Project Description

Date: January 10th, 2019

trainingbeta podcast



About Tanner Bauer

Tanner Bauer is a 15-year-old kid out of Louisville, Colorado who, despite his age, has a climbing résumé most of us could only dream of. He’s climbed over 30 5.13 sport routes and has sent up to 5.14b (Waka Flaka last year). He’s also bouldered up to V10 and sent gear climbs up to 5.12b. He’s got a solid head on his shoulders, and he says he stays pretty calm and collected at comps, where he placed 1st in Youth B at the Go Pro Games in Vail and 1st in Divisionals for both bouldering and sport last year. He’s also sponsored by MadRock and FrictionLabs.

I’ll be honest – I had my doubts about having an hour-long chat with a 15-year-old boy. But I thought it would be a great opportunity for us to hear not only from kids’ coaches, but the kids themselves. Tanner proved to be well-spoken and insightful, and I think any youth coach could learn a few things from this kid. After all, he made a ton of progress in the last year after he switched coaches, and he talks about why his current team (Team Solo at Evo Rock & Fitness) and coach (Justen Sjong) worked so well for him.

One other interesting thing I want to mention about this interview is that Tanner recently sustained a growth plate injury, which is something I’ve talked a lot about with coaches on the podcast. He discusses how he got injured, how he could’ve avoided it, and what he’ll do differently in the future.

I hope you enjoy the interview, and please send it along to any youth coaches you think it could help.

Tanner Bauer Interview Details

  • What being on a team provides for him
  • His dream of becoming a professional climber
  • How he trains throughout the year for comp seasons
  • How he sustained a growth plate injury and how he’ll avoid it in the future
  • Typical training days during each phase of his year
  • The valuable tools he’s learned from Justen Sjong

Tanner Bauer Links 

Training Programs for You

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Photo Credit

Photo by Brian Bauer of his son Tanner on Public Execution, 5.14a, in Clear Creek Canyon, Colorado


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 I want to remind you that the TrainingBeta podcast is an offshoot of the website that I started that is all about training for rock climbing.

Over there you’ll find a regularly updated blog, you’ll find training programs for rock climbers that are online and easy to use, you’ll find online personal coaching with Matt Pincus, and nutrition coaching with me. I hope that all of these resources, together with the podcast, will help you become a better rock climber. You can find that at

Welcome to episode 117 of the podcast, the first one of 2019. This one is a little bit interesting and new for me because it’s not with an adult, it’s not with a trainer, it’s with a kid. A 15 year old boy. His name is Tanner Bauer and his dad reached out to me and said, “You know, my son is a really excellent climber, he’s a great speaker, I think maybe it would be cool to hear from a kid on your show.” I think that that is a really good idea, to not just hear from the trainers and the coaches and adult climbers but also hear from these kids who are really crushing it out there.

I’ve always wondered: how do they get so strong? There’s obviously some really great coaching that goes into it and so that’s what Tanner is going to talk to us about.

Tanner is 15. He lives in Louisville, Colorado and he’s coached by – well, he has been up until recently by Justen Sjong. [He’s] on Team Solo which is at EVO Rock+Fitness in Louisville. He’s climbed up to 14b. He did Waka Flocka in Rifle this year. He’s also really into trad climbing. He just did his first 12b trad climb. He also boulders and has bouldered to V10. He’s very goal driven and he will tell you all about that.

Another interesting point to bring up about Tanner is that he recently sustained a growth plate injury which I find fascinating because I’ve never known a kid who actually had that happen. We talk about it on the podcast with kids coaches and trainers and what not to do with kids in order to avoid these things from happening. Tanner actually had it happen and he can tell you exactly why it happened and what he’ll do in the future to prevent it from happening again.

Just as a note, it wasn’t his coaches that made him do anything crazy. He takes full responsibility for it. He’ll tell you all about that.

I’m just going to stop talking. Here’s Tanner Bauer. Enjoy and I’ll talk to you on the other side.

Neely Quinn: Welcome to the show, Tanner. Thanks very much for talking with me today.

Tanner Bauer: Thanks for having me.

Neely Quinn: For anybody who doesn’t know who you are can you give us a little intro to yourself?

Tanner Bauer: My name is Tanner Bauer. I’m a rock climber. I’m 15 years old. I live in Louisville, Colorado and I want to be a professional rock climber when I’m older.

Neely Quinn: Oh yeah? That’s your plan, or your dream/aspiration?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: That’s awesome. Who would you say are your biggest inspirations?

Tanner Bauer: I really like Matt Lloyd and Brad Gobright. I really like their style in being bold. I really think that’s unique and cool.

Neely Quinn: Yeah? Do you do things like that?

Tanner Bauer: I like trad climbing, I like running it out, but not to their level or extent, no.

Neely Quinn: We can talk a little bit more about that later. I think it’s an interesting topic but we just jumped right in so people probably want to know a little bit more about you. I’m just going to ask you some questions.

You have done a lot of competition climbing, right?

Tanner Bauer: Yes.

Neely Quinn: It seems like you do bouldering and sport climbing.

Tanner Bauer: Yes.

Neely Quinn: What do you think is your preferred style?

Tanner Bauer: I like sport climbing more.

Neely Quinn: Tell us about your accomplishments there, in both comps and outside.

Tanner Bauer: For indoor sport climbing competitions I have been to Nationals multiple times and recently I made it to the World Championships, which was in Russia.

Neely Quinn: That’s awesome.

Tanner Bauer: Then outside, over the summer I sent my hardest climb to date, Waka Flocka.

Neely Quinn: 14b, right?

Tanner Bauer: Yes.

Neely Quinn: Nice work.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, thank you.

Neely Quinn: Did it take you a while to do that?

Tanner Bauer: It took me 11 days.

Neely Quinn: So not a lot of time for Rifle climbing [laughs]. It seems like you have quite a few 5.13s under your belt outside as well as some trad climbs. It’s pretty rare, also, for a 15 year old person to be trad climbing so what is it that you like about trad climbing?

Tanner Bauer: I like having to place your own gear and just being able to be free where you place everything and where you want your protection to be. I just think it’s unique, it’s different.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, it is. Then you also boulder, too. You’ve done pretty hard things outside.

Tanner Bauer: A few hard things.

Neely Quinn: Tell me about that.

Tanner Bauer: My hardest send bouldering is this low to the ground V11 in Clear Creek Canyon called Formula 50. Then my second hardest send is a V10 in Boulder Canyon called Caddis.

