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calorie deficits and crashes


Original Post
JRZane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 90

For the first time in my 4 year climbing career, I've found myself motivated to get lighter and stronger.  I usually just allow myself to put on 10-12lbs over the winter months, then naturally take it off before peaking in strength/weight ratio around October 1. But Ive got a trip coming up April 1 however, and a (non climbing) back injury along with poor diet choices have resulted in me putting on 15lbs since august.  Beginning Jan 1 I went vegan (go watch What the Health on Netflix) and had begun hang boarding the end of December.  Ive taken off about 7lbs in January and have increased my hang board sets (following Horst Min Edge/Max weight program).

my real question, is regarding a phenomena im experiencing in the gym. What Ive started to notice is being able to warm up pretty quickly, get a couple solid routes in, and then BAM: flaming out FAST.  I used to work my way up from 8/9s up into high 11s and maybe a 12, and then cool back down to a couple laps on 7s to end the session.  Now, there seems to be no cooling down.  After I blew my wad on the 12 tonight, I could barely make it up the 7 which was my next climb.  I noticed something similar a few days ago.

why have I lost all my stamina without losing my power/strength?  does this have to do with my calorie deficit? lack of protein maybe?

more importantly: how should this effect my training/diet in the weeks leading up to my trip?  I want to be able to get 6-8 quality routes in per day, not flame out after 3-4...

thanks!

ScoJo · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 171

Try having a snack (mostly carbs) before or during your session.

Bart Simpson · · RVA, VA · Joined Jan 2019 · Points: 0
JRZane wrote: For the first time in my 4 year climbing career, I've found myself motivated to get lighter and stronger.  I usually just allow myself to put on 10-12lbs over the winter months, then naturally take it off before peaking in strength/weight ratio around October 1. But Ive got a trip coming up April 1 however, and a (non climbing) back injury along with poor diet choices have resulted in me putting on 15lbs since august.  Beginning Jan 1 I went vegan (go watch What the Health on Netflix) and had begun hang boarding the end of December.  Ive taken off about 7lbs in January and have increased my hang board sets (following Horst Min Edge/Max weight program).

my real question, is regarding a phenomena im experiencing in the gym. What Ive started to notice is being able to warm up pretty quickly, get a couple solid routes in, and then BAM: flaming out FAST.  I used to work my way up from 8/9s up into high 11s and maybe a 12, and then cool back down to a couple laps on 7s to end the session.  Now, there seems to be no cooling down.  After I blew my wad on the 12 tonight, I could barely make it up the 7 which was my next climb.  I noticed something similar a few days ago.

why have I lost all my stamina without losing my power/strength?  does this have to do with my calorie deficit? lack of protein maybe?

more importantly: how should this effect my training/diet in the weeks leading up to my trip?  I want to be able to get 6-8 quality routes in per day, not flame out after 3-4...

thanks!

First: Fact check What the Health before you base your life decisions off of it. Second: Train harder, get stronger. Make sure your vitamins are all in place. Carb load and bring snacks during whatever it is you are doing. Step up your cardio...always cardio. Train your body to harden up to overuse. The only way to get stronger is to work harder, or PEDs. 7lbs is a good loss in one month but perhaps to fast. You will get your juice back.

Justin B · · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Aug 2018 · Points: 10

Carbs and water

Jer · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 26
JRZane wrote: 
why have I lost all my stamina without losing my power/strength?  does this have to do with my calorie deficit? lack of protein maybe?

more importantly: how should this effect my training/diet in the weeks leading up to my trip?  I want to be able to get 6-8 quality routes in per day, not flame out after 3-4...

thanks!

If you're in a calorie deficit you're going to need more time to recover. You can reduce intensity and/or volume. I've had success with low carb/keto diet when cutting weight the theory being that you're already using the fat burning energy system when you start the workout makes you less likely to bonk compared to when you run out of your body's carb reserves and have to switch energy systems mid session.

You shouldn't be reducing your protein, bodybuilders will frequently increase their protein intake when restricting calories because your body is more likely to use protein as an energy source when in a deficit and if you're not eating enough that is going to come out of your muscles and make you weaker. They recommend 1g protein per pound of lean body mass calculated as body weight minus weight of fat so if you're 150lb with 20%BF you need 120 grams in order to keep neck muscle for bold flash.

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,510
JRZane wrote: For the first time in my 4 year climbing career, I've found myself motivated to get lighter and stronger.  I usually just allow myself to put on 10-12lbs over the winter months, then naturally take it off before peaking in strength/weight ratio around October 1. But Ive got a trip coming up April 1 however, and a (non climbing) back injury along with poor diet choices have resulted in me putting on 15lbs since august.  Beginning Jan 1 I went vegan (go watch What the Health on Netflix) and had begun hang boarding the end of December.  Ive taken off about 7lbs in January and have increased my hang board sets (following Horst Min Edge/Max weight program).

my real question, is regarding a phenomena im experiencing in the gym. What Ive started to notice is being able to warm up pretty quickly, get a couple solid routes in, and then BAM: flaming out FAST.  I used to work my way up from 8/9s up into high 11s and maybe a 12, and then cool back down to a couple laps on 7s to end the session.  Now, there seems to be no cooling down.  After I blew my wad on the 12 tonight, I could barely make it up the 7 which was my next climb.  I noticed something similar a few days ago.

why have I lost all my stamina without losing my power/strength?  does this have to do with my calorie deficit? lack of protein maybe?

more importantly: how should this effect my training/diet in the weeks leading up to my trip?  I want to be able to get 6-8 quality routes in per day, not flame out after 3-4...

thanks!

