Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Story of August...never forget who you are. By Jen Wilby



“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
Lao Tzu


The scary thing is you do all this work and you fail. Is it better to try and fail or not to try at all? We all know the logical answer to that question, so why ask it? Sometimes your brain play’s mind games with you, sometimes it put’s you off kilt and on tracks which you never anticipated going down.

This is a tough blog to write, I’ve been struggling to put this month into words as it’s been a mixed bag of emotions…

The story of August …

For those who have followed the blog you’ll know I put together a training plan to take me right trough until the bouldering season and I was so psyched about putting it all together and seeing the results. I’ve swapped some sessions to play on the woody board, now named “The Crimp Shrine” which we are fortunate to have in the garage. This has been good as it’s all about power and strength and it’s not a forgiving board, but it is so much fun.





I’ve also been trying to do a lot more finger boarding, something which I haven’t been able to do due to constant finger injuries. I’ve always considered my finger strength to be my main strength, give me something to crimp on, no matter how small and I will make it work.


So it was time to try the one arm hangs….



I’ve said before that this is, by far, the hardest thing in my training, it literally drops me! So much so that I can’t do more than one session in 7 / 9 days and my fingers are totally gone during this time. So I’ve been super disappointed that I haven’t been able to push this part of the training more, I’ve probably only done 4-6 sessions of this since I started, which means that doubt has crept in as to whether I will be ready to do what I want to do this season.

I thought a great test would be to get on this stunning line:



We had the perfect opportunity when we went to visit a friend in the Peak and the wind was blowing! I’ve tried bit’s of this before but was always unable to link the middle to end part. For those who have tried it, I know the holds might look big, but with poor feet it’s basically a sideways campus on your fingers… no better test of finger strength, core and lock off strength.
I had an awesome couple of hours on it, linking most of it, figuring out my beta and working it until I couldn’t anymore. It’s a physical beast! It felt amazing to walk away knowing I had improved significantly from the last session. So why was there something in the back of my mind which was telling me I could have done more? So it begins…
My climbing partner’s weakness was always his finger strength, if there was a dirty crimp, or a slot (he’s got large hands) he was more than 9 times out of 10 unable to touch it. So Jerry’s Trav, for him, was his “will never do” problem, so he was a bit reluctant to go. I knew from the first time he stepped on it that day, he was going to do it. He walked across it, didn’t look like an issue, and then he kept throwing laps on it. Whilst I was so happy he had done something he never thought he would do, I knew that the training he had done on his fingers was paying off – so the thought that I knew I was having issues with my fingers hung heavy on my heart and mind. It just kept building…





Then it was on to North Wales for the Bank Holiday weekend, which has been planned, against all the planning rules we have, way in advance…the plan was to get the parents to look after the dogs and head to The Sheep Pen. I couldn’t have been more excited. On any normal weekend, if we had seen the planned forecast, we wouldn’t have gone, but I wasn’t planning on giving up a weekend up at the Pen without the dogs, I’d never been before.
Well… this video shows the story of Bank Holiday Weekend in North Wales:


Even watching that video, makes me emotional. As you can tell the weather was less than ideal, but I expected that. What I didn’t expect was for my fingers to totally die on me. After Pill Box Wall I felt like I had done a route and had got so pumped that I couldn’t feel my forearms. This feeling continued for many days after. Which made the Sheep Pen a mental challenge, one which, and I don’t normally say this, I failed at.
It wasn’t the weather, it wasn’t that I didn’t get much done, it was the fact my forearms felt like lead and I couldn’t even give the other problems a good go. For the first time ever, I wanted to leave and forget the whole thing. Normally I’m quite positive and just being out is a blessing. Something had changed and not for the better.

I spent the whole journey back silent, not lost in my own thoughts but totally numb. I crashed and burned…

On the Monday I had planned to get up and finger board and then do a session down the wall. Numbness turned to anger. I wasn’t going to train angry, so I spent the time trying to figure out what the heck had gone wrong.

Stress. I believe I had totally lost all sense of reality, why I climb and who I was and was totally stressed. I should have guessed as I’d not been sleeping well, was agitated, snappy and many of the other thing associated with this silent killer.

The answer…let it all go. Forget about the training and forget about the season. So I’ve changed my plan and decided to climb more, whether it be at the wall or outside. Just climb, bring back the fun, go try things, but the main thing I learnt from that weekend is about warming up. I used to be able to jump on anything to warm up, not any more. So I’ve decided to mix climbing with yoga. I’ve dabbled with yoga before but never felt the need for it. With the stress and frustration I’ve felt this last month, I’ve had the calling and yoga totally focuses my mind and chills me out – that is a blessing. So I’m doing one day of climbing and one day of some yoga to help me stay grounded. What ever will be will be. It’s not that I’ve given up – I just need to go back to who I am and it’s not all about the training, it’s about having fun and trying things, getting out of my comfort zone.

