Project Description

Direct Download: LINK
Date: October 5th, 2015

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About Nathan Drolet

We met Nathan Drolet in the Red River Gorge a couple years ago when his badass girlfriend, Natalie Hawley, was projecting 8 Ball while I was working on Snooker. We ran into them a lot over that season in the Red and in Chattanooga, where they now live.

What I noticed about Nate is that he’s a calm, collected, strong, solid climber. He was obviously dedicated to climbing, having moved to the Red to work at Miguel’s so he could pursue it full time. He’s climbed up to 5.14a and V11, and he won the 2011 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell. And he’s a really nice guy.

When I asked you all a while back for suggestions for “everyday climbers” (ie not pros) whose training has paid off, several people suggested Nate, so of course I had to interview him to find out how he does it.

What We Talked About

  • How he stays strong living on the road
  • How he uses breathing to create power AND to relax
  • How he trained back flagging
  • His new interest in lifting and how it’s changed his climbing
  • Whether or not he runs and why
  • Diet
  • Mental training

Training Programs for You

Please Review The Podcast on iTunes!

  • Link to the TrainingBeta Podcast on iTunes is HERE.
  • Please give the podcast an honest review on iTunes here to help the show reach more curious climbers around the world 😉


Neely Quinn: Welcome to the TrainingBeta podcast, where I talk with climbers and trainers about how we can get a little better at our favorite sport. I’m your host, Neely Quinn, and today I am talking to you from sunny Fort Myers, Florida. It’s actually raining today so it’s not sunny but it is warm, hot, and humid, and climbing is nonexistent here. I’m here because my mom and aunts and uncles live in the same little cul-de-sac in this nice little neighborhood and I needed to take a break from life and come down here and just be surrounded by my family.

I’ve been here for almost a month, with Seth, of course, and I was dealing with a little bit of health issues and I just needed a sort of timeout from life and work for the first time in a really long time. I haven’t really taken a vacation in a really long time. I know we’ve been living on the road and climbing and all that but it’s been pretty much nonstop for a few years, so I needed a break. I’m really sorry that the podcast didn’t happen for a little while but I’m back at it now and hopefully I’ll be getting regular episodes out again.

Speaking of which, today we are talking with Nathan Drolet. We’re on episode 32, amazingly, and I actually did this interview with him about a month ago, before I took my break. He, Nate Drolet, is one of the people who emailed me and who I was emailed about when I asked a while back for suggestions for people who are everyday climbers, not pro climbers. Just everyday people like you and me who have jobs and lives and we’re not climbing full time, but people who are still training and climbing really well because of it.

Nate Drolet is an east coast climber mostly and he has climbed 5.14a and V11, maybe V12 now. I know he just took a trip out to Colorado but we met him a couple years ago in the Red and his girlfriend, Natalie, is also a strong climber and so we kind of just ended up being in the same places all the time. I got to see firsthand Nate as a climber and he’s just kind of like Seth. He reminds me of Seth a lot, because they’re solid, they’re calm, really collected, just solid climbers. I got to see him over in the Motherlode, sending, and then I got to boulder with him in Chattanooga. He’s a super cool guy.

I think you’re going to learn a lot from him. I certainly did. More and more what I’m learning from everybody is just that if you are able to take an objective look at your climbing and admit your weaknesses, and then go after them, that is what makes us stronger climbers. Nate is a really good example of that.

One last thing before I start the interview. Climbing Magazine is giving you guys, as my podcast listeners, an awesome deal on the paper magazines. If you want a year subscription to Climbing Magazine, just go to and you get about 80% off of the regular price, which is about $60 for a year subscription. It’s now $10 for you guys, so that’s Here is Nate Drolet. Enjoy the interview.


Neely Quinn: Alright, welcome to the show, Nate. Thanks for being with me today.


Nate Drolet: Yeah, sure thing.


Neely Quinn: This has been a long time coming. I asked a long time ago for people like yourself who aren’t pro climbers, aren’t pro trainers or anything, but who’ve had a lot of success with training to write in and potentially be on the podcast. I know you and I know that you’re a really strong, impressive climber and so when you wrote in I was really excited. Actually, it’s funny – here I am blabbering on, but it’s funny because a few people had actually emailed me and they were like, ‘I want you to interview Nate Drolet,’ then you emailed so it was awesome. Thanks for doing that.


Nate Drolet: Yeah.


Neely Quinn: So, tell us a little bit about yourself. For anybody who doesn’t know you, just tell us a little bit about yourself and your climbing.


Nate Drolet: Alright. I’m Nathan Drolet, I’m 26. I’m from Houston, Texas originally but after graduating high school I decided to move out east and that’s when I got really excited on rock climbing. I had climbed a little bit in the climbing gym back in Houston but once I moved out to Chattanooga I got really excited about climbing outside. Through all of college I climbed a ton outside around here. Did a little sport climbing as well, mostly bouldering, then after I graduated I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life so decided to pack up into my minivan and started traveling and climbing and working.

Moved up to the New River Gorge and worked for Porter Jerrard, the man who bolted a lot of the Red River Gorge and a good bit of the New. I worked at his restaurant up there and just climbed at the New a ton, all the technical, great sport climbs up there. Spent the next two winters guiding in Hueco Tanks and the two years after the New I went over to the Red River Gorge to work for Miguel’s Pizza and climbed as much as I could out there. After that I moved back here to Chattanooga and that’s where I’m at right now.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, so you actually haven’t been climbing that long?


Nate Drolet: About 10 years now.


Neely Quinn: Oh, okay. I was thinking you started later than that.


Nate Drolet: Well, I climbed for about two years back in Houston ,just in the gym.


Neely Quinn: So then we met you when you were in the Red River Gorge. You and Natalie were always at the same places we were. It was funny there for awhile.


Nate Drolet: Yeah.



Neely Quinn: And you were working at Miguel’s so now you live in Chattanooga. You guys were on the road for quite a while, though, right?


Nate Drolet: Yeah, almost three years.


Neely Quinn: Woah. So you guys would go live in places and work and then climb while you were doing that, right?


Nate Drolet: Yeah, absolutely, and thankfully there’s – we’re really fortunate a lot of different places work out well, like Miguel’s Pizza is pretty much the best setup you can have and it worked out well in the New, then Hueco guiding worked out nicely, also.


Neely Quinn: Okay, so the reason that I have you on the show here is because I want to know how you train, and it will be especially interesting to talk about how you stayed so strong on the road.

Tell us about some of your accomplishments. I know that a lot of people have a hard time sort of bragging about themselves but what are some of your best accomplishments in climbing?


Nate Drolet: I’d say a mix of things. I was really excited back in 2011, when I first moved on the road, a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to do the 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell with him. I was like, ‘Yeah, sure, sounds great,’ so we ended up training for that and managed to win it, which is really cool.


Neely Quinn: Can you tell us what the Horseshoe Hell is? It’s 24 hours?


