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Recovery

How do you prepare for the rigorous physical requirements of high elevation adventure? Strength and endurance are key, but are only part of a more complex equation. How do you prepare for changes in altitude, exposure, diet, etc.? How do you mentally prepare? Learn from others and share what you know about training in advance for outdoor adventures.
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Postby ridgeline » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:58 pm

"Since weight lifting causes microdamage at the cellular level, what are the principles of structural recovery for body builders?"

Steroids!



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Postby giantbrookie » Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:52 pm

To no surprise I have noticed a pretty good correlation between the severity of the trip and my own conditioning going to how beat up I feel after returning. If I'm in top condition I don't feel so bad after I return. If if there is a long drive coming back, sometimes I'd feel tired the next day because of lack of sleep given that I would be wired and unable to sleep for awhile upon returning home after being on alert to complete a late night drive. One thing that I noticed on my trips was that the degree of muscular soreness after a trip seemed to correlate with whether I took electrolyte replacement drinks (ERG, etc) regularly during the trip. When I didn't I was most certainly more sore. Of course there seems to be a different level of recovery I expect now versus when I was 25. When I was 25 I expected to be able to play basketball the very next day after I returned. In one case (when I was 25) I backpacked out of Cloverleaf Lake to Convict Lake, drove home and realized I still had time to change and suit up for a summer league basketball game that evening. My jump shot was a bit off, but I had the liveliest legs I had the entire summer season and I played the entire 40 minutes. I don't think I'd try that now, but, then again, I've retired from playing basketball because my body can't stay in one piece playing ball even if I don't return from a backpacking trip in the same day.
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Postby Ranboze » Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:53 pm

Beer in warm weather and wine in cool weather seem to do the trick for me! :nod: ;)
Walking outside is where I find what's inside.
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Postby Trekker » Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:20 am

Hmmm......there's that standup comic ridgeline again............. :lol:

Actually, he's right when it comes to a lot of the bodybuilders, but that's another story.

Ranboze, great questions. I'll try to answer them in a way that most can follow.

When it comes to metabolic recovery, we are talking first and foremost carbs. The first thing your body is going to want to do is get back to a positive energy balance, and that means replenishing the carbs utilized in the activities that were performed. With the exception of short sprints and limit or near limit lifting, carbs are the primary energy source for most activities. It is now well documented by science that the storage form of carbs in the muscle, glycogen, is replenished at a rate twice the normal rate in the first 2 or so hours right after exercise, so that would be a time you would want to get some carbs into your system to facilitate recovery. Carbs in liquid form are going to be the most rapidly available, whereas solid carbs in the form of regular food will generally take longer to digest and absorb, so this is the preferred form. It has also been shown that carbs + protein is absorbed more efficiently than carbs alone, and the best ratio for this is 4 carbs to 1 protein, which, incidentally, is the ratio in Endurox 4 and Accelerade, both developed by the late Edmund Burke, an Exercise Physiologist at the U. of Colorado who was also sports scientist for the U.S. Cycling team and I had the pleasure of meeting at one of the ACSM Research Conferences, where I attend presentations of the latest research.

As far as measuring recovery time, short of putting a person in a research lab and measuring such things as ability to achieve VO2 Max, RQ, or taking a muscle biopsy, it is hard to say when a person is completely replenished; suffice it to say that a well trained person on a proper diet aided by these types of supplements can expect to replenish in as little as 24 hrs, provided there is not much microtrauma to the muscle, which will increase the recovery time because it affects replenishment. Most athletes or their coaches have figured out over time where their recovery time lies. Of course a real easy way to figure out if you have recovered metabolically is whether you can do the same event at the same intensity as previously.

As far as physiological markers for structural recovery, microtrauma of the muscle fibers generally will lead to muscle soreness that typically peaks 24-48 hrs. following the event, hence the term DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. There has never been any documented evidence that active recovery, electrolyte drinks, stretching before or after, etc. will decrease muscle soreness or hasten the recovery time. Dehydration or lack of electrolytes may affect the degree of soreness, since muscle contraction is compromised; however, extra water or electrolytes don't make any difference. There is some evidence that certain types of protein will aid in the recovery time ie. repair of the microtrauma. What will help is conditioning such as the activity itself or something such as resistance training, and hormonal manipulation.........like steroids!

In terms of aiding recovery, nutrition of course is important (I'm not mentioning sleep-that's a given for ALL types of recovery) with carbs being important. Protein, of course, is important as well, but more so during the start of a new program as the body adapts by building more muscle. Generally a recovery supplement will have a higher ratio of protein in it as compared to the ratio found in an endurance recovery drink. Studies have shown that protein feedings before and after working out will aid in the growth of the muscle compared to just eating regular meals at regular times.

How do you know you're recovered? Well, if you do your activity again and you're still sore, you are not fully recovered, and, no, you can't work the soreness out, no matter what any pseudo-trainer might tell you. A more subtle way to tell is if your mechanics are different, or you start feeling aches and pains somewhere else while doing your activity; this may be a sign that your body is trying to compensate for muscles that are still not recovered.

The last type of recovery, of the neuroendocrine system, is a little more difficult to accomplish, because if you have overstressed this system, you are in an overtrained state. Severe overtraining will lead to what's called parasympathetic overtraining; see Kathy's first post if you want to know what some of the symptoms are. When you are at this point, you have to let your body rest and replenish, and, at least in terms of legal methods, there's not much you can do; this can last for weeks and even months. Nutrition will only help to a small extent at this point.

