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Getting Mountain Ready

As a part of my 2 year long gear up to my first western hunt in 2019, I’m working on getting in as best shape possible.

Requirements of my Mountain Hunt:

  • Hike with a backpack that contains 20-30lbs of load, up to 6 miles a day, for a 7 day period at an altitude of 7,000-10,000 feet.
  • Maintain a positive mental attitude even when the conditions are adverse ie: lack of sleep, body fatigue, hunt not going well.

How do I gauge my fitness?

In getting ready, I need metrics to aid me in my assessment of how fit I am. Because of the nature of the requirements, I am using vO2 Max as my gauge. vO2 Max is one of the best indicators of the athlete’s cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance. The more Oxygen you can use during intense exercize, the more ATP (muscle fuel) you can generate. This is used for gauging athletes of many types, but I think its particularly suited to evaluating readyness for a Mountain Hunt.

The reason I believe that this is a good match is because I’ll be at altitude, and have less available oxygen, and so the more I can use with each breath, the more work I’ll be able to do, and the easier I will percieve the work as.

Where Am I now?

I started at a vO2 Max of 42, and based on my most recent run with my Garmin fenix 5s, I now have a vO2 Max of 46. For my age range this puts me in the “excelent” range, and once I get up over 48, i’ll be in the superior range. For me, that is my goal. While this number won’t tell me that I’ll have an easy time in the mountains, its a concrete number that will tell me I’m in significantly better shape than I was.

Other Benefits

While on this journey over the last 6 months, I’ve also severely improved my Blood pressure. I went from stage one hypertension reading regularly, to a right at the normal range reading (120 / 75) was my reading this morning.

Additionally my Resting Heart Rate has gone from an average of 65 beats per minute down to an average of 54 beats per minute as my last 7 day average. according to charts, this puts me in the range of “Athlete” but I know I still have work to do.

Weight Loss

I’m down over 20lbs from my peak weight 1 year ago. I aim to loose another 10lbs. With that 30 pounds off of my body, I’ll be able to carry a 30lb backpack as if i was just walking around not carrying anything at my peak weight. To me this is one of the biggest goals, and goes hand in hand with performance, so while I work towards performance goals, diet and running a calorie deficiency are key to my goals. I’ve found the Keto Diet to be a great aid in accomplishing these weight goals.