Fitness for mountains when you live at sea level - thoughts?

Heyjbales

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Mar 23, 2018
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That 22 workout is a bitch.
It's my favorite. Started not even able to complete it a little over a year ago. Did an "elite" version this morning that's an upgrade to the freebie to make it even harder. It's a sweet one to watch progressions and kicks your rear for sure.
 

dirtclod Az.

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Jan 24, 2018
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Npaden i've seen your threads on here for a long time and respect your word and
Ideas, but most folks live at or near sea level and only work out prior to
Big Game season.Being fit for life is great,being fit for a few weeks can be
eye opening.
I have lived here all my life,and last Javelina season had my first
encounter with heat prostration...Jan. so I packed for a week of Freezing temps in the low desert.
It was in the 80s -90s.No shorts,No tee shirts.Plenty of water,but still I was totally unprepared.
Sheet happens. 😎
 

clharr

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I've yet to be in the mountains but I've been doing the stairmaster with loaded pack at the gym for a couple of years now, I try to do 100 floors in thirty minutes. I also do incline intervals on the treadmill and hit the rowing machine. Deadlifts, squats, barbell rows, bench press and overhead press are all you really "need" if you want to lift weights and get strong. I also like HIIT's training at home when I'm too lazy to go to the gym. Of course we also do real hikes when we can, but it's still Texas, not much elevation.

I don't run. It kills my knees and ankles.

I can always tell a difference in my season when I go in fit vs fat and lazy.
 

Brian in Montana

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If you're coming from sea level to hunt elk in the mountains, you SERIOUSLY cannot do enough cardio. People seem to be advising against it on this thread, but I'm a big believer in jogging for distance. You can be the buffest stud on the hill, but trust me when I say its your cardio that will keep you putting one foot in front of the other when finishing up that pack out by starlight at 1:00 AM.
 

devon deer

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You'll shoot your eye out with a bb gun also.

Running doesn't blow out your knees. If you ask an orthopedic surgeon what kind of people they are seeing come through, the majority are actually going to be mostly sedentary obese individuals. There will be some athletes, especially those that have contact and quick turns, but the knee replacements are mostly on people that are overweight. There are occasionally people that have a bad knee that is aggravated by running but it really isn't the norm. There are lots of people with huge lifetime running miles (as in 100,000+ miles logged in their lifetime) that have perfectly fine knees.

Since I got serious about being in shape for hunting in 2011, I've logged over 13,000 miles with over 2,000 miles a couple years. If you throw out 2011 which was the first year I started running, I've averaged 1,771 miles a year for the last 7 years. My best running streak was 123 straight days and 971 miles for an average of 7.9 miles per day over that period.

I'm not some superman. On the running forum that I post on, I would barely be considered a serious runner. Lots of those folks are routinely hitting 70 to 100 miles a week and 3,000+ miles a year. I've seen a few logging 4,000+ miles a year. These guys aren't blowing out their knees.

Running has be a transforming experience for me on my hunting. I am able to recover quickly and hit it hard day after day when I am in the mountains. Instead of getting to the top of a mountain and wanting to drop and not go any further, I find myself thinking about dropping down into the valley and up to the next ridge over to see what is over there. I end up having to slow down and wait on people much younger than me. For a flatlander I personally think that running is about the best thing you can do to prepare yourself for elevation. You truly are physiologically changing your ability to process oxygen more efficiently and effectively all the way down to delivering red blood cells to the muscles. There is a lot of science behind it that I really don't understand but it works. I know beyond a doubt that I am in better shape for tackling a mountain hunt now at age 51 than I was at age 41, probably even in my mid 30's.

Okay, that's my novel. Take it for what it's worth. Nathan
That is some achievement, and a great post, I totally agree with everything you wrote, this also coming from a running flatlander!
Cheers
Richard
 

WyoDoug

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It is tough to try and gain fitness for mountain hunting when you live at sea level. I was in the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton in California for several years. Because we did PT every day and did long marches both up and down hills, I thought I was in good shape...NOT. And to put cream on that, I am a Colorado native who now migrated to Wyoming and thanks to the politics in Colorado, glad I did. Once you are conditioned to sea level air you do not take in as much oxygen at high elevation. My recommendation is you arrive early, at the minimum 2-3 days to try and acclimate yourself a little. If you can do more time to scouting and acclimation, do it. Otherwise, you got a great plan.
 

Treeshark

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Agree with a lot of what Nathan said re:running. Not trying to win any races, but I am trying to up my VO2 Max and help with recovery catching my breath while climbing. Pushups and raised-leg crunch sets for core workout on the off-days running.
 

Kiwi

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+ for running.

I'm 49 years old and can also recommend stretching, swimming and massage. Injury prevention is a focus. Hard to have a fun hunt if you're injured.

