View Full Version : Good Fitness Test?

Doe Nob
08-11-2012, 10:15 PM
Most of you live out west and can just hop in the car and get up a mountain, but there are a bunch of us here on the board that live east or south and travel to hunt as non-residents. I know you should be in the best shape possible before heading to the mountains, but it can be really hard to gauge how you are doing when you live in a flat place at sea level. What would be a good fitness test I could aspire to achieve to try and make sure I'm mountain ready in a month?

We are packing in 6-7 miles for 7 days @ 10-11,000 feet if that helps.

08-12-2012, 09:14 AM
on horses or your own legs? if youve never done this before at 10K feet, even above 8k feet your in for some fun. if you can hike in 7 miles with no probs where you are and you feel you are in shape then come have at it. take it slow. very slow. make sure you have a water purifier, and youll want a hiking stick. as far as a work out goes to see if your ready..... really not one

08-12-2012, 09:46 AM
Like ivorytip said, take your time. Hunting is not a race. I have never been a real fit guy. Have struggled with my weight my whole life. I just try my hardest and go slow. I manage a respiratory company here in Laramie WY and we setup a few hunters every year on O2 because they push them selves too hard at elevation and end up in the hospital with a severe case of altitude sickness. The best exercise you can do to get ready is the stair climber.

08-12-2012, 04:00 PM
I agree with the stair climber. Nothing else gets your thighs in shape like the stair climber. Back in the 70's when everyone wore ankle weights to keep in shape for basketball/track whatever, I bought a 20# weight vest and still have it. I start wearing it, about this time of the year, all day except when I am really working out. It is a good way to get ready for the 20# day pack that you will have on all day. I also take walks with 5# dumbells in my hands, this gets me ready for carrying my bow or rifle. That being said, I live at 6800 ft and work at elevations up to 9000' pouring concrete so altitude doesn't get to me but if I only came for 1 week from sea level then I think lungs would be the first and primary goal to work on. Even if the legs are in great shape once the lungs get tired you have a hard time catching up.

08-12-2012, 04:32 PM
I'm getting back into running...

endurance I feel is pretty crucial.

my body has been slow to respond, no longer the athlete I once was, but I'm confident with time I'll get back in great shape.

I keep thinking about if I'm 20-40lbs overweight, how if I was fit/at a normal fit weight, essentially I'm wearing a 20-40lb pack everyday all day already.

so once I lose that 20-40, I be fitter, more muscle, less fat.

running is what I want to pursue, but I'd find a sport/activity/hobby you enjoy and do it often as you can, try to at least be active 3x a week. even walking for an hour esp when you currently don't do any exercise, can be a huge benefit...

08-12-2012, 05:12 PM
i joined a gym called kosama compleat body trasfermation. there is now 7 weeks to go till my hunt starts, i'm in week 2 it is very hard been sore everyday i went been on kinda a vegi diet here aswell with a once a week cheet so i can eat sushi mm. but the work outs are extreemly hard 50 min a day with and with out weights and i hope i can loose about 30 lbs, and have muscel fatuige to not be a problem on day 4and 5 of the hunt.

08-12-2012, 06:09 PM
If you dont have any hills around to climb than get on a treadmill and set it at as steep as it will go and RUN , switch that up with walking with a heavy pack, just keep the incline maxed out. When you think your in good enough shape, than double that and you will probably make it if you go slow and your mind is well conditioned.

08-12-2012, 06:12 PM
+2 for the stairclimber though nothing beats actual hills and they don't have to be very high. I also spend time on the treadmill at an incline of 3.5 - 5 with intervals at 8 - 10. I put the speed on 3.5 - 4, depending on the incline, but that's just me. Keep pushing yourself and lengthen your workouts. Squats also help build your climbing muscles.

If you are hiking in, spend some time with a loaded backpack before you go.

As far as acclimating to the elevation, try to get to that altitude a couple days ahead of time and keep drinking LOTS of water, especially if you are flying out. Time and lots of water are really the key to adjusting to higher altitude. I live at 850 feet so I have a similar challenge to you when I go hunting out west. One last thing - carry some good protein bars and healthy snacks. You'll need the extra energy.

Old Hunter
08-12-2012, 07:38 PM
I live at 8000ft, and in the spring when I first go up to 10,000-11,000ft I feel it. I would suggest you don't jump all the way up to 10,000ft. Do it in steps. Even if it cuts into your hunting days.