Neely Quinn: Cool. Were those recent?

Tanner Bauer: The V10 in Boulder Canyon was last year and the V11 I did recently, this fall.

Neely Quinn: Would you say that you’ve gotten a lot stronger this past year or is it just a gradual kind of thing?

Tanner Bauer: I do believe I’ve gotten stronger in the last year.

Neely Quinn: When did you start climbing?

Tanner Bauer: I started competing, seriously climbing, when I was around 10 or 11.

Neely Quinn: Okay, and now you’re 15 so you’ve only been climbing for four or five years. Or have you been climbing longer than that?

Tanner Bauer: I think I’ve been climbing for six or seven years but seriously, around 4-5 years.

Neely Quinn: That’s not a very long time to have made these accomplishments. What do you think makes you a good climber?

Tanner Bauer: I think that just my style in general makes me a good climber. It’s a Paul Robinson style of technique. I’m not very powerful. I struggle with power a little bit but more technique kind of climbs makes me unique.

Neely Quinn: I mean, you have to have some power to do V11 and 5.14 in Rifle, though, so it’s not like you don’t have any.

Tanner Bauer: It’s definitely not my strength, though.

Neely Quinn: Why is it that you love this sport so much that you’re saying that you want to do this as your career?

Tanner Bauer: I really enjoy the adventure and being out in nature and going and hanging out with friends. The community is amazing. All of it is just perfect.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, I think we can all agree on that.

You’re currently on a team, right?

Tanner Bauer: Yes.

Neely Quinn: Can you tell me about your team?

Tanner Bauer: I’m on Team Solo which runs out of a climbing gym in Boulder, Colorado called EVO Rock. It’s a very small, exclusive team.

Neely Quinn: When did that start?

Tanner Bauer: It started at the beginning of last bouldering season so about a year ago.

Neely Quinn: Oh, so not very long but before that you were on a different team.

Tanner Bauer: Yes.

Neely Quinn: Where was that?

Tanner Bauer: That was in another gym in Boulder called Boulder Rock Club.

Neely Quinn: In the past year, though, you said that you’ve gotten a lot stronger so on this team it seems like you’ve gotten a lot stronger.

Tanner Bauer: Yes, the training has definitely amped up.

Neely Quinn: Your coach before was Justen Sjong, right?

Tanner Bauer: Yes.

Neely Quinn: I think that a lot of people listening to this are really interested in how a kid trains and what kids do to train and what it’s like on your side of things. Can you describe what it’s like being on a team? This current team that you’re on.

Tanner Bauer: The current team that I’m on is really awesome. Everyone supports each other and then when we’re training we all help each other out and give each other tips and it’s just really awesome.

Neely Quinn: How many times do you meet in a week?

Tanner Bauer: We meet three times a week for three hours each.

Neely Quinn: So right after school?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: In those three hours what kinds of things are you doing?

Tanner Bauer: During bouldering season we usually do campusing, fingerboarding, core workouts, and just a lot of mileage on boulder problems. During sport climbing season we do a lot of laps to gain endurance and cardio workouts.

Neely Quinn: What kind of cardio workouts?

Tanner Bauer: Running, jumping jacks, just everything.

Neely Quinn: So you guys are just trying to increase your endurance by other ways than just climbing?

Tanner Bauer: Yes.

Neely Quinn: Then how many months of the year are you guys meeting?

Tanner Bauer: Eleven out of the 12 months a year.

Neely Quinn: Oh wow. That’s a lot. Does that mean you can’t do other sports?

Tanner Bauer: I could make it a commitment to do other sports but I don’t really want to.

Neely Quinn: But if you played football you would just have to take the fall off or something from climbing.

Tanner Bauer: Yes.

Neely Quinn: But that’s not a problem for you because you really love climbing.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: Can you tell me: do the coaches tell you why you’re doing what you’re doing?

Tanner Bauer: Yes, they do.

Neely Quinn: Are you interested in that part of it?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, I do think that’s cool.

Neely Quinn: Tell me the difference between what you were doing on your old team and what you think might have helped you on this team.

Tanner Bauer: My older team was way bigger and it was great at first but eventually I maxed out the training there. This team is smaller so there’s more one-to-one and then the training is a lot harder. I think I’ve gotten stronger because of that.

Neely Quinn: So maybe it’s a little bit more individualized to your specific talents and needs?

Tanner Bauer: Exactly.

Neely Quinn: Do you have somebody write out a program just for you?

Tanner Bauer: Yes.

Neely Quinn: And you didn’t have that on the other team?

Tanner Bauer: I did not.

Neely Quinn: What kinds of results were you getting in comps before this?

Tanner Bauer: I was getting, in our regional and divisional comps, anywhere from second to fifth place and now I’m getting anywhere from first to third place.

Neely Quinn: So you’re always moving on. It’s more individualized, it’s more – what did you say? Intense?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, it’s a little bit more intense for sure.

Neely Quinn: In what ways?

Tanner Bauer: The training is harder and then everyone there is so strong that you want to be able to keep up and climb with them.

Neely Quinn: Tell me about that. What’s that like?

Tanner Bauer: It’s really motivating, actually. It’s not competitive, it’s just motivating and fun to climb with others that are at your ability.

Neely Quinn: And you didn’t maybe have that so much before?

Tanner Bauer: Not really.

Neely Quinn: Do you think that’s motivating for everybody? I mean, I know you can’t speak for everybody on your team but do you feel like it’s motivating for most people to have people who are really psyched and really strong?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, I do think it’s motivating.

Neely Quinn: So what’s your favorite part about training and climbing on a team?

Tanner Bauer: Just all my friends are there and I get to climb with them and enjoy it.

Neely Quinn: You said that it’s really hard and intense. I always wonder about how you go to school early in the morning,  then you’re working on things all day at school, and then you get out of school and you have to come to practice and you have to be on point. I wonder sometimes about energy levels of kids and whether or not they are fueled properly with food. What is it like going from school to practice? Is that hard?

Tanner Bauer: It’s not too bad, actually. You get to drop everything school-wise and just go climb. It’s just kind of like your own little world and you get to escape everything.

Neely Quinn: And you feel like you have plenty of energy after school?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah. That’s when I’m most stoked.

Neely Quinn: [laughs] Because you’re out of school?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: Nice.

Tanner Bauer: To go rock climbing.

