Do You Eat Well for Caving?

Most people know that I feel there is little in common between climbing and caving. However, nutrition is a common denominator. Without the right nutritional balance you'll run out of gas too soon and not have an enjoyable and productive caving trip.
Christina Lazarazo has a great climbing website and blog, Conquer the Crux This is a reprint from her enewsletter. I hope you find this informative. Go to Sign up for her weekly tips.

Hello fellow climber!
Christina Lazarazo
Do you put a lot of thought into your pre-climbing meals?

A well thought out pre-climbing meal will keep you from feeling hungry, will maintain optimal levels of blood glucose in your muscles, and will help boost your climbing performance. 

Do you like the sounds of that?

Well, the good news is that planning and creating your pre-climbing meals is super easy as long as you know what guidelines you need to follow; hence the purpose of this email. :)

So, to help you get well on your way to crushing your current project, I've listed for you some simple rules of thumb that you can keep in mind while preparing your next pre-climbing meal.

Remember, optimize your body with proper nourishment and you'll optimize your climbing!

Pre-Climbing Meal Rules of Thumb:
  • Your meal should be high in carbohydrates (mostly complex carbohydrates), non-greasy, non-gas producing, have a small amount of healthy fat, and be readily digested. Carbohydrates are your primary fuel source and also help restore your glycogen stores, which may be called upon during long and/or high intensity training sessions. Healthy carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
  • A maximum of 25% of the calories from your meal should be from healthy fats. This percentage should be reduced the closer your meal is to the time you climb to avoid any indigestion, nausea, and gastrointestinal distress. Healthy fats (like nuts, seeds, and avocados) will keep you satisfied longer and provide easily digested energy.
  • The amount of carbs you should include in your meal depends on the amount of time you have between eating and climbing. The closer your meal is to your climbing start time, the fewer carbs it should contain. A general rule of thumb is that the number of hours that your meal is before climbing equals the number of grams of carbohydrate you should consume per kilogram of body weight. For example, say you weigh 60kg and you are having your meal 3 hours before you go climbing. This means you need 3 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight, which gives a total of 180g of carbs (3x60).
  • This final point is closely related to my previous point. Since carb intake should be reduced as your meal time comes closer to climbing time, this also means that your entire meal size should be reduced the closer it gets to climbing. This is kind of obvious since carbohydrates should be making up the majority of your plate. But to be a bit more specific, allow 4 hours for a large meal (about 1200 calories), 3 hours for a moderate meal (up to 900 calories), 2 hours for a light meal (up to 600 calories) and an hour or less for a snack (up to 300 calories).
Giving that extra thought into your pre-climbing fuel may just be that extra boost you've been looking for!

Happy Wednesday! :)
Climb & Conquer!

Cristina Lizarazo
Your Climbing Buddy and Crux Crusher


If you want more information about taking youth groups caving, or you’re just curious about what’s involved with getting kids underground, visit the National Speleological Society Youth Group Liaison Committee at Or you can email me directly at I’d enjoy hearing from you.

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“Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but well placed footsteps, kill nothing but time.” – cavers’ creed

National Speleological Society Youth Group Liaison Committee. The youth group’s connection to caves and caving.


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