Direct Download: LINK
Date: March 30th, 2015
About Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle is a full time(+) computer programmer in his late 30’s who crushes hard rock climbs. He’s a Vegas local who has devoted the last several seasons to the route Necessary Evil (classic 5.14c) in the Virgin River Gorge, and finally sent it this past spring.
He’s Canadian, and helped train Sean McColl back when he was training youth competition climbers and competing himself. He’s climbed all over the world, having sent numerous 5.14’s, all while ambitiously pursuing a career he loves.
What we talked about:
- How he efficiently trained for Necessary Evil
- How his training has evolved over the years
- The creative ways he manages to work so many hours AND climb so much outside
- His thoughts on diet and body weight, and how he lost weight for Necessary Evil
- Mike Doyle’s website: www.mikedoyle.ca (link no longer available)
- Video about Mike Doyle’s persistence on Necessary Evil
Support The Podcast
- Check out the Bouldering Strength and Power program for boulderers of all abilities.
- Our other training programs: Training Programs Page.
- If you’d like to sponsor the podcast, just email us at email@example.com.
Listen and Review 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 😉
Intro and outro song: Yesterday by Build Buildings
Neely Quinn: Welcome to the TrainingBeta podcast where I talk to climbers and trainers about how we can get a little better at our favorite sport. I’m your host, Neely Quinn, and this is episode 18. Today we’re talking to Mike Doyle.
Mike’s a friend of mine and also a really great climber out of Las Vegas. He recently sent his longtime project, Necessary Evil, which is a .14c at the Virgin River Gorge, sort of near Las Vegas. I talked to him about how he sent that, his breakthrough with that. I talked about how he manages his schedule because he has a very ambitious career and he also makes time for climbing so I wanted to find out how he does that.
Then, we talked about training and diet and bodyweight, all the things that I talk about with most everybody, but Mike’s perspective on these things is a little bit different as an older – not older, he’s about the same age as me in his late 30s – climber and a person with a career. I hope you like it.
Before we get into that I just want to tell you about our training programs, which this podcast would not be made possible unless you guys were supporting us by purchasing those training programs, which I really thank you all for. We have our bouldering strength and power program, which is a subscription program by Kris Peters. Kris Peters also wrote a six-week power endurance program which is in eBook format. We have Kris Hampton’s endurance program for route climbers. We have Jared Vagy’s injury prevention program, Acacia Young’s nutrition program, Steve Bechtel’s strength guide, and I hope I’m not forgetting anything. Those are our programs. You can check them out at www.trainingbeta.com and just press on the ‘Training Programs’ tab.
So, I am talking to you today from Boulder, Colorado where we’re going to be staying for a while. We came home from Vegas because Seth had to have shoulder surgery himself four months after my own. His was a little more extensive on his labrum, where he had to have anchors put in, whereas I didn’t, so he’s going to be out for three or four months. Hopefully three and not four. We’re here and we’ll hopefully be writing about that a bit so that you guys can learn even more from us about our mistakes and how to avoid shoulder injuries yourself.
So that’s me, and I hope you’re doing well. I hope you’re getting out climbing. I’m just going to get right into this interview so here is Mike Doyle. Enjoy.
Neely Quinn: Alright. Hey Mike. Thanks for being with me today. Welcome to the show.
Mike Doyle: Great to be here. Thank you.
Neely Quinn: Yeah. So, we are talking – both of us are in Las Vegas but we are both on Skype right now because we’re both so busy that we couldn’t find time to make an in person interview. It seems silly, though, right?
Mike Doyle: Just living the dream.
Neely Quinn: That’s actually part of what I’m going to talk to you about today, is how busy you are and how well you still climb and how you make that work. I think more people can relate to you on that than they can relate to a full time pro climber.
Mike Doyle: Okay.
Neely Quinn: So, tell me a little bit about yourself. Like, how did you start climbing? When did you start climbing? Where you’re from, stuff like that.
Mike Doyle: I started climbing in high school. I grew up in Kelowna, British Columbia about 45 minutes to an hour north of Scaha. If anyone has been there it’s an amazing rock climbing area. That’s where I first started rock climbing.
At some point during my high school years an indoor climbing gym opened up and I started competing and I kind of fell in love with that aspect of the sport, and then started trying to get my hands on as much training information as possible.
Eventually I started coaching and moved to Vancouver for university and started coaching there. I coached there for 10 years or so and now I’m living in Las Vegas and just trying to rock climb a bunch.
Neely Quinn: Nice. So how long ago was that? When did you start all this?
Mike Doyle: Wow, you’re making me age myself. I think ‘90/’91 was when I started rock climbing but I kind of say I started rock climbing in ‘94 which was when I started competing and actually training. I’d climbed 10-20 days a year before that but I started climbing 5, 6, 7 days a week in ‘94.
Neely Quinn: Okay, and because I think that the age that you start climbing is sort of important, can I ask how old you were at that point, in ‘91 or ‘94?
Mike Doyle: I started climbing when I was 13/14. I started training, though, when I was about 16/17. Honestly, though, I wish I would have started a little earlier, as would everyone, I think.
Neely Quinn: Right. So how old does that make you now? I don’t want to put you on the spot.
Mike Doyle: No, no it’s fine. I’m 37 now. I will be turning 38 so I was born in ‘77.
Neely Quinn: Finally, a peer. [laughs] I feel like everybody I talk to is 15 years younger than me but anyway.
Mike Doyle: Except Bill Ramsey.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, except Bill Ramsey.
Mike Doyle: He’s only a few years older than you. Not too much.
Neely Quinn: [laughs] Thanks.
Mike Doyle: I’m trying to make him feel good.
Neely Quinn: Hi Bill! If you’re listening, we love you. Okay, so you started coaching. Who were you coaching? Kids, or just adults, or both?
Mike Doyle: Yeah, initially what happened was I started competing and I was still based out of Kelowna, which is a small town, and my friends and I were competing against some of the bigger gyms in the Vancouver area that had proper climbing teams. At the time, The Edge climbing center in North Vancouver had the Arc’teryx Edge Climbing Team and it was kind of a well-organized team. Well-coached, they had proper training, proper organization of travel and all this kind of stuff. We wouldn’t even know what the rules were or anything.
Eventually I realized that I needed to kind of take the helm of creating a team and helping out the people that were younger than I was. I was only 18 so I was still a Junior, still competing, but I was trying to help 14/15 year olds that were interested in competing and interested in getting into competition climbing. That’s kind of why I started coaching, I guess, is I just wanted to have people to train with.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, so what kind of stuff were you studying? Whose research were you looking at in terms of training for climbing?
Mike Doyle: At the time, the bible was Performance Rock Climbing with Udo Neumann and Dale Goddard so I read that book. Eric Horst had already started putting out some books. I believe the first of his I read was Flash Training and then he had How to Climb 5.12. I think that was the next one I read. This was pre-internet, or pre-my access to the internet so I didn’t just have AltaVista to search for training articles.