I guess The Arch Article – Finding Fun & breaking Plateaus by Taking it easy has put into words what I couldn’t, it’s worth a read.


Apologies if this blog is poor read, I’ve written it a million times and tried to be more positive, however this month has just been one of those times I’ve lost my natural flow – time to regroup.

On the plus side – the weather is cooling down and I am very much looking forward to getting back outside, it’s been somewhat lacking this year!

Happy Climbing <- Ironic!

Friday, 29 August 2014

CoolBean Bars – Home made no-bake protein bars packed with good stuff - created by Karen Varga

How much protein you need seems to vary considerably depending on who you're asking, but the most consistent guideline that I’ve come across is to multiply your weight by 0.8 (not very active), 1.3 (active or pregnant), or 1.8 (extremely active) to get a number of how many grams of protein you need based on your weight in kilograms. So if for example you weight 65kg and are generally active then you’ll need roughly 85 grams of protein a day. 

You can get protein from a number of different foods, but you’ll find that it can be quite hard to get as much as they recommend if you lead an active lifestyle. The other thing to remember is that while a sirloin steak does give you a high dose of protein, it also contains a large amount of saturated fats and cholesterol. Fish contains a very good source of protein, but some fish also contains mercury and there are guidelines on how much of that fish is ok for your body. So it is a good idea to do your homework on what foods you rely on for protein and be aware of what their limitations or negative properties are. 


Which protein bar to choose??
As a vegaquarian (veggie & fish eater) I’ve had to become a lot more conscious of making sure I do get enough of the essential components in my diet, with protein being one of the most crucial of these. I use protein shakes, but sometimes I want something I can sink my teeth into! I’ve tried various protein bars but the problem I find with the commercial bars is that they are very high in sugars, or even worse, sweeteners, as well as carbohydrates and saturated fats (most often sunflower oil, palm oil or palm kernel oil), and of course artificial flavourings and colourings. Also the quality of the protein in them is not always the best. 

It’s all in moderation though, and some of these protein bars are not that bad. But I wanted a protein bar that is high in good quality protein, low in carbohydrates and sugar and artificial stuff, but tastes great! After searching high and low I could not find anything that provided this off the shelf, so decided to make my own!

The CoolBean Bar is packed 100% with good stuff.  And they’re pretty damn tasty too! (well, at least I think so :)

Before I give the actual recipe, let’s go through the ingredients that make them so healthy and tasty ...

OATS
Although carbohydrates often get a bad rap, oats are one of the most underrated health foods.  Oats provide sustained-release energy (low GI), which means they have a low effect on your blood glucose level and insulin production and help to stabilize your blood sugar and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. They are also full of vitamins and nutrients, can aid in the prevention of disease and even help you manage your weight.

I like to use the natural raw “chunky” oats.  Rolled oats (quick cooking oats) have been steamed, pressed and dried, which removes some of their fibre content, which accelerates digestion and raises the food's GI.  The chunky oats also just have a chewier texture which I like.

WHEY PROTEIN
Whey protein contains all of the essential amino acids (EEAs), making it a complete protein source. It’s particularly high in a class of EEAs referred to as branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs. 

Whey protein is one of the most easily digested proteins by the body.  In fact, it is key to understand a bit about this, otherwise you’ll be wasting your money on drinking whey protein shakes where most of the protein isn’t even being absorbed by your body!

Whey is absorbed at a rate of about 8 grams to 10 grams per hour, and navigates your gastrointestinal tract within a matter of 1.5 hours. This means that the maximum amount of whey your body can absorb from a shake is about 12-15 grams.  Anything over that amount just passes straight through. Having your shake with milk instead of water helps to slow down the absorption rate a bit, something about the protein in the milk combining with the whey protein which slows it down (you can read more about it online). 

This is also what inspired me to create my CoolBean Bars ... the additional proteins and fibre and such like in the bar help to slow the digestion process and enable the body to absorb the maximum amount of protein it can.