Nate Drolet: It’s an absolutely incredible event. They do a great job setting up. It’s a 24-hour long climbing competition where you try and do as many routes as possible and each route, according to grade, will have more points. After 24 hours whoever has the most points, wins.


Neely Quinn: And where is that?


Nate Drolet: That’s in Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas.


Neely Quinn: And it’s routes.


Nate Drolet: Yes.


Neely Quinn: So how many routes did you do?


Nate Drolet: I did, I think, 102 and of that I think 37 or so were 5.12.


Neely Quinn: [laughs] That’s crazy. So you won that with your partner?


Nate Drolet: Yeah.


Neely Quinn: Oh, go ahead.


Nate Drolet: I was just going to say that we ended up winning and that was really fun and we were really excited about trying to break the record as well, which we did, but since then it’s insane the people who have done it since. Last year was Nik Berry and I think maybe Mason Earle did it with him and I think they both did over 150 routes each.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, I remember reading about that. It just sounds painful, like, it makes my hands hurt thinking about it.


Nate Drolet: [laughs] For sure.


Neely Quinn: In the Red, though, I remember you working on .13+s or .14-s, right? What’s your sport climbing like?


Nate Drolet: I ended up/I climbed, that season I did Transworld Depravity and Omaha Beach.


Neely Quinn: Nice.


Nate Drolet: Yeah, I was really excited about that. Both are really fantastic routes and I was really amped. I almost was able to do both in the same day but got way too excited when I got to the top of Omaha and freaked out and let go.


Neely Quinn: [laughs] That’ll happen.


Nate Drolet: Yeah.


Neely Quinn: And for anybody who doesn’t know, those are both .14a?


Nate Drolet: Yes.


Neely Quinn: Were those your first .14a’s or had you done them previously, or done others previously?


Nate Drolet: I’ve done one in the New River Gorge called Proper Soul and that’s a fantastic route, maybe one of the best routes I’ve ever done.


Neely Quinn: How about in Chattanooga? How’s it going there?


Nate Drolet: I haven’t really sport climbed around here, which everyone makes fun of me for because there’s a lot of sport climbing around here. That’s what I plan on doing mostly this fall, is trying to sport climb a bunch, but I’ve mostly just bouldered here because man, the bouldering is so good.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, and tell us about your bouldering.


Nate Drolet: Bouldering, I’ve been mostly bouldering off and on for the last few years. I guess I switch a lot between the two and it’s kind of funny because most people, whenever they boulder with me, they’re like, ‘Wow, you boulder like a sport climber,’ and then I sport climb and people are like, ‘Wow. You must be a boulderer.’ So…


Neely Quinn: Why is that? Why do they say that?


Nate Drolet: I don’t know. I think it’s kind of a way of saying I’m kind of bad at both. [laughs] I love bouldering. Last year I hit in bouldering where I feel like I had just done everything I could, and this was about two years ago, for my strength level, mostly for my finger strength. Most of last year I decided I was just going to fingerboard a ton. I wanted to be able to get really strong on crimps and I’d say maybe my biggest accomplishment yet was, after training for that year I went up to Joe’s Valley with the goal of trying to flash Finger Hut, which is a V10. I was able to do that on my last day there.


Neely Quinn: Nice work! Good job.


Nate Drolet: Thanks. I was pretty psyched on that. Otherwise, I’ve done maybe, like, a dozen V11’s or so but never anything harder.


Neely Quinn: That’s impressive. So, you said that you did finger strength training and is that, do you think that is what allowed you to flash that problem?


Nate Drolet: For sure. That and a lot of movement training as well. For me, I really enjoy movement and skill training a lot. That’s what I’d say I do more than anything, but fingerboarding – that was the first time I’d done a lot of hangboarding and that, I think, made a very large difference.


Neely Quinn: I’d like to come back to that but what do you mean when you say ‘movement training?’


Nate Drolet: Lots of things. I guess I had this issue when I first started climbing: I would get injured a lot, which a lot of people have. Mostly, for me, every time I would try and train I would get hurt. I never could understand it. I understand more now, it’s I was really bad at resting, both taking rest days and also, for instance, whenever I would do hangboard workouts I would never want to take a full 3-4 minute rest between hangs so I would just do too much and end up getting injured.

Instead of trying to train to get stronger to get better, I would just try and figure out ways that I could get better without getting stronger. Like, taking the strength I have and keep going further with it. I just kind of make these training games and focus on specific things. I guess an easy example to try and explain: most people, if you’re trying to do big moves to edges and you can get to them but you can’t quite stick them, most people will say that’s a contact strength issue and that you just need to get on the campus board, right?


Neely Quinn: Right.


Nate Drolet: The thing was, every time I would campus board my fingers would start hurting and I was like, ‘Well, I need more contact strength’ so instead I decided I would just train my core and try and teach myself how to, whenever I would do these big moves, how to tense up everything from my hand down through my foot. I would still use momentum and use a lot of speed to get to the hold but right as I would be about to get to it I would try and tighten down everything so that I could slow myself down. Instead of being able to hit a hold while moving fast, I would just teach myself how to slow down using all the rest of the muscles.


Neely Quinn: It seems counterintuitive to want to slow down.


Nate Drolet: Yeah, well you would still use momentum for generating the move, you would still drive through your legs and use a lot of momentum to get up to it, but literally the last half second just try and freeze everything. Slow down so that when you hit it, you don’t hit it with a ton of force and rip off the hold.


Neely Quinn: Right, so did you use – it’s interesting because we have this article coming up on the site about using breath to tense up. Is that what you did?


Nate Drolet: That’s actually what I do a lot with now, which is awesome. I think there’s tons of great stuff you can do with breath like keep creating intra-abdominal pressure, like for tensing up, which is what a lot of lifters do and stuff like that.

No, I hadn’t quite realized that yet. That’s something I’ve just started to play with more in the last few months but I think there’s definitely a lot to it.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, so you just trained your body to tense up.


Nate Drolet: Yeah, so I would, just like any skill – most people will say that the most basic skill to start practicing is quiet feet. People will say, “Okay, get on your warm-ups, practice climbing around with really quiet feet so they don’t make noise,” and it’s supposed to teach you how to be precise. The thing is, you have to keep advancing it because if you want to practice any skill, you need to slowly increase the stress level so that whenever you do get in a stressful situation you can rely on that training. Same thing with this. I would start with my warm-ups and I would do big moves, still being dynamic, but at the very end I would slow down. Because it’s only V0 or so, or V1/V2, it was very easy to do then I would slowly increase the difficulty to where I could do this on V7, 8, 9, 10 and eventually it just moved so much into my climbing that it would happen naturally without me having to think about it.


Neely Quinn: In the process of doing this you kind of avoided the campus board, which sounds like was injuring you?


Nate Drolet: Yes. I avoided it and in retrospect, I just didn’t really understand how to campus board. Like, a lot of things about it, so I think best-case scenario would have been doing this while campus boarding because obviously then you’re attacking this from both sides. Then, that’s the best way to go about it but at the time, yes, I was just doing the movement training.


Neely Quinn: Then are there other things that you can think of that you considered movement training?


