Not recovering week to week...

HellsCanyon

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So to make a long story short, I feel right now that I'm in almost worst shape than I was at the beginning on September. For this year I did a bit of hiking and scouting and riding a mountain bike up steep hills to get my legs in shape and keep me prepped and ready for hunting season.

I hunted 5 days the last weekend of August on an antelope archery hunt and we were climbing anywhere from 1k to 2k' feet per day outside the Lemhi valley in Idaho.

Next hunt was a Sept 15th with maybe one or two hikes prior to keep my legs ready. Felt pretty good on this trip although it wasn't too hard with only one major day of climbing to get to camp.

Next hunt was the last weekend of Sept and a 4 day archery elk hunt in the panhandle. Felt like a rockstar and really was feeling pretty awesome climbing up and down mountains chasing bugles. Recovered well and still was able to hit it hard every day.

Next hunt started Oct 11th (thursday) and went through sunday. Have hunted every thursday through sunday since then and it seems every weekend my legs are still whipped from the previous weekend. Are 4 days not enough recovery time? Every weekend we've been climbing anywhere from 4k' to 5k'+ feet. This is in Hells Canyon area and to give you an example, one afternoon we climbed 2550' in .9 miles straight up a ridge. There's simply no way to avoid it in this unit. At this point in the hunt, I'm feeling like I'm in worse shape than I was on my elk hunt.

Anybody else run into this problem? I would like to think that at this point I would be running 'beastmode' status but I find that each weekend my legs just aren't recovering to where I would like them too. Do I really need more than 4 days to get back to full strength? What kind of diet modifications can I try to help me? Curious to hear your thoughts on this...

Mike
 

ScottR_EHJ

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By the end of elk season I feel the same way. No matter how good of shape we get it, sometimes our bodies take longer than we want to recover. Lots of water and protein seem to help me.
 

Rizzy

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I think the cold weather really takes it out of you. I always seem to be fatigued by the end of the season too.
 

Shrek

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The cold and... the mental stress. When I hunt I just wear out. I am not really pushing my body that much more but my mind is on overdrive along with the emotional roller coaster. Somehow it translates to the body.
 

sk1

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I mean everyone is different, but for normal wear and tear I wouldnt think you need more than 4 days....especially at mid-season form. I could see needing more if you're out of shape, just like lifting weights if you have taken time off and you lift heavy, those muscles you havent used in awhile are sore for longer than normal. The only issues I have with recovery is my feet ache, but I dont notice that until Im back at camp, and they are ok once I start walking the next day.....or if you have a nagging injury, sometimes my shin splints come back and 4 days doesn't cut it, but you hunt anyways.

So I would say I am a little surprised you aren't recovering after 4 days unless you are using some muscles that just never really got pushed that hard in your previous hunts, or have some type of nagging strain or something.

Just keep hunting and it will all be worth it once the next animal is down......right? Because if you don't push yourself, you're going to wonder all year long until next season if you could have pushed harder, at least I do if I ever take a day off when I could be hunting.
 
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HellsCanyon

HellsCanyon

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Sk1,
Thats exactly how I feel... at this point notching a tag is not a big deal. Ive had plenty of opportunities at nice bucks on this hunt. Much bigger than anything I've shot before. Only thing is I have to know I gave it 100% every chance I had and I left it all on the mountain!

I know what you're saying about lifting weights and all that. I did a lot of lifting in college and once in a routine was able to get by one 1-2 days recovery for a muscle group before hitting them again.

This has not been the same... I think part of it is mental. For example, when lifting and you set a certain number of reps for your goal, the last few reps always seem the toughest. If you set a higher goal, the same burn occurs for myself on the last few reps no matter the number. Its like as soon as the mind realizes that the hard work is almost done it starts to cut back on the power... not sure if this makes sense?

As far as working new muscles, I don't think that is the problem. I think part of it may be the fact that muley hunting in this country is a hard burnout to the top of the mountain before first light every day. We always seem to be in a race against the clock to get where we're headed. While elk hunting for me was more of a slow steady all day still hunt with very little glassing. Still working those same muscles, just not doing the extended intense workouts that I get on my muley hunts...

Mike
 
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HellsCanyon

HellsCanyon

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It's your diet.....

Care to elaborate on that one Aron? What should I be eating? I try to eat as much steak and burgers as I can but can't always do that. Should i be supplementing with a quality protein shake or two a day?

Mike
 

sk1

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I don't think you need to get drastic with your diet.....as long as you arent regularily hitting mcdonalds for lunch or something like that.....a good balance of protein and complex carbs.....doesnt need to be steak or burgers, can be fish, chicken, turkey, pork.....peanut butter, even your wheat bread has protein in it, which by the way is an excellent source of complex carbs, especially if you get the real stuff that the first ingredient listed is 100% stone ground wheat, not enriched wheat flour or whatever it says. Another good and simple source of complex carbs is wheat noodles, which taste relatively close to the same as the regular ones, so you won't hardly even notice a switch. If you know you're lacking in the protein department, and find it easier to do a shake, there is nothing wrong with that either, a protein shake shortly before bed followed by 7 or 8 hours of sleep will only do good things for you, depending on what one you use, they often are loaded with good carbs as well.

everyone is going to have opinions on the diet category, but overall a good balance of protein and complex carbs will do your body good....I can't say that will fix your recovery issue, but it definitely wont hurt it. however, even with the best diet in the world, if you constantly are going short on sleep (me), your body has limited time to recover

I also understand the mental side of recovery, but not so much with 4 days off......I have had issues chasing elk in deep late season snow with a bow, all day long from sun up to sun down for 4 or 5 days, doing the same ridiculously steel slopes....it wears on you, bad....and is sometimes hard to go back the next morning, but 4 days off I no longer have any mental qualms, I can't wait to go back.

