Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Did High Altitude Make me Fitter?

I was asked this question a little while back after a friend was looking back at his performance over the year. One of his main improvements was after hiking across Sierra Nevada; Granada over several days, spending that time mostly above 2000m
My initial answer was yes, but then I thought I would try to give a fuller answer, taking some information from various soures. 

 Some background:

here we can see the baseline for different locations and the general trend is a small increase 13 - 15

here we can see that two weeks spent at altitude has had a small increase too.
here is a test to see how training affects lasted in runners post events

Well Ben, you will see that some runners had some increase from training but not much.
High altitude tests showed a increase of a couple of percent and some longevity post training. 

What is interesting to note is the anaerobic, sprints, short burst, things you can do holding your breath are not an issue, its the endurance events that we have to consider.

So your hike in Granada last summer might have increased your hemoglobin and hematocrit levels, or it might not have had much change or did you just get fitter heart and lungs and therefore feel in better form after some rest days?

Without a blood test and Vo2 oxygen test both before and after we will never know. I would put my money on the latter, compiled with supercompensation (regeneration of muscules to get stronger after training) with perhaps mild changes in hematology.
hope that helps.
thanks for the question

Monday, 27 April 2015

Summer Fit Surprise

So what have we all been doing over the last few months, have you been preparing for a race, wedding or just the beach?

Motivation to get up and out a training for our sports and activities is a challenge that we need to cultivate. Using social media, pictures and images can help us a little but maybe we need new challenges to get that major incentive, some new equipment, new place to train, a new race to run, new muscles to develop.

This year I have repeated one race, Confrentes mountain triathlon, Normally I prefer to change my yearly goals but this race was so much fun that I had to give it another go. And it didn't disappoint.
Staying at the hostel and spa, was also new joining in the pre and post race meals too meeting new people. A great atmosphere from beginners to elite racers, 26km mtb, 4km run, 4km kayak and 10km mtb to finish. And what a finish as you come up the hill into the main square there is a very steep climb and the are a group of drummers that really motive you to make it even when your muscles are about to cramp up you know you can't fail here.
start the down hill section

the final climb into the main square

I have been reading Arnold Schwarzenegger's new biography Total Recall, One clear message from this sporting and movie legend in that you have to have a plan, a goal to stay focused to achieve but also change is necessary to develop; this comes from his years training his muscles to grow,
So for now don't forget to surprise your workout, shock your muscles get a new routine try and new sport or activity

Franco doing abbs at the beach