I pretty much just read those books and tried to take as much information from existing sports as possible like gymnastics, bodyweight-based exercises.
Neely Quinn: Okay, I want to ask you a ton more questions about that but before we get into that too much, I want to – because some people know who you are, some people don’t. Like I told you, I’ve had actual requests from several people for an interview with you so some people definitely know who you are, but can you tell us a little bit more about your successes as a climber? What are your biggest moments, would you say?
Mike Doyle: It’s weird. I don’t really think that as a climber I was very successful in my competitions but as a coach I was quite successful. I used to compete in the late-90s, kind of the ESCF tour. I believe I made finals at 10 of them or something like that. I don’t think I ever won any but around British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, I would enter local competitions and do quite well at those. Maybe my best competition result was like second at the North American Championships in 2004 but that wasn’t a super well-attended event, but it was still fun. It’s probably where I climbed the best.
Then, in terms of outdoor climbing, it was just kind of slow and steady progression. I climbed .14a. I think ‘97 was when I did my first .14a so that’s honestly a thing that I’m quite proud of, that I’ve been climbing .14a for almost 20 years. I haven’t moved much above .14a but still, climbing and trying to climb well.
I was definitely never world-class or anything like that. I tried to kind of compete on the national stage in Canada and in the US but not with a huge success.
Neely Quinn: What other climbs outside do you feel are notable for yourself?
Mike Doyle: I mean honestly, my first .14a was Pulse, which I still consider – it’s in Cheakamus Canyon, just outside of Squamish. I still consider it quite a difficult .14a, of the ones I’ve done. Even when I go back to it I’m kind of surprised by it.
I did the first ascent of a route called Lucifer in the Red River Gorge that, at the time, was the hardest route there. It took me probably six weeks of pretty consistent effort to do it.
Neely Quinn: How hard was that?
Mike Doyle: It’s rated .14c. I think some people’s opinions whether it’s soft .14c or hard .14c. It just depends on who you talk to. Then, I’m not sure. I generally like to do easier routes quickly rather than hard routes. I’ve done a lot of .13c’s. I flashed Millennium in the Pipe Dream Cave back when it was still considered .14a so I’ve got to take the downgrade on that one I think.
Neely Quinn: You flashed that? That’s awesome.
Mike Doyle: Yeah, I mean that was something I was happy to do and I managed to – at the time I was climbing with a kid I was coaching at the time. He was a kid then, Sean McColl, and I made him go up it a few times and get me the beta, [laughs] which he was kind enough to do.
Neely Quinn: Nice. So it sounds like you’ve mostly done sport climbs. Have you ever done much trad climbing?
Mike Doyle: I’ve done a little of it but not much. I spent a few weeks in Indian Creek. It’s kind of pathetic, growing up in Squamish and not spending time trad climbing but my focus through university was still definitely on the competitions and so sport climbing was a way of getting outside and loving the sport. I always felt like trad climbing, when I only had two days a week to get outdoors, I always felt like trad climbing was a distraction.
Later on I started really enjoying trad climbing in the afternoons on my second day on. Easy trad climbing in Squamish, like running some laps on the Smoke Bluffs or easier routes up The Chief, but I’ve never really been into the hard trad climbing too much. I’ve done a few 5.13s but nothing crazy, nothing that I had to spend a lot of time on and tear myself up over.
Neely Quinn: Okay, and you left out one major accomplishment which is your most recent accomplishment. Will you tell us about that?
Mike Doyle: Yeah, sorry – I just repointed Necessary Evil. I guess I’m proud of it. I’m happy that I put in the time on it. I don’t think – I don’t know. I don’t think it’s a big deal. It’s kind of hard to explain. People are running with it in the news because I think people have been following the story of me trying it for the last two years, so I think that’s why it’s a big deal. I don’t think, in terms of someone redpointing .14c, it’s a big deal anymore. Adam Ondra was there just the other day and he was upset that he didn’t do it first try so the level of climbing has just moved beyond what I can even fathom, honestly. It’s kind of cool.
Yeah, I’m happy I did it. It definitely took a lot of effort and I had to kind of focus my whole life around it.
Neely Quinn: Yeah. How much effort did it take? Like, how many times did you go up it?
Mike Doyle: I mean, I was up there a lot in bad conditions so I have a lot of excuses, obviously, but I tried it probably close to 50 days last year and another 30-some odd days or 40 days this year. So, a lot.
Neely Quinn: I wanted to ask you about this and I know it’s sort of fresh for you and I don’t want to bother you with this question, but I heard, and maybe it was even from you, that you had fallen off the second crux, like, 58 times or something. Is that correct? Around there?
Mike Doyle: That’s correct. That’s the exact number. The way I started counting is there’s three major boulder problems on it and the first two boulder problems are separate from The Route of All Evil. I had done Route of All Evil previously so the first time I linked the first two boulder problems of Necessary Evil, I had sent a friend a text. “Hey! I’m psyched. I just linked the two boulder problems.” The next day I linked it twice, so I was like, “1, 2, 3!”
It just kind of became a thing, texting friends. Like, “Oh, 47!” “52 and 53!” “54 today!” I just kind of joked so I wasn’t really keeping track beyond more than just kind of laughing at myself. I wasn’t keeping track or keeping notes like, ‘I fell at this move when the left foot slipped off,’ or anything like that. It was more just trying to actually stay positive about getting through those first two boulder problems. I mean, they were really, really hard for me and that was something that I could kind of hold on to. Every time I got through them, I was impressed with myself. I don’t mean to sound arrogant about it but I was happy that I could do it, honestly.
Neely Quinn: That’s amazing.
Mike Doyle: I was just trying to stay positive and not worry about where I was falling, trying to just stay happy with getting through those first two boulder problems.
Neely Quinn: Do you feel like – and by the way, for anybody who doesn’t know, we just threw out Necessary Evil like everybody knows what that is. It’s a .14c in the Virgin River Gorge, which is outside of Las Vegas. What I was going to say is, do you feel at some point it became a mental barrier to get through that?
Mike Doyle: No. I mean, a lot of people were asking me that and wondering if I should change my approach on it. I did have to change a little bit of my mental approach to it, for sure, which was I had to take a little bit of time at the bottom of the route and get focused.
What I found was that once I started linking the two boulder problems and falling up top, I started worrying about the upper boulder problem and then I fell on the lower ones. I had to really just make sure that, leaving the ground, all I would focus on was that first boulder problem. Then, once I was on the route and getting established I could start thinking about the upper boulder problem. It took a little bit of time before I could shift my focus. The upper boulder problem was basically three moves with the last move being the hardest. The first two moves of that three moves are not easy, either, so it took a while to be able to shift my focus from the first two moves. I’d only be able to worry about the third move.