08-12-2012, 08:31 PM
many people handle the altitude diffrently sometimes i feel it and some times i go right from 1000 feet drive to a mountian and next morning hike up a 14er i think after the last few years my body is not so blind sided as it once was and TAKE your time don't worry about time i just keep walking slowly the turtle always wins the race.

08-13-2012, 07:40 AM
run up stadium steps with a plastic bag over your head... j/k just take your time for the first few days

08-13-2012, 09:34 AM
If you don't have a gym membership, knock out sets of walking lunges. Start with 50 unweighted to get used to the movement, then progressively build. Right now, we are knocking out a set of 400 m lunges every weekend until our hunt starts. DON'T start at a high rep volume though. YOU WILL BE CRIPPLED! Perfectly mimics beating feet up a steep mountain.

08-13-2012, 10:10 AM
I have changed mine up a little. I am running 4 days a week every other day (3 miles) and then hiking with 65lbs on my back for 4-5 miles 2 days a week. I am no small guy either at 6'2 290 and this is my first back county hunt and I am busting my ass to make sure the lungs can handle the change in elevation from Oklahoma City, OK 1,200ft to our camping location 10,200. We are going up a few days early and staying in a hotel to just start getting used to the altitude before we hike in. Good luck!!

Boonie P
08-16-2012, 03:25 AM
In addition to regular running, hiking, stairmaster, etc. I use one of these.


Adjustable resistance. I even use it while driving sometimes...

08-16-2012, 01:06 PM
In the same situation. I have been on stair climber 45min to hr 1/2 3 days a week while circuit training with weights, high reps, high intensity. Have to be carefully with weight, too much muscle and your body requires more oxygen to run. The first year I went to NM around 8500 to 10200. Fresh off the football field thought that i could muscle my way to the top ha-wrong! My partner thought i was going to pass out. Since then i try to drop as much weight prior to going whether it be fat or muscle and focus on cardio.

Chippy Hacky
08-17-2012, 09:12 AM
OK, here is my two cents.

To answer your question, for a "test", I would try P90X and try the "plyo" DVD. Don't buy it, (at first) get it from a friend or someone who has it already. If you can do that through the whole video, you are in pretty good shape to begin with. If you can't walk the next day or can't finish half of video, you have a ways to go.

My theory on the subject of getting into "hunting shape" is that you can train all you want, just expect to be physically exhausted and huffing an puffing regardless. Really, besides doing it for real, there isn't a way to train for it unless you are doing it. I just can't train for 6-8 hours a day and, depending on the day, you could be going for 12 or more hours. Think of it this way, how is an hour or two on a tread mill or stair climber really going to get you where you need to be on the mountain? It will help, but even at max incline a mountain is much, much harder than a tread mill.

Do your PT but also work on the mind. Your mind is what will get you through the tough stuff, when you find your animal (that ran down hill) after dark and you are miles away from camp. I particularly have a weak mind, I have to constantly fight not to quit and have to play all kinds of tricks to ignore the knee or blister.

Do what you can and take your time. Try to pace yourself on the first day or two (if you can) and bring some ibuprofen.

08-23-2012, 09:56 AM
Good suggestion chippy. Another test so to speak of is the 300 test. Ever seen the movie? The set up goes 25 wide grip pull ups, 50 push ups, 50 box jumps ( 24 in box) 50 kettle ball squat to press raises (35lb kettle ball/Dumbell) with each arm, 50 leg sweeps using a straight bar and 135lbs- sweep from tip to tip with feet while laying on your back, 50 dips and finish with 25 wide grip pull ups as fast as you can. Lowest time ive heard of was 12 min. Best i got was 18min. heck of a work out. Goggle it to make sure of line up but is pretty close to this.

08-23-2012, 01:36 PM
Go hike the stairs in one of those sky scrapers you guys have back east. That should help some. Thats the only way i can see of getting elevation.

08-23-2012, 01:49 PM
How much elevation are you going to be ascending?

One thing you might do is look at going for a hike all day long. Intense, 1hr workouts are tough, a moderate workout all day is something different and I think doing this will get your mind ready for the 7-8 hours this walk is likely to take you.

03-08-2013, 03:25 PM
A good test I find to work for most people is if you can run at 6miles/hour for 3 miles (30min) without stopping with a 20lb pack on. I use that as a benchmark when I have friends who want come with me. I do 2miles a day at 6miles/hour 6 days a week with weight training and stair climber. I also shoot a couple hundred arrows a night.

I changed my diet about 4 months ago and I dropped 25lbs from then to now. Critters beware!