Nate Drolet: Yeah, all sorts of things. Last year I played a lot with that and also finding balance points. For instance, the idea of whenever someone’s first trying to learn how to clip bolts they learn how to straighten their arm and sag out to where they’re nice and balanced so when they reach down off the rock to grab the rope, they’re in balance and they won’t swing around. Well, you can do that same thing even with really steep boulder problems and really powerful tension climbing. You can kind of just sag a little bit.

It took me forever to just figure out how to understand this. I would have to actually just relax my core slightly and it would allow me to find this central point that I could move from. Whenever I would do that, I could do my next move without being out of balance so I could go to holds and I would barn door less or I wouldn’t have to fight all these different extra forces to generate power. It would just be this one balance path. It’s kind of weird to explain but that was something I was really excited about last year.


Neely Quinn: So that’s not something that you would set problems for yourself to do or do certain moves. It was just kind of whatever move was on a boulder problem?


Nate Drolet: It would be both. I would go through my warm-up circuits doing this and also while cooling down, but then I would make up my own stuff, just do make-ups that really exaggerated positions or exaggerated something that I would find really difficult about the process. I would just try and figure out what makes these things the hardest and try and replicate that with my own make-up boulders.


Neely Quinn: Would you do certain movements if you had a problem or a route that you were working on and it had a barn door or something? Is that what you would practice for that time or would you pick out weaknesses of yours?


Nate Drolet: Totally. I’m a huge believer in using simulators for practicing for routes and boulders but mostly it would break down into basic movements. For instance, I’m really bad at doing backstep crossovers so I’ll just get on the wall, I especially like the Moon Board, the wall, and I would use it as a systems board and just make up as many backstep crossovers and variations…


Neely Quinn: What is a backstep crossover? [laughs]


Nate Drolet: Like, if you’re just backstepping, where one foot is crossed across your body, and you’re doing a cross move, so…


Neely Quinn: Oh, okay.


Nate Drolet: So, yeah, backstep would be what your feet are doing and crossover is what your hands are doing. I’m really just bad at back steps and I’m bad at cross moves so I combine the two and I just flail. I try and do that every now and then. [laughs]


Neely Quinn: Okay, and are there other movement training techniques that you practiced?


Nate Drolet: Right now I’ve been practicing breathing, actually for creating tension, and that’s something that’s been really fun. I think you can use it to create tension but you can also use it to create kind of relaxation. I think, especially for sport climbers, this is something that’s huge because I think the difference for a lot of people and myself included, being able to switch between styles of movements on routes can be really difficult.

For instance, if you climb and you’re doing a power endurance route to maybe an easy section to a hard move to another power endurance section, so you climb power endurance, you know, one style, then if you just keep trying to climb through the easy section like you’re climbing through a power endurance section then you’re trying too hard and you’re wasting energy. Then, if you try and do a really hard section – or after you do a really hard section if you don’t relax, then you’ll keep trying to climb the whole route like it’s a boulder and you just fall off.

I think you can use breathing to help regulate your level of exertion.


Neely Quinn: So for instance, when you’re on the power endurance parts you’re breathing more smoothly, more evenly, whereas in the cruxy, more bouldery parts maybe you’re using breath to create the tension more?


Nate Drolet: Exactly. Power endurance you can even still have a tense mid-section and stay tight because a lot of times maybe you have slippery feet or whatever and you’re giving 60-70% effort so you still need to be tense to a degree, but if you’re so tense that you’re limiting your breathing then you’re in trouble. Then, obviously, if you try and go into a really hard crux section too relaxed then you’ll just fall apart and you’ll never do it.


Neely Quinn: Right, yeah.


Nate Drolet: I’ve been practicing with trying to switch my breathing. I’ll climb a boulder problem and I’ll try it like I’m climbing a really easy route then I pick one move in particular and I try and immediately switch over to where I have full tension, like I’m climbing the crux of the hardest route I can try. Then the second I do that I move I try to immediately switch back to where I’m, you know, in 5.11 climbing mode kind of thing.


Neely Quinn: Hmm. It’s so funny because this is something that we do intuitively to a degree but you’re right, perfecting that is really important. It’s such a nuanced thing.


Nate Drolet: Yeah, absolutely. I think the better sport climbers get, the more they can really dial this down to where it’s more and more finite. You look at people who are really good sport climbers and they can, in the middle of a crux, do a hard move and if they know they have two easy foot moves in between the next hard hand move, you can see them relax in those two foot moves and compose themselves before restarting back up to do the next hard move. They can do these really small things and it’s really awesome.


Neely Quinn: So what do you think are the biggest parts about breathing for people, or for yourself, actually? Like, do you find that constant breathing – I guess I’m just wondering what it sounds like. You don’t necessarily need to do it but like when I discovered breathing, it was kind of a big deal. It was, for me, louder than I ever thought I would be breathing and it was all the time. I couldn’t stop for one second. That really made a huge difference in my climbing but what do you sound like on a hard route?


Nate Drolet: No, absolutely. I think that’s – I did a lot of yoga, I think it was in 2010. I got really psyched on it and that was probably the greatest thing I took from it was learning how to breathe through your stomach and how to breathe through tense moments. You get into a hard position and you have to learn how to breathe through it instead of just holding your breath and trying to survive. For me, for route climbing, that was monumental, exactly like what you said. For a long time I took that even to bouldering where I would have this nice, continuous breath but I’m learning more and more now that there are times where you kind of have to hold your breath briefly to create this tension. I don’t know – it’s different.

There’s times where I have to have really slow, relaxed breathing to try and calm myself down or there’s this tension breathing which is more like power endurance, where it is a little quicker but constant and you’ll have your midsection tense so that you keep good integrity for your posture and everything. Then, there’s times where I try and lock down absolutely everything and maybe I’m not breathing for one or two moves. For me, that’s the most important time to be able to switch back over from when you’re trying really, really hard and maybe you’re holding your breath for a move or two, to be able to immediately switch back over to nice, continuous breathing. Otherwise, that’s when it’s easiest to fall apart.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, you’re right. This is reminding me of a time when I was in Rifle and I was underneath The Beast which, as you know, is a really hard .13a, really bouldery. This guy was on it and he was just screaming his way up it and falling a lot. I was standing there with Lynn Hill and she was like, ‘If he breathed instead of screamed he would do the thing.’ [laughs] Do you think that screaming, and obviously some of the greatest climbers in the world like Adam Ondra are screamers, but what do you find for yourself about screaming?


Nate Drolet: It really just depends. I think sometimes you have to get yourself a little riled-up I guess, before a really hard section, especially if you’re – for me, it’s more if I’m climbing very easy, moderate climbing up to one very extreme, hard move. Sometimes it’s hard to flip that switch, really, and so I know for some people maybe grunting or something like that helps them immediately switch over, to be like, ‘Oh okay, now I’m trying hard.’


Neely Quinn: Right. Sorry – you were on mute because there’s a chainsaw outside. Sorry guys. [laughs]


Nate Drolet: Oh, no worries.