I like whey protein but there’s nothing stopping you using whatever your preferred type of protein is.  I use a protein isolate, as opposed to a concentrate – concentrate tends to be more affordable but does not contain as high a protein concentration and contains a lot more carbohydrates.  I also use a non-flavoured version as I don’t like all the added sugars and sweeteners and such like, and much prefer to flavour my bars or shakes with healthier options like cocoa powder, peanut butter, coconut, fresh or frozen fruit etc.  That way I can also enjoy different flavours and not be stuck with a massive tub of just one flavour.

RAW CACAO NIBS
Cacao nibs are bits of the same cacao beans that go into chocolate bars, however they are less refined than chocolate liquor or cocoa powder and thus are more nutritionally potent.

Health wise, cacao nibs' greatest claim to fame is their flavonoid content. Flavonoids are antioxidants also found in tea, grapes and berries, and they appear to improve health by altering cell-signaling pathways. They say more research is needed, but some studies also suggest that flavonoids might help prevent cancer as well as brain ailments such as Alzheimer's disease.  Cocoa has also shown to reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Cacoa nibs are quite bitter and it might take a bit of getting used to for you. When I first heard about them and their benefits I immediately ordered a couple of bags online, and as soon as they arrived I excitedly added some to my cereal, expecting a nice chocolately (but healthy) kick. But whenever I bit into one the taste was really quite bitter and I didn’t like it. However I now love the cacao nibs and the taste of them! – this shift in my taste buds may be down to a gradual getting-used-to-the-taste thing, or it may be down to the fact that I have become an 85% dark chocolate addict, and have greatly reduced on my sugar intake per day, which means I don’t need much sugar for things to taste sweet and have gotten to quite like a bit of bitter :).
  
PUMPKIN SEEDS
These yummy green seeds are packed with protein, vitamins and minerals. On the protein side, 100 grams contains 19 grams protein ... just slightly less than the protein-per-gram content in a chicken breast!  They are a good source of several minerals, including iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, which is good for the heart, as well as zinc, a mineral that supports healthy immune function.  These seeds also supply niacin, or vitamin B3, which aids in circulation, and are said to have certain anti-Inflammatory benefits. They do have some fat content (30%) but almost all of this is heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats ... so the good fats!

DESICCATED COCONUT (unsweetened)
Besides just being a delicious addition to almost anything (I add desiccated coconut to my cereal, porridge, protein shakes, yogurt, nut mix, and even to my Indian and Thai curries :), coconut contains lots of minerals, fibre, and substances that boost immune function and help your body fight disease. 
Raw coconut is rich in medium-chain triglycerides, which convert into monoglycerides and medium-chain free fatty acids during digestion - two substances your body uses immediately for energy rather than storing as fat.

In addition to their metabolism-boosting properties, medium-chain triglycerides may curb hunger more effectively than other forms of fat, leading to a lower calorie intake over time. As a result, the specific fats in raw coconut may promote a healthy body weight and help you shed unwanted pounds.  For me it’s not so much about the weight bit but more the fact that coconut contains healthy fats which appeals ... you need some fat in your diet so better for it to be heart-healthy fats.

ALMONDS & ALMOND BUTTER
Almonds are naturally low in the dreaded saturated fat, with a high percentage of the fats found in almonds being of a poly- or mono-unsaturated nature. The unsaturated fats found in almonds are known as oleic and palmitoleic acids and, much like the fats that are found in olive oil, these help reduce bad cholesterol whilst increasing good cholesterol! Almonds are also a nut high in fibre, and they are packed full of vitamin E. The high levels of vitamin E found within almonds helps to boost immune support. They contain high levels of magnesium and calcium, which alongside the vitamin E promotes improved levels of immune function and overall health. Almonds also contain manganese and copper, which help produce and raise energy levels, and can also aid in the stabilisation process of levels of blood sugar.

And just like the coconut, I find almonds to be extremely more-ish ...  life for me would just not be the same without almonds and almond butter!

The important thing to note of course is the type of almonds and almond butter that you use.  The nutritional benefits of raw vs roasted almonds are apparently exactly the same, with the only difference between them being that roasted almonds are digested more easily by the body due to the change in texture (raw almonds have a rigid texture). So really on that front just go with whichever you prefer.  If you choose roasted then make sure that they are dry roasted (i.e. not oil roasted), and do not get salted almonds, whether raw or roasted.  For my almond butter I also only use products that do not have any added salt, sugar or palm oil ... just 100% pure roasted (or un-roasted) almonds.