Neely Quinn: I’m going to ask you some specific questions about your training. What is bouldering season for you?

Tanner Bauer: Bouldering season for me is usually 5-6 months long with three main competitions: regionals, divisionals, and nationals. It’s more of just gaining power and using that power to gain technique and then using that in the competitions.

Neely Quinn: So for 5-6 months you’re training and then maintaining while you’re doing those comps?

Tanner Bauer: Yes.

Neely Quinn: What are those months?

Tanner Bauer: Ooh. Bouldering season starts in September and ends in February and then sport season comes around.

Neely Quinn: And then your competitions are when?

Tanner Bauer: Regionals are in December, divisionals is in January, and then nationals in February.

Neely Quinn: So you guys have September, October, November to really train, like put in the hours, and then December, January, and February you’re kind of maintaining between those comps.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, exactly.

Neely Quinn: How do you start? How do you start in September going from route climbing to bouldering? What do they have you do?

Tanner Bauer: We kind of warm our powerful muscles back up again. We don’t go straight into training. We make sure that our bodies are in shape for what’s about to come, training-wise, so it’s more just getting back into it.

Neely Quinn: What’s that look like? Just a lot of climbing?

Tanner Bauer: Just bouldering, 4×4’s, a lot of mileage.

Neely Quinn: And not so much training on the side with fingerboarding and campusing?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: So you guys will just climb for the whole three hours that you’re there?

Tanner Bauer: We’ll do lighter workouts in between but nothing super intense.

Neely Quinn: What’s a lighter workout? What do you mean?

Tanner Bauer: We’ll do core workouts. We’ll wake up the core by doing planks and push-ups and ropes and any core exercise.

Neely Quinn: You’ll do that before, during, or after your climbing?

Tanner Bauer: In between, usually. We do climbing and then we do a workout and then we do more climbing.

Neely Quinn: That’s interesting. Is that to get you tired?

Tanner Bauer: Sometimes. We sometimes do a hard workout in between to get tired and then practice climbing while tired so we know what it’s like and we can adapt ourselves to it.

Neely Quinn: Right, because it seems like that’s a really important thing to train for comps because you have to do so much work in such a small amount of time.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: So you’re doing some core workouts but mostly just doing a lot of bouldering. How long does that last? How many weeks?

Tanner Bauer: That probably lasts for two weeks and then we start to amp it up.

Neely Quinn: What does that look like?

Tanner Bauer: The workouts are a lot more intense and we start to do more finger-intensive things like campus boarding and fingerboarding. Everything just gets harder.

Neely Quinn: So what do you think about campus boarding? Did your coaches ever talk about – first thing, it’s a ding ding ding for me. Should kids be campusing? That’s a question that comes up for people. Should kids be fingerboarding? I’ve talked to other coaches about this but I just want to know what you’ve been told?

Tanner Bauer: I think – well, we’ve never talked about that before but as long as they’re not pushing it past their limit I think it’s fine.

Neely Quinn: What do you mean ‘their limit?’ How would you know that?

Tanner Bauer: You just have to go off what your body is telling you. If your fingers are starting to hurt you definitely need to stop and you definitely need to have some rest days in between, even if you’re at practice, just no campusing or fingerboarding. You need to rest your fingers and make sure nothing gets injured

Neely Quinn: Have you ever had an injury?

Tanner Bauer: I have.

Neely Quinn: What happened?

Tanner Bauer: I currently have a growth plate injury in my right middle finger.

Neely Quinn: How do you think you did that?

Tanner Bauer: Over usage.

Neely Quinn: So is this something now that you’ve learned to listen to your body or were you listening to your body and it still happened?

Tanner Bauer: I’ve definitely learned to listen to my body more.

Neely Quinn: Were you campusing in pain or fingerboarding in pain or something?

Tanner Bauer: No, it was more just a lot of high intensity days outside, just trying really, really hard without any rest.

Neely Quinn: Oh, okay. Without any rest?

Tanner Bauer: Very little rest, I should say.

Neely Quinn: Were your coaches telling you to do that or were you telling you to do that?

Tanner Bauer: I was telling myself to do that. My coaches told me to rest.

Neely Quinn: [laughs] I guess we all have to learn somehow. What does that mean to have a growth plate injury in your finger?

Tanner Bauer: I have small fractures right in my growth plate which older people don’t get because once you’re done growing your growth plates close in your finger. My growth plate is not closed yet and I pushed it past its limit and it fractured.

Neely Quinn: So what does that mean for you and your climbing?

Tanner Bauer: I’ve been out for about six weeks now and I’ve been starting to be able to climb again but I’m just taking it easy. I should be good by the new year.

Neely Quinn: So it’s kind of like the same healing process as if you broke your leg or something or if any of us broke our leg.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: Did you have to have it in a cast or something?

Tanner Bauer: No, I just had to make sure it didn’t hurt at all when doing anything.

Neely Quinn: What’s the prognosis for that long term?

Tanner Bauer: There really isn’t a set date. I did have to go see a doctor and the doctor said that I can go back to climbing as soon as there’s no pain.

Neely Quinn: No pain while climbing?

Tanner Bauer: No pain while climbing, yes.

Neely Quinn: So you’re just taking it easy, trying to feel it out right now.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, I’m just waking back up all my muscles, feeling it out.

Neely Quinn: How’s that feel after six weeks?

Tanner Bauer: It’s hard.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, it sucks, but how long have you been climbing again?

Tanner Bauer: I’ve climbed two or three days very lightly in the past week or so.

Neely Quinn: Do you feel like when you have pain you’re more able to be like, ‘Okay, I need to chill now?’

Tanner Bauer: I haven’t had any pain yet, which is good, but I’m just making sure that it’s fully healed before I push it again so I don’t re-injure it.

Neely Quinn: That’s interesting that you did it outside because we never think about or worry as much about kids climbing outside as we do about them training inside. Were you also training inside when this happened?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, it was a mix of training and climbing outside.

Neely Quinn: So you were climbing outside and then going back in the gym and doing exercises or something?

Tanner Bauer: I would go outside on both days on the weekend and then go to practice three days and just do it all over again. Each day was very high intensity.

Neely Quinn: That’s very interesting because I think a lot of kids probably do that. Even if they’re not going outside they’re probably going climbing inside because they love it so much and it’s not like their coaches are going to know that, even. I would assume that’s one of the benefits of having such a small team where you actually get to talk to your coach about that kind of thing.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, and my coaches did know I was going outside and they were telling me to rest but I didn’t.