Neely Quinn: So it’s something that you use sort of logistically and it’s not something that you – that’s what Seth does, too, my husband. He has this scream and sort of growl that he does when he’s trying to get himself psyched up but other than that, he doesn’t really scream that much. He’s more focused on the breathing part.


Nate Drolet: For sure.


Neely Quinn: Okay, so you’re living in Chattanooga right now so you have a lot of good training equipment and facilities at your disposal but while you were on the road, how did you stay strong? Like, what sorts of tools did you use or were you just doing laps on certain routes or how did you do that?


Nate Drolet: Man, that’s something that I think is really difficult and I don’t know if I ever got it down super well. I did a lot of core training, core exercises, just at night because that’s something you can always be doing. At the Red, I had a – like, at the New it’s very simple because the routes are so bouldery that, man, when I left the New and went out bouldering I was bouldering just as strong as ever. At the Red it’s very difficult because routes are so endurance-based so it’s really easy to get really weak. I would just try and – I was most successful when I was trying to stick to really, really bouldery routes and then I would only climb really endurance-based routes at the end of the year, at the end of the season.

For me, personally, I can climb on very, very bouldery routes and still get all the endurance I need to be able to climb most other things. At the Red, if you have even half decent endurance and you have enough power, for me, personally, I can always climb the big endurance routes. I think that’s because endurance comes a bit more naturally to me than power does.


Neely Quinn: Why do you think that is?


Nate Drolet: I don’t know. I think it might be just the whole breathing and relaxing thing. I think, and this is something that I’ve talked with a bunch of people about this, I feel like the longer you’ve been sport climbing the less endurance is actually a physical thing. It’s more of a way that you climb than anything. Like, how you’re breathing, how you relax during certain moves and only try hard during others, and how you approach things because you obviously boulder very differently from how you sport climb. For me, I mean, whenever I would go to Hueco Tanks – I’ve been there for a few seasons now, and whenever I would go from Hueco out to go sport climbing, normally within two weeks I’ll have almost all the endurance that I’ll have for the year. That’s when I normally send all my projects from the year before. Yeah – I don’t know.


Neely Quinn: So were you ever a runner or a swimmer or anything like that?


Nate Drolet: I was. I did a good bit of both. I ran for a very long time. I ran cross country, mostly the 5,000-meter.


Neely Quinn: What’s the 5,000-meter?


Nate Drolet: A 5k. It’s 3.1 miles.


Neely Quinn: Okay.


Nate Drolet: But yeah, I did that for a long time and I kept running after I stopped racing as well. I still do run a little bit now and then but nowhere near as much. Normally I run maybe 2-3 times a week.


Neely Quinn: Did you do this through high school and college or just high school?


Nate Drolet: Just high school. Through college I still ran a bunch but just never raced.


Neely Quinn: Huh. I wish I had been a runner. I’m just not a very good runner but I feel like everybody I talk to who is a good endurance athlete has some running or some endurance sport that they were really good at. Do you think that that helps you? Do you think that that gave you a base level of heart fitness? Cardiovascular fitness?


Nate Drolet: Possibly. I feel like when I’m running consistently I also recover faster between efforts on a route. I can give a lot more good efforts on a route every day when I’m running consistently but I also don’t run that much. When I started climbing, that’s pretty much when I stopped running, or just about the same time.  The most I ever run is maybe an hour or hour and a half a week and at max maybe four times, maybe 20 minutes or so. Even at that I definitely feel like I get good benefits. I feel like I ran a lot more, like if I was running six days a week, an hour a day, then it might not be beneficial anymore.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, you think you might be a little more tired than refreshed from it?


Nate Drolet: Yeah.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, that seems to be pretty common among climbers, to run about that much about three or four times a week. I mean, what do you think about the whole Anderson brothers and other trainers saying that running is stupid and it’s just going to take away from your sending ability?


Nate Drolet: You know, I think it’s hard to put – it’s not an all or nothing kind of thing. If I was to go out and train for a marathon and take it seriously and I was running 16-18 mile days, yeah, my climbing is going to suffer. Most things are probably going to suffer at that point. My running might even suffer, like my top speed, my speed work would probably even suffer from that much mileage so yeah – I think if you’re training for ultramarathons or even just regular marathons it will be hard on your climbing but I think just a little bit can go a long way.


Neely Quinn: Yeah.


Nate Drolet: Plus, I mean honestly, it probably does more for me mentally than physically. Man, running just puts me in a great mood. [laughs]


Neely Quinn: While you’re doing it or after?


Nate Drolet: Both. Man, I don’t know what it is but running gets me so psyched for climbing. I can’t explain why but I love it.


Neely Quinn: Well that’s cool that you have that and that you know that about yourself. You’re one of those lucky people who has the runner’s high, I guess. So when you do go running are you doing intervals or sprints or are you just sort of jogging?


Nate Drolet: I jog at what most people call a ‘conversation pace,’ so just a pace at which I could comfortably talk the whole time.


Neely Quinn: Okay. Sorry for the interruption here but I just want to remind you guys that Climbing Magazine has been super generous with us. They’re giving TrainingBeta podcast listeners a special deal where you guys can get a year subscription to actually get the paper magazine sent to your doorstep for only $10. It’s normally $60 so that’s 83% off of the normal price, which is pretty awesome.

If you go to that’s where you’ll find that super easy sign-up sheet where you can pay the $10 and get it. Climbing Magazine is, as we all know, one of the first and definitely one of the best climbing magazines out there with awesome pictures and awesome training information and they really are trying to focus more now on training and how to do it properly so it really fits in well with what we’re trying to accomplish here at TrainingBeta.

Go to and you’ll get that deal. Thanks to Climbing Magazine for giving us that. Alright, back to the interview.


Neely Quinn: Cool, so did you do anything else? Can you think of anything else on the road that you did to keep yourself strong? It sounds like you did some core work at night, it sounds like you were strategic about when you would try longer routes as opposed to keeping your power up with the shorter, powerful routes. Is there anything else?


Nate Drolet: Man, I’d say the biggest thing and I wish I was better at doing this is not projecting heavily, which is hard to do because it’s so fun to try hard routes but when I would consistently back off my project range by maybe one or two letter grades, for routes, and just try and do as many as possible I would always keep getting stronger and would feel great. It’s just a matter of not getting greedy, really.


Neely Quinn: Right, yeah, because you’re doing lots of different kinds of movements as opposed to, whatever, 10 movements that you’re doing on a project and kind of just keeping yourself fresh?


Nate Drolet: Yeah, because you’re doing all sorts of moves so you can just stretch yourself in so many different ways. Plus, if you have three different projects all with very different styles, I mean, you can try all of them pretty frequently without risk of as much injury. If you’re trying something that’s very pockety versus slopers versus crimps, and bouldery versus power endurance and all this different stuff, you can do a lot of high-end climbing versus, say, I’m just projecting one route that has a really heinous shouldery gaston move. You can only try that so many times in a week before your shoulder just says, “No.” [laughs]


Neely Quinn: Yeah, yeah, for sure. And what about for bouldering? When you were living in Hueco or wherever you’ve been bouldering, like, did you make sure that you took a lot of rest or what kinds of things did you do to keep yourself healthy and strong?