And yeah, I kept falling. There were those days where I’d get there and I wouldn’t feel good and there would be days where I would just go for – sometimes I would just get really mad at the people I would coach so I would just go for the tag, not – I was reaching up with my hand but with no intention of actually grabbing the hold. Basically just going through the motions, but that happens. I try to not get too worried about it but I felt like I got there and knew I was going to fall. I got there and anyone that was there while I was trying it will attest, I would get myself psyched up, screaming through those moves no matter what the conditions were like, no matter what I felt, and that allowed me to achieve through the sounds.
Screaming was something I’d never done before but it really focused my mind and really allowed me to try hard every time when I did that. It’s something that I don’t really want to do again because it’s kind of embarrassing but it worked. I think that was a big part of it.
Neely Quinn: So screaming before the hard moves to get yourself psyched?
Mike Doyle: Leading into the hard moves. As soon as I left the last rest, scream every move and, the moves are not all that difficult right there but, just every time I would go to move my hand, [screams].
Neely Quinn: That’s kind of like Adam Ondra, what he does.
Mike Doyle: I think it’s also just everyone has their own thing. For me, before, it was always just concentrating on my breathing and breathing out heavily so I could hear myself breathe, which reminded me to breathe. The screaming was just different. The first time I did it I laughed myself off the wall – yeah, it was pretty funny – but then after that my focus really did shift to, like, pinpoint focus. It was kind of a weird experience, honestly.
Neely Quinn: That’s cool. What happened on the day that you sent? How did it all come together? Was it the weather? What happened?
Mike Doyle: Honestly, it was a lot of factors. It was the lead-up – the moves had started feeling easier and easier. I had started getting to The Route of All Evil, rest, more and more fresh so that when I got there I could actually just sit there and chalk up and relax and get psyched for the next section. Then, I hit the holds perfectly and everything went the way it should when you’ve been on a route as much as I have.
Yeah, I mean it honestly was a little disappointing that it felt easy when I did it. I don’t mean to say that I could have done it any earlier because I think every attempt led to that point, but I didn’t get the blackout try-hard that I have in the past on onsights or on second or third try redpoints, or even on Lucifer, which I spent six weeks on. I remember almost seeing stars, I was trying so hard, and hyperventilating getting through it. I didn’t get like that on this. At no point was I stressing out. I was actually kind of laughing at myself as I was going up it, trying not to slip and trying not to break a hold or anything like that. It’s a little crumbly for the feet at the top if you’re not careful. But yeah, it just felt good.
Neely Quinn: That’s so funny how that happens. You lower down and you’re just like, ‘No big deal. Okay, next?’ after all these attempts.
Mike Doyle: And this one has a nice, calm part which I call a ‘victory lap’ on routes, where you get the chance to just be by yourself and enjoy the redpoint. I don’t like routes where the crux is right at the top and you have to clip the anchors. Then, all of a sudden you have to be on the ground and people are congratulating you and you haven’t had time to really enjoy it yourself. This one has a nice 40-foot, 50-foot section of climbing where I was up there looking around, enjoying the breeze, enjoying the traffic noise below. It was good.
The other one I really remember that was like that was Scarface at Smith Rock, where you’ve got this huge slab above the hard section and I remember just being up there, looking around, watching the sunset, birds fly by, and just enjoying the redpoint.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, that’s cool. It does seem like that. I was just belaying Paige on it yesterday, as you know because you were up there, too. She just sort of disappeared for 10 minutes of the climb at the top.
Mike Doyle: Once you’re out of your sight it’s much easier climbing but there’s still, above The Route of All Evil crux is maybe .13a/b and it eases off. At every bolt it eases off a little bit more so you’re looking at probably 5.11 or 5.10 climbing even up to the anchor.
Neely Quinn: Sounds nice. Well, congratulations on it, again. I know I’ve said that to you like five times but I’m really happy for you and I know that a lot of people are happy for you. I mean, you said, “It’s not a big deal for anybody to climb .14c at this point,” but I think part of the reason people are following it is because you have a job, you have a life outside of climbing, you’re not a fully sponsored pro climber, and I think that that’s why it’s such a big deal. You did make your life about this route so can you talk a little bit about your work schedule and training schedule?
Mike Doyle: Yeah, absolutely. I do think people appreciate the fact that they can see how much effort I was putting into it. I’ve been in the community for 20 years so I’ve got friends that were excited for me and I really appreciate the outpouring of support I got from everybody.
In terms of the sacrifices I made for this particular route, I ended up getting an apartment out in Mesquite so I could be closer to the Virgin River Gorge. I still have my house in Vegas so two nights a week I would drive out to Mesquite and set up shop out there and wake up in the morning and turn on the laptops and work for a little bit. Bill Ramsey and Rob Jenson were also a part of that villa. We called it our vacation home.
Bill Ramsey had his weights and hangboard and everything and Rob Jenson had his rowing machine so I would wake up, get some coffee, get some breakfast going, and eventually go over to the rowing machine, warm up for a little bit, do some hangboarding, check emails and keep working, and depending on the day, depending on the conditions, head out for four or five hours and then I would be back and able to continue working.
That was probably the biggest lifestyle change was just setting up closer to the climb. Necessary Evil provided that. It provided the ability to leave the apartment, go out and do some climbing, then be back within a reasonable climb. Most of the climbs are a little more of a hike or a little more of a drive so it’s harder for me to do that but it doesn’t mean they are impossible. I just have to make some similar adjustments.
I enjoyed Necessary Evil. I enjoy climbing at the VRG. Finding partners was actually not that big of an issue. People were kind of willing to come out and help me and be a part of it so I always appreciated that.
In terms of training, specifically for Necessary Evil, last year when I got on it I had actually tweaked my finger. I kind of pulled a collateral ligament in my right middle finger. I got my finger stuck in a pocket on Hasta la Vista at Mount Charleston and it broke it, pretty much. That took three months before I could crimp and then another couple months before I felt comfortable crimping on the holds on Necessary Evil so last year, going into it, I didn’t feel super strong but I felt fit. That was good because I was able to play on the moves and also, I started putting in good links around mid-January. Then, it just got too hot. I felt like I was getting close but not quite close enough.
This past year, having been on it, I knew exactly what I needed to train which was much more crimp endurance. I’ve got good big hold endurance and I’ve good good ability to recover on bad holds as long as I can shake, but the ability to just hold a contracted grip for an extended period of time is definitely not something I’ve ever been good at or ever really tried to be good at. Somehow it didn’t ever factor into my climbing before.
The first thing I tried to do was just increase my crimp strength or forearm strength so I didn’t have to squeeze as hard. I did a lot of weight training and a lot of hangboarding last year. I spent almost the entire summer actually just focusing on hangboarding and trying to increase that maximum contraction ability. I think that was probably the biggest difference and then switching it over to crimping and climbing up the longer routes to try to bring the endurance into play but Necessary is very unique. You have to do probably 12 moves in a row where I feel like I’m crimping at the maximum of my ability.