Neely Quinn: Well, now you know.

We were talking about campusing and finger training and all of that. When you’re doing that, what kinds of workouts are they having you do while you’re doing those weeks of campusing, finger workouts, and I’m assuming you’re doing limit bouldering, too?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah. We don’t do a ton of campusing and fingerboarding, just so we don’t get injured, but we do it for one segment of the training just to get our fingers super strong. We more use fingerboarding and campus rungs to do hangs to warm-up our fingers.

Neely Quinn: Okay, so you’re hanging on the campus rungs a lot?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: Are you actually campusing as well?

Tanner Bauer: Not typically in our warm-up. If we have a campus exercise then, yes, we are campusing.

Neely Quinn: Okay, so on a typical intense day like this how would your whole session go? Just give me a breakdown.

Tanner Bauer: I get there, I warm-up for a half an hour.

Neely Quinn: Doing what?

Tanner Bauer: I like to do circuits on the systems board and then go to the bouldering cave and climb some easier boulders and just up the ante a little bit until I’m warmed up.

Neely Quinn: Why do you like to do circuits on the systems board?

Tanner Bauer: I like to maintain my endurance for sport season and there’s also a lot of jugs. It’s just easy to get a lot of mileage in and warm up everything.

Neely Quinn: So you go around in circles? Or up and down? Or do you jump off from the top? Or what?

Tanner Bauer: I just go around in circles. Free climb, really.

Neely Quinn: That’s pretty cool. I doubt that a lot of people use the systems board like that. Is that something that your coaches taught you?

Tanner Bauer: Sort of, a little bit.

Neely Quinn: So you’re doing some systems board stuff, some light bouldering, and then anything else?

Tanner Bauer: No, not to warm-up.

Neely Quinn: So they don’t have you do any stretching or anything like that?

Tanner Bauer: No, not usually.

Neely Quinn: Then what?

Tanner Bauer: Then the whole team gets together and we go downstairs to our system boarding area and campus boarding area and we just do hangs and some pull-up type maneuvers to warm-up our shoulders and our fingers more. Then we usually go downstairs a little bit and we project.

Neely Quinn: What does that mean to you?

Tanner Bauer: Projecting?

Neely Quinn: Yeah.

Tanner Bauer: Sometimes it’s just working a move out or going for a send burn. Our coaches like to give us a project or we’ll have to pick out our own project and they like to make us stick to it and work it until we can do it.

Neely Quinn: Even if you hate it.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: I think that’s one of the best parts about having a coach. They just make you do things that normally you wouldn’t do on your own. Do they also pick these problems to help you work weaknesses? Or how do they pick these problems for you?

Tanner Bauer: They don’t always pick them for you. You usually can pick your own but sometimes if you want them to make up a boulder for you or pick a climb for you that targets your weakness, they will. Really, if you want them to pick a boulder you can say, “Oh, I want a boulder with pinches or crimps,” and they’ll pick a boulder for you pretty quickly and you just get to work on it.

Neely Quinn: How much rest will you take in between attempts?

Tanner Bauer: If I’m projecting one or two moves at a time I won’t rest too long but if I’m going for send burns, in between burns I’ll rest 3-5 minutes.

Neely Quinn: Do they have you time it?

Tanner Bauer: No, it’s more of an estimation.

Neely Quinn: What would you do after that?

Tanner Bauer: Usually a workout.

Neely Quinn: What do you mean?

Tanner Bauer: During bouldering season we go to our system boarding area/weight lifting area and we do a lot of pull-ups, sit-ups, core activities, we bike on the static bikes and we sometimes run on the treadmills, we do the ropes, just everything.

Neely Quinn: What are the ropes that you’re talking about?

Tanner Bauer: How do I describe these?

Neely Quinn: Is it like when you have two ropes in your hand?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, the two ropes and you just flick them up and down.

Neely Quinn: Okay, cool.

Tanner Bauer: Sorry.

Neely Quinn: That’s alright. I’ve never seen them in a climbing gym, actually. Is that at EVO?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: That was another question that I just thought of, actually. Because you’re competing in all these different gyms it seems like every gym has its own feel, its own route setting, and is that something that you guys do as a team? Go to other gyms to just broaden your repertoire?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, we do have practices at other gyms and on the weekends some of us do meet up at other gyms to climb and just get used to other styles of climbing and other setters.

Neely Quinn: Do you feel like that helps you with comps?

Tanner Bauer: Definitely.

Neely Quinn: It’s crazy how different it is at every gym and how sometimes it’s reachy and sometimes it’s not. Actually, how tall are you?

Tanner Bauer: I’m 5’7”.

Neely Quinn: Okay, and that’s another interesting thing about being a kid is you’re constantly growing. When you were 11 years old how tall were you?

Tanner Bauer: Probably around 4’10”.

Neely Quinn: So that’s a huge difference and then in the last year how much have you grown?

Tanner Bauer: 3-4 inches.

Neely Quinn: Do you think that has had an influence on how well you’re climbing?

Tanner Bauer: I’ve never actually thought about that. Potentially.

Neely Quinn: Do you feel like you go to rock climbs that you’ve done before and you’re like, ‘Oh, this move is so much easier,’ because you’re taller?

Tanner Bauer: No, I don’t think so. I never really had a problem with height. I could always figure out how to get around it, unless it was just absurd.

Neely Quinn: Right. The other question I have about that, because you’re kind of growing into your body and getting used to it and maybe it’s not as crazy as I’m making it seem, is is it weird to get used to your body changing all the time?

Tanner Bauer: I don’t notice it as much because I grew more over time, not all at once. I don’t notice my body changing too much.

Neely Quinn: So you feel just like you climbing. You don’t feel like you’re in somebody else’s body.

Tanner Bauer: No.

Neely Quinn: Have you ever heard of kids feeling like that?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, I have heard about that. I’ve heard that once kids’ muscles start to develop and once they’re heavier because of their muscle developing it is harder for them to climb and they have to get used to it. A lot of the times they can’t just swing their feet off of the wall. They have to learn technique.

Neely Quinn: Right. Do you feel like that’s happened to you at all?

Tanner Bauer: No, not really.

Neely Quinn: You’ve stayed pretty lean and thin?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: What do you think would happen? What if you just all of a sudden developed these giant muscles?

Tanner Bauer: I would probably have to learn more technique and alter my style of climbing to adapt.

