My name is Debbie Carrasquer and I am originally from Lleida (Spain). I moved to the US 5 years ago to learn how to rock climb. Prior to that, I explored hiking, but I was never exposed to sports growing up. Moving to the US was just the first of a series of steps that would help me grow into the person and athlete I am today.
The year I moved to the US, I had another goal I had was to start a vegetarian diet because of personal reasons. It was hard for me to try it earlier since meat is highly prevalent in Spanish culture. So it made me very excited to be climbing regularly while on a vegetarian diet after just a few months in the US.
After a year, my climbing progression improved quickly, but my health was in decline. I believed that the constant dizziness and exhaustion was just part of a new normal as a rock climber. I didn’t realize how physically depleted I was until I fainted after a local climbing competition. It was apparent that I was not getting enough fuel to match my physical demands.
My biggest mistake when transitioning to a vegetarian diet was simply removing all meat and fish without considering how to get my macros from different sources, especially now that I was also spending more energy than before being a rock climber. I didn’t even know what the word macro meant by then and I was not keen on the idea of counting calories. Let me rewind a little bit here.
I suffered from anorexia for almost a decade, starting when I was 12 years old. Growing up in a traumatic home environment shaped me to be someone who needed control over something amongst so much chaos. Despite feeling very lonely and lost I always had hope that one day my environment would improve. But in the meantime, starving myself would be the only way of rebellion and control I knew. I can see clearly now that that lifestyle was unsustainable. I don’t remember exactly when I started breaking that cycle but it had to do with leaving my hometown and becoming independent while helping others. That gave me a sense of purpose and restored that hope I always had for the things to turn out right for me. I started to look at food with a different and more positive perspective.
Fast forward to the moment I fainted after the climbing competition. I remember having a lot of flashbacks, but I especially remember telling myself: “I am someone new, I am not going to sacrifice my health again. I just need to educate myself better about nutrition to succeed at being a vegetarian rock climber one day.” That same day, I went back to my original diet and I can’t deny I felt somehow defeated.
From then on, I made it a priority to gain some weight so I could feel healthier and stronger. I had my doubts that my body type would ever allow me to gain muscle, but I never gave up trying it. I researched high-protein diets, then high-carb diets, and I also learned about the Gnarly products through a climber girlfriend. All of this exploration transformed me physically and mentally, and it changed my relationship with food forever.
When I started taking Gnarly Whey Protein after training I noticed faster recovery between sessions and I also started to gain some muscle. I never thought of myself as someone physically strong, but that started to change, and it felt really good. I was putting a lot of thought into every meal to guarantee it was plenty for my daily expenditure, and Gnarly was essential to reach my macros when I needed that extra fuel.
One day, I learned about Gnarly Vegan products and the idea of trying vegetarianism crossed my mind again. I decided to make the switch to Gnarly Vegan Protein and the transition was so smooth that I did not taste the difference. My training demands kept going higher as I dedicated more hours to training and climbing. I reached the point where the psych was high but my body was reaching its own limit. I started to feel habitually fatigued, which eventually affected my level of motivation for the first time since I started climbing.
In February 2021, I read about Gnarly Creatine and I started doing some research about it. I decided to give it a try hoping it would help me train harder and recover better as a rock climber.
The main changes I recorded were being more energized, feeling more ready for training and recovering faster overall. That resulted in more training volume, which eventually made me stronger.
How Creatine has helped my training
When I work on 4×4, I have noticed I am recovering faster between reps and sets, which allows me to be more precise and intentional with every move. That makes me get the most of every drill and helps me prevent injuries as well, since my movement is more controlled and less affected by fatigue. When I train limit bouldering I usually do it on a 15 minute window, prioritizing rest and quality attempts. A year ago, I used to get three attempts maximum. These days I can squeeze five or six attempts because I recover faster. After these drills I work on pull-ups and push-ups. At this point, I could successfully add an extra rep every couple of sessions or so.
How I take Creatine and combine it with other Gnarly products
Every morning after breakfast, I mix 5 grams of Gnarly Creatine with water and I also add BCAAs if it is a training or climbing day, which helps me prevent muscle soreness the next day. After every training session I drink Gnarly vegan protein blended with water and dates or a banana to boost the fast carbs for recovery.
The combination of these three supplements has definitely had a positive impact on my overall fitness and performance. But what is even more important for me is helping me ensure I have all the fuel I need as a rock climber while I am fully vegetarian at this point. Creatine is naturally produced in our body and can also be consumed though sources like red meat and seafood, so it turns out to be an awesome supplement for vegetarian and vegan people like me!
I am very happy to have accomplished my goal of becoming a rock climber and to change my relationship with food in a way that falls in line with my values and goals as an athlete. I am now feeling the strongest I’ve ever felt before, mentally and physically, and I also know that with Gnarly, every day is a new opportunity to Push My Possible.