Getting fit--or just satying there? | High Sierra Topix  

Getting fit--or just satying there?

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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Getting fit--or just satying there?

Postby balzaccom » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:48 pm

From our blog again:

This time of year, we spend a lot of time thinking about summer, and the trips we'll take. But we also try to stay in shape, despite the obvious temptations of holiday food and drink. Those temptations are even stronger in our house, since M is a chef and P works in the wine business. You can imagine how that works. Well, maybe you can't.

But we do spend some time getting fit, or trying to maintain our conditioning. M goes to the gym three or four times a week, for a variety of workout classes. That seems to work pretty well for her, especially when she adds an evening walk to the mix.

P is a litte more hard-core. He loves to ride his road bike--and will do that over 5,000 miles every year. This year he did over 6500. That means lots of rides longer than two hours--and quite a few over 50 miles. His cardio seems pretty darn good these days.

We seems to notice a difference once we hit the trail. M starts out strong, but seems to lose steam after an hour. P, maybe because of his longer workouts, seems to be able to keep up the pace much longer...maybe because he's used to those long bike rides?

But we're curious. Do you do any endurance training or similar sports? How much, and how long? Jogging or swimming fit the bill...are we missing some others? And how do you think that affects your backpacking?
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/



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Re: Getting fit--or just satying there?

Postby oldranger » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:12 pm

Seems like every year from the end of backpacking thru superbowl weekend I gain about 6 or 7 lbs with 5 lbs coming thru Thanksgiving. I think that is largely due to our typical focus on long weekend road trips and visiting our grandkids that limits though does not eliminate our activity. Eating habits deteriorate as well with focus on chips, dips, and beer when watching football. Sometime in November we usually restart our exercise regime which includes two or three bootcamp class sessions, two yoga sessions and two to five hikes or cross country ski sessions (most under two hours), and two quick weightlifting routines per week. But we still eat too much on weekends to reduce our weight (Kathy is doing much better than me since Christmas as she has been sticking with the new weight watchers program that allows unlimited fruits and veggies). I find that a couple long hikes (7+ miles) or skis (10+ miles) does the best for weight loss and is better for preparing for 6 hour backpacking days than anything else. The other thing that is more important in the years since I passed 60 is to work in some recovery time--Right now football weekends do that. But a midweek break where I limit myself to yoga works too. About the only thing rigid in my schedule is the bootcamp classes and yoga. Everything else is weather and other activity dependent. I really would like to start bp season at my end of season weight but as long as I am within 5 lbs I know I am in good shape (much better than when I retired)--my max weight is now about 10 lbs less than my typical "working" weight and my end of season weight is the same as my senior year in high school weight though my waist is 4" greater around. Someone once told me it is easier to stay in shape than get in shape. Not sure but I try.

Mike
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Re: Getting fit--or just satying there?

Postby mokelumnekid » Sun Jan 16, 2011 9:59 pm

Maybe move this to the 'outdoor boot camp" forum- so folks who look there will find it?

I do so many active things in addition to working out, that I don't usually parse it as in support of specifically Sierra activities but understand that these are reasonable questions. I carry a ridiculously heavy pack, and despite having legs like tweety bird can do serious mileage. Partly because I have learned a lot about pacing from my wife who is a serious athlete. We almost never stop, but adjust our pace on the fly, and pass virtually everyone we encounter. But part of things at this stage are simply genetics- I was a skinny but athletic teenager with a fast gait, and that has maintained itself into this season of life (age 58), as I don't weigh more than 5-8 pounds than when I was 25. I can blast up Taboose in a few hours, that is my test piece. Other folks work out a lot harder than I do, but somehow they are wired differently. Guess my point is that it can be hard to compare these things as there are pretty large differences in innate capacity and physical predilection that become emphasized after say, age 40.

The most significant change that is not improved much by exercise is maximum heart rate. I have been monitoring my max heart rate for about 15 years (after doing sprints) and have seen it fall, pretty much as predicted by the usual rate vs. age curves, tho I am at the high end of those curves. No amount of fitness training seems to change this much, but that is offset by a better sense of pacing, and a more integrated tempo. So all-in-all, I feel that I am able to do as much as anytime in my life as as good or better pace, BUT I need a more dedicated rest period each day (more hours of sleep) to sustain that.
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Re: Getting fit--or just satying there?

