High Altitude Endurance with BCAA’s

What do you like to do on vacations?  

My family?  We like to stay active so we took a family vacation to explore Copper Mountain Colorado and enjoyed the scenery and outdoors.  It was an amazing vacation for the whole family and one I would highly recommend but, there are some things to remember when traveling to the altitude and increasing physical activity. 

Yes, we have an active family, but adding in the altitude factor requires a little more focus to keep going strong. 

Hydration– Water is important (shoot for 2/3 your body weight in ounces everyday).  Water helps lubricate the joints and muscles, keeps the body cool, promotes cardiovascular health, and cleanses your system.  When training in the high altitude, the more water you have, the faster you will adapt to the altitude.  Drinking water is the easiest way to avoid altitude sickness and feel better overall.  Don’t go overboard, too much water can have negative effects on

 your body.  If you can’t measure to get the exact ratio above, you can check hydration levels by the color of your pee. Darker pee=drink up, lighter pee=well hydrated.

BCAAs–  Branch chain amino acids can help with endurance and exercise capacity.  Adding some in during exercise may be beneficial.  Taking some BCAAs on a high altitude hike may give you a little boost when you need it most.  BCAAs come in a powder form that can be mixed with water.  Definitely try some out before you get to high altitude to make sure your body agrees with the supplement. We use the BCAA+ from Titan Nutrition which also includes Glutamine for digestive health, vitamin B6 for energy metabolism and electrolytes to keep you hydrated. 

The itinerary for the day was planned around our big hikes or rides at high altitudes, starting small and increasing each day. 

Day 1– Little bike ride at Copper Mountain Bike Trail (getting adjusted to altitude and exercise).  Beautiful ride with great sights.  Visit Epic Discovery on top of Vail Mountain (elevation 11,570 ft) 8 hours at high altitude!

Day 2- Little bike ride at Copper Mountain Bike Trail towards Frisco, CO (getting more adjusted to altitude).  Visit Leadville, Co (elevation 10,152 ft) for the day,  (another day at high altitude).

Day 3– Hike Quandary Peak, elevation 14,265 ft.  Started trail at 5:30am.  Hikes 2.5 hours up, stayed at summit for 10 min, hiked 2.5 miles down.  Packed my hydration pack with water, small water bottle for Titan Nutrition BCAA+, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, banana, trail mix, beef jerky, protein bar, first aid kit, whistle, and carried hiking poles.  This was my first “14er,”  and I’m up to try another one. 

Yes, I got exhausted and had labored breathing as the altitude increased, but I kept a steady pace and kept moving.  My concern was not just  making it to the top, but to get down and have the energy to enjoy the rest of my day.  This was definitely a test of willpower and inner strength to keep moving to the top. 

The family trip to Copper Mountain was a success! The high altitude hikes were the highlight of three of our six days. Fun, adventure, time with loved ones.  Now, who’s ready to take it up to the mountains? 

Plan wisely and enjoy the time!

-Molly