Saturday, February 26, 2011

Food For Pump

The fickle weather of the Northwest threw a wrench into this weekend's plans for Leavenworth. Stuck in Portland, I have been taking refuge in my staples of plastic pulling, internet, and beer.

While wading through mediocre climbing videos, blogs, training schedules, and nutrition articles I came across an article indirectly dealing with one of the most common, and often overlooked aspects of climbing: being pumped.

After more time wasted on overly scientific explanations of lactic acid, pH balanced diets, and a mess of other things it seemed that the common thread is there are certain basic or alkaline foods that absorb and in theory reduce, lactic acid from reaching your muscles (Read: forearms).

There are lists of these alkaline foods all over the internet, however this article seems to do a decent job of summarizing of the basics. This chart is also a good visual:

I'm not sure how quickly the process works or if it is even applicable to climbing, so I thought to try it out on a few levels specific to the sport over the next month:

1. A large dinner using some of these foods the day before climbing.
2. A smaller meal an hour or so before climbing.
3. Snacking mid-session during a water break.

As with any diet or nutritional advice I'm approaching this with doubt, however boredom and bad weather are powerful allies.



  1. Not to try and turn you into a vegan or anything, but The Thrive Diet talks about food alkalinity in a good amount of detail. I can loan it to you if you wanna have a look. Also, glad to see I'm not the only one that spends non-climbing days scouring the internet for videos and training articles.

  2. So wait, lemons and limes are listed under "Most Alkaline"? Curious. I want to look into this some more now too. Fill us in on your results.

    Also, that chart is why I start every morning with a cup of herbal tea and breast milk.

  3. The lemon thing weirded me out before as well, but its true that they are acid before hitting the digestive system and become alkalizing in the body. My father always recommends drinking lemon water on an upset stomach because the usual causes of upset stomach are high acidity. You can also add baking soda, it has worked for me many times!

    Interesting about the breast milk though, I'll make sure to stock up. Would have though milk and eggs would be fairly alkaline.

  4. Alex, that book sounds really interesting, but I couldn't go vegan because as with Pedro I love my breastmilk.