Project Description


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I sat down and chatted with my very good friend, Paige Claassen, before she took off on her Lead Now Tour around the country this past year. We talked about being driven by success, how she’s managed to pull off proud 5.14 ascents with style, and how food affects her climbing.

Since our talk, she’s been traveling the globe, climbing rad sport routes, sending even more 5.14s, and raising money for her favorite non-profits all along the way. If you’d like to donate to her noble cause, you can do so here.

Here’s what we talked about.

Climbing and Training

  • How she got into climbing
  • How she trains and how she pushes herself
  • How often she trained before her big trip
  • The role breathing loudly plays in her climbing and what it’s done for my own climbing
  • Her one rule in climbing
  • Her strategy for doing more moves in a short gym
  • How she works her abs and other cross-training she does
  • The one exercise that helped her climbing the most
  • How she stays psyched to climb, and what she does when she’s not psyched

Diet & Weight

  • An explanation of her rapid weight loss years ago
  • How food affects her climbing
  • What role her weight has played in her hardest sends
  • What she eats now and what makes her feel amazing before climbs
  • Why food is a little frustrating for her
  • The surprising foods that make her feel the best
  • A day in the life of Paige’s eating

Show Links

Listen 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 😉

And please tell us what you thought of the interview in the comments. I’ll be interviewing Paige again at some point, and I’d love to know what questions YOU have for her.

**PHOTO BY JON GLASSBERG

Transcript

Neely Quinn: Welcome to the TrainingBeta podcast where I talk with rock climbers and trainers about how we can get a little better at our favorite sport. I’m Neely Quinn, your host, and today on episode two I’ll be talking with one of my best friends and biggest inspirations, pro climber Paige Claassen.

Seth and I are still going strong in Las Vegas, climbing on some limestone in Red Rocks, both of us getting pretty worked by our projects. Some sending would be nice. Sometimes I wonder how Paige, my guest today, does it. She spends every month in a different country and manages to send the hardest thing there.

You may know Paige as a former youth competition climber, having won or placed in many competitions around the world, or maybe you’ve heard of her from her ascents of test piece sport climbs like Grand Ol’ Opry, a stout 14b/c at the Monastery in Colorado, or for her bold ascent of To Bolt or Not to Be, the first 14a in the US at Smith Rock. More recently, she’s been traveling the world on the Lead Now Tour with Louder Than Eleven’s Jon Glassberg, making films of her many first ascents in South Africa, Turkey, China, Ecuador, Russia, Italy, and the list goes on and on. You can see her full and very impressive resume on her site at www.paigeclaassen.com/resume.

The Lead Now Tour is a project Paige first started talking about a couple years ago when she was still in school. She loves climbing but she’s not so interested in just climbing. She nobly wants to be doing something productive for the world at all times so she decided to create the Lead Now Tour as a giant fundraiser for nonprofits serving women and children around the world. She’s raised thousands of dollars using her groundbreaking climbing as a way to gain awareness for these nonprofits. You can donate to any of her causes at www.crowdrise.com/leadnowtour.

Before Paige left on her trip, which will come to an end in March which I am selfishly happy about because I’ll get to see her pretty face again, we sat down and talked about climbing and all its frustrating glory. We talked about the details of how she trains, what she eats, how food affects her climbing, how her weight affects her climbing, and whether starving yourself as a climber is worth it. This is a really honest conversation and I’m very grateful that Paige allowed all of this to be recorded for the world to hear.

Before we get to the interview I want you to know that this podcast is made possible by the training programs that you can find on the site at www.trainingbeta.com/climbing-training-programs. They’re downloadable training plans and the first one is a six-week power endurance program by Kris Peters. So far, people are really liking what he’s put together. Kris trains elite and beginner climbers alike so he knows what he’s talking about.

The next training program by Kris Hampton is coming out in a week or two, which I’m super excited about. It’s an eight-week endurance program which we Red River Gorge climbers will really appreciate.

Check out the programs at www.trainingbeta.com/climbing-training-programs. Alright, moving along, here is Paige. Enjoy.

