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Does Altitude Training Work?
Comparing Stamina Before and After 3 Months of Alpine Training
From July 13 through September 22 I lived, trained and worked at elevations between 6,000 and 10,000 feet above sea level.
Sea Level Work Rate, July 5
Before arrival I was able to work the heavy bag [alternating shadow boxing or light bag hitting] for 40 minutes.
I was good for 50 minutes of stick sparring.
Initial Alpine Work Rate, July 15
Once in the Rockies it took three days of ditching and hiking and shadowboxing before I could do these things without getting dizzy.
I was only good for 10 minutes of bag work, alternating boxing with stick work, with stick work on the bag requiring about the same cardio as light bag hitting and vigorous shadowboxing.
Eventual Alpine Work Rate, September 16
My performance ranged from 20 to 40 minutes of heavy bag work with hands, gloves, stick and bat. On September 16, tired, at the end of a day, I did 25 minutes of heavy bag work with no rest other than 15 seconds between rounds to do bent rows and shadowbox.
Return to Sea Level Work Rate, September 26
Erique and I sparred with light and heavy sticks. At 40 minutes he had to bow out from exhaustion and I had just gotten warmed up, had not breathed heavy once and had a normal resting heart rate. I don’t know what happened up there, to my heart and lungs, but it was not weight loss. I am still exactly 40 pounds overweight, my host’s wife having sworn that I would not lose a pound. [1]
Erique noticed my absolute lack of fatigue in a session which would have had me tired and breathing heavily, with an elevated heartrate, back in July.
1. Well, two can play at that game. Divining that her weakness was ice cream, I bought her a couple bags of Ben & Jerry’s, Choco Tacos and vanilla ice cream and said, “It’s on—you’re a fat girl now.”
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