Neely Quinn: Okay. Can I ask you more details about your finger strength training and all of that?
Mike Doyle: Absolutely.
Neely Quinn: When you say “contraction strength” – I think that’s what you said – do you mean you weren’t just hanging on the board but you were actively crimping on the board?
Mike Doyle: No. This is where things get a little tricky. Everyone has a different definition of this stuff. When I do the weighted hangs and stuff I almost always do open hand or half crimp poses. If I do full crimp, my fingers just get way too sore.
What I do is I do very heavy weights on one pad crimps because then my skin lasts a little bit longer as well. I hate when my workout ends when my skin is the first thing to go. Some hangboards out there have very small crimps on them but you can only do a 15-minute workout before your skin is just trashed. I think it was – I’m probably going to misquote somebody here, but I think it was Ben Moon who was like, ‘If you have to put more than 15 pounds on, you should go to a smaller hold.’ I actually take a different approach. I put up to 180 pounds on my body, plus body weight, and hold one pad holds.
Neely Quinn: Wait – you’re putting 180 pounds of plates on your body?
Mike Doyle: I think the maximum I had was 178. I think, yeah.
Neely Quinn: Holy shit, Mike.
Mike Doyle: Well, it’s not, I mean, it’s just that’s [unclear] and I had to lower it down a little bit.
Neely Quinn: You did? You [unclear] up?
Mike Doyle: I wasn’t doing pull-ups. I was just hanging.
Neely Quinn: No, I know, but Jonathan and Seth will put on, like, 50 pounds max.
Mike Doyle: They’re holding smaller holds. They’re doing definitely smaller holds.
Neely Quinn: Oh, okay.
Mike Doyle: So I’m using one full pad edge. Like, on the Metolius hangboard it’s not the smallest edge but the second smallest edge.
Neely Quinn: Okay. And how many times are you doing it? Can you give your sequence of events on that?
Mike Doyle: Yeah. When I was younger I was doing hangboarding three days a week but I felt like I wasn’t recovering in my old age, so I would only do it two days a week and on the third day of the week I would actually just go and try to climb easy routes. That was during my training phase and then I would additionally try and do something else active, either run or hike, one or two days a week, but my focus of the week was definitely the hangboard workout.
Neely Quinn: And then what did your hangboard workout actually look like, besides having lots and lots of weight hanging off of you?
Mike Doyle: Well, it was lots and lots of weights only at the maximum. There were different phases. I haven’t actually studied exercise physiology in a while, and none of the newer stuff, so mine’s kind of based on some gymnastics workouts and older weight training philosophies.
What I would do is, my hangboard workout is a minimum six-week cycle and basically, the first week, after you’ve established all your baselines, the first week is hangs of different grips anywhere from 12-15 seconds with a one minute rest in between. Then, the next week would be 8-12 seconds so I would increase the weight, so now you’re dropping it and only holding on for 8-12 seconds. Then, the next week would be the maximum which would be holding on for 5-8 seconds with even more weight. Then go back up the following week, the fourth week, back up to 12-15 seconds then repeat. That’s a six-week cycle.
This past summer I did two, six-week cycles with a two-week break in between.
Neely Quinn: And then how many times were you doing those 12-15 seconds, or whatever it was, holds?
Mike Doyle: Depending on the grip – I would start, after warming up, I would start with four fingers on a one pad edge. Three sets of the time and then I would switch to the middle two fingers, two sets, index two finger, two sets, pinky two finger, two sets, then three finger index finger, two sets, three finger pinky finger, two sets, then slopers two sets, pinches three sets, and then I would do no weight closed crimp hangs for the same time just to get that recruitment.
Neely Quinn: Okay. You do two finger with your pinky and ring?
Mike Doyle: Yeah.
Neely Quinn: That’s crazy. I’ve never even considered doing that.
Mike Doyle: Actually, my pinky finger – if I get it on a hold, I’m very happy. My pinky finger’s my savior.
Neely Quinn: So you feel like this changed your strength, obviously. Do you feel like this was one of the keys to sending this year?
Mike Doyle: I do. Whether or not it was the most effective possible way, I’m not going to speculate on that. I bet there is better. I bet if I had done more research or whatever, but this is what I knew and this is what I had set aside the time for. I made quite significant gains in my ability to hold on so then when I got back on Necessary, everything did feel a lot easier. In fact, I even changed my sequence a few places this year because I could move more efficiently off bad holds rather than having to go between bigger holds but more moves and be just a little more tired when I got to the upper crux.
Neely Quinn: Nice. One detailed question here: so, say you’re doing the three finger whatever – one of the holds for three times and you said that you were resting one minute in between each of those. How many minutes would you rest between different holds or positions?
Mike Doyle: I would try to change as quickly as possible so the rests would be the same between all the different grips. When you’re holding on for a longer period of time, like 12-15 seconds, I would actually rest less than when I was holding on for only 5-8 seconds. When I’m holding on for 5-8 seconds I actually rest for up to two minutes. A minute and a half to two minutes, depending on where I was in the cycle, because you’re only holding onto it for five seconds and failing, you’re actually needing to recover more to be able to hold on for another five seconds and fail rather than when you hold on for 15 seconds and fail, you actually don’t need as much recovery to be able to hold on for another 15 seconds again.
Neely Quinn: It’s more like an endurance workout at that point.
Mike Doyle: Yeah, it’s more of a different – you’re not recruiting at your max but you’re still failing at a different time.
Neely Quinn: Okay, so you would never rest for more than two minutes, even between grips?
Mike Doyle: No, not during my hangboarding stuff.
Neely Quinn: And you did that for – did you say two, six-week cycles?
Mike Doyle: Yeah.
Neely Quinn: With two weeks in between of rest.
Mike Doyle: Yeah.
Neely Quinn: Did you have to campus at all?
Mike Doyle: I didn’t campus at all. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t but I actually rarely do pull-ups. I’ve got some bad elbows from years and years of neglect and sitting in front of the computer, in a chair for way too long. I don’t campus that much and I don’t even really do pull-ups that much. I believe it’s beneficial and I encourage people to do it if they can do it in a way that they won’t hurt themselves but it’s something that I’ve tried and every time I do, no matter how much stretching, icing, warming-up I do, I always seem to injure myself so I really didn’t want to do that this last summer. I didn’t want to go into this season with an injury so I kind of didn’t do that stuff.
I did do isolated exercises like lat pulldowns, which are obviously similar to a chin-up but just a little more structured and a little bit more isolating.
Neely Quinn: So like max lat pulldowns?
Mike Doyle: Yeah, I was never really doing max. I did that a few years ago and it’s great but again, this time I was just trying to be a little bit more aware of what I was doing. I was only ever doing reps of 15. No less than reps of 15. I would do 15-20 but never max.
Neely Quinn: Oh, so more like power endurance reps, sort of?