Paige Claassen: I just graduated college in December with a marketing degree. I’ve been climbing for 13 years now. I started when I was nine. My dad took me to the climbing gym in Estes and my parents were trying to find a place for me because I was terrible at soccer, sunk in the swimming pool, was really bad at all the other sports that I tried. We had just moved to Estes and they wanted me to catch onto something and I loved climbing right away and never quit.

Neely Quinn: And you competed a lot.

Paige Claassen: Yes, I grew up just climbing in the gym and competing. I could care less about climbing outside until about six years ago.

Neely Quinn: And what happened six years ago?

Paige Claassen: I started climbing outside a bit more and realized how much more I could push myself, that I still could be competitive but more against myself rather than other people, and I really liked that. I slowly transitioned and now I don’t compete anymore. I just climb outside.

Neely Quinn: When was the last time you competed?

Paige Claassen: It was about/maybe a year and a half ago? I think.

Neely Quinn: How was that for you?

Paige Claassen: I just didn’t care because I didn’t want to compete at that point so my heart wasn’t in it. I think climbing is so mental and if your heart is not in it, you’re not going to climb well. I didn’t even care that I didn’t do well because I wasn’t even really trying my best.

Neely Quinn: So you get more inspired by climbing outside?

Paige Claassen: Right. Now I do.

Neely Quinn: And sending projects outside.

Paige Claassen: Yep.

Neely Quinn: You’re a pretty project-driven person.

Paige Claassen: Definitely. I’m not good at just trying whatever. I definitely fixate on one route and then will not try anything else, which I’m trying to work on.

Neely Quinn: Really? Why so?

Paige Claassen: Just because I visit all these areas and I don’t want to just climb on one route the whole time. I think you lose a lot of the experience of the area, you get weaker because you just train yourself on one set of moves, so it’s really important for me to work on my project and try it a few times each day and then after that do other routes so that I’m maintaining that strength and endurance.

Neely Quinn: Can we talk about some of your most memorable and proudest sends of projects?

Paige Claassen: I would say my number one proudest send was Grand Ol’ Opry. More so than the difficulty of the route it was important to me because of the process that I went through. I had never tried anything that hard and just began with kind of playing on the route and experimenting with the moves. They kind of felt feasible. I could do most of the moves. There was one that I was not even close on and I remember the moment that I said, “I want to do this route.” I knew at that moment that I would do it because I had expressed it out loud. I knew that I wouldn’t give up.

I kept working on it and I think it took about 10 days, maybe 12 or 15 tries.

Neely Quinn: Just for clarification, Grand Ol’ Opry is a 14b/c? Or b?

Paige Claassen: I’d say b or c.

Neely Quinn: And it’s in the Monastery in Colorado.

Paige Claassen: Yes. That was just a special route for me. It’s in a really special place. It’s really quiet up there, the wall is beautiful and it’s on one of my favorite angles, just slightly overhung, but it definitely tested my weaknesses because it’s really powerful and shouldery. It was just a good gauge for me, in a way, to teach myself that I could try hard. That was the first time I had really tried hard or actually made noise. I was shocked when I made that noise because I kind of made fun of people for grunting when they climbed before and that kind of just showed me that I was trying my very hardest. From then on, I’ve really worked on that to be able to always try as hard as I can.

Neely Quinn: What other memorable sends are there for you?

Paige Claassen: I just did To Bolt or Not To Be this last spring and that was really important to me just because growing up in the gym in Estes, Tommy Caldwell grew up in Estes and I remember him coming into the gym and signing posters for the team and it was a poster of him on To Bolt. I just remember thinking that that route looked like drywall. There weren’t any holds on it. He was just sticking and for that you needed Spiderman skills. That was the only route that ever stood out in my head when I was young so that was a really significant thing that I wanted to do and I love Smith Rock.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, it’s your favorite place, right?

Paige Claassen: Mm-hmm.

Neely Quinn: So it’s in Smith Rock, it’s a 14a.