Neely Quinn: But I guess you can’t worry about that until it happens.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: So then in your bouldering season you do these workouts where you’re doing pull-ups, sit-ups, core, biking, the ropes. Anything else?

Tanner Bauer: Sometimes we do campusing and system boarding, just to mix it up a little bit. We do pull-ups to failure and just a lot of high intensity exercises instead of more endurance exercises, since bouldering is super high intensity for a short amount of time.

Neely Quinn: Right. So you’re doing pull-ups to failure. Are you doing sit-ups to failure and core to failure and all of it to failure?

Tanner Bauer: Usually, yes.

Neely Quinn: Are you guys doing any strength training, like low reps, high weight?

Tanner Bauer: We do weighted pull-ups but we don’t do a lot of weightlifting.

Neely Quinn: Do you do any weightlifting?

Tanner Bauer: Sometimes we do curls with dumbbells but not usually.

Neely Quinn: Okay, so it’s not a major component of your training, ever. Will you do these workouts three days a week?

Tanner Bauer: We usually have a different workout each day but then depending on what we’re doing, like what season we’re in, usually we’ll do fingers on Monday, core on Tuesday, and then on Thursday we’ll project. We’ll do the same thing the next week. We usually don’t do the same thing each day just so we don’t max anything out or overuse it.

Neely Quinn: That makes sense but it must be hard because I’m assuming you’re going Monday, Wednesday, Friday?

Tanner Bauer: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday.

Neely Quinn: Okay, so that does give you a break on Friday if you want to go climb on Saturday but you’re still four days because you’re Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, exactly.

Neely Quinn: That’s a little rough.

Tanner Bauer: Definitely.

Neely Quinn: It seems like in these weeks, when it’s super intense, there should be some guidelines about how much you should be climbing outside.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah. It is getting colder and it is snowing every once in awhile so you can’t always go climbing outside. A lot of my projects it’s too cold to even climb on them now.

Neely Quinn: So what would you do on the weekends now?

Tanner Bauer: I like to go snowboarding.

Neely Quinn: Oh, okay. So you’re doing something different. That’s cool. That seems like a good solution because then you’re not tempted to just be in the gym all the time. Do you ever get sick of being in the gym?

Tanner Bauer: Sometimes, if I go a super long time without being outside climbing I do get tired of climbing in the gym on the same boulders and the same problems. I do like getting outside as much as possible. Yeah, I would say I do get tired of it sometimes.

Neely Quinn: How many people are on your team?

Tanner Bauer: I think we have 10 people on our team.

Neely Quinn: Would you say that you are rare in that you like to go outside climbing? Or does everybody?

Tanner Bauer: Everyone on our team likes outside climbing.

Neely Quinn: Is that a prereq to be on the team?

Tanner Bauer: No, not necessarily but it just happens to be that everyone does enjoy going outside and climbing. We do team trips to Rifle just to enjoy it.

Neely Quinn: So on the topic of being a kid, is there anything that you find challenging being a climber as a kid as opposed to maybe what it might be like as an adult?

Tanner Bauer: No, I don’t.

Neely Quinn: You don’t get treated any differently or anything?

Tanner Bauer: Not usually, no.

Neely Quinn: There’s a lot of etiquette at crags that you learn over time. A lot of people, I’m sure you see this, too, are kind of breaking all the etiquette rules. Is that something that your coaches teach you about or do you guys have mentors for that kind of thing?

Tanner Bauer: Most of us have been climbing outside long enough that we just know it. We don’t need to be taught about it or get talked to about it. We all just know it from experience already.

Neely Quinn: Who did you learn those things from?

Tanner Bauer: I learned my outside etiquette from my dad.

Neely Quinn: Oh, your dad’s a climber?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: That helps. It seems like, from your Instagram posts, that you also climb with other adult climbers.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, I do.

Neely Quinn: Have they taken you sort of under their wing in ways?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, definitely.

Neely Quinn: I think that’s so important. That’s really fortunate that you’ve had that experience.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, I’m really grateful for it.

Neely Quinn: Okay, so going back to your training – you’ll do this for the rest of the time until you start your comp season? Or do you guys go into any different phases of your training?

Tanner Bauer: Right now we’re in just the maintenance phase, maintaining and making sure we’re not injured since competition season is currently happening. We will just keep maintaining our strength and prepping our bodies till competition season is over and then we’ll start training for sport.

Neely Quinn: What does it look like to be doing maintenance as opposed to training hard?

Tanner Bauer: There’s a lot more stretching and more care towards your body. Not as much skin usage.

Neely Quinn: Will your workouts be less bouldering, less workouts after your bouldering?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah. We have less intense days. We try not to waste our skin as much and we just try to take care of our bodies and prep them as much as we can for the competition.

Neely Quinn: So comps are usually Friday-Saturday?

Tanner Bauer: Competitions are usually Saturday-Sunday.

Neely Quinn: Oh right. Friday-Saturday is for adult – what am I trying to think of? What happens on Fridays?

Tanner Bauer: Qualifiers?

Neely Quinn: Yeah, qualifiers. You guys don’t have those? Or do you have those on Saturday?

Tanner Bauer: We have qualifiers at divisionals and nationals but not regionals.

Neely Quinn: So it’s kind of a long weekend for you if you were to go to one of those.

Tanner Bauer: Yes.

Neely Quinn: Do you have to take school off for that?

Tanner Bauer: Yes.

Neely Quinn: What is that like? Do your teachers like that?

Tanner Bauer: I don’t think my teachers mind.

Neely Quinn: Do you just make up the work the next week or something?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, I usually get my work beforehand and do it while I’m driving or on the plane.

Neely Quinn: When you went to Russia how long did you have to take off?

Tanner Bauer: That was during summer. Actually, I missed the first three days of school for Russa.

Neely Quinn: Oh. That wasn’t a big deal?

Tanner Bauer: No, it wasn’t too bad.

Neely Quinn: That’s kind of nice that it was the first three days of school. Nothing really happens.

So you guys just sort of take it easy but you’re still training a little bit and then what are any special things that you do to train for comps? I mean the actual competition style.

Tanner Bauer: We do mock comps where our coaches set special boulders and we have four minutes to try them and four minutes to rest and repeat that again. We do try to go to other gyms to find other boulders that are competition style and just work them.

Neely Quinn: How many times do you do those mock comps?

Tanner Bauer: We do them 2-3 times a season.

