In June 2019, I took my first lead class at Stone Gardens Seattle (now owned by Edgeworks Climbing), and that’s when the next phase of my outdoor career began. Previously, I had primarily done more mountainous adventures; weekend conditioning hikes kept me in shape for the next Rainier season. But after spending some time in Argentina, I crossed paths with individuals who opened my eyes and mind to a rock world, and how I could grow myself mentally/physically/spiritually on the wall. Fast forward approximately two and a half years later, I have sent my first 5.12 in Maple Canyon, Utah, an area exploding with steep conglomerate walls and towers. For my individual journey, I have progressed steadily yet rapidly by combining my driven and tenacious attitude with my need for adequate nutrition for my body. Gnarly Nutrition’s Collagen Pro, Vegan Protein, and Creatine greatly aided me in my success of sending my first 5.12. In this article I will discuss my journey to sending 5.12, and how I combined Gnarly Nutrition products with a structured training system to help me achieve this goal.
In my first months of climbing, I had an awareness of nutrition when training, but did not actively apply it until about month four or five. It was at this point I began climbing with someone who not only was wanting to improve and get stronger in climbing, but had knowledge about athletic performance and the nutrition needed to build and sustain it. My climbing partner told me that it’s not only about the amount of protein you intake, but the time at which you consume it. If I was able, I should take about 20g of protein immediately after I finish training. Depending on personal weight, the amount of protein intake could differ, but 20g is good average amount. It is important to consume protein at least 30-45 minutes post-workout, but taking it soon after training is best for maximum absorption into the body. I personally take Gnarly’s Vegan Vanilla and Chocolate protein supplement! Additionally, adding creatine to your pre or post-workout concoction is also important. Creatine is an important supplement for any outdoor athlete because not only does it assist with muscle development, it helps energize the muscles thus allowing for more sustained output during athletic performance. Personally, I add Gnarly’s Creatine to my post-training protein shake every time. It is important to be consistent with your creatine intake for maximum benefit, as well as giving yourself the ideal amount. For me, a female at 5’8 and 125lbs, about ½ teaspoon of creatine is sufficient.
Some months later, I learned the benefit of collagen for athletes. Collagen, one of if not the most abundant proteins in the body, is responsible for building the connective tissue for tendons and muscles, as well as elasticity in the skin. As our bodies age, our collagen production dwindles, so it is important to supplement by taking external sources of collagen. Personally, I take Gnarly’s Collagen Pro because not only is it created with athletes in mind, it contains Vitamin C, which significantly helps the body promote collagen synthesis. Without Vitamin C present, the body cannot be triggered to create collagen properly. At first I was taking it post-training (along with my protein), but then I later read that actually taking collagen 30 minutes before training provides athletes with the most benefit. By taking collagen beforehand, you retroactively start the recovery process in your body (specifically tendons, ligaments, and muscles). So, while you’re training your body is also recovering! My personal pre-workout drink consists of Gnarly’s Collagen Pro plus some juice mixture (like pineapple and carrot juice).
When my climbing partner first told me this information, I wasn’t as serious about it. I sometimes took my collagen, and I took my protein at home after my workout instead of having it ready (in my car or bag) immediately after training. It wasn’t until about one and a half years into my climbing journey I began to make it a routine. It actually started during my second ski season. I packed my pre-collagen juice and post-protein+creatine, and had those ready to drink before and after a day of skiing. I would do the same for my winter training days at the climbing gym.
When I made this ‘pre and post’ system a routine, that’s when I saw and experienced consistent growth spurts in my climbing. And then when I lived in Utah for about three months, working as a camp host in Maple Canyon, I experienced tremendous growth. At the beginning of my time in Maple, I was working 5.8 to 5.10- with most success. Climbing two to two and a half days on, taking one to three days of rest, and consistently taking my collagen 30 minutes before and protein+creatine immediately after climbing. At the end of month one, the 5.10s felt like warm-ups and I was working on 5.11+. After month two, I was sending 5.11-/+ and feeling strong to make moves on 5.12s, as well as link the movements. After projecting for a total of six days, Dr. Goodkind, 5.12a became my first 5.12 send!
I truly believe my successful send happened because I was driven, structured, and consistent. I was driven to know and understand what my body needed to perform at the 5.12 level, I created a structured system to help me achieve this goal, and I was consistent with the system. Taking Gnarly Collagen Pro 30 minutes before training helped start the tendon and muscle recovery process while I trained. Then after my day or session of activity, I took Gnarly Vegan Protein plus Gnarly Creatine to immediately start the post recovery process. I would repeat this process for two to two and a half days, and then rest for one to three days. Combining this system with enough time outside provided me the opportunity to send my first 5.12. Now, I am actively training different styles of climbing and utilizing my same nutrition system. My ultimate goal is to climb 5.12-/+ single pitch sport comfortably, and Gnarly Nutrition is helping me get there!