There are a number of ways to determine if you've reached this stage. The easiest way is to know what your waking heart rate is. If your HR is 3-5 beats or more above what it normally would be, you are potentially in an overtrained state and need to back off your training or activities in order to let your neuroendocrine system recover. Changes in sleep habits or time, mood swings, changes in appetite, and constant fatigue are also signs you may be in this stage.

Sorry for the long answer; I could actually go into more detail. :eek: Hope this helps answer some of the questions.
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Postby Snow Nymph » Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:33 pm

I've been using Endurox R4 for awhile and its working for me, along with other stuff! I've been feeling great, and I could have continued hiking after the Sierra Challenge if I didn't run out of vacation hours! :( I was supposed to be out there til the 20th, but couldn't take 47 hrs of NO PAY! :crybaby:

Good reply, Trekker!
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Postby Ranboze » Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:16 pm

Fantastic answers Trekker. I was thinking VO2 max might be a marker for recovery. When muscle cells are damaged, as you know, they release enzymes such as creatinine kinase. We use CK to measure muscle death in patients with rabdomyolysis. I wonder if there's any correlation with falling CK levels and recovery... or is a falling CK level just a marker of the end of cell death? Hmmm.

I think I'll get some Endurox 4 and give it a try.
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Postby ridgeline » Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:01 pm

Good job T, I use a heart rate monitor and watch for that higher heart rate just prior to a workout, especially if I am feeling tired. On a Mon. to Fri. five day routine I have the lowest rate prior to my workout on Mon after two days off. If it is five beats or more on Fri I will back off on cardio for that day.
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Postby Trekker » Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:23 am

Ranboze, I believe that CK was used in a lot of early research to measure anabolism vs. catabolism in skeletal muscle studies concerning resistance training, recovery, and studies of protein intake. Current studies have tended to use more sensitive markers, since I believe some of CK's properties were confounding the results. I'd have to look up some older research.

Interestingly, the current use of exogenous Creatine as an ergogenic aid in resistance training and power events has the potential to confound Creatinine results from measuring muscle breakdown if it is being ingested. Theoretically I guess it is possible that you could have a misdiagnosis of Rhabdomyolysis or MI in that case, although I haven't heard of any specific case. Not sure about CK, although I would guess there would be more upregulation of it in response to Creatine ingestion.

So, in answer to your question.......yes.........maybe..........not sure!
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Recovery and excess Red Cells

Postby Sierra Maclure » Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:54 am

Hey there. I'm new to this site but I had to chime in on this topic. I've had a consistent experience with lethargy and brain slow down after descending from trips above 11,000 feet. The longer and higher I'm up the worse it is and the longer it lasts after I return to sea level. I'm a clinical lab scientist, which means when you get your blood drawn, I'm the one who runs it thru the machines and looks at it under the microscope. I've tested my own red cell and hemoglobin counts before and after such trips. I've had a 25% increase in both. One time it took 3 weeks to recover. I made a calculation using 120 days for the life of a red cell and calculated that it would take about 3 weeks to get back to my normal hgb after the excess died off. So.... I thought that might be the cause of the trouble. Counter intuitive but there it was. After all, many athletes illegally dope up with Epogen (the hormone made by Amgen to stimulate red cell production) to increase their hgb and increase their performance. I did find that as long as I was REALLY active when I returned to sea level (competitive masters swim workouts with a lot of breath-holding) I was fine. But otherwise, a lot of sleeping and brain funk. Sooooo, I came upon the idea to donate blood when I came down. After all, I had a few extra pints in my circulatory system beyond what I required at sea level. Bingo!! Lethargy and brain funk gone, and perhaps someone else's life saved. This bioassay has proved to me that it's the red cell increase that's the culprit, not tissue and electrolyte recovery.
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Postby ridgeline » Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:45 am

Hey Sierra Maclure, welcome to the site, interesting post!
After my last trip out above 12,000 ft I had a doctor visit the following day. My blood pressure was very low and my resting pulse in the office was 49. Both being lower than my last visit, both had the doc exited, Maybe just a coincidence.
I would think with extra blood cells the pressure would actually be up.
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Postby mikehike » Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:18 am

I try to rest one or 2-days before a big hike or back packing trip. I also try to Pre-hydrate before any sort of strenuous excercise, learned this from my soccer days. If I had a game at noon, start hydrating at 8:00am and try to drink 40-60 oz before a noon game, I do the same for hiking.

I stay away from all processed foods and gimmicky energy suppliments and even vitamins. I try to eat living foods as much as possible except for the proteins:

Greens-collared greens, broocoli, spinach, squash, salad either raw or quickly sauteed

Fruit: All Types-Cantalope ( has themost balanced vitamins of any fruit or veggy)

Carbs: Brown rice-sprouted wheat bread

Proteins: Egg whites-chicken-fish-peanut butter

Combined with tons of water 100-130oz a day.

You can get all the best proteins, carbs and vitamins from Normal foods, I try to go organic and grow as much as I can.

I did a 7-8 mile walk-jog hike yesterday, 1000-vertical (6-500 to 7,500) and I feel great today no aches or paines. I try to bike 3-5 times a week and I juggle a soccer ball everday whch builds leg muscles and mild weights.

To me the key is the right type of carbs and proteins, while hiking and feeding your body every 2-3 hours, along with water. I started eating sprouted wheat bread and peanut butter before rigourous activities, alot of Marathon runners use this combination.

I have had good recovery success with this sort of Eating lifestyle..

Then ofcourse Hot-tub and half bottle of Merlot....
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Postby BSquared » Mon Oct 29, 2007 7:23 am

I *really* like the idea of donating blood after a high-altitude trip to get rid of the altitude funk! Excellent idea, Sierra Maclure (any relation to the meadow of the same name?)!
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