Neely Quinn: Do you find that helpful?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: What are the kinds of things that you do to chill yourself out in your four minutes of rest?

Tanner Bauer: I like my four minutes of rest. I get to relax, I don’t have to worry about anything, I just get to sit there and wait for the next boulder problem so I kind of am already relaxed by the time I am in my four minutes of rest.

Neely Quinn: Do you struggle at all with – I know that a lot of adult comp climbers will maybe not do so well on the boulder they just tried and that sort of carries through to the next boulder. Is that something that you ever struggle with?

Tanner Bauer: I have struggled with it in the past but now it’s not so much of a deal or not such a big deal. I can usually drop it while I’m in the chair. That’s what our coaches teach us to do. ‘Oh, that boulder is behind you and you’ll never get to get on it again. Just drop it and get ready for the next boulder.’

Neely Quinn: Right. It must have helped having Justen as your coach in that regard.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, that was amazing.

Neely Quinn: Can you tell me some of the things he taught you?

Tanner Bauer: A long time ago he taught me my breathing. I used to not breathe. I used to hold my breath and just try and cut feet on every single move and he taught me more of a technical way to climb and just using my breath to my advantage. Instead of using your breath to amp up your body, tighten up your core and it will help you out. Holding your breath doesn’t help.

Neely Quinn: Well, holding your breath sometimes helps.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, but holding your breath for long periods of time doesn’t help.

Neely Quinn: Right. I think he talked about that in my interview with him, too. So you feel like you were with him for long enough where that just became some sort of second nature for you to use it to your advantage?

Tanner Bauer: Yes.

Neely Quinn: That is so cool. It’s kind of a hard thing to master.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, it is.

Neely Quinn: Give me an example. Take me through a boulder problem and how you might use your breath to your advantage.

Tanner Bauer: For a boulder problem it’s a lot harder. It’s a lot harder for a shorter amount of time and you just have to keep breathing so you don’t lock up or freeze up, don’t hesitate, and then a lot of power screams to tighten your core and pull through those hard moves.

Neely Quinn: Yeah? You use power screams to tighten your core?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: So as you’re screaming you are tightening your core and that’s right as you’re doing a move?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: Is that something that came naturally to you or did you have to learn how to scream?

Tanner Bauer: A little bit of both. Before I met Justen I kind of did but then after I met Justen he really helped me with it.

Neely Quinn: Anything else that you can think of that he helped you with?

Tanner Bauer: Just everything. He’s an amazing mentor at everything in rock climbing.

Neely Quinn: Did he teach you anything else about the emotional and mental aspect of it?

Tanner Bauer: Personally, no. I have a pretty decent head when it comes to competing but he definitely helps other people a lot with that.

Neely Quinn: So you’ve never really struggled with fear of failure, fear of falling, or things like that?

Tanner Bauer: No, not really.

Neely Quinn: How did you get so level-headed?

Tanner Bauer: I’m not sure. I’ve just always been that way.

Neely Quinn: Are your parents like that?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, they are.

Neely Quinn: It seems like that would really work to your advantage in climbing.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, it does.

Neely Quinn: You probably see other people toss wobblers and you’re like, ‘Why are they doing that?’

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: Well, thanks parents. That was nice of them.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, it’s pretty sick.

Neely Quinn: So we’re in comp season and then you just maintain through that. In February when that’s done, I’m assuming that’s when you take your month off?

Tanner Bauer: We take our month off after sport climbing season so after the season. We go straight from February into sport climbing season and then we take a month off in the summertime.

Neely Quinn: Oh right, because sport climbing comp season is pretty soon after bouldering. I don’t know what I was thinking. Tell me the timeline for that. When does all of that start and happen?

Tanner Bauer: Sport climbing starts in May and it ends in August.

Neely Quinn: Okay, so you guys have a lot of February, March, and April to prepare for that? That’s not so bad. How do you guys transition?

Tanner Bauer: We try and wake back up our endurance. Lots of mileage at the start and then we kind of work into more cardio-style exercises.

Neely Quinn: So in your first few weeks you would just be doing laps on routes?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, a lot of mileage.

Neely Quinn: Do you guys boulder during this season?

Tanner Bauer: Every now and then we boulder, just to get on some of the new boulders that have been put up since we’ve just been sport climbing and to maintain a little bit of our power.

Neely Quinn: Okay, so for the first few weeks you’re doing a lot of route climbing. Any workouts as well?

Tanner Bauer: We start doing light cardio and then we usually maintain our core.

Neely Quinn: What’s your light cardio?

Tanner Bauer: We run miles and then we work on just resting.

Neely Quinn: Oh – how do you work on resting?

Tanner Bauer: Sometimes we’ll do laps and after our second lap we’ll stop at the top of the wall before clipping our anchors and we’ll have to stay there and rest for a minute and just work on resting.

Neely Quinn: So when you’re super pumped/at the most pumped.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: And then you clip and you come down. That’s how many laps?

Tanner Bauer: It depends. Usually we do three.

Neely Quinn: And your gym is pretty tall. How tall is it?

Tanner Bauer: Fifty feet, I’m pretty sure.

Neely Quinn: So it’s like legit outdoor climbing. So you’ll do two laps in a row, no rest, and this will be in the beginning? Or is this in the more intense time?

Tanner Bauer: We usually do 2-3 laps in the beginning and in the intense time we either do more laps or we have 10 minutes to climb and we have to do as many laps as we can in 10 minutes.

Neely Quinn: So will you pick the same route and just do it over and over again?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: What are the guidelines they give you for how hard that climb should be?

Tanner Bauer: It should be hard enough to where you’re pumped and you have to try but you shouldn’t be falling a ton on it.

Neely Quinn: You should be falling, though?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah. Once or twice, towards the end of it, you should be getting that pumped.

Neely Quinn: So you’re kind of ARC-ing but you’re kind of doing more power endurance stuff. And just to be clear, I’m assuming you have a few weeks at the beginning of this routes phase and then you have several weeks after that, or a lot of weeks after that, where you’re training pretty hard before comps.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: This 10 minute power endurance training would happen in the more intense parts of your training?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, in the more intense sections.

Neely Quinn: Do you guys ever just project routes?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, sometimes we do have 30 minutes to try our projects at the very beginning of practice before we start training.

Neely Quinn: So after you’ve warmed up they’ll give you 30 minutes and you’ll get on a couple of times?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, or we get to try our project at the end of practice so we’re tired and we can just practice climbing while we’re tired and fatigued.