COCOA POWDER
Cocoa powder comes with the same health benefits as the Cacao Nibs above, just in lower doses as it is more refined. I’ve read things about cocoa having anti-depressant benefits, anti-cancer properties, lowering LDL cholesterol, reducing the risk of blood clots, increasing blood flow to the arteries, lowering high blood pressure, and boosting cognitive performance!  That’s a lot from a little bean :)

These benefits are an added plus, as the main reason for adding the cocoa powder is for the flavour and a little bit of sweetness.  Again quality is important – I like Green & Blacks cocoa powder which is just 100% pure organic cocoa powder, no sugar or anything else added.

FLAXSEEDS (LINSEEDS)
Flaxseed is categorized a super food - a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. Flaxseed is an ancient food, prized for its healing properties as far back as 650 B.C. Today, most people eat flaxseed because it is a source of healthy fats, fibre and other disease-fighting nutrients. Flaxseed can be eaten whole or ground, but note that the body cannot break down the hard outer shell so either you need to make sure you chew your tiny flaxseeds to break the shell or grind them!  As such, I find it easiest and most beneficial to pop them in the food processor or blender and grind them first.

Flaxseed is low in saturated fat and high in cholesterol-lowering unsaturated fat. It's also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are recommended as part of a heart-healthy diet. It is high in fibre, and much of the fibre in flax is soluble fibre, which attracts water and forms a gel. Soluble fibre slows down the emptying of your stomach, making you feel full longer, and it helps to stabilize your blood sugar. There is also evidence that it may help reduce your risk of cancer, but this is not conclusive yet.

SWEETNESS
As you can see from the above ingredients, these CoolBean Bars are really low in sugar (in fact, there is only 2 grams of sugar per 100 gram of bar).  As mentioned above, I have consciously tried to reduce on my sugar intake, and now find that I’m able to appreciate the natural sweetness in raw food types a lot more. As such, the CoolBean Bars get their flavour and “sweetness” from the coconut, almonds and almond butter, cocoa powder and cinnamon.  Even the pumpkin seeds have a slight sweet taste for me!

But depending on your preferred sweet-levels you might want to add a little something more.  For some healthier options you could add a bit of honey, raisins and/or dried cranberries, or dark chocolate chips. I often melt some dark chocolate and drizzle it on top of some of the bars ... for those harder training sessions when I need a bit ova sugar boost!

So without further ado, here is the recipe ...

Cool Bars!
~CoolBean BARS~

Ingredients
Makes about 9 bars (approximately 40 grams each) - I often double the recipe to make a bigger batch

  • 1 cup Oats
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp Raw Cacao Nibs
  • ¼ cup Unsweetened Desiccated Coconut
  • ¼ cup Pumpkin Seeds (unsalted)
  • ¼ cup chopped Almonds (roasted or unroasted, unsalted)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp Flaxseed/ Linseed (ground or crushed)
  • 1 cup Whey Protein powder (isolate)
  • 1/3 cup Almond Butter (or Peanut Butter if you don’t have Almond Butter)
  • ¼ - ½ cup Milk (see guidelines below on how much milk to add)


Method

  1. Spread the oats out on a baking tray and dry roast at 180 degrees Celsius for about 15-20 mins. Every 5 minutes or so, give them a stir so they get evenly roasted. Leave them to cool a bit on the side.
  2. Mix all the ingredients from the oats down to the flaxseeds in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the whey protein powder, almond butter and milk. This will be a very sticky gloopy mush!
  4. Now add the protein/ almond butter/ milk gloop to the dry ingredients and get your muscles out because now comes the hard part ... mixing it all together!  It is really stiff work but you want to make sure it is all mixed up evenly, and that all the dry ingredients are mixed in. I mix with a sort of stabbing/ cutting motion. If you’re on the higher side of the milk content (see below) then the mixing will be easier, but still quite hard work.  In the end you will have a pretty firm blob of protein bar!
  5. Press the blob out onto a baking tray (or anything similar ... the bars are unbaked so it doesn't need to be an oven dish) to the desired thickness. Mine are usually about 1cm thick. I usually break off pieces from the large blob and mash it down, then add another blob and so on.
  6. Put the tray into the freezer for about 20-30 minutes.  This just helps to harden it which makes it easier to cut (less sticky and more compact).
  7. Cut into desired shapes and size.  I usually cut mine to be rough rectangles of about 4cm x 5cm x 1cm, and about 40 grams in weight.

How much milk to add?
I add the milk so the bar is not too dry or powdery. Less milk means it will be dryer and more crumbly, more milk means it becomes more chewy and softer. I usually add about a 1/3 cup of milk (a bit more than a ¼ but not quite a ½).