Mike Doyle: Yeah, depending on – just trying to keep the muscles engaged and still build on them. Even that, I mean I bulked up quite a bit, honestly.
Neely Quinn: Tell me about that. What do you mean you “bulked up?”
Mike Doyle: Well, I’m a bit of a numbers geek. I keep track of stuff, just because I do put on weight pretty easily when I start lifting or even when I start hiking and stuff. I used to actually have two different sized harnesses between the start of hiking to Scaha season and the end. My legs would get bigger as the summer went on, just by hiking into the crag only. So, what I do is I keep track of basically where my weight is going. It’s more of just a – I don’t think it’s a mental thing. It’s more of just that I’m a numbers guy and I like seeing the numbers.
I keep track of forearm size, bicep size, leg size and stuff, and also weight and the skinfolds in a few places, just to see what’s going on. I put on about 12 pounds last summer but I only put on maybe 2% body fat so I put on about 10 pounds of muscle. Not just in my arms. My legs got bigger from hiking and everything.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, so do you think that impeded your attempts on Necessary or did you lose it then?
Mike Doyle: I lost it by the time I redpointed but I started losing it because I stopped working out at the end of August – no, mid-September, actually. Even then, as soon as I stopped lifting and stopped hangboarding, I did try to make a conscious effort to try and shed the weight, especially the leg weight. I didn’t do as much trail running and I started doing more street running and stuff like that to try and just lower my muscle mass, honestly.
Neely Quinn: Do you feel like if you had stopped running altogether – can we talk about running for a second?
Mike Doyle: Yeah, I guess I could stop running altogether and my legs would just deteriorate completely but I sit in front of a computer all day. I need to do something. [laughs] I can’t climb everyday so running has always been about stress relief for me.. I think it has a huge aspect to performing well in other aspects of your life, so if I feel like I’m running well, my climbing will go well as well.
Neely Quinn: Okay, so you stopped training in mid-September you said?
Mike Doyle: I stopped specifically hangboarding. I still would hangboard at lower weights once a week, pretty much through December, honestly.
Neely Quinn: Oh okay, so then when did you start trying?
Mike Doyle: I started trying in early November. Late October, maybe. I hiked out there in late October, I think, and started getting on it again.
Neely Quinn: Did you ever feel like, because with these long term projects, it’s kind of like, ‘Well, if I’m not sending, maybe I need to take another six weeks and train.’ That’s what the Anderson brothers would say. They’d be like, ‘If you haven’t sent in this amount of time, then stop and start training again.’ What do you think about that?
Mike Doyle: I wouldn’t even disagree with that. I think that might have been smarter to do. I don’t think I was strong enough, or I wasn’t in the right shape, you know, in October to be getting on the route. It was useless to be getting on the route in October, other than to familiarize myself with the route again and also just to rebuild my psych for it. That can’t be understated. Wanting to get back out there, wanting to get the warm-ups dialed, and just wanting to rock climb.
I like rock climbing out there. I like getting on that route but, even on the days I would get out there, I wouldn’t get a full workout and I knew it. I would actually come back to the gym and at that point, at the end of the day, I would do – if I felt good, I would session with some friends just as a social outlet and if I felt good, I would do some additional training in the gym but nothing structured. One day a week I would do – we have a treadwall here in a friend’s garage, which is nice, so I would go to the treadwall after climbing and just target full, closed crimp power endurance. Just run laps and with my fingers fully crimped.
Neely Quinn: Okay, so Necessary Evil is very – it’s not slabby but it’s pretty dead vert, right?
Mike Doyle: It’s actually at 20° overhanging. It’s an optical illusion because the ground slopes away, but if you look at the rope when it lowers, it’s quite steep.
Neely Quinn: Really?
Mike Doyle: Really. When you belayed Paige, how far away from the wall would she lower?
Neely Quinn: Well, when she lowered I thought she was only four feet away from the wall, but that was from the top and that slabs out.
Mike Doyle: It definitely slabs out.
Neely Quinn: Okay, so that’s not a correct way to look at this. Anyway, the hard part at least is 20° overhung. Now, when you were on the treadwall, is that the angle or degree you would put it at?
Mike Doyle: I would vary the angle. I would do laps at anywhere from 15° overhanging to 25° overhanging. The reality is, the steeper, the harder it is to hold onto so depending on how good I was feeling and what I was trying to target. I wasn’t trying to recreate Necessary Evil exactly so none of the moves were the same as Necessary Evil moves. I was just trying to push the ability to contract near my maximum for a longer period of time.
Neely Quinn: Right, so you were just doing small crimps on a similar angle for a long time?
Mike Doyle: Trying to. It probably wasn’t as long as it should have been [laughs] but for as long as I could.
Neely Quinn: How many moves did you try to do at a time on the treadwall?
Mike Doyle: I’m trying to think about how many moves are in – roughly 40 feet is two rotations and I would try to push two rotations and then I was trying to do five sets. I would try to do one set at just 10° overhanging and then kick it back a couple degrees every time. On my fifth set I would just try to push it as long as possible, but generally I was doing 40 feet. So, two minutes on the wall, roughly two minutes, and then 40 feet for a cycle.
Neely Quinn: This is the nerdiest conversation I’ve ever had. [laughs]
Mike Doyle: I’m a numbers guy. Don’t get me started on me trying to get wind temps and humidity.
Neely Quinn: Don’t get me wrong. I’m asking you these questions because I’m truly interested. I was doing the same thing on the same treadwall last year trying to train for my own project. I’m just wondering how similar I was to you. I think a lot of people train on treadwalls and I think it’s a really useful tool.
I would like to get a more general overview of your schedule. How many hours a week would you say that you work?
Mike Doyle: It depends on the projects. Unfortunately, right now and for the last three months, I’ve been working maybe around 60 hours a week. Maybe more.
Neely Quinn: And what do you do?
Mike Doyle: I’m a software engineer.
Neely Quinn: And you work from home?
Mike Doyle: I work from home, correct, or from the villa.
Neely Quinn: From the villa and from the Vegas house.
Mike Doyle: Yeah.
Neely Quinn: So 60 hours a week and you’re still training. How many days a week would you say you exercise, in general?
Mike Doyle: I try to exercise a little bit at least six days a week. The only day I usually just try to take it easy is usually Friday, and that preps me for climbing Saturday and Sunday.
Neely Quinn: And how many hours? You probably know exactly how many hours you spend exercising every week.
Mike Doyle: No, actually, I don’t. I don’t keep track of that. Usually, ideally it would just be Monday, go for a light run, Tuesday I would either go out and try Necessary Evil, I guess in this case, so that would be four hours out at the crag and then I would come back to work and end up at the climbing gym that evening. Again, mostly just as a social outlet because I work from home, by myself. Then if I felt good, I would train. Then Wednesday would be, if I hadn’t trained hard the night before, I would go to the gym and try and boulder and just basically do some strength training at the gym and then Wednesday evening I would go to the treadwall and push it there. Thursday I would go for another run but usually a longer run, then Friday would be full rest, then Saturday and Sunday would be climbing. Sunday evening would then be back at the treadwall again.
