Fitness Tips & How To

    Get Ready for the High Mountain Altitude

    High Altitude Backcountry Snowboarding in Montezuma Colorado

    It’s starting to feel real finally! I’ve been out to the local slopes in Minnesota twice now and have been warming up on my new setup this year. We are closing in on my first trip of the season! Ben, Jerry, and I are off to Utah and Colorado to use our Mountain Collective Pass and hit up some backcountry terrain on our snowboards. Living in Minnesota I don’t have a high altitude to worry about, and I don’t have many big hills to climb either. In preparation for this trip (and another in January) I will be hitting up the gym more frequently with some specific workouts to help me climb and prepare my body for the high altitudes.

    ALTITUDE PREP

    There is no perfect method as the high elevation can treat everyone so differently but I thought I would share what has worked for me in the past. Please note, I am not a nutritionist or personal trainer I am simply sharing my own experiences and what I have found works well for my body.

    Warming Up

    Before every workout I do, I make sure to do a warm-up on the treadmill. I begin by elevating my treadmill to a 1%-2% elevation to avoid shin splints. The plan is to start at a jog by setting the treadmill speed at approximately 4.5 and every two minutes I will increase the speed by 0.3. I do this for 12 minutes which turns out to be slightly over a mile for my warm up. After the warm-up run I will take 5 minutes to stretch it out and lower my heart rate.

    I do this specific warm up and cool down to jump start the fat burning process. It is also a great way to train your heart for endurance and your body to use it’s nutrients effectively.

    Running

    I got into running only a few short years ago by starting with fun races, read how here. There are so many benefits of running including it being a HUGE help when out in the mountains. By running a few miles every week you will begin to train your heart to work more efficiently for a longer period of time during this (and other) strenuous activities. This is what will help you catch your breath quicker while in the high altitudes or not tire as quickly as you may have in the past.

    Running helps with your endurance which is the key factor. When running on the treadmill I will keep the treadmill at a slight incline to avoid shin splints. I will vary my runs throughout the week between long and slow runs to short interval sprints. Intervals are what will help with quick recovery and faster times when running. The long runs will help with overall endurance.

    Running is not for everyone and that is okay. If running isn’t your thing, think about biking instead.

    Biking

    Biking is another great way to help with endurance and also build leg strength. If running isn’t for you or maybe you’d just like some variety hit the stationary bike up. Like the treadmill; biking can help with recovery, speed, and endurance when done right. Mix up your routine by doing a long ride one day, then intervals the next using the tension adjustors. Also switch up your ride by getting out of the saddle and standing to work different leg muscles.

    Stair Stepper

    Do you have some hiking planned? Even if not, the stair stepper is underrated. This is a must for anyone heading to the mountains. Work up a sweat by continuously climbing. This machine will work the large muscles in your butt and legs such as your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. This machine is a calorie torture due to all the muscles you are working at once. It’s also a cardiovascular exercise too helping with endurance.

    GET INTO A ROUTINE

    Doing this once or twice before your trip isn’t going to make a difference in the high altitude. Make sure to get into a good routine a few weeks before. Personally, my goal is to get to the gym 5x a week using a combination of these workouts on top of some weightlifting routines (coming in a later post). Happy shredding!

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