You need more coffee.

JRZane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 90

Thank you all for your input.

I’m running 3.5miles at an average of 3.5% incline 4x/wk and mostly doing it at an average of 5mph. I hope to get that pace a little higher.

As far as What the Health, I’m educated enough not to make life decisions on a single documentary but it did kick up the motivation to reduce processed food and be strict on what I’m putting in my body.

I’ll try and give more recovery time between climbs this wkend and report back.

Suppose the above tips DONT show progress, what should I do in the weeks leading up to my trip?

cassondra l · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2008 · Points: 310
JRZane wrote: Thank you all for your input.

I’m running 3.5miles at an average of 3.5% incline 4x/wk and mostly doing it at an average of 5mph. I hope to get that pace a little higher.

As far as What the Health, I’m educated enough not to make life decisions on a single documentary but it did kick up the motivation to reduce processed food and be strict on what I’m putting in my body.

I’ll try and give more recovery time between climbs this wkend and report back.

Suppose the above tips DONT show progress, what should I do in the weeks leading up to my trip?


cassondra l · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2008 · Points: 310

Try adding back in a little of some of the things you cut out of your diet, and see if it makes a difference. 

Jer · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 26

If you start eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and they displace pizza and soda and breakfast cereal in your diet, you've made an improvement. Doesn't mean plant-based is optimal though.
I've been eating over a pound of (ethically sourced bro!) meat daily for a few years and have progressed from falling off 10+ to redpointing 12+ and I'm old.
"Running is for prey animals"
-Steve Bechtel

Mulch · · New Jersey · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 237

Sounds like a case of overtraining.

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294
Jer wrote: "Running is for prey animals"
-Steve Bechtel
Steve is good with coming up with catchy phrases like that, but he also throws out BS like, "The best crack climbers train by sport climbing. Tom Randall does loads of sport climbing!"
JRZane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 90

Surely not going to stop running. First, it’s great for my mood and energy, and climbing is at least my second and maybe third sport so overall fitness is important to me.

Regarding ‘over training’ it’s not like I went from the couch to a stiff program. I’ve been climbing a mix of gym/outdoors 1-3x per week (mostly 2x) for about 2 years now with few real breaks other than a week or two of vacation here or there. I’m adding finger work to the end of my climbing sessions OR on that middle day off of the week. If I’m still over training some elaboration would be great.

As far as replacing what I’m missing, Ive roughly calculates my protein and am not too far (if at all) where I was when I was eating meat 4-5x per week. Beans, nuts, coconut/almond ‘milks’, and some other whole foods have me prettt close. I’ve completley cut out snacking late, bored eating, and eating out 1 meal per week as my cheat. It hasn’t been a HUGE shift, just better choices really.

Thanks.

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,040

If you are following Horst min edge protocol, I’m assuming that you also follow his advice to do hangboard while well rested, to rest after the hangboard workout, and to limit climbing to 4 days a week total, including the hangboard sessions. So, if you are going hangboard trice a week, you are climbing no more than 2x a week currently?
And you used to climb 3-4 times a week, when you weren’t doing hangboard?

It is common when you focus on training strength to see a drop in power and endurance. You will presumably stop the hangboard and shift into more power and power endurance soon, and those things will come back.

I guess what I am saying, it may not be a change in diet at all. It may just be a change in your training, if you’ve never done periodisation before.

Or it might be the diet. It is certainly not a bad idea to have a snack if you haven’t had anything to eat in a while, and you are climbing. You should also probably plan strategically to have your post-climbing recovery food that would get you a protein and carb fix, without compromising your weight loss goal (you’ll have to shift things around, so you have an allowance for those calories after the workout). 

But the thing about “barely able to make your way up a 5.7” after climbing a 12 sounds rather unbelievable me. If you are climbing 5.12, the gym 5.7 is something you should be able to do in flip flops, while snacking on a carrot, with no more effort than climbing a flight of stairs, regardless of what you had climbed before. Unless you tell me that stairs were also problematic after your 5.12 attempt, something doesn’t quite match...

O · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 65

How much of a calorie deficit are you at?

What is your overall goal in weight loss?

What’s your carb/fat/protein ratio?

What endurance excercises are you practicing?

On days you aim for endurance make sure you have consumed enough energy (if you burn an extra 500 that day, you need to consume that prior).

Eric Carlos · · depends · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 40

Eat a steak......preferably a grass-fed organic steak!

