Try It Out: Rock Climbing
Are you so over the gym? Maybe scaling a 60 feet tall mountain is more your style! Sasha DiGiulian, 19, has been rock climbing since she was seven. Find out what she loves about the sport and if it is right for you.
Seventeen: Rock climbing is such a cool sport, but not one girls typically think to explore. How did you get into it?
Sasha DiGiullian: I started rock climbing when I was seven at my brother’s birthday party. We went to a local climbing gym and I just really liked it. Going higher and higher was so exhilarating! I think it also helped that I was better than my brother.
17: How did you keep rock climbing after that?
SD: I joined the local climbing center in Alexandria, Virginia where I live, and just started gradually going there at first once a week, then twice a week, and gradually more often. One day when I was nine, I walked into the climbing center and a competition was going on — a regional championship. I had no idea there even were climbing competitions! Even though I hadn’t done the previous competitions to qualify, the judges let me compete, and I won in my category! Then, I started investigating competitive rock climbing and started training more seriously.
17: Do you work in a team?
SD: There is no team. It’s an individual sport and that’s what I really like about it. Your success is driven by yourself and you’re not dependent on anyone else.
17: How do you train for competitions?
SD: I climb, run, and do ab workouts. I do basic strength-to-weight ratio workouts like pull-ups and push-ups. Climbing really works your upper body and core, so you want to have really strong abs and strength-to-weight ratio.
17: Do you climb both inside and outside?
SD: I do most of my climbing outside. My biggest accomplishment was doing an 80-feet-steep climb in the Red River Gorge. The route was graded a 9A, which is the hardest any female has achieved.
17: What do you eat to give yourself the energy you need?
SD: Some of my favorite breakfast foods are bananas, oatmeal, and eggs, and I bring energy bars to eat when I’m climbing. The night before a competition, I eat a big pasta dish to carb up so I have energy to climb. The most important thing to have after a workout is protein. My favorite form of protein is fish. I love salmon. The way your body reacts to what you eat makes it worth it to eat healthy. A lot of it is just listening to your body and knowing how to fuel your muscles and giving yourself the energy you need to perform your best.
17: You’ve got such long hair! What’s your go-to hairstyle when you work out?
SD: The French braid. It is so key! It actually holds better when your hair is a little dirty, so after working out you can put your hair in a French braid and you look totally put together.
17: What beauty products do you stash in your gym bag?
SD: Even though rock climbing is pretty rugged, I’m actually quite girly! I always like to have my nails painted, even when I’m climbing. My favorite color is hot pink.
17: Do you like guys that are as sporty as you are?
SD: I go for sporty guys. I like guys who are self driven and confident in themselves.
Head to Sasha’s website to check out her upcoming climbs. Are any of you rock climbers? Is it a sport you could see yourself getting into? Share your thoughts below!
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