Neely Quinn: What are some tricks that they’ve taught you about climbing when you’re fatigued?

Tanner Bauer: You really have to be more static. You can’t make as many dynamic movements. Your technique has to be a lot more perfect and your climbing just has to be more perfect in general. It helps you become a better climber overall.

Neely Quinn: When you’re super fatigued isn’t it hard to have perfect technique?

Tanner Bauer: It is hard to have perfect technique. That’s why it’s good.

Neely Quinn: How do you do that?

Tanner Bauer: You just have to keep breathing, trying not to get pumped, resting more often than usual, keeping your feet on and maybe not making that jump move that you always do and static-ing it instead. You just have to be a little more technical and you can’t do long bursts of movement. You have to rest more often.

Neely Quinn: What do you think about or how does this all translate to the typical comp route? I know that a lot of times they start easier and they get harder and harder, right? How do you guys train for that, specifically?

Tanner Bauer: Our 10 minute climbing really helps because it’s easier at the beginning and the further you are in the 10 minutes the harder it gets, which correlates to the comp climb because it’s easier at the bottom and harder at the top. That really helps.

Neely Quinn: It must also require some power and strength training, too. That’s why I asked if you guys ever boulder during this but it doesn’t really seem like you do. You kind of just carry over from your bouldering training.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah. We do boulder but not a ton.

Neely Quinn: Right. So sometimes they’re having you do basically max route climbing because you’re projecting. It’s interesting that you guys have to climb on these routes that are like that, where they’re easier and then harder as you go up. A lot of times at gyms that’s just not how it is, regularly. Is that kind of a shocker to you when you get to these comps?

Tanner Bauer: Not really. It’s not too different. You usually just get higher up in a competition because it’s still easier than what it is in a normal gym.

Neely Quinn: What do you mean? The routes are easier?

Tanner Bauer: Since it’s getting harder and harder and harder as you go up, a gym route may be hard right off the ground so you usually do get higher on a competition route than a normal gym route at the same grade.

Neely Quinn: So it is actually kind of good for your ego in ways.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: Okay, so what are the extra workouts that you guys do to try to maintain your strength and power in your route season training?

Tanner Bauer: We get on really hard sport routes and we have to project so many. When you’re falling at every bolt it’s great to maintain power because you’re pulling really hard. It’s like bouldering on a rope, just you’re falling a lot, you’re taking at each bolt, and then you’re pulling another problem at each bolt so that’s a great way to maintain power. We do that and then we do some power exercises like slam balls where you grab weighted balls filled with sand and we lift them up and smash them down to the ground and do that over and over again, just to maintain power.

Neely Quinn: Anything else to maintain power? Do you guys do box jumps or anything else?

Tanner Bauer: We do box jumps throughout the entire year.

Neely Quinn: So you guys are working on your legs and trunk, too, but you’re never deadlifting or anything like that.

Tanner Bauer: No, we don’t lift weights.

Neely Quinn: Okay, anything else you can tell me about your route training cycle?

Tanner Bauer: That’s about it.

Neely Quinn: When you said that you guys fingerboard, is that happening after your climbing on routes?

Tanner Bauer: We don’t do as much fingerboarding during route climbing but if we do, we do it after we’re warmed up and not too fatigued so we don’t injure ourselves.

Neely Quinn: And then you go climb more?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: Got it. Do you like that?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, I do like that.

Neely Quinn: Does it make you climb worse?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, probably.

Neely Quinn: But it probably doesn’t matter because you’re just training.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: Then I wanted to ask you about your outside climbing because I’ve belayed Waka Flocka a lot and I know that that route and a lot of the routes that you’ve done are legit hard and they’re also kind of mentally challenging, as well. You have to keep your head together or you’re not going to finish it. They’re long, they’re really in depth, especially Rifle climbing. There’s a lot of thought that goes into that. I’m just wondering if, as a kid, you’ve seen yourself grow over the past four years as you’ve been doing this intensely. How have you changed in order to get to that point where you can send stuff like that?

Tanner Bauer: I’ve had a lot more experience and over time my experience has built up and that’s always helped. Just having such awesome parents has helped because they can drive me out and get me on my project and let me try it, which is sick.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, it is. But then when you’re actually up there on the climb are there things – I know as an adult we probably have the same things going through our mind but there’s just a level of maturity that you have to have in order to keep your head together. It seems like this is just something that comes naturally to you.

Tanner Bauer: Usually when I’m sending I kind of zone out and I don’t really realize it until I’m at the top or at a good rest.

Neely Quinn: So you actually are in the zone. Is that something that you’ve learned to do or is that something that you’ve always done?

Tanner Bauer: I’ve learned to do it. Sometimes I can’t always get into the zone and I don’t send when that happens. I have to really work for it.

Neely Quinn: Can you tell me how you get to that point?

Tanner Bauer: I have to know the route, I have to have the confidence in knowing that I can send the route, and then once it all comes together I just daze out and end up at the chains.

Neely Quinn: That’s pretty awesome. Is that something that you and Justen worked on?

Tanner Bauer: Not really. It’s just kind of something that I’ve always done.

Neely Quinn: What do you think are your biggest goals in climbing?

Tanner Bauer: I just want to be able to travel around the world climbing and just enjoying it, professional or not.

Neely Quinn: Do you have any numbers in mind that you want to attain?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, I’d love to do 5.15 and V16.

Neely Quinn: Yeah?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: Do you have climbs in mind?

Tanner Bauer: I do want to do The Finish Line, which actually just got downgraded, and then I do want to do the famous La Rambla. That thing is super pretty. Those are probably two of the bigger lines that I want to do.

Neely Quinn: What is your timeline for those things?

Tanner Bauer: Both are out of the country so probably not going to happen anytime soon, but eventually I’d like to get on them and try them.

Neely Quinn: If they weren’t out of the country would you try them this year?

Tanner Bauer: No, probably not. [laughs]

Neely Quinn: Because you don’t think you’re strong enough?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: What are your goals this year?

Tanner Bauer: For 2019 I want to do Bad Girls Club and I would like to do a V12 outside.

Neely Quinn: Do you have one in mind?

Tanner Bauer: No, still looking.

Neely Quinn: Have you been working on Bad Girls Club?

Tanner Bauer: I have been working on Bad Girls Club.

Neely Quinn: How’s that going?

