An Interview With Shauna Coxsey

For those who are unfamiliar with Shauna, she is one of the top female climbers in the world. Her consistent podium finishes in World Cup competitions, combined with her long list of hard outdoor climbing sends gives her an extremely impressive resume. Top this off with a friendly and upbeat attitude, and an ever-present smile, and you have the makings of a rock star.


I got a chance to meet and chat with Shauna when she was in town for a World Cup not too long ago.

EYMon your website, you mention that it was Catherine Destivelle that inspired you to start climbing. What was it about her that was inspiring?
SC – It was a really long time ago that I first saw Catherine climbing on TV. I was only 3 years old. I don’t remember exactly what it was but I do remember being totally fascinated what she was doing! I later came to learn how influential she has been in the development of many aspects of the sport and she remains one of my biggest role models.

EYMwho have some of your mentors been on your climbing journey?
SC – I have had so many. The biggest and most important has to be my father. He gave up his evenings, weekends and holidays for years so that I could pursue my passion. I would’t be where I am now without him. There were many people that had a big impact on not only my climbing but my lifestyle and personality as I grew up. One of the things I love most about climbing is the social aspect that does’t seem to be as evident in other sports. My coach, Mark and my boyfriend, Ned are the most influential mentors in my life at the moment. I can not thank them enough for his patience and dedication.

EYMhow does it feel to be a mentor for other climbers?
SC – It’s a little bit overwhelming. I still get a flutter of excitement every time I get a email or message from a fan. It’s such an honour to have the opportunity to inspire and motivate people.

EYM - let’s talk a bit about injuries. You had a nasty one in 2012 when you broke your leg on a climbing trip. How did you find the recovery process?
SC – Breaking my leg was definitely a blessing in disguise. The recovery process was hard. I think retrospectively I tend to think of it as a much easier period than it actually but I tend to focus on the positives. It can be really hard to get motivated when your injured but I really believe that you can take positives from any situation and come out of the other side better off.

EYMhave you had any other injuries that you’ve had to deal with in your career?
SC – Not many at all. I have been really lucky. A few finger niggles here and there but nothing serious.
EYM - in your opinion, what’s the most important aspect or component of an elite training program?
SC – I think a lot of people get so absorbed into training that they forget to go climbing. I am a firm believer that climbing is the best training for climbing.

EYMproper movement in climbing is paramount, would you say you spend any specific amount of time training technique and movement?
SC – This actually fits in quite well with my answer to the previous question. I think the best way to train these aspects is on the wall doing a variety of different boulder problems. Especially on the angles you dislike the most.

EYM - in terms of nutrition, do you follow any specific eating habits?
SC – Not at the moment. I have tried lots of different ideas with regards to dieting but I find that eating healthy and enjoying food is the best approach.

EYM- In your opinion, what does it take to become a world champion?
SC – Commitment, hard work, dedication, determination and passion. (I think I could go on for a lot longer)

EYMyou’ve had some great success so far this year. Are you on track to completing your goals for the year?
SC – haha Yes! I am really excited about my achievements so far. I almost can’t believe how amazing this year has been!

EYMwhat other goals are on your list?
SC – Good question… think I need to write some new ones!

EYMdo you have any advice for up and coming young climbers that want to improve and/or break into the competition scene?
SC – Yes. I always say the same thing but it is what my Dad always used to tell me and still does now… Have fun!


You can catch Shauna and all the other world class climbers competing this weekend in Munich at the Bouldering World Championship. Check out the IFSC page for more details and a live stream of the event!

Evolving a different kind of movement (or getting rid of blind spots)

I’m going to break from the norm today and talk about something entirely different. While it still has implications to helping us evolve our movement, it has nothing to do with climbing or sports. What do I want to talk about? People’s blind spots when they’re driving.

Now, this isn’t going to be some non-sensical rant about how I got cut off on the highway. I’m talking about changing our perception of how we use our mirrors. Most people, when they look in their side view mirrors, end up seeing half their car, if not more. Why do you need to see the side of your car when you’re driving? It’s not going anywhere.

Instead, if you were to turn your mirrors out a little further so you no longer saw any part of your car, you would eliminate your blindspot entirely. That’s right, gone. No more craning your neck to see what’s beside you, no more close calls because you forgot to look. Now, a simple glance at your mirrors will tell you everything that is going on around you.

As a car leaves your rear view mirror, it will be in your side view mirror. As it leaves your side view mirror, it will be directly beside you where you can see it without having to turn your head. This is how you evolve your driving.

Usually, people get a bit freaked out when they try this because not seeing their car isn’t what they’re used to. Just as with any change, adaptation takes a little bit of time to get used to. Once you are used to this new way of driving, it will be hard going back to looking over your shoulder.

“What about when you’re backing up? How do I know where my car is in relation to whatever object I don’t want to hit?” Fair question, and it deserves a fair answer. Because you spend less time backing up then you do driving forward (at least I hope this is the case), a simple lean 2 inches to the left or right will bring the side of your car back into view, allowing you to parallel park like a champ.

Try it next time you’re out driving. Tilt your mirrors out a bit more and watch your blind spots disappear.

How Sweet It Is

Sugar. It comes many different forms, but it’s effects on the body can be devastating. When you eat something that’s loaded with sugar, your taste buds, your gut and your brain all take notice. The reward system in your brain is activated, and it’s very similar to how our bodies process addictive substances such as nicotine and alcohol. An overload of sugar spikes dopamine levels and leaves you craving more.

Check out the following video by Nicole Avena on how sugar affects the brain.

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