Due to the milk content in the bars, they need to be kept in the fridge, and will only last in the fridge for max 2 weeks.  So I wrap mine in foil and keep them in the freezer, and just keep a small supply handy in the fridge. They are fine to be out the fridge for the day, so grab one before heading out to the crag or before work, and it will be fine to eat later that evening at the climbing wall.  If you don’t end up eating it then you can put it back in the fridge and it’s usually fine the next day. But definitely don’t leave it out the fridge for too long!

Nutritional content of the CoolBean Bar/ per 100 grams
Energy 1960 kJ
Protein 36 grams
Carbohydrates 18 grams
~ Of which sugars 2 grams
Fats                            28 grams
~ Of which saturates 6 grams
Sodium 0 grams

The CoolBean Bar contains just over 33% protein, and has a 2:1 protein to carbohydrate ratio.  It’s super low in sugar and contains zero sodium (I think we get enough sodium from all the other food that we eat during the day!). It does contain quite a high fat content, but as detailed above, almost all of these fats are the healthy fats which are an essential component in ones diet.



So stop reading and get mixing and make yourself some CoolBean Bars!


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A summer of personal bests - Flo Tilley

My long summer after my GCSE’s has nearly ended but when it seemed like I had months still to go, back in July, we had a family trip to Arco, Italy, climbing on some stunning rock, swimming in the lake and relaxing; followed directly by the Open Youth Bouldering and Lead comp in London. Just a few weeks after we were climbing at the Grandparents local crag, Kilnsey, where I climbed my hardest route to date and finally finished a project.


Deep water soloing on Lake Garda
  
















The Kilnsey trip crew; Naomi Tilley, Orrin Coley, Alex Norton and my self, stayed in the Grandparents ‘Bothy’, with Sarah Pashely and Billy Ridal joining us later.

 I finally managed 50 for 5, 7b+, a climb I first got on around a year ago but because of winter and the seepage, I only really worked it this summer. As many who have climbed it will agree the last two, three moves are the crux, with the rest of climbing getting increasingly harder on the way up.

A few weeks before this trip I got on Pantomime 7b+ and got no where, this week however I got back on, worked it and did it in a day. I was psyched after that to get on something harder.  

Pantomime 7b+
So after watching Billy onsight it, and Orrin do it third go, I got on Biological Need, 7c. To start with I was thinking no way do I have the fitness for this. But  I spent another day working it and on our last evening I pulled on, I was climbing it well, I passed the last crux, I was so close, but I stopped thinking and didn’t move my foot and fell reaching for the jug. A massive jug. What a heart sink. It was slightly frustrating to say the least.

The next morning we had a couple hours before we left so we headed up to the crag for one final attempt. To start with I kept falling off on the slabby, cruxy start, my foot kept slipping and time was ticking. I started to feel negative and doubted whether I could actually do it again, but with positive talk and me chanting as I was climbing ‘I do believe in fairy’s’ I got myself up, this time catching the jug. 

So the trip finished on a high, with me red pointing my first 7c, Billy doing is first 8b, Ecstasy and Naomi also achieving her personal best. We went home buzzing.  

Just before the holiday comes to a close I’m back down to Exeter for the Deep Water Solo comp at the Quay Climbing Centre, all I can say is I’m glad I got a practice at some DWS on Lake Garda in Arco, wish me luck!

Deep water soloing on Lake Garda

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Experimentation By Jen Wilby

" Walk your talk and believe in yourself, because at the end of the day, the dumbbell and diet don't get you in shape. It's your accountability to your word."

This month has been all about the dumbbells and diet, and I am not talking about diet in the short term, but about a long running "diet" which is ultimately about a healthy life style. With the goal being at optimum fighting weight before the Grit season arrives. How do you know what your fighting weight is? It's the balance of being light enough that your power to weight ratio feel's good, you do not struggle with your body weight, yet it's also about being able to function at this weight, being able to work hard, recover and function normally. Either side of this balance and you won't be at your optimum. This is a trial and error process, and a very personal one, only you know where it is, and be honest about it. Personally for me, I was last at my fighting weight in 2011, when I was training for routes. Doing laps and laps of routes in high temperatures, which meant, the weight fell off. Since 2011 I have struggled to get back to this weight, the reason being I'm not doing routes, so I'm not doing the endurance work, and it required a lot of discipline, which diminishes the older and older I get. This isn't a sob story, it's fact. 

The last training cycle involved eating what ever I fancied, when ever I fancied it. There were times, especially during the strength phase that I was exhausted, physically and mentally, sometimes, training just couldn't happen. It was sweet while it lastest :) This cycle I've made some changes thanks to Optimal State

The first thing I did during the scheduled two weeks off between cycles was go through a detox. It was hard to find the right one, so it was a bit of a gamble. The detox was for 9 days The first two days involved no food, yup, two whole days of no food.


