Today’s post continues our analysis of the 2,014 responses to our climber body image survey.
The longer we climb and the more climbers we meet, the more we realize that like any other sports’ athletes there are climbers willing to take drastic measures to lose weight to perform better. In fact, 28% of our 2,014 survey respondents know someone who has taken drastic measures or personally have taken drastic measures to improve their climbing performance. While the term “drastic measures” can be interpreted in many ways, including dieting, excessive exercise, and taking muscle-promoting supplements, nearly all of the respondents described it in terms of dramatic weight loss.
When we first started climbing, we naively believed climbing was immune to the body weight issues that many other sports’ athletes fall prey. From our view, most people begin climbing through a community or “just for fun” rather than on a competitive team where weight management may be encouraged. However, recently the number of climbing gyms, teams, and competitions across the United States has skyrocketed. For example, over the last two years in the Boston Metro area the number of climbing gyms more than doubled from four gyms to nine and along with it the number of climbers and competitive teams. As is evidenced in the graph below, the more serious one becomes in climbing, the more likely one is to have taken, or know someone who has taken, drastic measures in weight management to climb harder.