Nate Drolet: Man, with Hueco, keeping strong isn’t too much of an issue, just because it is such a powerful place. It would always get my fingers strong and my core would get really strong there. I’d say as far as rest goes, I wouldn’t rest a ton but really focus on – I try and pick as many different styles of boulders to try.

I always have, no matter where I’m at, I always have a sloper project and a very finger intensive project so I can try, on my fresh days, I’ll try something that has really bad crimps on it then maybe the next day, if I’m just wrecked, I’ll go out and I’ll try a big compression boulder. I feel like I could still climb several days in a row on consistently difficult boulders but by changing the styles up enough, I feel like it works out really well. I don’t seem like I – it’s pretty hard to get injured that way. I won’t say it’s pretty hard. It’s pretty easy to get injured no matter what you do but if you’re smart about it you can really make it work.


Neely Quinn: Yeah. I mean, it sounds like a really rational, reasonable thing to do whereas I probably wouldn’t have even thought that much through, you know? It sounds like you’ve given this a lot of thought, which is what I’m finding with all the people that I interview. They do give a lot of thought to their climbing and their training and their sending. They just, like, do what is best for their own bodies.


Nate Drolet: For sure. Oh! I did just think of one thing, actually. One of my favorite things, and I figured this out last year, was really great for bouldering. I’m sure you can figure out a way to do it on sport but bouldering is easiest. To try to make sure my fingers were always getting stronger, because I was doing tons of hangboarding last year, when I went on the road I went on the road in October. I wanted to go bouldering and I was going to all these new places I had never been. I went to Flagstaff, I bouldered in Yosemite for two weeks, Joe’s Valley, and Moab. A bunch of different stuff and it was great but I wanted to try and keep my fingers getting stronger.

What I would do is I would pick out a boulder that would be well above my strength that would have really, really, or one really hard move, particularly on crimps. An easy example, a perfect example of this, is if you know Scrawny and Brawny in Joe’s Valley. It’s just a steep little five-foot tall boulder, pretty much, but it’s got these two horrible little start crimps. They’re really incut and I’ve always been bad on incut holds. You just pull off the ground and you jump to a pinch and that’s the whole boulder. So, everyday when I would warm-up I would warm-up and end my warm-up by going over there. It’s pretty much just limit bouldering. I would go over, pull on, and just try the start move maybe 10 times total and then I would go on with the rest of my day. That seemed like it worked really well. It was kind of a finger warm-up but also a workout.


Neely Quinn: So you would, even though – how hard was that?


Nate Drolet: That one’s V10.


Neely Quinn: So that was part of your warm-up?


Nate Drolet: The very end. I normally warm-up for maybe 35 or 45 minutes but kind of keep progressing through. I would do up through maybe some 7s and 8s and then that’s where I normally end. From there, because I really hate incuts, I was like, ‘Okay, Joe’s Valley has a lot of incut holds and I need to get ready for this,’ so I would just pull on and try that. I did that, I think, five different days over the two weeks that I was there and by the end – it was crazy.

The first day I could barely even pull off the ground and the last day I was jumping and sticking the pinch.


Neely Quinn: That’s awesome. So, you were basically fingerboarding or campusing, sort of, on an outdoor trip. That’s great.


Nate Drolet: Yeah, and it works well. I mean, there’s plenty of boulders. There’s a lot of stuff around here that you can do it with as well but most boulder fields just have some problem with a horrible crimp start and so that seemed to work really well and that’s something I’ll probably continue whenever I go out bouldering.


Neely Quinn: So, you know how Mirsky has the, what’s it called, the tripod fingerboard?


Nate Drolet: Yeah.


Neely Quinn: Is that something you would ever consider doing?


Nate Drolet: Possibly, especially if I was sport climbing. I guess it really just depends on where you’re at. At the Red, yes, for sure, because it’s so easy to just kind of get weak at the Red because everything is so endurance-based but I don’t entirely – eh, maybe. I’d have to give it a try first.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, and you guys, I think, were living out of a car, right? When you’re on the road.


Nate Drolet: Yeah, a minivan.


Neely Quinn: So not as much room as, say, Dan had in his Airstream.


Nate Drolet: Yeah.


Neely Quinn: It’s harder to carry around a tripod. [laughs] A big ol’ tripod with a fingerboard in it but I think that your situation is more common, to be traveling out of a car or a minivan so I just wonder what people do with their fingers but I guess climbing can be enough.

Is there anything else that you do now, training, now that you have your facilities available to you?


Nate Drolet: Yeah, I recently started climbing on the Moon Board, like the actual wall. I like that a lot just because it’s – for a couple different reasons. Most things always come back to movement just because I’ve always been so terrible at strength training but I really like that it’s 3-5 moves and it’s very simple. You’re always tracking feet so you don’t ever spend time looking for new beta as far as what hands or feet you use. Instead, whenever you’re trying these really hard moves it comes down to two things and that’s trying really, really hard and figuring out how to place your body within the one or two holds that you have to choose from. I think those are both really important skills to have.


Neely Quinn: Yeah. I actually just interviewed Ben Moon about the Moon Board and I was like, ‘Do you ever get bored of the Moon Board?’ and he was like, ‘No. Why would I get bored?’ because you can always change it around. I’m assuming it’s the same for you.


Nate Drolet: For sure. I’ve been doing that and also, earlier this year, I got really excited on the idea of lifting. That’s more for a longevity thing. I want to be someone who, in my forties, is still climbing really hard, and fifties and later. To me, lifting kind of made sense for the long term. I got really excited on that, started reading as much as I could, and just talking with a bunch of guys and started training with a buddy of mine who’s a climber and a strength coach named Paul Corsaro. I started working with him and actually now I’m interning over at that facility, Scenic City Strength and Conditioning here in Chattanooga. That’s actually been a ton of fun, just because I get to learn so much all the time on strength training.


Neely Quinn: So that place, Scenic City, is that for climbers at all or is it just a weight gym?


Nate Drolet: It’s more of a lifting gym but they’ve started training climbers a bit more this year and it’s fantastic. I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s been humbling, learning and realizing how much there is out there to learn. It’s been great.


Neely Quinn: Yeah. So have you been doing a lot of Olympic lifts? Or…


Nate Drolet: I don’t do any Olympic lifts yet. I do mostly just, kind of like the big four, so squat-patterned hinge, which is deadlift or kettlebell. I’ve actually been swinging a kettlebell a good bit lately, and then press, and pull. I don’t do anything – so, Olympic lift being explosive movements, but also I just don’t have great overhead mobility so my shoulders don’t go overhead very well. Until I fix that I’m trying to be careful with anything like Olympic lifting.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, that sounds smart. I totally messed myself up at CrossFit doing stuff like that. So, you’re interning there? Actually, what’s your job in Chattanooga?