03-09-2013, 11:02 PM
I live in Laramie, WY at 7200 and a friend comes from Columbus, OH (600-700) to hunt every year and we hit some good mountains. Even though I live here, I still run a lot. In fact both started training for this year on December 1. Sounds corny but we email each other about our work our to keep us honest. I think HIT (high intensity training) is the most important. I can run about 4 miles at a decent pace but I learned quickly the slow steady inclines will hurt you quick so you really got to press yourself to be ready. Here is a sample work out that I do at 7200 feet. run on a treadmill at 8.7 for 1 min 0 incline then with a 10 sec break (to set speed) I go 4.5 speed walk at 8 incline for a min then rest a min.... repeat till failure. I find this really helps my lungs. other days I will lift weights and do a 60 min walk at 5 incline. I have heard of people back east have gone as far as using a surgical or dust mask to limit oxygen when running/hiking but I think that is dangerous. I would just work sprints or going fast on a stepper into your work out and push yourself for quick recovery (interval training) and do plenty of squats or lunges and work in walking with a large incline.

03-10-2013, 09:48 PM
I personal train for a living. Here is what I recommend if you would care to listen to my 2 cents. First of all, change your nutrition a bit. Lower your carb intake to teach your body to burn more fat as a fuel source. Get your carbs from mainly veggies and some fruit and limit the granola bars and crap that is out there. All they really are is glorified candy bars. I would recommend starting that about 6 months out. Then focus on lifting weights for our legs and train them heavy. Stick to the 8-10 rep range. The final piece is getting a backpack and or weight vest that has roughly 40-60 lbs of weight. Start training with that regularly on the stair master or put the incline as high as possible on a treadmill. I would get a mask like this in order to acclimate. http://www.trainingmask.com/products/TRAINING-MASK-2.0.html.

Start with the 3,000 foot piece and build up to the 9,000-12,000 level. If you take care of these things before your hunt, you will be a rock star and you will feel much better on your trip. My uncle came out in CO for an elk hunt and didn't listen to a word I said. He just about passed out within an hour of our first days hike. The horses had to do everything for him. Terrible, so be prepped!

03-15-2013, 01:14 PM
If I could only do two exercises to prepare for a mountain hunt I would choose free weight squats (as heavy as you can) and swimming. The lifting obviously for the leg strength and the swimming to train your muscles to operate very efficiently at a high level with minimal oxygen. Swimming has been a game changer for me living here in Tennessee and hunting in colorado at 12k feet

az.mountain runner
04-24-2013, 08:55 PM
There is little u can do to adjust ur lungs to thin air but like,others have said go slow if u can arrive acouple of days in advance increase ur elevation by a thousand feet each day and give ur body a chance to adjust to the elevation, and wilderness athlete makes a very good product that helps ur body and lungs adjust.

04-25-2013, 02:18 PM
There is little u can do to adjust ur lungs to thin air but like,others have said go slow if u can arrive acouple of days in advance increase ur elevation by a thousand feet each day and give ur body a chance to adjust to the elevation, and wilderness athlete makes a very good product that helps ur body and lungs adjust.

Good point, my plan this year includes driving up mid-day (I live about 2 hours from where I will set up base camp), set up camp at ~8,000ft and spend the next day making camp nice, do a final prep of my gear and a little light exercise. The day after that I'll push up to where I'm going to hunt at 9,000+

I went straight up to about 8,500ft last year and just started pushing - bad idea. Crappy sleep and not eating enough over the next three days just made things worse.

04-25-2013, 06:23 PM
Find a stadium somewhere and start running up and down the stairs. Better than a treadmill. After not too many round trips running up and down the stairs, it will tell you how in shape you are!

Chippy Hacky
05-02-2013, 04:49 PM
Since I last posted I have now done "Insanity" and incorporated a mix of Insanity/P90X.

I am in great shape right now, just need to maintain......

05-02-2013, 05:58 PM
I think P90X plyo is a good guage. In 2011 I used that with mountain hikes to get in "Sheep Shape' for my hunt. I could do 90% of the plyo video, but was sore all summer long. That's a killer on the legs! It was enough to get me through 14 days of sheep hunting without too much fatigue. I have to mention I was solo, so I just went at my pace, like I normally do. You don't have to be a super athelete to be out hunting, but being in shape will make the experiance more enjoyable.

Chip hack, stay with it! Its early in the year so don't burn yourself out. Thats my biggest problem, if I start getting ready too soon I burn out. I like to start gettining in shape in June, I'm ready by late August. from then on all I need to do to stay in "my" shape is work and hunt.