During these I consumed a lot of Aloe Vera Gel, which is possibly the worst tasting thing ever. This was to flush out the system. I also had a lot of green tea, which is what I think saved me. The two day's were hard and all I thought about was food. However, at the end of the two days, I realized that the body does not need a great deal in order to function. My body does need a bit more to be sociable though :) The following seven days involved having the usual gel and supplements, but with the introduction of a certain size meal. What was interesting about this, was that I couldn't eat the full meal in one hit and it showed me that I don't eat, on a normal day, that much food anyway. So I split the food up so I ate at regular intervals, about every three hours. 
At the end of the nine days, I felt amazing, lost 5kgs, which I feel could be more if I exercised during this, and I had a lot of energy. I never realized this was possible with so little food. It proved that it's all about what you put it and until you cut out the sugar, caffeine and all the other additives, you don't know how much better you could feel. 
After the nine days, I went back to drinking coffee, tea, eating less than ideal foods, and I felt horrific and I mean awful! So now it's all about moderation, with a view to do the nine days again before the Grit season, but to sustain that throughout, to hit the optimal fighting weight.

The first sustainable change is the introduction of the Protein supplement. I've dabbled with this many years ago, but not consistently. At the moment I add the Natural Nutrients Grass Fed Whey Protein. It is a complete protein source and more details can be found on the link above. I add this to a smoothie each morning. My favorite smoothie for anyone who wants to try it came courtesy of Lanch Green. 


It includes:
  • Hemp Milk - nice nutty taste
  • 1 Banana
  • Blueberries
  • Milled Hemp & Flaxseed (various combinations available with Q10, B12 additions)
  • Whey Protein
  • Brain Octane Oil which provides energy for the brain, or MCT Oil which is like coconut oil but better. 
  • A table spoon of peanut butter (check for palm oil folks!) Meridan do a good "free from" butter. 

This tastes awesome, and you can add what ever you fancy, but here you have the raw ingredients for a great set up for the day. I make sure I have this every day and I am recovering way better than in the first cycle. Sure I ache, but the energy levels stay high so I am able to train better for longer, or harder for a shorter time. I have my pick really, which was not the case before. I have tried other Protein sources but most are full of loads of extra stuff which is pretty poor for you, there is an article here on the differences: http://www.optimalstate.co.uk/wf_menu_config/blog2.html

The second sustainable change is to take, a number of times a day, BCAA's (Branched Chain Amino Acid), B12 and Iron supplements. The BCAA's help promote recovery and fatigue. With this and the B12, again, energy levels are improved. Win win! I have not introduced the Bullet Proof yet but I will when the season starts.  If anyone has any questions on the above just drop me a line, or comment.

So, with all this extra energy and recovery, what have a done with the dumbells? 

Alot of the above! Single, max strength pull up. One pull up, that's all! If you follow the blogs, you will know my weakness by a country mile, is the ability to control and pull my own body weight. So this strength phase is all about that. 

Strength training has included a bit of work on the rings, I'm having to be super careful due to the strain puts on the tendons, and it's all about the dips with the aim of improving top outs and to stop them from being so comical :) Sorry folks!

The other thing I have been experimenting with it one arm hangs on this beauty:
They are, by far, the hardest thing I have ever had to try and do. Should be worth it though.

At the start of the year I had a very specific training plan and was convinced I could stick to it 100%, however, sometimes things just get in the way (by choice!).


During these time's I do get a guilt trip and wonder if I will come to regret it. When you are training and not climbing it's difficult to get a perspective of what's going on and why you are doing it. I am really looking forward to the season up here, there are so many crags which I have not explored and it's going to be a whole winter of new adventures.

One thing that has been keeping me busy is The Depot's Summer Bouldering League. It's a series of four rounds with a final in September. Climbers have about a month to try to complete 30 blocs, with the last round being double points. So all to play for. There is a lot to be said for walking and talking and believing in yourself, however, those of you know follow know, when it comes to comp's the nerves kick in. Always have done. The aim of competing in the Summer League was to get used to trying hard. So many times, as a boulderer, I just drop off and know, I can always try again. However, when there are points at stake, sometimes it just makes you try that little but harder. To this day, I still have no confidence when climbing in front of people. I will actually wait to try a bloc until the wall / area is almost empty, even then I make stupid mistakes, mis-read blocs and generally have a total wobble. Yet, if these were not "comp blocs" I can almost bet that I would be fine, read the problem's right and climb well. Is it the seven headed dragon? How can it be when I am fully into the training cycle, fingers open up, core fails, how can I have high expectations at an indoor comp, especially when I find indoor climbing so hard? It seems I do, making silly mistakes, like getting to the last move, and then not being able to get there again are so frustrating, and as soon as I have a days rest and get back on them, I fly through them. I wonder why the loyalty lies.
I guess the test will be if the weather conditions are perfect when it is the final...


