complete 30 blocs, with the last round being double points. So all to play for. There is a lot to be said for walking and talking and believing in yourself, however, those of you know follow know, when it comes to comp's the nerves kick in. Always have done. The aim of competing in the Summer League was to get used to trying hard. So many times, as a boulderer, I just drop off and know, I can always try again. However, when there are points at stake, sometimes it just makes you try that little but harder. To this day, I still have no confidence when climbing in front of people. I will actually wait to try a bloc until the wall / area is almost empty, even then I make stupid mistakes, mis-read blocs and generally have a total wobble. Yet, if these were not "comp blocs" I can almost bet that I would be fine, read the problem's right and climb well. Is it the seven headed dragon? How can it be when I am fully into the training cycle, fingers open up, core fails, how can I have high expectations at an indoor comp, especially when I find indoor climbing so hard? It seems I do, making silly mistakes, like getting to the last move, and then not being able to get there again are so frustrating, and as soon as I have a days rest and get back on them, I fly through them. I wonder why the loyalty lies.
I guess the test will be if the weather conditions are perfect when it is the final...

I'm still doing OK, given the mega opponents in 1st & 2nd!

That's all about July has had to offer, a lot of experimentation with training and nutrition. Roll on another two months of this and see what happens.

Happy Climbing!