Nutrition for Climbing – Competition Winner Katherine Schirrmacher

Competition Winner Day Two: Katherine Schirrmacher – One of the UK’s top female climbers.

When Katherine emailed me, her story was both compelling and inspiring that I was excited to be able to have the opportunity to spend the day with her, knowing I could potentially help towards achieving her climbing goals.

Katherine wrote ‘Despite being 40 and a mum I am still trying to pursue my climbing ambitions as much as possible (climbing 8a sport routes). Previously I have competed on the British Boudlering Team (and made 2 world cup finals) and also did what was at the time reasonably significant trad, sport and bouldering performances’

On the day

On Friday we will be spending the day at The Foundry Climbing Centre in Sheffield, where I will gain an understanding of Katherine’s training program and have the chance to chat in more detail about her climbing goals and lifestyle. I will also be assessing her food diary and taking body composition measurements, along with providing some solutions to help her improve her nutrition intake that fits in with her busy lifestyle as a Mum, coach and athlete.  Katherine will be bringing to the wall food and fluids she would typically take to eat during climbing and I will be brining along some of my suggestions.

What Katherine is hoping to gain from our day together

‘Around 6 years ago, before I had my daughter I achieved a number of different climbs that I was pleased with ranging from 8a sport redpoints, E7 trad headpoint and font 7c+ boulder problem. I then got pregnant and had my daughter Vanessa who is now 4. Whilst I convinced myself prior to having Vanessa that I was satisfied with what I climbed, it’s clear to me now there is still some unfinished business.

Trying to train and climb hard while having a young daughter and work irregular hours is not easy. Over the last 3 year I’ve had quite a lot of ill health (repetitive chest infections) and my climbing has been very stop start. Despite this I have managed to climb very well again with a number of 8a sport routes, but I’m still trying to put all the pieces of the jigsaw together. 

Vanessa is now at school and I have more time to climb again, however maintaining a constant level of good health seems to be the main barrier to any higher levels of performance. In a quest for improved health I attempted to look at my diet, and whilst I have made some gains through changes I am facing gut damage from overuse of antibiotics. I spend my whole life on the go and in a rush so eating well takes all sorts of levels of organisation which are a bit much – or so I feel.

I have travelled quite a distance along the diet path, however I am looking forward to Rebecca helping a busy mum who still has climbing dreams to make it happen! No pressure then Rebecca!’

If anyone would like some coaching from Katherine or keep up to date with her progress you can visit her website love to climb and Facebook page.

Following our day together I will be writing a blog about nutrition strategies for climbing, the female athlete and a focus on how nutrition becomes more important for health and pushing performance as we get older.