Paige Claassen: Yep, the first 14a in America.

Neely Quinn: Were you the first female to do that?

Paige Claassen: No. Beth and Lynn both did it in ‘99 I think.

Neely Quinn: What about your biggest failures in climbing?

Paige Claassen: I think my failures are when I’m disappointed in myself and that happens when I don’t try. Even when I “fail” on a route, meaning I don’t complete it, if I tried my hardest there was nothing left to give so there’s nothing to regret. But when I don’t try hard I have regrets and I know that I could have done something that I didn’t do, so that’s kind of when I feel like I’m failing. It’s when I’m not motivated, I’m not putting all my effort in, and just kind of being there. That doesn’t work for me because I feel like if I’m going to climb I need to put all I have into it.

Neely Quinn: That seems like it’s a theme that goes throughout your life, you know, with school or whatever it is that you’re doing, you are really success-driven and you put your all into pretty much everything you’re doing, right?

Paige Claassen: Yeah, I try to choose things that are really important to me. I don’t want to half-ass anything so I choose things that are meaningful to me and I want to do and I give them my all. That ends up meaning that I do fewer things but I try to put all my effort into them.

Neely Quinn: Would you be willing to talk at all about your experience in Mill Creek this year?

Paige Claassen: Yeah, definitely. This route in Mill Creek called The Bleeding has been a huge challenge for me. It’s totally my weakness. It’s really short and it’s like a 13b up to a really hard boulder problem. It’s just this really long move to a really accurate shallow pocket. I’ve fallen on that move maybe a hundred times by now. Only on that move. That’s been really frustrating because there’s no progress. The only progress that I could possibly have would be sending the route, so that’s been frustrating but I’ve tried to stick with my mantra of not giving up because I think that if I keep trying something I can finally get it because the effort will pay off.

I’ve been working on this route for two years and I really wanted to do it this spring and I committed a lot of time to it and just kept falling off that same move so I’m going to take a break for a while. Maybe I’ll come back to it at some point. I don’t know. It’s a beautiful route, I’d love to do it, and I don’t like that sitting in my mind but who knows?

Neely Quinn: Yeah, well you seem to have a good attitude about it.

Paige Claassen: Yeah, I’m trying to. I think once you get into that stage of – I don’t know, hating a route can be motivating at times but you still have to have fun. Mill Creek is a really beautiful area, it’s a special place for me, the climbing is incredible, I have amazing partners there so it’s hard to be upset for long.

Neely Quinn: So let’s talk about your strengths and weaknesses as a climber.

Paige Claassen: Okay.

Neely Quinn: I know that you just said that you like slightly overhanging routes. I know that you love beautiful looking walls and usually they’re kind of places that not 100,000 people are at.

Paige Claassen: Right.

Neely Quinn: You’re not a huge Rifle fan. I’ve seen you crimp, better than most people I’ve ever seen crimp, so that is one of your biggest strengths, right?

Paige Claassen: Crimping is definitely a strength. I mean, it’s kind of hard to really pinpoint strengths because it’s so specific in climbing. Like, I have decent endurance but I’m also not projecting crazy long routes so it’s hard to say that. Definitely, I think that technique is one of my strengths. I feel like I can use my feet fairly well and I like slab climbing. Most people don’t like that. I just like when you have to think a lot and I think that’s one of the reasons that I really like Smith Rock is because it’s a puzzle and you’re having to think the whole time whereas I feel like on some steep routes, maybe the holds are better and it’s all about strength and whether you’re physically fit. I like routes that you have to be fit for but you also have to have that mental tenacity where your mind has to be on top of things for 40 minutes or however long you’re up there.

My weaknesses are definitely overhangs, slopers, power in general. I’ve been working on power a lot this spring, just trying to be more dynamic, jump more for bigger moves and not have to lock everything off, and that’s definitely helped my climbing but it’s something that I need to continue to work on.

Neely Quinn: What are your goals for this coming year? Tell me a little bit about what you’re planning on doing this year.