Postby balzaccom » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:06 pm

Mkid: we're the same age...and I weigh just about exactly what I weighed in high school...but I''ve always been a sprinter, not a distance runner. But I like your analogy, and I share your experience with max heart rate...

I do feel like I'm in good shape---but I can't play soccer for four hours the way I did back then. Then again, I don't think the kind of bike riding I do now would have been possible back then. That long-distance thing seems to improve with age.
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Re: Getting fit--or just satying there?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:21 pm

For me there is a correlation to duration of my off season exercise and performance on the trail. I prefer to walk 6 miles or bike 20 miles three times a week instead of doing daily exercise. I walk when it is wet and bike when the bike trail is dry. I really hate to bike in the rain. Lately I have gone on my walk with an umbrella. Now I am really trying to figure out if taking an umbrella backpacking. Ideally I would also do an all-day hike on the weekends over the winter. But that does not happen as often as I would like. At any rate, no matter what I do in the winter, come spring, I take a couple of butt-buster hikes at Henry Coe Park or in Yosemite and that gets me in shape pretty fast. I have never had much trouble with altitude- I think it is simply genetic. I can go from sea level to 12,000 feet pretty easily, even when I have not done much. I get in better shape each trip I take in the summer. As I get older I am curious at the decline in store! So far, so good. This month I get my first social security check! Yeh! Well, hope that does not mean too quick of a physical decline. It is all a big mystery. I will keep you all posted on how this getting old thing goes.
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Re: Getting fit--or just satying there?

Postby oldranger » Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:50 am

WD

Social Security! Welcome to the Club! Since I've already past that milestone I am dreading signing up for medicare next year. So many places to hike and so little time!

Mike
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Re: Getting fit--or just satying there?

Postby giantbrookie » Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:55 pm

I try to maintain conditioning through the offseason. For a few years btw about age 44 and 49 my winters would find me lagging a bit, because I had quit basketball, that once kept me going year round. The game changer for me occurred two winters ago when I came down with these horrid sinus headaches (allergies, etc. are much worse in Fresno for me than the Bay Area). My doctor gave me a diagnosis I didn't agree with (he didn't think it had anything to do with my nose and ears getting plugged up) and I figured the best way to alleviate my symptoms was to get in better shape. After two weeks of serious stairwell training the headaches were gone and I was ahead of schedule in getting ready to lead my geologic field mapping class (wherein the professor has to live up to the tradition of always being able to outhike the students). I stepped it up another notch this year because I had a solo geologic mapping thing I wanted to do during December and the scheduling of the event was such that I had to cram at least a week's worth into two short rainy days. My standard "off season" training this winter has been to mix in 2 to 3 days of stairwell climbing (~900-1300' of total elevation gain per session) per week with 3 days of weight training.

For all of us 50+ folks, here's a little conditioning inspiration from this guy, Steve Wemmer, who just retired from Fresno State. This guy must be the second coming of Jack Lalane. He is strong all over but is especially devoted to his core. His weight room friends, including me, (this is the staff and faculty weight room hour folks) decided we would do a 'plank-a-thon' to honor him on his last workout before his retirement party. Going in, this guy had the Fresno State 'record' for holding the plank: a surreal 32 minutes. It goes without saying that none of us could take him on one on one, so we decided to see whether all of us going in a relay could outlast him. Eleven of us participated in the relay and he outlasted us all. The final score: Steve: 33:23, the eleven of us combined: 32 minutes (my own leg in the relay was 12:30 which was in fact my personal best). My 9-year-old son Lee offered the best statement on this. "Daddy, if you keep practicing, maybe by the time you're as old as him you'll be able to do it that long." By the way, Steve does in fact go fishing in the backcountry above Fresno and his favorite spot is one of those two west flank lunker spots that are rather close together (the one with big rainbows and big brookies instead of the one with big brookies and occasional goldens).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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