I'm still doing OK, given the mega opponents in 1st & 2nd!

That's all about July has had to offer, a lot of experimentation with training and nutrition. Roll on another two months of this and see what happens.

Happy Climbing!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Competing in the rain – Senior World Cup Chamonix By Connor Byrne

After the technical meeting and publication of the running order we had a bit of a debate over how to share the one senior male GB competition vest we had (kind of Déjà vu moment to Kranj last year).  It looked like we would get away with it, I was up 22 on my first route, giving plenty of time for Ed to get the vest to me.    However for my second climb the timing got tight for me to get my vest back, I got it in the nick of time - slightly damp, hope that was rain and not sweat.



Qualifiers in the rain
Athletes’ presentation
I have mixed feeling over my performance on the two routes.  The first one, I was climbing well and felt comfortable, but just made a mistake and was spat off the wall. I was a bit fed up with being 71 of 76 as I knew I could have done better.  I focused on the second route and did much better – coming 45 of the 76, although oddly I felt I came of this due to a mistake again.  I was fairly happy with 62 of 76, especially considering the quality of climbers I was competing with.

 
Finals

Crowd watching the final
Yet again I have learnt loads, and know what to try to focus on in training, and competing outdoor in the rain an experience.  Staying all together in one apartment was brilliant, and defiantly the way to go, especially with the wet weather.



Chamonix in the sun
 

View from the Tourist office

Looking forwards to the Senior World Cup in Imst, and then Senior World Championship in Gijon, with all the senior GB men.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Without Hope or Ambition - By Jen Wilby


Ambition

What is this raging fire
And anguish that consumes the heart?
Why is it so strong
As to rip mind to pieces
And temper heart into sweet complacency?

My passion lights my blood ablaze
And inspires me to travel
To the edge of the earth for answers.
The most complex and unforgiving problems
Seduce my mind,
Clutch at my very soul, and tear out my heart.

Why does my ambition plague me so?
Why does this endless restlessness
Grip me so harshly?
Why must my emotions entrench themselves in such
Cruel whimsy,
Swerving like the raging water in a river?

Shall I sit in this agony as
it Stains my soul?
Shall I lie as this torrent glimpses my weakness
Lulls my defence,
And, as a phoenix bursts to flame, takes the flesh to ashes and I along with?
It is man’s most insolent beast, that which craves and aspires.
And there are none to comprehend the depth of nature to desire.

Hope, the optimistic attitude of mind, based on an expectation of positive outcomes, something which I believe we should not have, as it focuses the mind on the future without actually taking control of it and focusing on the present. Ambition, the strong desire to do or achieve something, which I have in abundance…in winter.  When I first started climbing it was all about routes, and they were awesome, bouldering was just something I played around with in between. I’m not sure when the change happened, when I realised that I enjoyed bouldering so much more, and I’ve never really thought about it up until now. Bouldering for me allows a sense of freedom, I get so much satisfaction from just one move, one single move can consume so much time and energy and the happy dance comes out when that move is achieved, even if the whole boulder problem has not been completed – that’s just an added bonus. However, I am also incredibly stubborn when it comes to boulders, if I get that “feeling” that it will go, I will try and try and try, until physically I can’t any longer. Sometimes this pay’s off, sometimes it doesn’t. When it does, the feeling is amazing, when it doesn’t, it’s so frustrating. I walk away wondering if the time I spent on it was worth it, sometimes it seems like such a waste of time. Spending so much time, and often skin, on one move. Forget all that, it’s totally worth it even if I then have to have a few days off to grow the skin and stop the aches :D Climbing is awesome!
However, and odd realisation this month, has been that I actually get more satisfaction from completing a route than a boulder problem, maybe this is because I find routes a lot harder, requiring more than just power, but the knowledge of when to rest, how to rest, recovery, reading holds and moves. So when the chains are clipped, there is so much satisfaction and after clipping the chains of something which has taken so much work, I often re-live that route in my head for many days after. I sometimes do this with boulder problems, but not often. I’m normally read to move on to the next one.