Paige Claassen: This is the first time that I’ve just climbed. Since I graduated I really want to pursue climbing whether it’s just for a year or a few years, I’m not really sure, but starting in a few days I’m traveling around the world for a year and going to 12 different countries in 12 months. I have a pretty specific climbing objective in each one and I’ll be working to raise money for different nonprofits.

Some months it’s to climb a hard sport route like a notable 5.14, some places it’s to develop bouldering. In Italy, for example, I hope to climb a big wall. I’ve never done that before and I have some people there who are willing to mentor me and kind of guide me up that. I’m excited to expand what I do because I’m very focused on sport climbing and I like very specific sport routes, so I’d really like to just be able to go to areas and say, “There’s amazing climbing here. I’ll climb on it,” no matter what grade, whether it’s bouldering or huge granite walls.

Neely Quinn: Because you’ve never really been into bouldering that much, right?

Paige Claassen: No, I used to love bouldering competitions but I’ve never been big on bouldering outside.

Neely Quinn: This will be an exciting adventure this year.

Paige Claassen: Yes. Definitely an adventure.

Neely Quinn: So, training. When you’re training for, say when you were training for Grand Ol’ Opry, what kind of things were you doing in the gym, if anything, and even with weights or running or whatever it is that you felt that you had to do, or did you just rock climb outside?

Paige Claassen: My training’s been fairly limited by school, just because I don’t have that much time, or in the past I didn’t have that much time to commit to climbing so I would try to get in the gym maybe two days a week and just do a lot of routes. I normally do sets of three until I have to start climbing on jugs and I don’t think that’s very useful to me, so that’s when I stop. Then, I would climb up at the Monastery on weekends.

I’d only be climbing three days a week when I’m projecting something hard. I think when you’re climbing at your limit you really have to tone down the intensity of your workouts and how often you’re training but you also have to maintain strength so it’s kind of this balance.

Now, I’ve been trying to run more. I’ve been experimenting with some different things in the gym. For example, training for The Bleeding, which you could argue didn’t really work out, I would do two sets in the gym and then try and do a really hard boulder problem.

Neely Quinn: Two sets of three?

Paige Claassen: Two routes that are really hard for me that I have to push myself on, and then a boulder.

Neely Quinn: Oh, right in a row?

Paige Claassen: Yeah, I just tried it for a little bit. I think it helped but for me, I think the biggest thing is just to be pushing myself. If I’m trying hard on all the routes I get on, then I’m getting stronger so that’s kind of always been my mentality for training. If I’m pushing myself, I’m training. It hasn’t ever been very specific like, ‘Oh, I have to do this weight set,’ or campus board or whatever it is.

Neely Quinn: And by ‘pushing yourself,’ you mean that when you’re doing your sets of three, like, I’ve seen you do 13+, 13-, 13- or something like that. You’re definitely trying and you’re [unclear] to fall.

Paige Claassen: Right. If I do all three routes, they were probably too easy. The first one I do is quite hard. I’d like to fall more than halfway up because if I’m falling lower than halfway I’m not really getting what I need out of the route. I would say pick three routes that you can really push yourself on but that you can make headway on. I know it’s going to depend on where you’re climbing and how tall the walls are.

Neely Quinn: You’re normally climbing in the BRC these days, which is like 35 feet tall.

Paige Claassen: Right.

Neely Quinn: So that’s part of why you’re doing three, right?

Paige Claassen: Right, so it’s about 100 feet total and no resting in between.

Neely Quinn: Any other things that you focus on when you’re in the gym?

Paige Claassen: I have two really specific things that I think really help me a lot. One is breathing. I think that’s the single most important part of my climbing. When I take off from the ground I take one really deep breath and then breathe really consistently the whole way up. Obviously that gives your muscles more oxygen but for me, it provides a distraction because climbing is so mental. It’s stressful, you’re nervous, you get tunnel vision, and when I’m breathing really loudly, that’s all I can hear. It tones out my thoughts. I know that my muscles and my body are able to execute those moves, so I just need to turn my mind off so that breathing thing is really important for me.

