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Neely Quinn interviews pro rock climbers, climbing trainers, and other insightful members of the climbing community about how we can get a little better at rock climbing. Subjects include how to train for certain aspects of the sport, how to rehab injuries, the best diet for climbing, and personal stories about climbing.

Nov 3, 2021

TBP 184 :: Carbs for Climbers – How Much, What Kinds, Timing, and Why

In this episode, I talk all about carbohydrates and how to use them properly in your diet to help your climbing performance, energy levels every day, overall mental well-being, and body composition.

Carbs are a tricky topic because we’ve been taught to fear and hate them, even though in reality they’re what fuel strength and power activities. They’re also paramount to keeping your blood sugar and mood stable all day every day, as well as helping you to fall asleep and stay asleep. If you’re eating the wrong kinds of carbs in the wrong amounts at the wrong times of day, in conjunction with the wrong amount of protein and fat, you’re going to have issues.

But if you know some basic guidelines around carbs, including what kinds to eat, how much of them, and when, it can make a world of difference in your life and your climbing. These changes can literally happen overnight, so listen carefully to this episode and try to make some tweaks to your diet for some potentially big changes.

This is a recording taken from a 5-day nutrition challenge I did last year in front of a live zoom audience. I talked for about 15 minutes on the topic and then took a bunch of questions from the audience (very common questions, so they’re quite relevant).

A Little about Me

After completing my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Zoology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, I did a 4-year nutrition certificate program at Seven Bowls School of Nutrition, Nourishment, and Healing. I graduated in 2007 as a Certified Integrative Clinical Nutrition Therapist. During those 4 years, I learned about not only nutrition, but herbs, homeopathy, and other alternative practices. I’ve been seeing clients since 2007 and I’ve worked exclusively with climbers since 2013.

Nutrition Coaching with Me

If you’re looking for help with your own nutrition and you feel like you need personalized coaching, I’m taking new clients right now. I also have a program that is self-paced with 4+ hours of video from me, PDF’s, and meal plans laid out for you. You can find more information about my services and the program at

You’re welcome to email me at if you have any questions at all.


Episode Details

  • Common symptoms of low and high carbs in my clients. 

  • The right kinds of carbs help stabilize blood sugar, which keeps your energy levels up for longer. 

  • What about vegetables?

  • Sugar consumption guidelines

  • Sample meals

    • afternoon fatigue
    • Low energy for workouts
    • Poor recovery the next day (especially after big day outside)
    • Sugar cravings
    • Food obsession
    • Always hungry
    • Snacking a lot at night
    • Poor sleep
    • Things I see happen when people don’t eat enough carbs or too many, especially in the morning