Performance P.2, Weight // Peter Dixon

A blog about optimal weight for optimal climbing performance. Peter is our educated foodtarian and is full of factual information about what we put in our bodies, and often we hear things from him that explain why our bodies do the things they do. In the following we put quotes where that happens.

– MR Staff

Your Peak Performance:  Part 2 – Weight Management

One of the fastest and most efficient ways to improve your climbing is to maximize your strength-to-weight ratio.  When training for a big event, preparing for a competition, or getting fit for an specific goal, it’s vital to consider weight.

I don’t necessarily feel the most prepared before a competition when I’ve been training my hardest – often, it’s when I’m feeling my lightest.

Below I’ve charted the plan I use for cutting weight before a comp or project without loosing strength or energy.  Like in my previous post, Peak Performance P. 1, I break this process down into three main categories:

Plan, Prepare, Peak

Weight Management:

The following is my personal routine which I’m providing for example.  I’m not a licensed healthcare professional, so please consult a doctor or personal healthcare professional before making serious changes to your diet or attempting to lose weight for training purposes.

Plan:  Creating a solid plan starts with assessing your current position and creating reachable and realistic goals.  According to the most popular online resources including LIVESTRONG and Web MD, you can safely lose 1-3 pounds a week at home with a healthy diet and lots of exercise.  Using their guide as a reference, if your goal is to loose 10 pounds before your big event or project, you’ll need to plan ahead 3 weeks or more for gradual and safe weight loss. 

Personally I perform optimally just below my average weight, which for me means dropping between 5-10 pounds before a competition.

Once you’ve created a realistic time frame for trimming down, it’s now time to implement the next stage of weight management with a healthy diet and workout.

Prepare:  Over the last 6 years I have been experimenting with my own diet by changing the way I eat.  The outline I provide below is taken from my own experiences and research and therefore will not work for everyone.

It’s important to experiment and educate yourself to know what works best for your individual system.

Step 1:  Remove excess sugar from your diet.  Obvious right?  Most people know sugar is not a health food but it tastes so good we eat it anyways.

I could write a dissertation on the subject of sugar alone, how it systematically saps your energy instead of giving it to you and ultimately leads to diminishing returns, however for the sake of this article I’ll keep it brief.

Whether your source of sugar is hybridized fruit (such as apples, bananas, & oranges which have been cultivated intentionally to create higher levels of sweetness than would ever occur in nature) or donuts, temporarily lose the sugar for optimal training and weight loss.

Step 2:  Remove hybridized wheat from your diet.  Almost all wheat these days is hybridized.

According to the book Wheat Belly, hybridized wheat has been shown to trick our stomachs into thinking that we are still hungry even when we are full. 

From my own personal experiences I have found this information to be completely true.  By removing wheat you can not only prevent more spikes in blood sugar but you can naturally lower the amount of food you think you need to consume. 

Step 3:  Become a nutritarian.  Simply put, a Nutritarian diet is a way of eating which bases food choices on maximizing the micronutrients.  This concept was created by Dr. Fuhrman and has been implemented in Whole Foods Markets using his ANDI scoring system as a way of comparing different types of foods. 

An example of this might be to compare quinoa to rice or to compare kale to spinach.  The idea is to eat the highest density of nutrition in the smallest caloric intake.  

If you think of your body as being like an expensive race car, you wouldn’t put cheep regular gasoline into the tank because you would ultimately destroy the engine.  Examples of some of my favorite micronutrients include, chlorella tabs, kale, reishi and cordyceps, and dulse.

Step 4:  Up your cardio routine.

In conjunction with the above steps, regular cardio will help to burn off excess weight, improve your cardiovascular system, and ultimately make you a better climber.  

I personally enjoy bike polo, swimming, and trail running.  Find what engages you the most and stick with it!


While it’s always a challenge to adjust one’s body to new workouts and dietary parameters, it’s vital to maintain a healthy and constant perspective on why you’re implementing these changes in your routine. 

Keep a picture in your mind or your wallet of your ultimate goal.  Returning to it in times of weakness will help keep you on track with purpose and determination.  In the process you just may find your adjustments hanging around long after your goals have been met. 

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