ClimbSci is an evidence-based webcast covering scientific topics related to climbing and climbers, notably nutrition, training, recovery, and performance. Hosted by Brian Rigby (Climbing Nutrition), and Tom Herbert (usefulcoach).


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Episode 03 - Fat

In the third episode of ClimbSci, we discuss fat and how it fits into energy provision and health.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the show, want us to investigate something specifically, or know any guests we should interview; please leave them in the YouTube comments, or head over to Brian’s page facebook/climbingnutrition and leave them on the wall.

Energy System Contribution

As mentioned in previous podcast on Carbohydrate, the energy systems overlap in their contribution to overall energy needs. Glucose (carbohydrates) are most importantly used without oxygen present “anaerobic glycolysis”, and with oxygen present “aerobic glycolysis”. However fat however can only be metabolised when oxygen is present “oxidative phosphorylation”.

Contents / Navigation

These timecodes are clickable when viewing on Youtube.


All studies below were specifically cited in this episode. In general, if a study was not cited in the episode, we do not cite it here—even if we base a claim on it or similar studies. Expertise is a culmination of the time spent studying a topic, and it is not always practical to fully cite the research that has informed our professional opinion. If you have a question regarding the source of a specific claim we make, please contact us.


  • Volek,J. (2015). Metabolic characteristics of keto-adapted ultra-endurance runners. (Open Access)
  • Hamley, S. (2017). The effect of replacing saturated fat with mostly n-6 polyunsaturated fat on coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. (Open Access)
  • Kratz, M. (2002). Effects of dietary fatty acids on the composition and oxidizability of low-density lipoprotein. (Open Access)
  • Mensink, R. (2003). Effects of dietary fatty acids and carbohydrates on the ratio of serum total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipids and apolipoproteins: a meta-analysis of 60 controlled trials. (Open Access)

Further Reading

  • Episode 03 - Fat

    Discussing fat and how it fits into energy provision and health.

  • Episode 02 - Carbohydrate

    Discussing the science of carbohydrate requirements for climbers. Why dietary carbohydrate is essential for optimising training, performance, and recovery.

  • Episode 01 - Protein

    Discussing the science of protein requirements for climbers. Optimising meals, timing, training support, supplementation, and more.


Brian Rigby

Brian Rigby is a climber, sports nutritionist, and writer; he’s not so bad at handstands, either. He is the author behind Climbing Nutrition, a blog that aims to improve climbers’ understanding of how nutrition affects performance and help them climb better. Brian lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and two dogs, has a master of science in applied clinical nutrition, and is a certified (CISSN) sports nutritionist through the International Society for Sports Nutrition.

Climbing Nutrition / fb:climbingnutrition

Tom Herbert

Tom Herbert (aka “usefulcoach”) when not working full-time as a GNU/Linux System Administrator, works as a freelance strength and conditioning coach, and performance and change nutritionist certified (CISSN) through the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Based in London UK, Tom has worked with a number of Team GB climbers, and enjoys bouldering, long walks, longer sentences, and is a serial user of the Oxford comma.

usefulcoach / fb:usefulcoach / @usefulcoach