Nate Drolet: Currently I work for True Shine Window Washing. I do residential and a little bit of commercial window washing, which is actually pretty fun. I get to hang out on giant houses up on top of – there’s the two mountains, Signal and Lookout, so just clean those and I listen to five hours of podcasts everyday.


Neely Quinn: I was just thinking that. I was like – I was painting my uncle’s shed and I was like, ‘If I was a painter and did this all day, you could learn anything you wanted. You could just listen to podcasts all day long, or books on tape, or whatever.’ [laughs]


Nate Drolet: It’s awesome. That’s all I do.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, that’s great. So you’re also interning with Paul Corsaro, I think his name was?


Nate Drolet: Yes.


Neely Quinn: Is that sort of a goal you have with becoming a trainer?


Nate Drolet: I would like to become a climbing coach. That’s where I would like to end up but I think there is a bit of discrepancy. For a lot of people, I mean myself included, it kind of blew me away when I started working with these guys and started reading up more and more, just how little I understood and how little I knew. I was like, ‘Wow. If I ever want to be a coach or a trainer, I want to try and understand as much as I can.’


Neely Quinn: You mean as much as you can about anatomy and physiology and what kinds of things?


Nate Drolet: And I mean about what makes us climb better. For instance, I think the way climbing training is going to go is I don’t think we’re going to have a bunch of new, great workouts or anything like crazy new exercises. I think and what I really would like to work on is I think we’ll find exercises that are the most effective, so you’ll get the most bang for your buck, but also we’ll learn how to take these basic exercises and integrate them into our movement patterns better. That is a problem. You can see people who can do just tons of pull-ups or heavy weighted pull-ups but they can’t seem to completely transfer it over into their climbing. I think that’s the way training for climbing is going to go, is we’re going to figure out how to integrate the strength we gain from these exercises into our actual movement patterns better.


Neely Quinn: So you don’t think that it’s just an automatic thing, once you have those strengths it doesn’t necessarily go into your climbing?


Nate Drolet: Oh, not at all. I mean, you interviewed Alli Rainey and she talks a good bit about lifting and she talked about how, whenever she first goes out every year after lifting, she’s like, ‘I know I’m stronger. It’s there, but it just doesn’t transfer over yet. There’s not that integration.’ It’s the same thing for a lot of people whenever they fingerboard. Like, it’ll take weeks after a program for them to fully be like, ‘Oh, okay, this is it. Now my fingers are stronger.’

That happened to me. I would hang on these hangboards forever and I felt way stronger on the hangboard but when I’d go climbing I’d be like, ‘Oh yeah, my fingers. They’re a little bit stronger,’ but after six or eight weeks of just climbing a ton outside, eventually I was like, ‘Oh wow. My fingers are, without question, the strongest they’ve ever been.’ I think probably the more you train and the more you switch between the two, you’ll become more effective at integrating strength into your movement but for a lot of people it just doesn’t happen automatically.


Neely Quinn: Give me an example with your kettlebell training or the other things that you’ve been doing. You’re not seeing it incorporated into your climbing very well?


Nate Drolet: Some things yes, some things not as much lately. I mean, I’ve only been doing it for a handful of months and this is something I intend on doing for pretty much here on out.

With my strength training I pretty much do this just one day a week. I lift for one hour because otherwise I just want everything else to be pretty much climbing, like climbing practice. The one thing I’d say, and it took awhile and it’s starting to kick in which is actually pretty awesome, is I’ve always had really, really weak legs. When I started doing squats and pistols, which are one-legged squats, I could tell my legs were stronger but it didn’t seem to transfer into climbing. It took awhile. I’d say maybe a month and a half ago I had the most awesome thing happen. I’ve always been really bad at back steps and suddenly I was doing this bunched-up backstep and for the first time ever I could just feel my leg drive through this foot hold. I was able to do this move I had been trying for awhile but never could do and it was awesome. It was the first time I could feel my strength training actually applying into my own climbing.


Neely Quinn: So your backstepping was just because your legs weren’t strong in a particular way.


Nate Drolet: Yes. From running, I’ve always had really/I’ve been really good at pulling with my legs, like I can grab foot holds and pull really hard but actually pressing, standing up, has been a huge weakness forever of mine. I just never addressed it and that wasn’t even the plan when I started doing squats and stuffs, to get better at this, but I just noticed it one day and it was cool. It was enlightening.


Neely Quinn: A lot of people don’t want to lift weights, especially with their legs as climbers because they think they’re going to get big and gain weight. Do you have anything to say about that?


Nate Drolet: As long as you’re not doing hypertrophy training. Hypertrophy just means ‘muscle growth,’ and that’s your standard body building, three sets of 10. Instead, if you’re doing reps of five and under you’re basically training your muscles how to work better. You’re not actually going to be building your muscles as much.


Neely Quinn: You’re just training them how to recruit better.


Nate Drolet: Exactly. For me, I’ve been lifting two days a week for the first two months then spent the last month just lifting one day a week and I haven’t – I don’t know about body composition but as far as actual weight, I haven’t gained a pound.


Neely Quinn: So Steve Maisch and Eric Horst and everybody talk about how the big lifts really help your core strength. Have you noticed any difference in your core strength?


Nate Drolet: Oh, absolutely. That’s what’s really made me get into and realize the importance of tension breathing. Whenever you’re deadlifting you have to keep your whole midsection very strong, otherwise you’re just going to crumple over and hurt your back and bad things happen. You have to have a really strong core in order to do a lot of these lifts.

The crazy thing was I’ve always thought I’ve had decent core strength but when I started lifting, man – I’d go home and when I would do deadlifts and I’d do squats, my core would be more sore than anything else. I’d say that has had a pretty big effect. I feel just a lot more stable when I climb.


Neely Quinn: And you’ve learned some of the breathing techniques through doing those lifts?


Nate Drolet: Yes, exactly.


Neely Quinn: Is that something that your trainer, Paul Corsaro, was helping you with?


Nate Drolet: Yes, he’s helped me a ton with that. Yes, he’s helped me a lot with that and he’s helped me with a lot of mobility stuff as well, so being able to – I mean, I’ve got just kind of junky shoulders. It’s hard for me to lift my shoulders over my head and he’s helped me a lot with that. Like, I’ve had a shoulder injury for the last four years. It’s the kind of thing where it’s bad enough that I can’t do a lot of weighted hangs and I can’t do pull-ups at all without my bicep just kind of hurting, but it doesn’t hurt to climb and it doesn’t hurt to campus so I’ve just kind of put off taking care of it. I’ve hit the point now and that’s what I’ve focused on a lot this year, is just trying to actually take care of it so I can do heavy, weighted hangs and pull-ups and stuff and not see whatever horrible repercussions I’ll have from not dealing with this for four years.


Neely Quinn: And by ‘take care of it’ you mean you’re doing mobility exercises or are you getting work done on it?