I also have a rule for myself that I never say, “Take.” If I start to say, “Take,” then it becomes comfortable and I’ll say it all the time. I think it’s really important to push yourself until you fall. For me, it’s just because I know I’ll obviously fall into that habit. It’s not so much that taking itself is bad, but I have to learn to push myself all the time.

Neely Quinn: So, it’s interesting because I know this about you and I’ve seen it in action a lot. One thing that I learned from you is while you may not say, “Take,” ever, sometimes when you’re in a precarious situation or a clip is really hard, you’ll grab a jug but that way helps you just keep going so that you’re continuing to climb, at least, and it’s not interrupted by a fall.

Paige Claassen: Right, and I think it depends on what you’re training. If you’re just training really hard moves, it’s better to just keep going and trying to execute as many hard moves as you can but sometimes when it’s just a workout at the gym, yeah, if I feel like I can’t make the clip and otherwise I’m just going to have to let go, I’ll grab a jug and clip. Sometimes I’ll even rest on that jug if it will allow me to climb the rest of the route and just recover a little bit so that instead of doing one more move you can do five more moves. I think that’s a really valuable tool for me in a lot of cases.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, and I just have to comment on the breathing thing. You’ve been telling me to breathe for years and it’s always been interesting for me to watch you breathe really, really consistently, loudly, and deeply through even hard moves. Only last year did I actually incorporate it into my climbing and it helped me send a project that I had. I breathed the whole way through and now I call it my ‘Paige Claassen breathing.’ [laughs] I do it regularly.

Paige Claassen: It helps a ton. I think when people are really uncomfortable with breathing, because it’s really loud and it draws attention to you, but what I’ll do a lot of times with kids even is I’ll say, “I want you to breathe the whole way through and I’m going to breathe with you as your belayer.” If your belayer is willing to take the embarrassment themselves, it helps you and reminds you to keep breathing. It’s really hard to learn and it took me a long time and I have to work on it everyday.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, it takes a lot of discipline.

Paige Claassen: I find myself all the time holding my breath but I just have to breathe.

Neely Quinn: The next thing I wanted to ask you about was food. We talk about nutrition a lot. We both have very interesting theories about our own health as it relates to food. I really want to know right now how food is affecting your climbing and in general how you’ve found it affects your climbing.

Paige Claassen: So, I went through a stage where I was like, ‘I’m eating barely anything. I’m going to lose a lot of weight and get really fit,’ and I wouldn’t eat anything with – I was basically trying to cut out fat and sugar as much as I could. I lost a ton of weight and everyone was commenting on it and I had no energy and I was climbing horribly. For me, I was like, ‘Welp, that did not work.’

Most of my hardest projects, like Grand Ol’ Opry, I’ve sent when I weighed more than I ever had. In ways that’s discouraging because you want eating well to pay off in your climbing but I haven’t really found that it does. I have specific things that I think make me feel better each day but it’s nothing that revolutionary.

I definitely eat a lot of dessert. I’m huge on sugar and I eat a lot of sugar. I eat healthy but really not that great. I don’t eat fast food and tons of junk food but I’ll make my own cakes and eat like half a cake and things like that. They have good things in them but it’s basically cake and sugar.

Neely Quinn: Right.

Paige Claassen: If I eat like pizza and a cookie before I climb, I feel amazing. If I eat protein I don’t feel good, so it’s kind of been frustrating because it’s almost against what you would think would help. I think a lot of times protein makes my stomach hurt.

I’ve gone through all sorts of theories where I can’t eat any gluten, I can’t eat any dairy, I can’t eat spinach or whatever it is, these silly things that were silly to me because they just didn’t really have any foundation. I was just randomly picking things that were making my stomach hurt. Some of them worked for a time and then I would put them back into my diet and be fine so I don’t know. It’s been a bit frustrating. My reasons for eliminating things from my diet have always been to make my stomach not hurt because my stomach just hurts a lot.