05-02-2013, 08:37 PM
Got a new personal record tonight! 3.5 miles in 25 minutes which is a 7:08 pace! Pretty stoked! I live at 7500' as well so I hope I can stay in shape over the summer so that I will be ready for September 1.

05-02-2013, 08:43 PM
Nice. Job on the run. Been walking with 72 lbs in a kifaru pack up to 3.5 miles at 3.4 pace. Goal is to do 4 consistently. Also she'd 9 lbs so far

05-10-2013, 11:27 PM
My knees are pretty shot. I do almost all of my workout at 10deg on a treadmill. I stop every 2 miles and do a short little round on a bowflex. At my current pace, I should shed about 20lbs this month and be close to 180. Based on what I have seen from others, I should then load up one of my old packs with 45#(that is about what my 10 day pack weighs in at), and get after it some more. I think strengthening my legs with relatively low impact has helped pull my knees together and made down hills much easier on me. I think a good goal for me by july/Aug would be 8 miles in a day with a (med)pack on and not be burned out and sore the next day. This is all a little new to me in the last few years. Getting old and sitting at a desk everyday really takes a toll.

If I bump the speed above 3, I start getting the lungs burning a little. I assume this is what I should be doing to help train for high altitude?? I am at a whopping 350ft EL in the Willamette Valley.

Doe Nob
05-12-2013, 11:54 PM
Got a new personal record tonight! 3.5 miles in 25 minutes which is a 7:08 pace! Pretty stoked! I live at 7500' as well so I hope I can stay in shape over the summer so that I will be ready for September 1.

That is hauling serious ass, congratulations on that. I had someone at work bet me I couldn't run a 7 minute mile, been training for that, got it down to 7:13 so I'm right there, can't imagine doing 3.5 @ that pace!

I have to say having just come back from a week in New Mexico, that air quality is definitely something I'm noticing. The pollution and the ozone and humidity and heat here are definitely something to struggle against. At 10,000 ft in NM, I could tell there was less oxygen, but the air was very pure.

Colorado Cowboy
05-19-2013, 10:20 PM
As the weather has gotten warmer, i started bumping up my workouts. Been doing some new leg work at the gym and did something to my right knee, sore as hell for a couple of weeks. Got an appointment with the ortho Doc Wed, hope I didn't screw it up. Same knee I had scoped 2 years ago. Don't want to have any major surgery this late in the year as it will really put a damper on my hunting this fall. We'll see Wednesday.

05-20-2013, 02:40 AM
i would say join a crossfit near by. that will put you in the best shape of your life when it comes to cardio and strength. eating right also will help. you want to eat lots of veggies and greens.

Kevin Root
05-20-2013, 11:28 AM
As the weather has gotten warmer, i started bumping up my workouts. Been doing some new leg work at the gym and did something to my right knee, sore as hell for a couple of weeks. Got an appointment with the ortho Doc Wed, hope I didn't screw it up. Same knee I had scoped 2 years ago. Don't want to have any major surgery this late in the year as it will really put a damper on my hunting this fall. We'll see Wednesday.

I hope your ortho appointment goes well on Wednesday CC and or your knee feels better soon. I'll gather major surgery could put a damper on fall hunting. As I've gotten older I get concerned about my knees. Not being able to hike would bum me out. My wife likes to run uphill on our hikes but I just don't like the pounding that my knees get anymore. Seeing my mom get a knee replacement put a damper on my running or at least how I run these days.

Best wishes to you on the upcoming appointment.

Colorado Cowboy
05-20-2013, 12:47 PM
I already have had one replacement knee, had it for 10 years now. It is absolutely great, but it really takes 10 mos to a year to get back to full strength. They have some new techniques that do less damage to surrounding muscle tissue, so that might be less now. Too much wear and tear on both knees when I was playing ball. We'll see Wednesday.

05-20-2013, 01:10 PM
Good luck with the knee CC. Hope everything works out.

Colorado Cowboy
05-22-2013, 04:38 PM
Just got back from the Ortho Dr. and he say its Tendonitis. I'll have to modify my workouts and ice it down afterwards. Compared to the xrays taken 2 years ago when it was scoped, looks good. At least there is no surgery needed.

Kevin Root
05-22-2013, 06:37 PM
Sounds like great news Colorado Cowboy! Modify workouts and ice sounds so much better news than surgery.

Doe Nob
05-23-2013, 01:36 PM
That is good news. I managed to crack my radial bone in my right arm on th 18th. Rifle pronghorn is still on, but my bowhunting season may be over, go in for more xrays on Wed to determine if i need surgery or not. :(