Legendary rock climber Alex Honnold has risen to new heights of fame in recent years, following his epic free solo climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. With National Geographic documentary makers following his climb, people were able to watch nervously with incredibly sweaty palms as he completed the 3000ft climb sans ropes.
For many, free solo climbing is a sport hard to understand when it regularly risks the persons life, but it is for these exact reasons we are so intrigued by it. We want to understand why climbers do it and what it takes to overcome the mental barriers of fear and exhaustion.
Luckily, Alex has been involved in many mini-films including one with Munchies to help satisfy peoples curiosities and has revealed the dietary lifestyle needed to achieve such feats.
Now one would assume Alex needs a high meat protein, high carb diet to provide him with enough energy and muscle strength to hold on tight to the rock face, but that is not the case.
In actual fact, Alex lives off a fully vegetarian diet after transitioning from a meat diet in 2012. Conscious of the impact diet had on the body and environment, Alex decided to achieve a more mindful and wholesome way of living through cutting out meat and dairy products. He also explains he has never drunk alcohol, comparing his life to that of a Mormon but ‘without the religion’.
Many will ask where he gets his protein from to achieve a muscular build but Alex explains that a climber actually doesn’t need that many calories compared to those who complete more high octane sports. He explains how important it is for him to achieve a steady light weight to easily lift himself up and to also not fluctuate weight in order to accommodate his varying sub-disciplines of climbing.
A typical daily diet for Alex would be muesli, raspberries and almond milk for breakfast followed by healthy snacks of bananas and apples and ending with something quick for dinner like Mac’n’Cheese. Important for climbers is not to overeat and feel sluggish, instead to eat little snacks at rest points throughout the activity.
Although admitting he is a lazy cook, Alex does take pride in his long term health, checking labels of food items to ensure they are providing nutritional value. Clear to see is that he wants to continue climbing for the rest of his life and his veggie diet appears to be aiding his long term health and physical capabilites. It also provides valid further evidence of the benefits of a meat free lifestyle.