Name: Jose Rodriguez
Hometown: Pembroke Pines, FL
Sport: Rock Climbing/Mountaineering
Affiliations/Groups: American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA), American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE), Access Fund, Boulder Climbing Community (BCC)
Social Media: @Joserock_
Websites: movementgyms.com, denvermountainguiding.com
- Why did I first choose my sport?
As a kid from sea level Florida, I was incredibly inspired and captivated by the mountains of Colorado. When I discovered mountaineering and rock climbing, I knew that’s what I needed to be doing. The climbing community felt welcoming in my beginning stages and the climbers I knew were so strong, daring, and confident when climbing. I admired their skills and poise on what seemed like the most precarious positions. The fact that the sport of climbing brought fantastic all-consuming adventure in the most beautiful landscapes I had ever seen did not hurt either. I was hooked.
- Why do I continue to play my sport?
Climbing to me is part of who I am. It’s a sport, it’s a lifestyle, it’s what I do. I love how it ties in physical and mental ability. It’s being able to pull through hard crux moves or holding on to the tiniest of edges while moving quickly and efficiently. It’s about knowing when and how to place gear, staying focused and controlling your body’s obvious reaction to gravity. It’s facing and working through fear. Climbing is a great puzzle and involves problem solving. For example, moving my foot two inches to the right on this part of the route will save me just enough energy for the next move, and then figuring out which sequence of moves gets you to the top.
- If I could achieve anything I wished for in my sport, what would it be?
More inclusion of people that do not have the opportunity to participate in this wonderful activity. Personal goals would include climbing harder grades as I progress, but the adventure part of climbing has always been what drives me. Travelling more and climbing classic trad routes (like El Cap!) is the dream. The path right now is to continue training and make this more of a career by becoming a guide. And of course, who doesn’t want to climb 5.13 someday?
- What are the physical things I do really well in my sport?
Physically, I am fairly strong and get there with consistent training and effort. I can hang on that 6mm edge or make big powerful dynamic moves, but I excel in the techy, balance focused, and thoughtful problems.
- What are the mental things I do really well in my sport?
Mentally, I have always been able to focus and find that flow state needed to succeed in climbing. I am quickly problem solving for beta and gear placements, while staying focused on movement and breathing. Honestly, if I said I was never scared climbing hundreds of feet off the ground, I would be lying. Finding that ability to step back in your mind, understand the situation, your skills and your limitations, and making the decision to move forward confidently or retreat responsibly is what keeps my mental focus.
- How physically fit/strong do I need to be for my sport?
There is tons of technique and skills that will help someone succeed in climbing, but of course physical fitness plays a large part. Training and getting stronger allows you to move more confidently and efficiently. If a certain route has moves that are at your limit, then you might not get that far, but if you can train hard enough to make these moves be only 80% of your max then you will most likely send.
- What skills and attributes do the best athletes have in my sport?
The top athletes in climbing all have one thing in common and that is a passion for the sport. They all have different training styles and regiments, all have different goals, and different processes to achieve those goals, but they all possess a certain level of skill, strength, and most important that ability to try hard and give it their full focus.
- What do I need to do to make sure I’m physically prepared for my sport?
To be physically prepared, I write out training plans specific to my goals. Then it is about consistency and effort to make sure I am ready. My training plans vary week to week, but will include high-power limit bouldering, endurance rope climbing, aerobic linked sessions, conditioning, stretching, opposing muscle workouts, fingerboard repeaters, and more stretching. For me it’s easy to stay focused, but sometimes harder to plan important rest and recovery days.
- How many hours of sleep do I need each night?
More! Always more. I hardly ever feel like I get enough sleep. Life fills up my days quickly, but I strive to give my body plenty of that sleep that it needs. 6-7 hours seems to be the minimum, but there are times that sleeping in or nap time is essential.
- How do I make sure I get a sound night’s sleep?
Slow down at least an hour before bed. No TV and minimal screen time. I often meditate or read to calm the mind and allow for a better night’s rest.
- How do I know if my recovery is working?
I will feel well rested with no aches and pains. I will look at my training plan and be excited and ready to climb or workout, and not just do it because it’s on the schedule for that day. Listen to your body and it will often tell you when it’s ready to get back on the rock.
- What about sport brings me the most joy?
Climbing brings me extraordinary joy. Something about combining mental focus and physical ability brings me to a flow state where everything clicks. Nothing else can come into your mind. When you’re up on a 1000-foot cliff there’s nothing else like it in the world; it’s total freedom.
- How important is achieving my sporting goals to me?
To me, achieving my sport goals is also achieving my career goals and life goals; its everything.
- Where does confidence come from?
Confidence comes from knowing yourself and your abilities. Training and getting stronger builds confidence. Climbing outside and mileage on rock builds confidence. Knowing your limits separates confidence from cockiness, and in this sport, injury or worse.
- What am I going to change tomorrow to make me better than I was today?
Figure out the things that truly bring me happiness and make those things more of a priority in my life. We are only on this great big rock for so long, so no reason to waste time on things that don’t have a meaningful impact on our lives.
- Any other info you want to share about yourself or your sport?
Get out and climb! Hire a guide and learn the skills and techniques to keep you safe or just hire them to take you on an incredible adventure. Check out your local climbing gym and practice the basics or get a feel for the sport by pulling on plastic before getting outside.