Food is fuel, and as climbers, that fuel is necessary to try hard in training or sending the project. But it can prove challenging to time eating around climbing, especially when it’s normal to constantly be on the go. Whether going straight to the rock climbing gym from a busy day of work, school, errands, or on an outdoor climbing trip where you are at the crag for hours, determining what and how much food to pack isn’t always the easiest. In these situations, it may also lead to grabbing whatever is around or quickest, which might not provide the best energy source.

But rock climbing nutrition doesn’t have to be overly complicated. It’s essential to consciously fuel and consume enough to power you through your sessions, but there are a few simple tips to make it easy as pie (okay, maybe don’t fuel with pie every day, but you get the idea!).

Tips For Keeping up Rock Climbing Nutrition on the Go!

Rock Climbing Nutrition on the Go
  1. Focus on Performance Plates

Performance plates are a great way to decide what food groups – carbs, fats, protein, and color – to prioritize when you eat. There are easy, medium, and hard performance plates. Depending on your climbing or training session that day, use the corresponding performance plate to ensure your meals and snacks give you adequate energy composition.

Easy Performance Plate: ½ fruit and veggies, ¼ protein, ⅙-¼ carbs, and a tiny bit of fat.


  • Apple with peanut butter and carrots with hummus
  • A handful of roasted edamame (or beef jerky)
  • A pita or serving of crackers (with more hummus or dip)

Medium Performance Plate: ⅓ fruit and veggies, ⅓ protein, ⅓ carbs, and a tiny bit of fat


  • Bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, or snap peas
  • 1-2 servings of tofu or chicken
  • Rice, crackers, or sweet potatoes
  • Add sauce or avocado

Hard Performance Plate: ½ carbs, ¼ protein, ¼ fruit and veggies, and a tiny bit of fat.


  • ½-1 cup of Rolled Oats
  • Add nut or seed butter.
  • Add frozen or fresh fruit.
  • Add hemp seeds, flax seeds, and cinnamon.
  • Add granola and/or protein powder.

Note: every performance plate includes “a tiny bit of fat,” but healthy fats are okay to increase depending on your hunger level and meal.

  1. Pack Lots of Snacks and a Variety of Options

The worst place to be is getting to a point in the day when you are ravenous and don’t have any food left. An easy way to prevent this is to pack more than enough snacks. You can save uneaten snacks for the following day as long as they aren’t perishable. But you’d rather have extra than not enough, especially if not having enough means you pick up a Snickers bar at the gym right before training (don’t get us wrong, please enjoy a Snickers bar now and then, but it’s not the optimal nutrition choice to help you achieve your goals and feel good).  

This tip is great if you don’t have time to sit down and eat a proper meal during the day. Having a substantial selection of nutrient-dense snacks will go a long way in preventing crashes and underperforming.

            Examples (pick as many as needed but at least 4):

  • Pre-made protein shake or smoothie
  • Crackers with dip
  • Apple, Berries, or any easy-to-eat fruit
  • Nut/Seed Butter Jar or Packets (If you bring a jar don’t forget a knife or spoon!)
  • Protein or granola bar
  • PB&J or Turkey Sandwich
  • Trail Mix
  • Carrots, bell peppers, snap peas, or any easy-to-eat veggie
  • Homemade muffins or other baked goods (we encourage you to eat these simple carb sources in moderation.)
  1. Embrace Pre-made, pre-packaged, and single-serve food options.

When you think about fueling for rock climbing and performance goals, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking you must eat healthy, meal-prepped options. But, when you live a busy life and have other demands, it is unrealistic to expect you to spend your entire Sunday or every morning making healthy snacks and meals.

So many great and healthy options come pre-made or in single-serve sizes and are perfect for grabbing on the go. Don’t hesitate to choose these options because you didn’t make them. Here are some of our favorites!

  • Cracker packs
  • Applesauce or smoothie pouches
  • Popcorn packs
  • Roasted Edamame or Chickpeas
  • Yogurt smoothies
  • Protein shakes
  • Frozen single-serve burritos or smoothie packs
  • Single-serve oatmeal cups
  • Any granola bar or protein bar
  • Microwaveable veggie packs or beans/lentils
  • Precooked chicken or tofu
  1. Hydrate, or Diedrate!

Okay, don’t die, but hydration is as important as the food you consume. Hydrating on the go is difficult simply because it’s easy or you don’t want to pee constantly. As silly and cliche as it sounds, the best way to ensure you drink enough is to put your water in a fun bottle. Maybe it’s your favorite color, you buy a new one, or it has a straw. Whatever it is, do what you have to do! Also, try sipping it throughout the day and before you eat to ensure you’re constantly hydrated. And, if you have to pee, pee! Using the bathroom frequently is 100% normal if you’re hydrated, so there’s no shame!

 Lastly, as a climber and athlete, adding electrolytes into your hydration routine is essential, replacing sodium and potassium lost when exercising. There are so many options to include, from Gatorade to Electrolyte powders. Don’t get too bogged down in the weeds, but pick one that fits your budget and you like and try to incorporate once a day, or at the very least, on those hard climbing days or long days outside at the crag.

Hopefully, you’ve reached this point with a toolkit of on-the-go nutrition ideas and confidence that you can fuel rock climbing on the go. Every snack or meal idea is possible to make 15 minutes or less. Better yet, many are available for purchase as pre-made options at the store. It’s also vital to understand that all food fits as long as you diversify your plate and get the proper amounts of carbs, proteins, color, and fats. If you have any other questions, comments, or concerns about climbing nutrition for a busy lifestyle, let us know in the comments below!