Nate Drolet: Mostly just a lot of mobility stuff and, as well, just trying to repattern. I have issues with my scapula not moving well. Things just aren’t timed correctly with the way that, as my arm goes up, so I’m trying to repattern that movement and a lot of mobility stuff, some strengthening – yeah. I mean to this point I’ve had a lot of things that are getting me closer and closer and so I’m just trying to just cover a lot of things and hope it all works out. [laughs]


Neely Quinn: Do you feel like your shoulder is getting better?


Nate Drolet: Oh yeah. No, it’s great. I used to have issues with really wide compression moves as well and it would bother it. Now I have zero pain with any climbing. Dead hangs, for the most part, I’ve been kind of testing it and they’re getting better. I feel like I’m right on the cusp of having it be better but I’m also trying to be very cautious because I know if I do keep adding load to a dysfunctional movement, I’m just going to keep reinforcing it so I’m trying to just be really patient with it. [laughs]


Neely Quinn: Yeah, I mean it’s encouraging that you’re having some success. If that’s being successful for you can you give any advice on people in other cities? Who they could go see? Like, what to look for in a trainer that could help them with that?


Nate Drolet: Oh, absolutely. Well, first off, if you have serious pain you need to go see a doctor. That’s step one, always, but for me, personally – so this, I don’t think is as much some acute injury like I had a car accident or anything and I need a physical therapist to completely help me restart everything. I just have a lot of weird imbalances and mobility issues so I’m working with a strength and conditioning place.

I talked with a bunch of friends, I ran into a couple guys who were working with this guy Paul, who’s also a climber, and you know, that was a big thing for me. They had worked with climbers so they knew a lot of our dysfunctional movements and knew what to look for which, that’s great. Obviously, you go to people who have never worked with a climber and they may not understand things as well.

Look for people who do things you enjoy, like if you go in and they only do, let’s say like Olympic lifting and you don’t want to do Olympic lifting or if it’s like CrossFit and you’re not keen on that, keep looking around. Yeah, just don’t – I’d say just give things a try. See if they do have trial periods. A lot of places do, or they’ll give you a discount to where they say, ‘Okay, here’s a discount cost for three months. Just try this out,’ and yeah – go in and give it a try. See if that works.


Neely Quinn: It seems like more and more gyms have trainers there who obviously know something about climbers’ bodies so that’s good that that’s happening. You said that your issues are just imbalances in strengths? Do you know that? Like, have you had an MRI on your shoulder?


Nate Drolet: No, I’ve not.


Neely Quinn: So you may have an injury and you don’t know about it.


Nate Drolet: It’s very possible. It’s hard saying because it’s mostly, like, if you saw a photo of me doing a pull-up, one of my shoulder blades actually moves or will move correctly and the other one stays pinned down so there’s a very obvious, like, when you look at it there’s something just different. I have it now to where it moves correctly, it’s just when I add weight it reverts back to what I’ve been doing for the last four years so no, I don’t entirely know. I haven’t had an MRI so this is just what I’m shooting with now. [laughs]


Neely Quinn: Those darn shoulder injuries.


Nate Drolet: For sure. If it’s not something it’s another.


Neely Quinn: Yeah. It’s so counter-intuitive. Seth, he had a back injury once and Seth’s a pretty strong climber and he’s pretty muscular and he went into physical therapy for this back injury and they were like, ‘You have one of the weakest backs we have ever seen,’ in certain areas [laughs] and it reminded me of that. We are both like that. Our scapulas really didn’t move, just like your’s, before we started doing physical therapy and now we can contract them and it’s a totally different feeling in our backs. After doing physical therapy for our shoulders it definitely affects our shoulders, so yeah, it’s crazy how much these things are connected.


Nate Drolet: Yeah. Oh no, it’s wild. It’s the same thing how much your – it was crazy to me how much your core stability plays a role in how your shoulders and your hips function as well. That’s something I never really knew much about and it’s kind of awesome.


Neely Quinn: Alright, so I don’t want to take too much more of your time but I would like to ask you about your diet and if that has any bearing on how well you climb in your opinion.


Nate Drolet: I love food. I’ve been known to just eat an entire box of Oreos at a time. A lot. For me, I’d say consistency is a big thing. When I can eat well I’m one of those people that I’m naturally kind of small but my weight can fluctuate like 15 pounds in a few weeks if I really let it. [laughs]

So, right now I’m going on a trip to Colorado, actually in five days, so I’m really excited about that so I’m trying to really eat well. For me, that just means I’ve been buying chicken in bulk. I break it down and portion it out into small Ziploc bags and I’ll throw like 40 of those little bags into the freezer and then I’ll just keep a few in the fridge at all times. I just prep like eight quarts of rice and keep that in my fridge at all times and I just stock a ton of vegetables. Now, anytime I’m hungry I can just reach in the fridge, cook up a couple vegetables, then throw in some chicken and rice and that’s what I’ve been eating a lot of lately.


Neely Quinn: Any fat in there? LIke any olive oil or anything like that?


Nate Drolet: Oh yeah, olive oil, and I also eat tons of eggs. Like, my breakfasts lately have been like three eggs, a bunch of lentils, spinach, mushrooms, and a lot of bacon.


Neely Quinn: A lot of bacon?


Nate Drolet: Yeah.


Neely Quinn: Me too. [laughs]


Nate Drolet: But yeah, I’d say as far as diet goes, for me it’s just about being more consistent. If I’m consistent then I feel awesome and it’s great. It’s when I start to slack and eat a lot of ice cream and cookies and beer and stuff, that’s when I start kind of feeling like garbage.


Neely Quinn: When you say ‘consistent’ you mean the types of food you’re eating or do you also mean how regularly you’re eating?


Nate Drolet: Regularly. I guess both, the types of foods, like, if I’m constantly eating well. If I go out to eat – also, I love to cook so that’s really helpful. I can always just prepare my own stuff but yeah, if I just eat like an adult, I guess you can say, as long as I eat well and I stick to that for a few weeks then, man – I start feeling awesome. Then, eat consistently as well. I eat probably, I don’t know, four or five times a day? Something like that?


Neely Quinn: I get so many people asking me and I feel like I should do podcasts just on this, but about what foods to eat at the crag. Can you tell me what you eat when you’re climbing?


Nate Drolet: [laughs] Everything.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, me too.


Nate Drolet: I don’t know why but I climb really well on a full stomach. Like anytime before I go to the gym I always punctuate my training sessions with meals, so right before I go to the gym I’ll eat a really big meal and then maybe wait 30 minutes then I’ll go and I climb and when I come back I’ll eat another large meal again. That’s always seemed to work out pretty well for me. When I’m out climbing, though, yeah – actually, normally I’ll just cook, like whenever I’d be out on the road I’ll just cook a large dinner and put it in a Tupperware and that’s the my lunch for the crag the next day. Same thing, a lot of grains and tons of vegetables, yeah.


Neely Quinn: And the chicken?


Nate Drolet: When I’m on the road I’m not really good about eating a lot of meat, just because I hate having to keep ice, so I eat a lot of eggs. Tons of eggs.


Neely Quinn: Okay, so a meal in a Tupperware would be the eggs and the rice and the veggies? And maybe the lentils or something?


