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Old July 16, 2007, 11:40 AM   #1
olds442man
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Getting Physically Fit

I am 50 and going on my first hunting trip in Nov, we are going to Craig Colorado. I live near L.A., CA.

I am looking for any tips for on getting in shape for the change in altitude, as well as first hunting trip.

Until sinus surgery a few months ago I was going to the gym 3 days a week,
1/2 hour of weight lifting and 3/4 hour on an elliptical machine. On the weights I do heavy weight and low reps to build muscle. I assume to build stamina I should switch to low weights and more reps. Is that correct?
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Old July 16, 2007, 11:48 AM   #2
Mainah
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I spent last summer training for a backpacking trip to the Cascades. I overdid it, and I'm still paying for that. I worked up to the point where I was hiking four days a week with a seventy pound pack. Now my hip joint feels like it's full of bees every now and then.

That having been said I'd up the cardio to five days a week, maybe 45 minutes to an hour of walking on a couple non gym days.

I stick with low weight and low reps, I go up on the weight after I can do ten reps with what I've got on the bar. That should build both strength and stamina.
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Old July 16, 2007, 11:53 AM   #3
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Correct - low weight/high reps = muscle endurance. Great idea to combine weights with the cardio. Going from sea level to altitude, I would ramp up your cardio, or combine high intensity cardio "spurts" with lower intesity "breaks". Long, low intensity cardio helps your muscles be more efficient - high instensity cardio helps improve lungs/heart efficiency.

I have heard that you should try to get to altitude a couple of days before hunting if possible and drink lots of water. There is no training that will completely eliminate the change of altitude.

Sounds like you have the right mind-set and dedication to make this a great trip, based on this and your other posts.
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Old July 16, 2007, 11:54 AM   #4
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I know there are some hills in CA so try finding a few and hike up and down them a couple times a week with a backpack. Figure out the approximate weight of what you are going to carry and load that in the pack. Imporve your cardio and endurance, that is the most important thing. Your lifting 3 days a week is fine just add a couple of days extra of cardio and you should be good. It is just a little over 3 months until rifle season and you can improve your endurance quite a bit in that time.


Good luck hunting!!
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Old July 16, 2007, 11:57 AM   #5
mikejonestkd
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oldsman,

You are essentially correct in chosing lower weight and higher reps to gain in cardio ( I am NOT a doctor, have never played on on TV, and did not sleep at a holiday inn last night )

The knees, back and hips will cause you problems if you do too much impact cardio like long distance running. Stick with the elliptical, do a treadmill occasionally and may I suggest biking too to help you cross train your legs and lungs for the hunt ahead.

You will need to still do stength training too, just imagine what your pack and rifle will weigh when you are hunting.

It is good that you are aware that it wil be a strain on you, and that you are taking steps to get in shape. IIRC heart attacks are one of the top killers of hunters - probably from not getting in shape before the season.

Good luck and stay in shape, the hunt will be easier on you and you will enjoy it more if you aren't in pain from all the hiking up and down mountains.
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Old July 16, 2007, 01:13 PM   #6
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About the only way to get in shape for going on a hunt like you are talking about is to really commit to living right, eating right, and working out right. Cut out fatty foods and alcohol (if any), and talk to your gym's personal trainer. I would supplement the elliptical workout with hiking with a pack for 5-10 miles/day. Start out with a 10 lb pack, work up to a 50 lbs pack over a month. By the time the hunt comes around, you should be able to keep up. And like someone already said, get there a few days early and acclimate to altitude.

Sad to say, but most people show up for a guided hunt like they were checking into a room at the Marriot. Your ability to keep going in spite of altitude, thirst and fatigue will affect your performance and satisfaction with the hunt.
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Old July 16, 2007, 04:12 PM   #7
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Anything that makes your lungs work.

I hate jogging and running, but it is the best thing I think you can do to prep for hiking at altitude and not sounding like a locomotive as you move through the trees. I run at least a mile every morning, coupled with situps and pushups.

If I had time and dedication, I'd run between 3 and 5 miles every morning. I just don't enjoy the act of running, so I cut it short at about 1.5 miles. That, and I gotta get it all done before work and before the temperature is molten murder here in Phoenix. I like sleep more than exercise. Gets my heart hammering good though.
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Old July 16, 2007, 04:20 PM   #8
TNBulldog
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My dad is 60 and has recently commented to me the hikes he goes on have been a lot easier than he would have expected them to be. I feel like what he is doing is essentially as physically demanding as what you are going to prepare for.

In my past life I was a collegiate sprinter and now compete in the occasional strongman contest as my other hobby besides shooting. In my experiences weight training doesn't transfer directly at all into cardio work. You need to ideally be strong and fit. Try to mentally separate the two. If you hit the weights good and commit to cardio in addition, you'll be fine.

If it were me I'd do two days a week on legs and upper body, alternating between weight and weight for reps the same week. After weight training jog a bit each day and you ought to be covered. My $.02.
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Old July 16, 2007, 05:27 PM   #9
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Add swimming if you can to your cardio workout. Really helps to get you to breath deep, which is going to be a bonus at altitude. It also helps in building upper body, stamina, in your back, stomach, arms and chest. Switch this out with the elliptical once or twice a week.

I'd probably keep the weights the same as you are doing now, if you're doing the standard 3 reps of 10 at a weight that you can barely press that out as.

Slowly start building up more time on the elliptical until you reach the 60 minute mark. You don't have to do this every workout, but being doing it once or twice a week will help build stamina.

