Hailing from Scottsdale, Arizona, 23-year-old Sierra Blair-Coyle has been competing professionally since the age of 14. Voted one of the Top 99 Most Outstanding Women of 2015 by AskMen, she has also been a World Cup Competitor (2010-2016), and was a two-time National Champion as a junior competitor. Sierra graduated in May 2016 from Arizona State University with a degree in marketing. She now enjoys traveling the world competing and doing what she loves full-time.
HealthGreatness: You started rock climbing when you were 14, that’s definitely a different choice than your regular sports like soccer or lacrosse, how did you get into rock climbing?
Sierra: actually started climbing when I was 8, I started climbing professionally when I was 14. I got into climbing at a local mall by my house. There was a small climbing wall there and I would beg my parents to take me back everyday to climb! I loved it so much that I told my parents I wanted to become a professional rock climber. At the time they didn’t know that climbing was an organized sport. Luckily a few weeks later there was an article in the newspaper on a local climbing team. Once my mom saw that article she took me to the gym and I joined the team!
HealthGreatness: You are a beast at rock climbing and have been competing for years, what is your weekly training schedule like?
Sierra: Usually I climb 3 days on, 1 day off, then repeat! On the first and third day of my climbing days I strength train in the morning, do a lajstice (it’s basically a ladder at a 35 degree angle that you climb up and down with your arms) workout midday, then climb at night. On the second day I just climb, which is a great break from the 3 workouts I do on the first and third day!
HealthGreatness: What are some of your favorite exercises for this sport?
Sierra: I love doing burpee pull ups. They’re really fun and translate well to climbing. Other than that I like to do V ups, hollow body holds, step ups, off-set pull ups, and dips.
HealthGreatness: What is your diet like when you are competing?
Sierra: My diet is mainly fruits, veggies, and lean meats. A typical pre competition meal for me would be some type of meat and sweet potatoes with coconut oil. I also eat a lot of salads and drink a lot of veggie juice to make sure I get enough greens.
HealthGreatness: You compete all over the world in the most beautiful scenic places, what is your favorite place to climb?
Sierra: Honestly my favorite place to climb is Priest Draw in Flagstaff, Arizona. It’s in my home state, but I have always loved it. I also loved climbing at Kalymnos in Greece, it was beautiful!
HealthGreatness: What are some tips you can give beginner climbers or someone who wants to get started in climbing?
Sierra: The best way to get started in climbing is to literally just try it! If you go into your local climbing gym and get a day pass you will have an awesome time. Generally the staff and other climbers are incredibly helpful and are more than willing to point you in the right direction. After your first time climbing it’s important to remember that your skin, hands, and forearms won’t hurt that badly every time you climb 🙂 Once you’re into climbing I think the best thing you can do is climb as much as possible so you gain a great knowledge of movements and build your technique and strength. As you progress your workouts narrow down…but as a beginner the best thing you can do is climb!
HealthGreatness: You have been competing over 6 years, what are you goals for the next few years?
Sierra: Now that I am out of University I am enjoying just focusing on climbing. I hope to continue to improve my climbing abilities and placements at the World Cup’s. I am really looking forward to pushing myself as much as possible!
HealthGreatness: When not competing, what do you like to do for fun?
Sierra: I’m definitely a big relaxer…I have binge watched many shows on Netflix! I also really love baking/cooking, reading, watching movies, and going on adventures (non-climbing related!).
HealthGreatness: Do you have a motto you live by?
Sierra: I am definitely quote obsessed, but I have always liked “train hard, win easy”. Another one of my favorite is “The highest compliment you can pay me is to say that I work hard every day, that I never dog it” -Wayne Gretzky.
HealthGreatness: We never interviewed a rock climber before and it seems like an under-rated sport, what do you want people to know about rock climbing?
Sierra: Rock climbing is really fun and if you follow the proper safety precautions it is a very safe sport! There is always some risk, but I think many people view it as dangerous.