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Thread: Cardio Training at Altitude

  1. #1
    Hmmmm..... Spiderman's Avatar
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    Cardio Training at Altitude

    I don't know how many of you live above sea level at all.. (if any) but I thought some of you may find this interesting. For those of you who do regular cardio especially.

    When you live at an altitude above sea level your body will adapt to the lower amount of oxygen in the air. (hypoxia) When you do cardio training at an altitude several changes occur, one of these is what is used for energy. It was found that resting free fatty acid levels increase during stay (that is, when you live there) at altitude. Also, that blood glycerol concentration also increased, suggesting an increased use of fat for fuel at altitude. (Young & Young 1988) Also, Glycogen (stored form of carbs) use was decreased suggesting again that fat use was increased. However, Brooks (1991) found that the amount of glucose (blood sugar) that appeared in the blood during exercise increased. They found this to be linked to the increase in sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) activity at altitude. In 1996, Roberts and colleagues found that depsoite elevated levels of blood free fatty acid, and glyceral at altitude compared to sea level, rates of fat uptake and glycerol release from the working muscles decreased after the body adapted to the higher altitude. They concluded that... adaptation to high altitude results in a decreased reliance on fat for fuel and increased reliance on glucose for fuel.

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    is numero uno Saint Patrick's Avatar
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    Nice post, Spidey.

    I'm like 20ft above sea level here
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    wooooo Jasonl's Avatar
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    Hmm, I wonder how much that affects a body though, in a "real-world" situation. I'm around 1000ft above sea-leve and do cardio pretty regularly.

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    Hmmmm..... Spiderman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasonl
    Hmm, I wonder how much that affects a body though, in a "real-world" situation. I'm around 1000ft above sea-leve and do cardio pretty regularly.
    These studies are done in a "real world" situation. They actually take "real" conditioned people to an elevation and do the study. It does not state how high above sea level these were performed at however, its more than likely 4300 meters, of which i'm not sure of the significance of. All of it affects the body bro. Stroke volume is lowered, cardiac output is lowered, the amount of norepinephrine is increased, resting epinephrine is decreased over time (part of the reason for decreased use of fat for fuel and increased use of glucose). All of these things occur.

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    Magically delicious Shane's Avatar
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    4300 meters is damn high. I'm getting tired just thinking about exercising in air that thin.
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    wooooo Jasonl's Avatar
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    How many people live and perform regular cardio at 4300m??? Not many. I'm talking 1k or less where most poeple live.

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    Hmmmm..... Spiderman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasonl
    How many people live and perform regular cardio at 4300m??? Not many. I'm talking 1k or less where most poeple live.
    True, sometimes these guys really don't consider that, however, these changes still do occur at 2500 meters, where some of the studies are done as well. They concluded that changes DO occur for any increase in elevation OVER 700 feet. That would include you.

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    back at it Beast's Avatar
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    A lot of Olympians do workouts at very high altitudes for the listed effects.

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    Hmmmm..... Spiderman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beast
    A lot of Olympians do workouts at very high altitudes for the listed effects.
    The effects that I listed above are NOT positive though bro. They're actually negative, thats why when you go train at a higher altitude, in the begining its much harder to perform at the same relative intensity that you would if you were at sea level. Athletes train at these high altitudes in b/c they think that if they can adapt and get used to training in a state of hypoxia then when they do train or compete at sea level their performance will increase, however, this usually isn't the case.

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    Senior Member CraigVA286's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spiderman
    The effects that I listed above are NOT positive though bro. They're actually negative, thats why when you go train at a higher altitude, in the begining its much harder to perform at the same relative intensity that you would if you were at sea level. Athletes train at these high altitudes in b/c they think that if they can adapt and get used to training in a state of hypoxia then when they do train or compete at sea level their performance will increase, however, this usually isn't the case.
    Ive heard that if you train at higher elevations you can get like 3x more red blood cells which means more oxygen. Another reason why many athletes train at higher elevations is sometimes they need to COMPETE at higher elevations..EX. The Tour de France is done at high elevations...

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    Hmmmm..... Spiderman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigVA286
    Ive heard that if you train at higher elevations you can get like 3x more red blood cells which means more oxygen. Another reason why many athletes train at higher elevations is sometimes they need to COMPETE at higher elevations..EX. The Tour de France is done at high elevations...
    3 times more red blood cells would make that one HELL of a high ass hematocrit and the thickness of your blood would likely be comparable to cold maple syrup...very thick. That wouldn't be good. However, you are technically right. Red blood cell mass does increase a little and so does the number of red blood cells. In the first week at altitude, plasma volume is lost causing hemoconcentration, meaning a higher amount of hemoglobin in the blood and more oxygen transport. But that does not mean better performance. As I said earlier, at altitude, stroke volume (blood pumped per beat) and cardiac output (blood pumped per minute) and plasma volume all decrease. These decreases OFFSET the increase in oxygen transport that occurs. Thats why there is no increase in the maximal amount of oxygen (VO2max) that you can take in per minute.
    Last edited by Spiderman; 03-21-2004 at 08:13 PM.

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