Hike some with a pack, slowly building to the weight you'll be carrying in your day pack. Hike up and down local hills in order to figure out what pace you can move at without becoming winded. Figure to cut that in half when you get to altitude.
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Old July 16, 2007, 06:45 PM   #10
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You never mentioned what you'd be hunting. Big game? Will you have to lug it back to camp? Will others be helping? Nonetheless, cardio, stamina training would be wise. What is your overall health condition? When was your latest physical? I think more hunters die during the rut due to being in poor health to start...they have a heart attack in the woods.
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Old July 16, 2007, 07:00 PM   #11
olds442man
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9mm1033 you asked
Quote:
You never mentioned what you'd be hunting. Big game? Will you have to lug it back to camp? Will others be helping? Nonetheless, cardio, stamina training would be wise. What is your overall health condition? When was your latest physical?
I will be hunting mule deer. The other guys I am going with have a cart we will use to bring it back.

My overall health is very good, except High blood pressure and sleep apnea. I get a full physical every year. The last one was in Jan and all was fine.
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Old July 16, 2007, 07:03 PM   #12
9mm1033
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Great! You should be fine. I enjoy hunting deer as well. But, I remember to well cruising in my buddies 442 with the Hurst shifter during high school. I think you should ask me to look after that fine machine during your hunt.
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Old July 16, 2007, 10:27 PM   #13
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I recently started mountain biking with a group from work in our local national forest. I could tell a difference in going 1 time a week after the first two weeks. Its amazing what some serious cardio in hot weather will do. I coon hunt about 3 nights a week and walk countless miles in all sorts of terrain. I will never in my life lift weights or go to the gym. Id rather spend that time shooting or afield.
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Old July 16, 2007, 10:33 PM   #14
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No substitute for aerobic / cardiovascular exercise.

1. Bike, stationary or riding outdoors.

2. Stairclimber.

3. Jogging or Treadmill.

2 and 3 will make the workout shorter, but more intense, relative to #1. Just gotta bite the bullet and hit those dreadful machines, unless you have a C.V. sport like basketball or raquetball you do regularly. If you do, you could step up your activity.

I would recommend at least 20 minutes of elevated heartrate, at least 5 days a week, preferably building up to around 30-45 minutes of CV work 5-6 days a week right before you go. Put a TV in front of the treadmill and have at it. Discipline is obviously the key to getting ready - good luck on the big hunt, and please report back with pictures!

Quote:
I assume to build stamina I should switch to low weights and more reps. Is that correct?
Exactly right.
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Old July 17, 2007, 06:52 AM   #15
9mm1033
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I think I found an article you should read, in fact, something all hunters should read. The August 2007 issue of FIELD & STREAM (picture of a big buck on the cover) has a 6 step deer hunting prep program. The first step addresses "physical fitness" starting on page 56. It also includes mapping, recon of the area, rifle marksmanship, bow markmanship and field maneuvers. Good luck.
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Old July 17, 2007, 11:04 AM   #16
olds442man
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Hey 9mm1033

Quote:
But, I remember to well cruising in my buddies 442 with the Hurst shifter during high school. I think you should ask me to look after that fine machine during your hunt.
You have to get in line for that one. Especially since my son will be 25 in Oct. He will finally be able to drive the car without violating my collector policy which prohibits drivers under 25.
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Old July 17, 2007, 11:08 AM   #17
olds442man
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I really like some of the suggestions here, thanks to all.

I am going to go from 45 min to 60 min on the elliptical machine and occassionally mix in some laps in the pool. I will add some biking on the weekends.

I also want to get some hiking in with the backpack on increasing the weight in it to about 50 pounds.
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Old July 17, 2007, 11:28 AM   #18
ZeroJunk
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I started hunting in the mountains when I was about 30 years old and I could go anywhere I wanted to.I weighed about 175 pounds.Then over the next twenty years or so I got fat and lazy and up to about 210.I remember one hunt where I could hardly make it up even a gentle incline.A couple of months later I had a 95 percent blockage and had to have a stint put in.Now I am back down to 175 and have been walking 3 miles a day for over 6 years.Last year I went with some younger guys who were A LOT stronger from weight lifting etc.We saw a couple of bulls on the side of a mountain and worked our way to them in knee deep snow.In the end I was the only one that could get up there.Heart rate up to 150 or so,stop let it slow down till it quits banging in your ears and then off again.Weights are fine but strength will not be what limits you.Get your heart rate up regularly for at least 30 minutes continuously,any way you want to do it.You will hunt better and you will feel better.

Last edited by ZeroJunk; July 17, 2007 at 06:43 PM.
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Old July 17, 2007, 05:25 PM   #19
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Good advice from all. I live above 6200 feet in Old Colorado City, but I still feel it when I get up over 10,000 snowboarding...
A couple days isn't going to help much, most people need 2 weeks to 2 months to totally acclimate. You won't be able to build up red blood cells that fast. It's better than nothing though if you can get up here early. Drink as much water as you can handle.
Altitude sickness is a bizarre thing. I got it hiking when I first moved here. If your knees / ankles start giving out, your vision gets goofy, you get nausea - stop what you are doing and enjoy a sandwich and more water, then move to lower elevations if possible. Don't push it. You'll be around 6,500 - 7,300 feet anywhere around Craig (roughly 25% less oxygen). By the way, you'll love it - it's beautiful. I've hunted elk up around there (section 2?)...
Have fun!
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Old July 17, 2007, 11:04 PM   #20
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Start taking the ...

STAIRS!! and get the legs a work-out.
Sound like you're doing good now and incorporate the other recommendations.

Do a stress test with doctor, may be able to duplicate altitude oxygen level in lab to see how the heart responds.
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