Neely Quinn: So you would climb on your project Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday?
Mike Doyle: Usually Sunday I wouldn’t get on my project. I would get on something else because honestly, I was worried a little bit about my fingers. I was crimping pretty hard and then also skin just wouldn’t allow me to get on it two days in a row, so Sunday was usually – fortunately, around Vegas there’s a lot of good climbing areas and it was usually a different climbing area. If I was back at the Virgin River Gorge, it was usually on a different route.
Neely Quinn: If you didn’t work from home and have this kind of flexible schedule, do you think that you could have made this work?
Mike Doyle: I think it would be very difficult. It’s just – like, a couple years ago, maybe four years ago, I did try Necessary Evil for a little bit. Maybe a day or two days, just because it’s hard to get good conditions at the VRG. So working from home and with a flexible schedule, I was actually able to look at the forecast and pick whether I would wanted to get out there Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. My company was very flexible and they don’t schedule meetings too early in the morning so I could always run out there and climb Necessary, but before when I was trying it, I was only able to get out there Saturday or Sunday. If conditions were bad, that’s it.
I mean, I don’t know. For me, with my strength, I needed perfect conditions and I needed to get up on it this much. If someone else is much stronger, they could climb it in bad conditions so to say that you don’t need to be able to get out there much, for me – yes. I needed to be able to get out there as much as I did.
Neely Quinn: It’s interesting. Obviously, I work from home, and I wish everybody could because the schedule is so amazing. I feel like it’s going more towards that direction, because you used to have a normal job. You didn’t always work from home, right?
Mike Doyle: Yeah, I did. I used to be at the office from 6:00AM-4:00PM.
Neely Quinn: Right. Did that make it harder for you to project things?
Mike Doyle: Yeah, that’s when I was living in Vancouver and I would only get out on weekends. Even then, I was able to slowly – after being at a company for four or five years, you can kind of start pushing the boundaries. I was able to start making lifestyle changes for myself when I was 28/29 and since then, I’ve always been able to kind of convince my bosses it’s worth letting me take some time and letting me take my frustrations out because you don’t want me sitting in the office just tweaking.
Neely Quinn: Do you have any advice for people about how to talk to their bosses about having a more flexible schedule if they do have a regular office job where they have to be on-site?
Mike Doyle: I think the first thing is you have to be able to/your boss has to be able to trust that you’re going to get the job done no matter what, and I was able to build up that trust by taking small – I would take a day here, a day there, then eventually it became, ‘Okay, every Friday I’ll be gone and you know that over the course of Friday, Saturday, Sunday, I’ll get the work done that I would have gotten done Friday. Then, Monday morning I’ll be at the office at 6:00AM and I’ll be willing to work as hard as possible or as much as possible to make up for it.’
I think it just depends on what your job is. My job is kind of deadline-based with not necessarily just sitting in front of a computer and typing the whole time. Quite often, I’m just problem solving, trying to figure out the best solution to a problem so sitting in front of a computer but might not always be the most productive use of my time. Quite often, if I do leave the office and I go for a run or if I leave the office and I go climbing, I will come up with a solution while I’m out climbing and make a quick note of it. Then, when I come back, I can work for an hour and I’ll be just as productive as sitting in front of a computer all day.
Neely Quinn: It’s true. It’s definitely true but it’s funny. Imagine having this conversation with your boss, like, ‘Hey. If I go climbing, I’m going to be way more productive at work because I’m going to figure stuff out out there.’ I mean, you can’t really say that to your boss at this point. [laughs]
Mike Doyle: I know. The last company I was at, fortunately, the company that I joined right out of university, the CEO was a climber and in my job interview – he was also a big windsurfer – he was like, ‘You know, it’s a perfect excuse not to show up until noon if it’s sunny out.’ He was like, ‘Absolutely. Do what you’ve got to do,’ so I’ve always kind of put myself in those situations but the last company I was at, which was actually based out of Boulder, Colorado, the company there shifted toward they wanted people in the office more and more because they felt the face time – and there’s something to be said for it, the interactions between coworkers, but they wanted people to be in the office 9-5. I was just like, ‘No. Can’t do it.’
Neely Quinn: So you just said, “No?” You just flat out refused?
Mike Doyle: My boss/my manager, flat out refused for the team that I was on and then as she was starting to get pushback, yeah I pretty much told them that that wasn’t going to happen and then I was, fortunately, one of the most productive members of the team so I had a little bit of leeway.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, it sounds like you work hard and you’re a highly ambitious, motivated guy so I guess that works in your favor. You can’t just be lazy and not get work done and expect to have all this freedom.
Mike Doyle: I believe it to benefit. They’re letting me do this because I can prove I’m productive but if I was not productive, it would be abusing that benefit and I would be back in an office in a heartbeat.
Neely Quinn: Heaven forbid.
Okay, I had a bunch of other questions for you, like about Sean McColl and how you trained him and stuff like that but we only have about 15 minutes. If I have time at the end of this I will ask you about that but I wanted to ask you, also, about age of climbers. How you think that affects people. Like, you and – no offense to Bill – Bill Ramsey, because I’m with Seth, as you know, and he’s 29 years old and he’s sometimes like, ‘Oh, I’m getting too old to climb hard.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, I think that’s ridiculous,’ but what are your thoughts on that?
Mike Doyle: I think everyone’s different. I think genetics plays a huge role and also, just how motivated you are. Someone like Bill Ramsey, who I have the upmost respect for, he wakes up early and the first thing he does is start warming up. Well, the first thing he does is get coffee and the second thing he does is start warming up and then he stretches, and stretches, and stretches. Warms up and stretches so his warm-up is probably four or five hours before he’s ‘trying hard,’ whereas some kids, they step out of their car and they go and get on their project right away.
I think as you get older, the warm-up becomes much more important and then having a routine where you can adjust based on how you’re feeling, based on how your body’s feeling, paying more attention to your body. Like, ‘Okay, my left bicep is a little tight today therefore I need to stretch it out and do this warm-up a little bit more,’ as opposed to being like, ‘Oh, left bicep is a little tender. Whatever. I’m going to go campus.’
Neely Quinn: Right.
Mike Doyle: I think, as you get older, as long as you’re motivated you can still climb hard. There’s going to be a limit at some point but Bill Ramsey is trying one of the hardest routes he’s ever tried. He’s putting in a lot of effort on it and it’s incredible to watch. I don’t think that Necessary Evil will be hardest thing I ever do. It might be the most time spent dedicated to it but it’s not to say I’ve peaked or anything like that. I believe my body is capable of doing more. Whether my mind is, that’s a different issue. I did make a lot of sacrifices so whether or not I’m willing to make those again, it’s just a tricky back-and-forth on that.
