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Extra Weight

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.

Extra Weight

Postby wingding » Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:04 am

I've done a lot to reduce my pack weight, but I think that it's the extra 20 pounds of body fat that I'm carrying that is slowing me down at this point. Has anyone lost weight and noticed that backpacking and hiking is easier?



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Postby ERIC » Mon Jan 09, 2006 8:38 am

Absolutely. I gained about 15 before the precious few trips I made last year. It was the first season I was out of shape, and it killed me. I noticed that for some reason the altitude affected me quite a bit more than normal as well. Now I'm back down close to my normal weight again, and I have to wait until next year before I can let you know if it helped!

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Postby wingding » Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:12 am

Well, I'm working on getting some of the weight off - trying to go back to cooking instead of eating just snack and fastfood. Almost one week into healthy dinners and I'm already starting to feel a little bit better.

I knew I wasn't eating real healthy food, but when my son complained this past week that we never have any healthy food in the house I gave it a little more thought. He's 20 - I probably should have told him to go buy some healthy food, but I remember being a starving college student.
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Postby OldGeezer » Sat Jan 28, 2006 10:20 pm

Altitude has always been a problem for me. I can't remember the time when I didn't get AMS on a multi-day trip. I have a doctor who is really interested in helping me overcome the problem. One of the first things I asked about was shedding a bit of excess insulation around my middle. He said it will make a difference. I joined the 10,000 step per day plan and have already seen some positive results. I walked 5.56 miles this morning with an average speed of 3.9 MPH. My pedometer reads 16,646 steps right now. I'm feeling better, losing weight and am optimistic about spending more time in the back country this year.
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Postby JM21760 » Sun Jan 29, 2006 1:02 am

Old G, has your Doc mentioned Acetazolamide, AKA "Diamox" as a deterrent for AMS? Just Curious.
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Postby OldGeezer » Sun Jan 29, 2006 8:07 am

JM21760 wrote:Old G, has your Doc mentioned Acetazolamide, AKA "Diamox" as a deterrent for AMS? Just Curious.


Yep! In fact I have a fresh prescription in the medicine cabinet right now. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to do the job for me that it does for others. I've tried almost everything I can think of to avoid AMS. The only thing left is to pack lighter --- both on my back and on my body. If that doesn't work I guess I'll have to stick to the lower elevation trails.
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Postby jdub » Mon Jan 30, 2006 2:43 pm

I watched a documentary last week on PBS, and one of the expierements was to use Ginko for AMS. In the documentary only 30% of the test group got sick, where 60% of the placibo group got sick.

Found this a little interesting.
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Postby tory8411 » Fri Oct 20, 2006 9:34 am

Bill
It's been nine months so hopefully you'll see this, but I learned a couple years ago from my doctor that hydration was the key to altitude sickness. He is an avid backpacker and fisherman so I just thought to ask because I used to always get major headaches the first and sometimes second day at altitude. Now, I drink a gallon of water a day for 30 days before a trip and superhydrate my cells. I haven't had a problem since. My first trip was Mt Whitney in a day from the trailhead. I never once had a headache. Now I must say, I also pop a couple ibuprofen the first couple days as well just in case. I use this practice religiously now. I remember also reading about hydration in one of Jardins books. I hope this helps.
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Postby OldGeezer » Fri Oct 20, 2006 10:35 am

tory8411 wrote:Bill
It's been nine months so hopefully you'll see this, but I learned a couple years ago from my doctor that hydration was the key to altitude sickness. <snip>Tory


Many thanks for the response. I am a firm believer in proper hydration. I carry a hydration bladder in my pack and sip from it almost constantly. A fellow backpacker once told me, "Drink, walk, pee. Repeat." That's my motto now.

I find it very interesting that what works for one person may not work for another. I've read everything I can find on the subject of AMS and tried every suggestion. I guess my body is just unique. :-)
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Postby Trekker » Mon Oct 23, 2006 3:01 am

AMS has a heavy genetic component that is not going to be overcome no matter what precautions you take other than meds such as Diamox, and if that doesn't work, you're out of luck. For instance, they have taken those of Tibetan ancestry who were born and raised in lowlands, taken them up to altitude, and they still have an advantage irrespective of any other factor. It has to do with the transport and utilization of oxygen in their blood. Those for whom hydration works were probably dehydrated to start. So really, that leaves proper acclimatization.

Interestingly, those with a higher aerobic fitness level will show a greater percentage decrease in their ability to work at altitude than someone with a lower aerobic fitness level (VO2 Max). This means that aerobic fitness has nothing to do with whether you get AMS or not (sorry, your doctor was wrong on that one.) Also, those with a higher muscle mass in the working muscles, which in this case would be the legs and hips, will also be more affected; this has to do with diffusionary distance of the oxygen to the working muscles. The loss of any weight, particularly fat weight, means there is less of you to move, and therefore less work your body has to do, ergo the physiques of distance runners.

That being said, there are a couple of things you can do to improve your performance. While a high carbohydrate diet has not been shown to decrease incidence of AMS, carbohydrates are more efficiently burned at altitude than protein or fats, since it takes less oxygen to burn carbs than it does the other two, particularly fat. The use of such foods as trail mix high in nuts and seeds is actually counterproductive to performance, as such foods not only take a longer amount of time to be digested, they require more oxygen to burn; therefore they are a poor choice for on-the-go snacking. Same goes for beef jerky and the like, which also utilize more water to metabolize. High storage of carbs in the muscle in the form of glycogen will also bind water; this is a much more effective way of hydration than trying to drink a gallon of water a few hours before a hike, since there is no evidence that this water will be stored; in other words, prehydration is of limited use, at best. This should improve your work ability at altitude, even if it doesn't alleviate AMS, and any little bit helps. :)
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Viagra?

Postby BSquared » Sat Feb 03, 2007 8:33 pm

Viagra Improves High Altitude Exercise Performance Up To 45% For Some

Science Daily — Sildenafil (Viagra) significantly improved the cardiovascular and exercise performance measures of trained cyclists at high altitude, mostly because the drug helped some participants improve a lot -- up to 45% -- while others showed little change. Sildenafil provided no benefit at sea level.

Entire article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060624120556.htm

Supporting Trekker's comment about the genetic component of altitude adaptation, the article says, "...the researchers discovered that these improvements occurred largely because some people achieve major gains with sildenafil at altitude while others improve much less or not at all."

Anyway, I'll take some along on the next high altitude trip -- never can tell, might get lucky! :lol:
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Re: Viagra?

Postby The Other Tom » Sun Feb 04, 2007 6:21 am

BSquared wrote:Anyway, I'll take some along on the next high altitude trip -- never can tell, might get lucky! :lol:


Now, B.... [-X
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