I don’t know. I think maybe it’s, for me, very mental and emotional. If I’m not stressed my stomach hurts less. If I eat cereal in the morning my stomach’s fine for the rest of the day, normally. If I eat eggs I’m hungry right after so it’s kind of the opposite of all these traditional things.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, I remember when you came to climb one time and you had had a tuna salad or an egg salad and you were like, ‘I’m so low blood sugar. I can’t see anything.’

Paige Claassen: Yeah, I was shaky and that’s how you’re supposed to feel after you eat a sugar cookie with frosting on it but instead, I’m like, ‘I’m going to have a great session,’ when I’ve just had a massive cookie.

Neely Quinn: Okay, so there must be a couple things. Like, I know that you pretty much eat regular meals, right? What happens if you don’t eat regular meals?

Paige Claassen: I don’t really know because I’ve never skipped a meal. [laughs] I’m basically hungry all the time and I snack a lot, too, so I do the three meals a day plus a lot of snacks in between. I eat very similar things every day. I have a lot of smoothies.

Neely Quinn: Take us through a day.

Paige Claassen: I would wake up and have Raisin Bran cereal.

Neely Quinn: With…

Paige Claassen: With almond milk and recently I started drinking coffee which, oddly, I found that my climbing improved once I started drinking coffee.

Neely Quinn: What about your mood?

Paige Claassen: It’s fine unless I drink coffee without food, and then it’s a disaster.

Neely Quinn: Oh right. You get really jittery and crazy.

Paige Claassen: Yeah, I feel dizzy and nauseous.

Neely Quinn: So if you have it with food it’s okay?

Paige Claassen: Right. It’s a very small amount of coffee. So, cereal with almond milk and then I can normally make it three hours until lunch and then maybe I’ll have cheese and crackers and an avocado and maybe a peach and some chocolate. It’s always little snacky things for lunch. I eat a lot of tortilla chips, and then I’ll typically have a smoothie in the afternoon, frozen fruit with almond milk, almond butter, and cinnamon. Then, for dinner I like pasta with veggies. I’ll make tortilla pizzas. I do like to cook a lot so I’ll make random things like chicken pot pies or lasagna or whatever it is. Then I’ll probably have two desserts every night.

Neely Quinn: Which are…

Paige Claassen: It could just be chocolate chips, I might make a cake out of almond and coconut flour and coconut milk and sugar, Noosa yogurt, or just cookies from the store.

Neely Quinn: Okay, so throughout the time that I’ve known you, you haven’t been a huge meat eater but you do eat meat sometimes.

Paige Claassen: Right. I’m not a vegetarian but I never crave meat. I hear a lot of people, “I just want a steak,” and I’m like, ‘I could do without the steak.’ I don’t eat a ton of meat but it’s not really on purpose most of the time, it’s just because I’d really rather eat other things. Sometimes if I have a lot of meat I will not feel that good. It kind of makes me feel low energy and I’m sure that’s because I don’t eat it that often so my body’s not used to processing it.

Neely Quinn: Yeah.

Paige Claassen: I’ll eat meat when it’s served.

Neely Quinn: What about your weight? A lot of people would think that if you ate that much sugar you would gain weight. Is that ever a problem for you?

Paige Claassen: I mean, I think since I went through that period of freaking out about what I was eating and not eating very much, that kind of stays with you so it’s always in your head, like, ‘Oh, should I be eating this?’ But I don’t know. I think I’m active enough, maybe it’s because I’m young, that I’m able to get away with eating that much sugar. Honestly, that’s what my body feels best on. I have cut it out or said I’m not going to eat as much dessert or as much sugar and I don’t feel good.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, and you mentally, I remember…

Paige Claassen: I’m just tired.

Neely Quinn: And grumpy.

Paige Claassen: So I don’t know. I think if you’re climbing and pushing yourself really hard and maybe running every once in a while – I do a lot of core workouts. Everyday I do just floor abs of some sort and I don’t know if that’s just mental, like, ‘Oh, I worked out my abs today,’ but I think that if you’re active you can get away with eating some of that stuff. I don’t know how long that will last or if my metabolism will slow down and suddenly I can’t have a cake. [laughs]

Neely Quinn: I mean, I think everybody’s different. Some people can deal with it and some people, like you said, crave meat more. I’m actually happy that you have figured out what works for you, for the most part, and have embraced it, even though it’s not what a typical nutritionist would say.