Neely Quinn: Yeah.
Mike Doyle: But yeah, definitely when you’re younger you recover faster, you do more workouts, you can do harder workouts, you can climb on your rest days from working out, you can do all sorts of stuff that’s just different. Unless you’re willing to adapt as you get older then yeah, you’ll quit climbing and move on. If you think that everything will feel the same all the time, then you’re being delusional, honestly.
Neely Quinn: It sounds like you’ve definitely learned more about your body’s limits over the years. I’m not saying you’re old. Obviously, we’re about the same age, but I wonder how many more good years I have left where I can push myself as hard as I want to push myself.
Mike Doyle: I mean, that’s a tough question. You just have to listen to your body and I think I have to be smarter, I have to eat better, I have to sleep. Sleep becomes more important, rest becomes more important. On rest days I used to route set for eight hours. I thought that was a rest day because I wasn’t actually climbing, but that’s just silly now when I look at it.
Neely Quinn: Okay, so the other thing that I always talk to people about is nutrition, like your personal diet, and also bodyweight. Can you talk to me about your personal diet?
Mike Doyle: My personal diet – I don’t really follow anything strict. I try to eat healthy and obviously everyone has a different opinion of what that is but I eat carbs. Almost every morning I’ll have oatmeal with peanut butter and banana in it for breakfast. Then, just depending on what I’m doing for the day, like if I’m out climbing, I’ll actually enjoy bars. I think they’re easy to carry around, a great source of nutrients, and then an apple or something like that and then lots of water. In the evening it just depends on what I’ve done that day. If I do go out to dinner I try to eat a chicken or turkey burger or something like that with salad.
The tricky thing is when you are trying to perform at a high level, dialing that in. I don’t think there’s one nutrition or one diet that fits everyone. It’s the same thing with one training plan that suits everyone. I think unfortunately, you kind of have to experiment with yourself and figure out what works for you. Fortunately, over the years I’ve kind of made that happen.
When I was kind of trying to drop weight I was still eating probably over 2,000 calories a day but I really cut out the sugars and I wouldn’t eat too much. After a workout I would try to have something like rice and chicken or something like that, that was low fat but had some nutrients there. What I started doing this year as well is, if I had a big workout, I would actually do some vegan protein shakes. I would have that right before going to bed and I felt that that actually helped with my recovery more than having it after the workout. Whether or not that was placebo or mental, I have no idea, but it seemed to help me recover better.
Neely Quinn: Okay.
Mike Doyle: And not as much beer, unfortunately, when I was trying to drop weight. It’s hard. You know Vegas. It’s a social scene.
Neely Quinn: So you were just hitting the hard liquor more.
Mike Doyle: Definitely. If I went out it was more wine, a little bit of Woodford on the rocks.
Neely Quinn: Nice. What about supplements?
Mike Doyle: I find if I do protein supplements or things like that, I do bulk up. When I was training I was using the Vega protein powder but I don’t really do too much in terms of vitamin supplements or anything like that. Again, that’s not to say that I shouldn’t, I just haven’t really spent the time researching it to be effective with it.
Neely Quinn: What do you think about – real quick, synopsis – what do you think about people doping in the climbing community? Like, using testosterone or HGH or things like that.
Mike Doyle: You and I have had this discussion. As long as you’re honest about it, I don’t really care. I mean, it’s a recreational sport. I think if you’re competing then it should be a level playing field and you shouldn’t do it. The IFSC is under the WADA anti-doping rules and I think that’s appropriate but I think if you’re just climbing recreationally and you want to do it and you think you can do it safely, I don’t mind, but I think you should be honest about it. To me, it is similar to taking a soft grade for a route. You know it’s not that bad, you’re just trying to promote yourself in a way that I don’t think is honest.
If you’re honest about your use of it, I don’t have a problem with it, if you think you can do it healthy. I haven’t done the research into the health of it, lack of health of it, that kind of stuff so that would be my biggest worry. I had heard, back when I was coaching and people were kind of talking about it, I would always say, “Oh, you know, steroids make your tendons weak.” I don’t know if they do or not. I’m sure there’s pros and cons. Creatine was a big thing kind of in the late ‘90s. I never did it but I know people that did and then you always heard these rumors that you became creatine-dependant.
As long as you’re honest with what you’re doing, you’re fine. I don’t really – I wouldn’t get mad at you. If I find out afterwards that you were doing it and making all these newsworthy ascents – yeah, it’s a little bit of cheating I think, but if you’re honest with it, that’s fine.
Neely Quinn: That’s a very balanced approach to that, I think.
Mike Doyle: I mean, everyone’s got their own take on this sport. There’s no defined rules in outdoor climbing. I mean, Ondra, for Necessary Evil, refused to take the first bolt stick clipped. He was like, ‘Nope. It’s just one move to clip it.’ I was like, ‘Okay, that’s a better style than what I’ve done it as with the first bolt stick clipped so kudos to you,’ but I don’t think it takes away from my ascent or any of the previous ascents. It adds to his ascent but it’s not like I was hiding the fact that I was stick clipping the first bolt. It was the way everyone had done it before. I offered the stick clip to him and he was like, ‘No, I can clip it.’ I was like, ‘Okay, good for him. Go for it.’
Neely Quinn: Yeah. [laughs] The first boulder is right off the ground, the .14c boulder, right?
Mike Doyle: Yeah, and just for me, even making that clip with the bad feet would be a challenge. I mean, I would be able to do it but it would definitely set me up for potentially falling on my belayer or something. It’s not a great landing area there but he was confident enough on his onsight to just clip it. I was spotting him pretty closely and I was just terrified that he would slip because the feet are quite bad there, but when he came down, for his redpoint he clipped it as well so – I think it was his first redpoint that he was clipping the draw. I’m not sure.
Neely Quinn: He didn’t put that on 8a.
Mike Doyle: I wasn’t there for every redpoint. It was kind of funny because he was like, ‘No, that’s not necessary to stick clip,’ which is true.
Neely Quinn: Yeah. Was it pretty awesome watching him do that on his third go?
Mike Doyle: I mean, I would have called it second go except technically it was third go. I mean, the first go was up five moves and then he came down so technically yes, third go, and it was awesome. It was more awesome watching his onsight attempt. It was just so casual, the redpoint attempt was in the bag leaving the ground. There was no chance he was going to fall. It was like the way I would feel on a 5.11. I have no idea. It was in the bag leaving the ground. Let’s just say that.
Neely Quinn: I wish I would have been up there that day. That sounds awesome.
Okay, I have one last question before I let you go. I want to talk a little bit about bodyweight. The last time I saw you, you were bigger than you are now. Not in a bad way, but the first thing I said to you when you walked in our door a few weeks ago was, “Oh my god, you’re so skinny!” And you were. What do you think that does for your climbing and what do you think about being super skinny for yourself all the time?
