When we first started climbing, we naively believed climbing was immune to the body weight issues that many other sports’ athletes fall prey. From our view, most people begin climbing through a community or “just for fun” rather than on a competitive team where weight management may be encouraged. However, recently the number of climbing gyms, teams, and competitions across the United States has skyrocketed. For example, over the last two years in the Boston Metro area the number of climbing gyms more than doubled from four gyms to nine and along with it the number of climbers and competitive teams. As is evidenced in the graph below, the more serious one becomes in climbing, the more likely one is to have taken, or know someone who has taken, drastic measures in weight management to climb harder.
This is interesting as I've been hearing more stories like this lately. I know there are healthy ways to get in "competition shape" but I truly hope that this isn't an unhealthy trend.
I'm not very plugged into the competition scene myself...but I remember a buddy of mine suggesting that my losing some weight might help me be 'lighter' and thus climb a little 'stronger'. The concept made sense for me at the time but I've ben 165lbs for a very long time and the last time I dropped below that was after 3 1/2 days on El Cap. I was dehydrated beyond belief and was actually 155lbs. Not a weight I think I can climb at and still be healthy.
I just hope that women (and men for that matter) don't think that drastic calorie cutting to drop weight is the quickest or best way to climb stonger. It's not.