Paige Claassen: Right. I mean, I will say that I definitely eat specific portions. I’m not eating huge meals. When I went to Peru last summer we would have these huge meals, like pancakes for breakfast and then a lot of it was junk food like Oreos and Chips Ahoy! and stuff like that because we were at altitude and we were hungry all the time. Everyone had told me when you’re at altitude your body burns a lot more calories and you lose weight. I came back from Peru and I had gained like 15 pounds.

I’m not saying that I just eat whatever I want all of the time and I stay fit. I definitely notice changes if I’m just eating all the time. I definitely have to be careful to not just constantly be snacking. There is a balance, for sure, it’s not just a free-for-all. [laughs]

Neely Quinn: One last thing. You mentioned that you do your floor abs everyday. Outside of climbing, and I know that you’ve started running a little bit lately, what are the other things that you do?

Paige Claassen: Nothing super consistently except for the floor abs. People call them ‘circus abs’ or ‘leg lifts.’ Just whatever I can find that makes my abs tired. I like to do 10-minute abs where you switch exercises every minute and don’t rest in between for 10 minutes and then you’re just done, which is really nice.

I’ve tried to incorporate push-ups and I can only do 10 push-ups at once but I’ve found that if I do 10 push-ups every single day it helps my climbing immensely. When I started doing that I found that I felt so much stronger. Everyone laughed because it was just 10 push-ups a day but it felt hard.

Neely Quinn: I mean, it is hard. I overheard you say that your triceps get pumped when you climb, that it’s not so much your forearms but it’s your triceps, which I think is your superpower or something.

Paige Claassen: Maybe my superpower is a weakness.

Neely Quinn: Maybe it’s helping your triceps.

Paige Claassen: I think it is because I haven’t felt that as much lately, where I’m like, ‘My triceps are on fire,’ so I guess the push-ups are helping.

Neely Quinn: And how much are you running?

Paige Claassen: Not much at all. I think people would laugh when I say I’m running. I think last week was the most and I ran three times for eight miles total.

Neely Quinn: Oh, that’s really good.

Paige Claassen: [laughs] Normally, if I run twice a week for two miles each time that’s good.

Neely Quinn: Okay, then anything in the weight room?

Paige Claassen: Not much. I normally use the weight room when I’m injured and can’t climb. I experimented with the campus board a little bit the last time I wasn’t able to climb for a month and I think that helped me maintain. When I came back from a month of not climbing I felt strong. I more use those things as a replacement for climbing rather than a supplement.

Neely Quinn: Okay. Anything else you want to share with people about your philosophy on climbing, your philosophy on training, how to stay psyched with climbing?

Paige Claassen: Staying psyched is the hardest thing. I mean, if you’re climbing routes that inspire you and you’re with people who inspire you and you have fun with and you’re in a beautiful area, that’s the easiest way to stay motivated.

I would also say that when I’m not feeling motivated – there are times when you need to push through that low motivation but – if it’s for a period of time, I just won’t climb. I don’t think it’s good to climb when you’re not into it. I think that’s your body telling you you need a break. Don’t be afraid to take a break and breathe, don’t hesitate, and try hard.

Neely Quinn: Thank you so much for listening to the second episode of the TrainingBeta podcast. I hope you liked my talk with Paige and maybe learned a few things from her as I have over the years.

You can always find this interview at www.trainingbeta.com/podcast. I’d love it if you checked out the site and if you could leave an honest review on iTunes of the podcast, that’d be great, too.

One last thing: if there’s anyone you would like me to interview, please let me know in the comments section and I’ll try to make it happen. Alright, until next week, happy climbing.

[music]

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, a blog, interviews on the TrainingBeta Podcast, personal training for climbing, and nutrition for climbers.


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