Football to Alpinism problems

  • Creator
  • #13401


    I am new to climbing, very new to alpinism and extremely new to endurance training. I have an extensive background in high intensity training and max strength from collegiate football. I desperately yearn for a physiology that can sustain alpine climbing and mountaineering but am concerned.

    After reading some of your articles and going through your book I am convinced I have developed ADS or Aerobic Deficiency Syndrome that an extreme crossfitter would have but haven’t gotten metabolic testing to prove this.

    I have read the articles about eating a higher fat diet and doing fasted exercises but am looking for more advice that you may have given to a person with the worst fat burning ability you’ve ever seen.

    I have a low body fat percentage naturally about 5% 6’2″ 180lb. Can keep up with friends in the mountains very well for about half a day then start bonking hard, throwing up and struggling. I can barely function without massive amounts of food. I have done a survival field course where we hiked for a day in the sun without food and I threw up 10 times that day.

    Please tell me there is hope for me. These stories about 24 and 30 hour pushes with minimal food inspire me but I’m worried my bodies physiology constrains me to sport climbing and bouldering. Please tell me its not so. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #13402

    Humans are evolutionarily predisposed to have endurance. AS a species we are some of the best endowed mammals endurance-wise. On the other hand we pretty puny when it comes to speed and power. Track coaches have a saying: Sprinters are born, distance runners are made. Mean that you can take almost anyone and turn them into an endurance athlete but speed and power athletes come out of the box with a really special set of genes.

    So unless you are way out on the tail end of the endurance bell curve I suspect there is good hope that you can over come your ADS given enough time. From the endurance athlete perspective you have really messed up your metabolism with the steady diet of high intensity work. That’s why you suffer so badly on long outings.

    Follow the precepts on the book and on this website. It is going to take a long time: Months to see significant change and years to reach your genetic potential. No one can tell you how fast you will adapt because trainability does have a strong genetic component.

    The good news is that we have worked with a lot of reformed Cross Fitters and they usually have a very high general work capacity. They can handle anything we throw at them. This is a valuable asset and if you have time tom you can speed up the aerobic adaptation process by doing more volume of low intensity aerobic training. Duration is the biggest stimulus to aerobic adaptation. 10 hours a week is going to give you twice the benefits that 5 hours will.

    Fixing ADS is a slow process and you’ll probable need to go a painfully slow pace. Do it and you will see results. Be patient.


    Anonymous on #13405

    I think that Scott J. would also agree that training yourself out of ADS also has a very simple solution: Do as much volume as you can breathing through your nose. You’ll have little need for metabolic tests (unless you’re curious) or time-trial-type workouts.

    Breathing through your nose is a great real-time indicator of where the limit of your aerobic system is. By your description, it sounds like your nose-breathing limit will be painfully slow. But as Scott J. said, be patient and it will improve.

    Anonymous on #13411

    EXACTLY with Semple said. That’s why he makes the big bucks….he’s my back up for when I do not read the forum questions thoroughly.

    This is aerobic base training not rocket science: as high a volume of (probably quite) low intensity running, hiking, skiing. Any weight bearing activity will help. Rowing, cycling and swimming are OK but not as effective as weight bearing for your intended mountain goals.


    msduncan82 on #13497


    Thanks for the motivation. Sounds like I will have to focus on the big picture and not short term progress.

    You guys rock!


Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.