Tanner Bauer: It’s good but Rifle season got shut down.

Neely Quinn: For sure, unless you’re a local. So you’ll go back there in the spring?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, in the springtime and in the summertime.

Neely Quinn: So that works out well. Actually wait – when do you compete in routes?

Tanner Bauer: During the summer.

Neely Quinn: So you feel like you can climb outside while you’re also training to compete?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah. It’s a great way to train for both.

Neely Quinn: You think?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: I think a lot of adult climbers do that, too, so it does make sense because you’re not training so intensely in the gym at that point. Anywhere else that you’re going to go this summer or fall?

Tanner Bauer: Over spring break I get to go to the Red.

Neely Quinn: Really?

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, I’m super excited.

Neely Quinn: Have you been there?

Tanner Bauer: I have not.

Neely Quinn: Do you have goals there?

Tanner Bauer: I want to do Southern Smoke.

Neely Quinn: Nice. It seems like you have pretty good endurance.

Tanner Bauer: I’m okay. It’s one of my stronger aspects of climbing but I don’t have the best endurance.

Neely Quinn: What do you think your best climbing area would be, given your talents?

Tanner Bauer: Definitely Rifle.

Neely Quinn: Okay. Because it’s technical and weird?

Tanner Bauer: Technical, funky, there’s a little bit of power, and there are good rests so you do get to rest and you don’t have to be completely pumped the entire time.

Neely Quinn: If you didn’t become a professional climber what do you think your backup plan would be?

Tanner Bauer: Photography or videography.

Neely Quinn: Nice. It seems like you’ve got this all planned out. Anything else you want to tell me about being a kid and being a badass climber?

Tanner Bauer: No, I don’t think so. I think that’s all.

Neely Quinn: I think this has been really interesting, talking to somebody from your perspective, so I really appreciate it.

Tanner Bauer: Thank you.

Neely Quinn: Well, good luck to you on your goals and this comp season.

Tanner Bauer: Thanks.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, I hope to see you in Nationals.

Tanner Bauer: Yeah, me too.

Neely Quinn: Take care.

Tanner Bauer: Thank you so much.

Neely Quinn: Alright, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Tanner Bauer. You can find him on Instagram @tanner_bauer1 and he’s also sponsored by MadRock and FrictionLabs so you’ll probably see him or maybe have seen him in their ads on social media.

You may have noticed at the end of these podcast episodes, the last few, I’ve been injecting some nutrition thoughts at the end. I’ll do that here just because I think kids’ nutrition gets overlooked most of the time.

I think it’s super important to kids’ performance and to their behavior during coaching sessions, like during practice, and just in general for their health. We tend to think that kids are really resilient, which they are, but we tend to think that kids eat kids’ food, kids eat candy, kids are fine. We don’t really give it much thought. I mean, some people do, don’t get me wrong, but I think that it would be something that coaches would be wise to maybe give more thought to.

Basically what I think happens is kids go to school. They have breakfast which is usually not very hearty so it’s probably something along the lines of cereal with milk. Then they go to school. They have four hours of class, they take a lunch break at which point they’re probably starving, and then they have something – I don’t know, everybody’s different – that’s probably carb heavy and not very protein heavy. Then they go for 4-6 more hours without any food or maybe a sugary snack, right? This goes for not only kids but many adults, too. By the time they get to practice which is after school, around 5:00ish I think, they’re probably really hungry.

I think that what that does to people’s performance, including kids, is it makes them weak, it makes them less motivated, it makes them climb more poorly, and it makes their recovery not as good because if you’re climbing in an un-fueled state you’re not going to have what you need in your system to recover properly. You’re definitely not going to perform well and you’re not going to make the gains that you want to make.

The other thing that being super hungry is going to do is it’s going to decrease their attention span. They’re not going to listen to you well, they’re not going to be as present in the process, so what I think could be done is I know that kids don’t sometimes have too much control over what they eat. They eat what’s in their house, they eat what their parents give them money to buy at lunch, or whatever. If you guys, as coaches or as parents, could – we’ll start with coaches.

If you guys as coaches could have a meeting with parents or send out an email or something just asking them to make sure that at least on practice days their kids have a high protein, high carb breakfast that’s really well balanced. Something like eggs, chicken sausage and veggies or fruit or something like that along with some rice or toast or some sort of good starch source. Something substantial and then a substantial lunch which looks similar to that, a high protein and high carb – not high but a good amount of starch and a good amount of protein – and some fat thrown in there with some veggies and fruit.

And then this is super important for not only kids but adults, too, is having a very hearty snack. Either a really hearty snack an hour-ish before practice or a small meal. Have them bring two lunches, basically, to school and eat one at lunch and one before practice. Not right before practice, preferably, but an hour or so before they actually start trying hard at practice. If they can sneak a small meal in there that has starch and some sort of protein and some sort of fat and maybe a little extra carbs or sugar in there, in the form of fruit or a bar or something like that, that’s going to be really, really helpful for them for their performance and their behavior and their mood.

This is one of the main things I talk to all my clients about: being fueled properly for their climbing session. Basically, if you eat that way it doesn’t matter what time of day you climb, you’re always fueled. You’re always ready to go. That’s going to help your performance, your mood, and your recovery.

I don’t really know how you get kids to eat what they need to eat but talking to them and educating them about why they would want to do it and motivating them with, ‘This could help your climbing performance,’ because these kids have goals and dreams and they want to be good climbers. If they know that this is going to help them then they might just do it. The parents might make some changes, too.

I have gone to ABC Kids Climbing and I’ve done a lecture for the kids. I tried to make it as fun as possible but I wanted them to understand some basics of nutrition. I’m happy to do that at local gyms and if you can find a nutritionist around you who’s willing to do that it was only an hour and you could do that every season or something, or just once and get kids and their parents educated. Have their parents come to the session and just get some guidelines. I think it’s not only going to benefit them in the moment and for their climbing performance but for their lives. If they get into their habits now they’re going to be much healthier, much leaner as adults, and much more in control of their appetite and cravings.

Those are my two cents on kids’ nutrition. If you have any questions just email me. If you want any ideas for what to tell your kids on your teams or what to do as a parent just let me know. You can always email me at

I am taking new clients. You can find information on me at

I think that’s all I’ve got for you. I should be back within a couple weeks with another podcast episode and until then, train smart, climb hard, have lots of fun, and I’ll talk to you soon.


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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