Nate Drolet: Yes.


Neely Quinn: Okay.


Nate Drolet: And then lots of hot sauce so I can stomach it all. [laughs]


Neely Quinn: Yeah. That’s all I want to say to people is you just eat what you eat and you put it in a Tupperware. I think it’s that people think that food is going to go bad if you bring it out to the crag but over a couple of hours, as long as you keep it in the shade, we’ve never had a problem with that.


Nate Drolet: Yeah, I can’t say that I’ve ever had an issue and I’ve definitely pushed things way further than they should have. Most of those things, I think, you know pretty well when they’re bad. You crack the lid of the Tupperware and you’re like, ‘Oh that’s bad.’


Neely Quinn: Right. So do you do any protein shakes or anything like that?


Nate Drolet: I do. Normally, whenever I go to the gym, whenever I’m good about it, what I like to do is I’ll normally bring a protein shake and a banana. The second I’m done with my climbing I just take both of those. That’s good just because it will take me awhile before I go and eat dinner or lunch or whenever I guess I’m training. That kind of holds me off and seems to keep things consistent.


Neely Quinn: Seems like people have told me a lot lately that if they do the protein shake and maybe some carbs with it right after their workout, it helps them recover and feel strong.


Nate Drolet: Yeah, I mean I wouldn’t say I do anything terribly complex as far as that. It just seems basic and it seems to work so I go for it.


Neely Quinn: Yeah. Do you drink a ton of water?


Nate Drolet: I try to. Actually, I’m a really big fan of – what was it? Seth had the ‘gallon challenge?’ I like that. I keep a three liter jug with me at all times and if I can drink one of those a day then I feel like I’m pretty good to go.


Neely Quinn: You keep a three liter jug by you all the time?


Nate Drolet: When I’m at work I leave it in the truck.


Neely Quinn: What is a three liter jug? Where do you get that?


Nate Drolet: Like a Deer Park or Polar Springs makes them. It’s smaller than a gallon but the thing is they have really awesome screw tops and they’re impossible to break so you can throw them in your climbing pack and you don’t have to worry about the top popping off and just soaking everything you own.


Neely Quinn: Oh yeah, that sounds great. So you try to drink one of those a day?


Nate Drolet: I try. Some days I’m better than others but I feel like if I can consistently drink three liters a day, I’m killing the game.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, I agree. I agree. I think those are all the questions I have. Oh – on the subject of diet, what do you think about body weight? You said that you can fluctuate. Do you notice a lot of difference in your climbing when you’re up higher? Or lower?


Nate Drolet: It depends on how fast it happens. I’ve climbed just as well at 140 as at 125 but then again, most people listen to that and go, ‘He’s pretty tiny both times.’ I’d say as long as it doesn’t happen terribly fast I don’t notice a huge difference. I feel way more powerful when I’m closer to 140 but my fingers just can’t handle it. So yeah, I think that when I sport climb I naturally get really small. I just lean up and that’s without trying. I don’t entirely know why but it just – yeah. I get a lot lighter but not intentionally.


Neely Quinn: That’s interesting. Do you ever have to try? Like when you are trying to get down in weight sustainably, do you ever do that?


Nate Drolet: Yes.


Neely Quinn: Is that when you’re eating the chicken and the rice and the veggies? Kind of staying away from the Oreos.


Nate Drolet: Basically. If I eat well and just consistently, then I’ll naturally just be pretty light. I don’t have to do much else outside of that and I think I just exercise enough that it all kind of balances out. Then really, I don’t start getting up into higher weights until I just start eating garbage all the time.


Neely Quinn: So you’re not starving yourself, you’re just eating a healthy adult diet.


Nate Drolet: For sure, exactly. I mean, I never starve myself. I love food way too much.


Neely Quinn: Alright, and currently you’re about to come to Colorado. Where are you going in Colorado?


Nate Drolet: I think Rocky Mountain National Park and Mount Evans. This is pretty late in the game planning. I just planned this like two weeks ago.


Neely Quinn: Cool. So, before your coming out here are you training more or differently?


Nate Drolet: Just trying to keep it consistent. I mean, I’ve been training. It’s tough in the south to train a lot during the summer because the season doesn’t kick in until so late. Bouldering here isn’t really good until December through February so if you train really hard during the summer, it’s really easy to get burnt out by August and September, when you still have a few months to go. I’ve been trying to just be really consistent. I’ve been lifting, been working on a lot of movement practices, and just hangboarding consistently.

It should be fun. I haven’t been out to Colorado, bouldering out there, in five years so I’ve got/I hope I’ll do something. [laughs]


Neely Quinn: I’m sure you’ll do something.


Nate Drolet: It should be fun either way. I love it out there.


Neely Quinn: Well, if you guys want to get together, let me know.


Nate Drolet: For sure.


Neely Quinn: Well thanks. Are there any last words for people about climbing and training?


Nate Drolet: Yeah, man – have fun and get psyched. If you’re motivated and you’re really trying hard, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get better. Like, motivation, I think, is better than anything.


Neely Quinn: Cool, well thanks for your time. I appreciate it. Have a great day.


Nate Drolet: Absolutely. You too.


Neely Quinn: Thanks.

Alright, thanks for listening to that interview with Nate Drolet. I hope you learned something. I certainly did.

I have an interview coming up with Margo Hayes. I actually did the interview about a month ago, the same time I did Nate’s, but I just needed to edit it and get it out for you guys. She’s a super strong, young crusher. She just sent all of Rifle, kind of training for comps, so we’ll get to that soon.

In the meantime if you have any issues with your own training and you need more help, we have resources for you. If you go to you’ll see banners everywhere for our training programs that we have created just for you. It’s, in my life, it’s route climbing season right now so if you’re a route climber, we have a route training program which is a subscription service. You get three individual, unique, awesome workouts every week and those are created by Kris Peters, who is a trainer for super strong climbers but also everyday climbers as well.

Then, if you don’t want the subscription program and you want an e-book kind of thing that you don’t need to follow along with at a certain pace, we have our six-week power endurance program by Kris Peters. That one gives you four workouts every week. It’s a little bit  more intense than our route training program, so that’s on there.

We also have our endurance program for people who are climbing more like 5.11ish, up to 5.11 and wanting to break into 5.12. Check out our eight-week endurance program and you’ll learn/it’ll train your body to be able to do more moves in a row and not get pumped so easily.

So, those are our training programs. Every time you buy one of those you support me, you support us, you support our efforts in giving you guys training information so we love that. I think that’s it. Until next week or the week after, whenever I get another episode out, have fun climbing, train hard, and hopefully I’ll see some of you out there. Alright, see ya.



TrainingBeta is a site dedicated to training for rock climbing. We provide resources and information about training for routes, bouldering, finger strength, mental training, nutrition for climbers, and everything in between. We offer climbing training programs, climbing training classes, nutrition classes, regular blog posts, interviews on The TrainingBeta Podcast, personal coaching for climbing, and nutrition for climbers.

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