I try to do a fitness related activity every day and this has worked for me.
 

Howie

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Little Marsh, Pa.
LA,
I too am headed for my first west elk hunt and am training. I am a 67 yr. old guy living at 2,000 ft. and have worked at 11,500 ft. in the past.
My advice is once your there, regardless of your training and condition, be cognizant of your muscles, heart rate and most of all breathing. DO NOT allow yourself to get into oxygen debt (hopefully carrying your trophy 8x8. 😀) Seriously, there is no oxygen available to recover and it can be a very distressing experience. Pace yourself, do what you can and have a great time.
Oh, "Diamox" a few days before elevation will help your acclimation. Good luck brother
 

ElkFever2

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Iowa
Re: running hurts your knees or not - it completely depends on your form. 70% of runners run upright which tears your knees to shit, along with damage to your back, ankles, and shins. You send a shock wave through your skeleton with every step. I transitioned to toe-heel running in 2014, as well as cleaned up the rest of my form, invested in some expensive shoes, and it completely changed my running experience. Toe-heel running does not stress bones/joints at all. I now have zero aches or pains when running - it is like gliding on air.

I have found the best preparation for mountain trips (mine have mostly been in the 6000-8000' range) is to wear the footwear I will be taking on my trip, sling a heavy pack on, and clamber up and down steep and rugged terrain. I live in IA, so this might be up and down 100' choked ravines for an hour. This develops your balance muscles and conditions your body in a manner that no gym workout can replicate.

I don't do any cardio prep, but that's mostly because I work out year round anyways (run, bike, walk, row, paddle, lift, etc.).

For reference I am 35, and am 5' 11", 160 lbs. The guys who out-walk and out-carry me on the mountain are typically at least 25 lbs heavier than I am and more muscular. I have a body frame on the thinner side, and don't bulk up well, so I just work within my limitations, and don't let the mountain kick my a$$
 

LaSportsman

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Back at the thread after work so catching up on a lot of posts.

I train year round and have for decades as a lifestyle unrelated to any specific goal of hunting, races, or other competitions. I have to be in shape for military but it's about feeling better fit, not anyone's requirements on me.

Running:
- Never had a problem with my knees except when I trained for a marathon and was waddling on my long runs. I've found as long as I never go slower than 9:30/mile, I have a good stride and no knee issues.
- I don't run consecutive days although I thought about going two on, one off, two on. Had a horrible battle with shin splints in my late 20's and quit running 6-7 days per week. Running on concrete was the big cause and I absolutely refuse to run on a sidewalk. Concrete is awful for your joints and bones.

HITT: I did Crossfit for a deployment and ran my fastest 5k in my 30's about a month afterwards. I have access to HITT and may try it. I do not have real muscle mass and don't want to give up lifting so I'll to figure out how to work it in my plan with proper rest.

Bike: I love to bike outside and can tolerate a spin bike. I'm not in a good town for bike paths or safe places to ride for 20-30 miles so I got out of it.

@WyoDoug Your post is demoralizing! :) I know how much West Coast Marines hike and Pendleton isn't flat. I grew up at 6 feet above sea level and don't think I've ever lived where it's over 100 foot above sea level so I don't even have a history to fall back on. Best I can say is I'm conditioned to handle heat stress and maybe that gives my body some built in recovery.

@Howie Great advice. I'll watch that.
 

Scott85

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Nov 22, 2018
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Im a big fan of a bike seeing as how it’s better on the knees for me. I even bike the PRT since I’m used to it. I ride mine at least 10-20 miles every day on top of go on hikes with a full pack throughout the week. I mean it sounds like you have a solid plan so try it for a little and see if you notice a difference.
I had to switch to the bike from the elliptical when they did away with the elliptical. I use to max out the calories for the elliptical. The last time I did a PRT was over a year ago and I made the mistake of riding by bike to work before the PRT.
 

Scott85

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I paid for the mountain tactical institute Backcountry Big Game Hunting plan. The workout was a little more complicated than what I was equipped for but I look forward to starting it shortly.
 

SG25

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Oct 26, 2018
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I had to switch to the bike from the elliptical when they did away with the elliptical. I use to max out the calories for the elliptical. The last time I did a PRT was over a year ago and I made the mistake of riding by bike to work before the PRT.
That’s exactly why I do the bike now. Lol probably not the best idea.
 

Duck-Slayer

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great state of Idaho....
My limited experience, I do a cardio stationary bike ride 1 a week at the gym, 3 days a week I run 3 miles as fast as I can, light weights after each day. On the bike ride day I double up on the run and bike. For running I use a stationary elliptical type machine, designed for running, saves my knees! See pic,
MattD066B1E6-275F-4CDB-82B9-7F3C4577E7AE.png
 
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