Mike Doyle: Well, I think – first of all, I don’t think anyone would ever call me skinny, but I get it. It’s the unfortunate reality of this sport that your bodyweight is your biggest hindrance. If you can drop five pounds of weight – you know, you can drop five pounds of weight in a week pretty easily, but to put on the strength required to, like if you put on a five pound weight vest, and to put on the strength required to carry that five pound weight vest up a route, it’s much more challenging.
I believe I lost weight in an effective way, in a healthy way. Like I said, I was still eating over 2,000 calories a day but I was stepping up my exercise output, like cardio output, and reducing the amount of weight training and stuff like that that I was doing. I didn’t just lose fat and become a skeleton. I mean, I’m still muscular, I still have a lot of muscle mass, it’s just the way it’s always going to be but yeah, it’s unfortunate. I worry more about younger athletes kind of trying to take that as an easy way out and there’s been many stories, especially in the World Cup circuit, of people that peak for three or four years and then just can’t maintain it.
I don’t know if anyone can really maintain super, super light but I can probably maintain. I mean, this past summer I was around 155 but then normally I walk around at 142/143 casually and I dropped to 137 for Necessary. Even two weeks later, and I’ve been celebrating with friends and stuff, I’m all of 138. I’m not putting on – it’s not like I was holding myself down there.
I think it’s an important thing. Learning how to ‘hit your fighting weight’ is an important thing and being able to feel good about it. I mean, I don’t feel like I was starving myself. It took six months to drop 16 pounds. I don’t feel like I was losing energy or anything like that. I think those are all things you have to be aware of but that’s a good sign that you’re not starving yourself. If you don’t have the energy, if you can’t get through a workout because you don’t have the energy, it’s all back to the diet and training. You kind of have to experiment with yourself, unfortunately. It’s the nature of this sport. Talk to people about it and try to get some guidance but what one person suggests versus what another person suggests are going to be slightly different so you need to maybe pick and choose.
When people ask me, ‘What’s the best training program?’ you’re not going to know unless you stick with it for six months. Unfortunately, yes – that’s six months of your life but then you’ll know: okay, that didn’t work or this was effective from that training, this was not. Eventually, by the time you’re my age, wise and old, you’ll have a better semblance of how all that works. I’m sure I will change. Next year I’ll probably find something a little bit different or tweak something and who knows?
The people that bounce around between three different programs and diets every three weeks. You’ve got no [sound cuts out].
Neely Quinn: Wait, what was that? You kind of cut out.
Mike Doyle: I’m sorry. People that jump around between different diets and different training regimens every three weeks or four weeks, they have no idea what actually works for them. You need to stick with something for six months and really see what it does to your body before you really know if it was effective or not.
Neely Quinn: So basically what you’re saying is being super light isn’t a super sustainable thing all the time and that losing weight in a slow manner is much healthier for your climbing and health than crash diets.
Mike Doyle: Yeah, I believe so, but everyone is different. Some people are lean. Some people can’t put on weight. If you can’t put on weight then you’re probably not healthy losing weight. I think everyone is a little different. For me, I’ve put on weight slowly and I took weight off slowly and I did it in a controlled and safe manner. Other people can do that as well. I don’t think crash diets are the way to go but if you’re trying to peak for a competition it’s a little bit different because you have a fixed date as opposed to redpointing, where you have a season or longer period of time where you need to maintain energy.
Neely Quinn: Do you ever coach people now?
Mike Doyle: No, I don’t. I got kind of burned. I’ll answer emails or I’ll help friends with specific things but no, I don’t officially coach at all.
Neely Quinn: Well, I have one last question, actually. I keep saying that but you know how you were talking about your finger strength program that you did? Who do you think that’s okay for? Like, who do you think should not be doing that kind of thing?
Mike Doyle: Well, the reality is that my training is kind of based on the periodization method where – that was from competing, where I knew in January that I would have to peak in September so I would build up the strength and then switch to power endurance and that kind of thing.
I think the method I do is, if you have the time and you’re not planning on performing quickly, if you’re willing to take the time and have a slow build-up and during the time that you’re training, you’re willing to have adequate rest and not worry about your performance, people that want to climb hard every weekend and then fingerboard throughout the week wouldn’t do well with what I suggest. I think it would be too aggressive. If you’re willing to take three months and not climb at your peak and know that, when it’s all said and done, you will be climbing better, then I think my program is more effective or more suited for those people.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, it seems like that’s one of the biggest issues with people wanting to train, because simultaneously we all want to be performing well but that just doesn’t work.
Mike Doyle: Yeah, and because of the fact – it’s kind of a blessing in disguise – because I got hurt up at Mount Charleston in the summer of 2013, I didn’t want to go up to Mount Charleston at all in 2014. I was busy with work and I had time to fingerboard so I had to take time off climbing, fingerboard, and focus on Necessary Evil.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, well you did it so great work.
Mike Doyle: I did. Thank you.
Neely Quinn: There’s nowhere that people can find you online, right? I mean, I know that there’s that PDF that you created for climbing training that is all over online but is there anywhere else that people can follow you?
Mike Doyle: I do have a website but I don’t update it that often. It’s just www.mikedoyle.ca (link no longer available). It has some links to some training stuff that I wrote. A PDF plus an article that I wrote for Rock & Ice that I wrote a few years ago. I keep meaning to go back and update but I haven’t. Then, you can always follow my public profile on Facebook as well.
Neely Quinn: Well, I really appreciate your time. I’ve been wanting to ask you these questions for a while but this was the venue I was waiting for so thank you.
Mike Doyle: Thank you for your time.
Neely Quinn: Yeah. Alright, I’ll see you soon.
Mike Doyle: Great. Take care.
Neely Quinn: Thanks so much for listening to episode 18 of the TrainingBeta podcast. I’m your host, Neely Quinn, as always and that was Mike Doyle. You can find him online at www.mikedoyle.ca (link no longer available), because he’s Canadian.
This week I actually have two more interviews coming up. I’m doing an interview with Eric Horst and one with Dave MacLeod, which I’m really excited about because those guys are pretty famous climbing trainers and I’m sure they’ll give us a lot of wisdom.
In other news with TrainingBeta, we’ve actually been working super hard on our new route climbing training program. We have our bouldering strength and power subscription program where you get three new workouts every week and we’re going to be doing the same thing but just for route climbers. That’s going to be with Kris Peters as well, so hopefully that will be out on April 15, just a couple weeks from now.
In the meantime, though, you’re welcome to check out our other training programs and you can find those at www.trainingbeta.com under the ‘Training Programs’ tab. We have our, like I said, our bouldering strength and power program, our six-week power endurance program, our endurance program, our nutrition guide, our injury prevention guide, and our strength guide, so there’s plenty on there for everybody and yeah, we’re just going to keep doing our best to give you good resources.
Thanks for the support. Thanks for listening, and I will talk to you soon. Until then, happy training.
Thanks for listening!