This month, I tied into the end of a rope for the first time in two years. It’s taken long enough to admit that it’s the time, as going to the Lakes or North Wales to boulder every weekend is just not an option, and now I live in Yorkshire, it would be a crime not to get on the Limestone!  The first stop, Trollers Gill!  http://www.theleedswall.co.uk/cms/images/leedswall/ymc/trollers/trollers.pdf

Trollers Gill
I wasn’t overly psyched, just because it had been so long, but Trollers Gill is in a really cool location up a dry river bed in a gorge. The walk in is very pleasant and it’s worth going just for the walk, beyond the crag to view some awesome Yorkshire scenery. We were the only climbers there, so I could express my sincere trepidation, but I found I was keen to just get on with it. I find if I have time to think about things, I tend not to perform, this has been evident since my swimming days. So off we trundled, laying low on the 6a+ warm up first – pumped, so so pumped by the time I got to the top. This is when I realised that if I wanted to do anything on routes, I would have to invest a lot of time on power endurance. A few years back before heading back to Catalunya, I spent weeks and weeks just going up and down routes, lapping for 20 mins at a time, and found myself able to recover of some of the smallest holds. Am I prepared to do that this year for routes…no, honestly, I’m not. This year is all about preparing for the winter, to get on more physical problems, get on more problems, and be a physically stronger climbing. So, and I quite Freddie Naish, the attitude towards routes this year is “without hope and ambition”, but is it? At Trollers Gill I still got on some harder routes, maybe with a little hope and ambition.







Despite not focussing on routes, I still want to explore the Yorkshire Limestone, so the next stop was Giggleswick. The guidebook showed this crag to be a perfect mileage destination, which I thought would get me back into the swing of things. I don’t know whether it was the time of the year we went, however, it wasn’t what it was described as. Some routes were loose, not very inspiring and it’s a very bad crag for hayfever sufferers, you have been warned! So we decided mileage was not an option, off to Hollywood Bowl it was!

Hollywood Bowl
This crag is not your usual Yorkshire Limestone destination, it has tufa’s! However, it quickly becomes apparent that these tufa’s are not your European tufa’s, those grippy little things which you love grappling with. Be warned, these tufa’s are Yorkshire Limestone tufa’s, slippy, even when not wet and it takes some cunning and brute power to crack them! It’s all goof fun though and there are a few good routes here.

The next stop – Kilnsey! The classic impressive crag.

The stunning crag of Kilnsey

I’ve been to Kilnsey once, a few years back but didn’t do much, so I was keen this year to actually do something on this awesome crag. Bearing in mind, I have no endurance, I went for the shortest route a 10m 7a+ at the far right hand side. It’s got an awesome little boulder problem at the start and then some big moves between big holds, it’s a very enjoyable route!
Comedy is the route which sticks out, a short bulging route which is described as “a modern test piece which is easy for thugs”. Well, that’s not my style, so best get on it. I’ve always wanted to do it, but with that description and with the fact there is always a rope on it, I’ve never been on. I am now fortunate enough to be able to go on an evening, so one Friday evening,  I would like to say I was keen to get on it, but I feel I was bullied into it – however, I loved it and treated it as move for move, not thinking about the chains at the top, but just about the next clip. I enjoyed it so much that first go, I’ve been back again after work to have a go at trying to make some of the moves a little more efficient, however, it is as I feared, thug your way up. Although I haven’t finished this route, I am keen to tie back in and get on it! Who would have known! I got on Comedy because I have hope, hope that one day I will do this route, and I have the ambition to do this route. Whether I am willing to put the work into get there is another question, which is were hope proves void. Therefore, I am doing routes without hope and without ambition, to just enjoy the moves for what they are, individual moments in time which take you away from the past and from the present and provide so much satisfaction. What more is there to it?

Photo's of Comedy - taken by Freddie Naish - MD of The Project Climbing Centre

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This week see’s the end of the first training cycle. I was due to be doing power endurance over the last few weeks, which should have tied in nicely with routes, however I’ve done very little PE work and just used the time to climb. With the Tour de France this weekend, it marks the start of a couple of weeks of rest. I’m not too sure how I am going to cope with that, but I will use the time wisely and look at what I want to achieve during the next cycle, which I am super excited about starting. My last blog detailed how I was going to change my diet, I am still going to do this, but I am going to start it when I start the next cycle so I can see the full effect of the supplements and be able to compare more easily to the cycle of not really caring about the nutrition side.

That’s all for now folks, I’m off for a decent rest, lots of sleep, a detox and another planning session.

Happy Climbing!