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,510

Have you considered that this could be mental? 

JRZane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 90

Wow. So many criticisms from the fitness gurus! What fun! Should have known better than to ask a question while trying to better myself!

My understanding of Horst is to do Hangs when warmed up, so I get a couple routes in and then go do hangs, pull ups, back extensions, leg lifts.

As far as cardio, I’m running 4x a week, 15 miles total, an average of 4% incline.

I don’t know my food percentages, I could do a better job tracking. But I cook every meal at home, eat out once a week for fun, and have a high ratio of veggies to everything. My carbs mostly come from brown rice and muesli, my fat mostly from avacado and olive oil. Protein from beans, greens, nuts. I find it hard to track food when I’m cooking from whole ingredients and not scanning bar codes. I drink only water and black coffee, very few sugary snacks.

I’m striving for 500 calorie/ day deficit. But I dont change my diet on days I’m working out. I could pay more attention to that as well. My overall weight loss goal is under 185. Jan 1 I was 205, I’m at 197ish this morning. If I’m being even moderately attentive to my diet, I’ll fall at 192. I’ve never been able to sustain under 185 after reaching the goal but would like to, Ive always gone back into Winter Mode, but hoping to do things differently moving forward.

curt86iroc · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 69

getting older sucks...

O · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 65
JRZane wrote: Wow. So many criticisms from the fitness gurus! What fun! Should have known better than to ask a question while trying to better myself!

My understanding of Horst is to do Hangs when warmed up, so I get a couple routes in and then go do hangs, pull ups, back extensions, leg lifts.

As far as cardio, I’m running 4x a week, 15 miles total, an average of 4% incline.

I don’t know my food percentages, I could do a better job tracking. But I cook every meal at home, eat out once a week for fun, and have a high ratio of veggies to everything. My carbs mostly come from brown rice and muesli, my fat mostly from avacado and olive oil. Protein from beans, greens, nuts. I find it hard to track food when I’m cooking from whole ingredients and not scanning bar codes. I drink only water and black coffee, very few sugary snacks.

I’m striving for 500 calorie/ day deficit. But I dont change my diet on days I’m working out. I could pay more attention to that as well. My overall weight loss goal is under 185. Jan 1 I was 205, I’m at 197ish this morning. If I’m being even moderately attentive to my diet, I’ll fall at 192. I’ve never been able to sustain under 185 after reaching the goal but would like to, Ive always gone back into Winter Mode, but hoping to do things differently moving forward.

Don’t listen to the vegan haters and all if that garbage. B12 supplements (soluble) is a for sure thing you want however. Based on your protein sources, I’d also invest in some BCAA powder as that can help fill plant based proteins and stuff easier and help with recovery time (I didn’t believe this and has noticed a huge difference once I jumped on that).


Sustaining 500 calorie a day deficits is what will cause you to not have the endurance. Try dropping to 250 calories and you will notice a big difference. Your weight lose will be slower, but it will also have less of the negative side effects. 
Also, it isn’t that you are maintaining our power exactly as dropping weight will offset that (unless you are doing weighted hangs/ weights excercises and notice that same. 
Also, tracking with home cooked meals is easy and I would suggest that Atleast for a little bit even if they aren’t exact. You want to have .75-1.25 grams of protein per lean body mass.
Running: what made you pick the 4% incline? If you can i’d try to mix the incline or run at the standard 2% as running continuously on a 4% incline can cause some issues with your joints as you are essentially forcing your body to run at a constant 2% incline. (Variety is better). This isn’t from my personal knowledge but from a friend that is a PT and recommended it to me with my current training 
Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,510
JRZane wrote: Wow. So many criticisms from the fitness gurus! What fun! Should have known better than to ask a question while trying to better myself!

My understanding of Horst is to do Hangs when warmed up, so I get a couple routes in and then go do hangs, pull ups, back extensions, leg lifts.

As far as cardio, I’m running 4x a week, 15 miles total, an average of 4% incline.

I don’t know my food percentages, I could do a better job tracking. But I cook every meal at home, eat out once a week for fun, and have a high ratio of veggies to everything. My carbs mostly come from brown rice and muesli, my fat mostly from avacado and olive oil. Protein from beans, greens, nuts. I find it hard to track food when I’m cooking from whole ingredients and not scanning bar codes. I drink only water and black coffee, very few sugary snacks.

I’m striving for 500 calorie/ day deficit. But I dont change my diet on days I’m working out. I could pay more attention to that as well. My overall weight loss goal is under 185. Jan 1 I was 205, I’m at 197ish this morning. If I’m being even moderately attentive to my diet, I’ll fall at 192. I’ve never been able to sustain under 185 after reaching the goal but would like to, Ive always gone back into Winter Mode, but hoping to do things differently moving forward.

Seriously, sounds like you've gotten to far into your own head about it. Forget all the numbers and just climb for fun.

Wax on, wax off.

Edit: And stop with the calorie deficit crap. Starving yourself is a totally outdated way of losing weight and probably directly causing your problem.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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