Jen Olson - 5 Tips for Getting Strong

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Five Tips for Getting Strong

By Jen Olson

I see myself as somewhat of a beginner at training for climbing, but I have been fortunate to receive some coaching from a handful of experts in the past couple years and I am seeing great results.  Hopefully this will motivate you to achieve your goals!  I have gotten a lot stronger in the last few months and I credit it to these five simple considerations: 

Go Booze Free

  • When you drink alcohol, you tend to eat more and in my case, it tends to be less healthy foods that I am eating as well.  Staying away from alcohol when you are training has obvious benefits but it may keep you away from the junk food too!
  • Don't be afraid to give yourself a couple of "special occasions" to have a glass of wine or your favorite drink. In the interests of full disclosure, I did celebrate my birthday with alcohol as well as Christmas.  Twice.  :-)
  • Another benefit of not drinking for a month or more is that when you do drink, you don’t need so much for a buzz!

Eat Real Food

  • This is pretty straight forward - lots of vegetables, fish, poultry and meat that are good for you, the less preservatives, hormones and words you can’t pronounce or grow in the back yard, the better.
  • Feeling strong and healthy is also a mental game. If you are eating right, your mental game is much stronger; you don’t have doubts about whether or not you are doing 110%.


  • Sleep helps recovery, recovery = performance. Rest days are so important. Sometimes I hate taking rest days or I get sick or I can’t train as much as I like due to life logistics. I have consistently been surprised by how much this doesn’t cause me set backs. Rest only helps my performances.
  • Sleep and rest days are precious.  Make sure you are listening to your body

Prevent Injuries by Training Opposition Muscles

  • I hate push-ups and dips and shoulder presses, chest flies, etc. but to not feel my elbows and shoulders swell up and inflame when I train is delightful.
  • Pulling hard means balancing out your routine with some opposition training. 
  • Try to begin and finish your workouts with this type of exercise.

Find Inspiring Goals

  • There is nothing easy about training alone or at a playground at night, sticking to a well-balanced diet or resting when you know you should but don't want to.  It's important to have inspiring goals to keep you going and give you a reason to commit to your training program.
  • Set some goals and write them down if you need to.
  • You have to be psyched on your goal. It has to appeal to you in some way either aesthetically or match the values in your life!  So get strong, get psyched and get after it!


Jen Olson is a long-time La Sportiva athlete who has competed in World Cup competitions around the globe.  This year she will be representing Canada at the Winter Olympics in Russia.




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