Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Longs Peak Workout

On a whim yesterday, I surprised myself with a fairly quick summit of Longs Peak via the Keyhole. I had wanted to do a little acclimatization work since I had two upcoming Grand Teton trips on my guiding schedule. With less than a week remaining, I started to feel a little pressure from the fact that I've been doing nearly all my climbing, guiding, and running in the Boulder Mountain Parks and Eldo. Cat was aware, and she said that she and Blake would have some mother/son time in the afternoon when she got off work so I could get out. I wanted to get in one significant run above 10,000 feet to give my body a wake-up call for the altitude on the Grand. More than one prep day would have been nice, but our summit days on both trips are on day three (not day two), so there is some acclimatization opportunity at our high camp at 11,200 feet for a day and a half.

As I drove out of Boulder, I was thinking of doing the Twin Sisters trail, since it was fairly convenient to pull right into the parking lot, versus some of the headache that comes from the longer rutted roads, pay kiosks, or lower elevation early mileage on many of the Indian Peaks hikes. But on the way up, I saw a break in the weather above Meeker and Longs, so I pulled up to the Longs trailhead, since it was actually closer than Lily Lake.

Although I had even less visibility for developing weather from the standard trail to the keyhole, I figured that I would hold myself to a turn-around time of 2:30, or turn the minute the weather started to go bad, so it wasn't a summit-fever run. I figured 4 hours at altitude would be helpful regardless. I started up a little after 2:30pm, remarking to myself how awesome that this trailhead is just under an hour from our apartment. Since the forecast was leaning towards developing precipitation, but not convection-driven storms, I felt pretty confident that this was a reasonable alternative to the Twin Sisters.

Longs Peak Summit Panorama looking East at 5pm

I didn't need to turn around. The weather remained incredible above Longs, the crowds were very thin given that it was mid-afternoon on a Monday, and I had the entire upper mountain to myself shortly after the keyhole. I hit the summit with a elapsed time of 2:30, and took five minutes to enjoy the early autumn view, by myself on the summit. The benefit of choosing a non-threatening

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Is it better to workout with heavy weight / low reps or light weight / high reps?

That depends.

Let's start by looking at low weights and high reps. Occasionally, I come across publications and individuals who are now suggesting that light weight and high repetitions will result in the best muscle gain, or better yet, suggest that this type of workout protocol will actually result in "toning". I think that some reasons for this are due to problems interpreting a recently published study.

Released last year, the following study has been taken out of context and misinterpreted in the media: Burd NA, West DWD, Staples AW, Atherton PJ, Baker JM, et al. (2010) Low-Load High Volume Resistance Exercise Stimulates Muscle Protein Synthesis More Than High-Load Low Volume Resistance Exercise in Young Men. One reason for this post is that I recently came across a reporter looking for additional supporting evidence that this methodology would be a better way to workout.

Take this study at face value. If you read into it too much, there are some problems that come up:

  • The study demonstrates increased muscle protein synthesis. Key point: protein synthesis. Hypertrophy (muscle development) is the result of protein synthesis after protein