Rock climbers' self-reported dietary behaviours and nutritional supplement use in the context of climbing performance
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Introduction: The primary aim was to describe the dietary behaviours and supplement use by rock climbers.
Methods: A survey was conducted (SurveymonkeyTM), June–October, 2017, consisting of validated questions that measured; demographics, climbing history/grades, diet behaviours, nutritional beliefs, products/supplement use. Climbing grades were converted to the IRCRA scale.
Results: 773 climbers completed the survey (males n=522, females n=251, response-77%). This included elite (n=56, 28±8y, 65±11kg), advanced (n=449, 27±7y, 67±11kg) and intermediate (n=270, 29±8y, 71±11kg). The dominate diet was omnivorous (elite 60; advanced 56; intermediate 61%). The number of supplements used was equivalent between the groups (elite 1.5±0.2, advanced 1.6±0.1, intermediate 1.3±0.1 P>0.05). Caffeine was the most reported supplement used to improve ‘performance’ (elite 51; advanced 40; intermediate 33%). Nitrate (<2%) and bicarbonate (<2%) were the least. Elite climbers reported nutrition was most important (/5) for ‘preparation’ (elite 3.5±0.2, advanced 3.1±0.1, intermediate 2.9±0.1 P<0.05), ‘power’ (elite 3.6±0.2, advanced 3.5±0.1, intermediate 3.2±0.1, P<0.05) and ‘DOMS’ (elite 3.1±0.2, advanced 2.9±0.1, intermediate 2.7±0.1, P<0.05).
Discussion: The use of nutritional products/supplements was low in elite and advanced climbers, compared to other athletes. Climbers reported that nutrition was important to support performance, despite a genuine lack of research to differentiate the benefits of specific dietary components.