Be the Bad*ss Climber You Know You Are
We’ve all noticed that wicked good climber in the gym, the guy/girl flashing overhanging 5.12s, and we’ve all quietly envied their ability to grasp on to what appear to be impossible holds. For many of us, climbing an overhanging 5.13 (or 5.14) seems inconceivable—the stuff of our dreams (or possibly nightmares). You might daydream of climbing a 5.12 or 5.13, but you always manage to talk yourself out of the possibility; after all, climbing routes that difficult is the stuff of professional climbers, and indeed not the thing that you could ever imagine, right?
You’re not alone in your doubts; however, you can indeed become a badass 5.13 climber. You’re no different than other humans, and that which other humans can achieve is well within your reach. It doesn’t matter if you’re tall, small, male, or female – we promise that you too can be a badass. We’ve decided to list out the five steps to becoming a world-class climber.
Follow these five steps, and you too can be a badass:
Make the Decision and Stay Committed
This seems simple, but simple isn’t always easy. In this case, it appears inherently natural to make the decision – but genuinely committing to the decision is something entirely different. Deciding to be a world-class rock climber is simple, but it’s not easy. Just like choosing to be a doctor can be simple, but surviving medical school would rarely be considered easy.
Once you make the decision, you have to stay committed and consistent. This is where everyone gets lost – many people make the decision, few people keep the commitment. Becoming a badass doesn’t happen overnight, it requires dedication, patience, and perseverance.
Sometimes it seems like a lot to handle, and you’re not alone in the struggle of healthy living. Getting ahold of your primary lifestyle factors will significantly improve your ability to become a world-class climber, not to mention it will help you live longer.
We’ve highlighted a few key points below, but you should consider talking to a doctor or dietitian for professional advice regarding your overall health:
- Are you eating fruits and vegetables every day? We know that you’re probably not because studies show 80% of people aren’t eating enough fruits and veggies (Blancke et al., 2008).
- Are you eating cheap cheeseburgers and other fast foods? If you are, don’t expect it to help your athletic performance. (Parks et al., 2016)
- Do you smoke cigarettes, marijuana, or vapes/e-cigarettes? That’s certainly going to set you back. (Feinberg et al., 2015).
- Are you overweight? Be honest with yourself and talk to your doctor about your weight/BMI—carrying extra weight is going to hinder your ability to be a badass.
Research and Learn
If you want to climb 5.13, you’ve probably got a lot to learn about climbing technique. Luckily, there’s tons of information for you to reference/research. Become obsessed with learning from the successes/failures of the badass climbers that have come before you. Through YouTube videos and documentaries you can learn directly from professional climbers; watch their footwork, investigate their grip, and try to emulate their movements when you’re on a rock climb.
We don’t mean occasionally, and we don’t mean when it’s convenient, we don’t mean casually. Budget time to train and cross-train every single day. Chances are you haven’t been climbing enough, and you haven’t been pushing yourself hard enough.
No more excuses, no more laziness before and after work. If you want to be world-class, religiously committing to workouts is a requirement. It doesn’t matter how strong/weak you are today. Consistency is the only thing that will make you great.
Know when to take a break, and know how to optimize your rest days—don’t just sit on the couch and let yourself decay on days you’re not climbing. Be active on your rest days, and consider participating in any one of these activities: go for a long walk or easy hike, do yoga at a studio or in your living room, do a few easy calisthenics (push-ups, squats, sit-ups) to keep yourself mobile/limber, foam roll, etc. Most people have too many rest days (so don’t over-rest!), but we all undeniably need the occasional rest day—the key is knowing how to utilize them best to keep your body active yet recovered.
Commit to the Role
If you want to become a world-class badass climber, it’s quite simple. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. The most challenging part is committing to a lifestyle change of healthy living and regular training. Lots of people have decided that they want to be a badass, but few people have been able to commit to the lifestyle. For some, healthy lifestyle changes—such as eating a better diet, and quitting smoking—are significant hurdles in their quest to become a fantastic climber.
Further, there’s a lot to learn about the techniques of climbing—luckily, there’s plenty of books and films, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Daily or near-daily training must become a part of your life, but that doesn’t mean you need to climb 12 hours a day—you have to commit to not missing your regularly scheduled gym sessions (which can be as short as an hour at times, as long as you’re incredibly consistent). Finally, actively recover rather than rotting away on your couch—your body will thank you.
The badasses of today and yesterday aren’t superhuman athletes. They’re just committed to a lifestyle you’ve yet to adopt. So if you want to be a great climber, make the decision and commit.