Don't mind me, I am just rambling not sure if any of this really helps, but those are my thoughts
 
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HellsCanyon

HellsCanyon

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Hey man, bouncing ideas and thoughts off each other is what I love about this place. Feel free to ramble!

I believe that the sleep and diet have probably been a major factor. I know that when I used to work out a lot, I would attribute at least 50% of my workout effectiveness to my diet. I'm a very lean guy anyways so my body doesn't have any fat or any reserves to help support my activities. I'll try drawing up a better meal plan for my days off and see if that helps!

One thing I'm curious about while we're rambling, is how does potato bread stack up against wheat? I never buy white bread and try to avoid white flour as much as possible, but for anything bread wise I really love potato bread... lol

Mike
 

sanchomaes

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I am sure you already know this but pound that water also. Climbing and hunting like that will dehydrate any man. H2O!
 

sk1

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i really haven't ever looked at the ingredients on like a potato bread......if you cant dive in to 100% stone ground wheat, as I dont care for it myself but I force myself to eat it.....maybe try something like a honey wheat? not quite as good for you as the all out real wheat bread, but better than white.

I didnt even go into the fruits and vegetables part of the diet, but I can be bad with that myself, I eat them but dont make it a priority.....I let a good multivitamin take care of that portion for me....not as good as the real thing, but better than nothing.
 

sk1

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I am sure you already know this but pound that water also. Climbing and hunting like that will dehydrate any man. H2O!

yeah good point...i need to stop drinking that darn mountain dew, its terrible for my hydration and endurance.......so addictive though.
 

Becca

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Something else to consider, do you think you are eating enough on your trips? I am no expert, but I started crunching the numbers a few seasons ago and realized we weren't even coming close to replacing the calories we burned on a lot of our trips, and i felt like my performance was suffering. I got really badly fatigued, and felt like i couldnt keep hiking no matter what kind of shape I was in...it seemed to get worse the later into the season it was. Especially when you are doing trips back to back with short turn around time, if you don't have a lot of reserves and aren't getting enough fuel in the field it is hard for your body to build/maintain/repair muscles. I started calorie counting some during the off season--even if you aren't looking to lose (or gain) weight, it sure is an eye opener to realize how much your calorie needs increase when you are working hard. The last several seasons have been a lot better for me (well except when we ran out of food on my sheep hunt, but that was a short term problem, ha ha)--I have gotten in better shape the last several years, but I also attribute it to keeping a better handle on calories in versus calories out and trying to keep them somewhat balanced.
 
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HellsCanyon

HellsCanyon

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Something else to consider, do you think you are eating enough on your trips? I am no expert, but I started crunching the numbers a few seasons ago and realized we weren't even coming close to replacing the calories we burned on a lot of our trips, and i felt like my performance was suffering. I got really badly fatigued, and felt like i couldnt keep hiking no matter what kind of shape I was in...it seemed to get worse the later into the season it was. Especially when you are doing trips back to back with short turn around time, if you don't have a lot of reserves and aren't getting enough fuel in the field it is hard for your body to build/maintain/repair muscles. I started calorie counting some during the off season--even if you aren't looking to lose (or gain) weight, it sure is an eye opener to realize how much your calorie needs increase when you are working hard. The last several seasons have been a lot better for me (well except when we ran out of food on my sheep hunt, but that was a short term problem, ha ha)--I have gotten in better shape the last several years, but I also attribute it to keeping a better handle on calories in versus calories out and trying to keep them somewhat balanced.

Great point Becca! I do count calories on my backpacking trips but haven't on this tag. One thing I need to realize, is how do I know how many calories I'm burning?

Also, as I am no diet expert, how do fats play into the diet portion? I rarely take food that is high in fat... the Eskimos live on blubber so it got me wondering?

Mike
 

sanchomaes

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Dehydrated muscles=weak muscles

It would be hard to calculate the calories being burnt but from the looks of the terrain in the pics I don't think 4-5,000 calories would be overestimating.
 

Aron Snyder

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I didn't read through everyhting, but this would be my guess.

You're not eating enough quality food after the hunt (complex carbs, slow and fast burning proteins)

Not eating enough during the hunt

Drinking to much soda and not enough water

I'm on my phone, but will add more when I get home.
 

Becca

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Great point Becca! I do count calories on my backpacking trips but haven't on this tag. One thing I need to realize, is how do I know how many calories I'm burning?

Also, as I am no diet expert, how do fats play into the diet portion? I rarely take food that is high in fat... the Eskimos live on blubber so it got me wondering?

Mike

There are several ways to figure out your calories burned, usually either estimating or using some kind of measurement device (fit bug or the Nike fuel band are two I have heard of, but they are kind of expensive). I usually just go with estimation-- most calorie calculators usually tell me I burn around 400 cal/hr hiking uphill, and that's without added weight. I think with a 20lb pack it goes up to 600cal/hr so you figure on a really heavy pack out someone my size could burn around 800 cal/hr and that might be conservative estimate. In the field I usually just estimate based on the 600cal/hour number and attempt to replace the majority of what I burned, some calorie deficit is ok but too much and I seem to notice it. The flip side is that if i pig out on high calorie backpacking food on days where I don't get any exercise (weathered in, etc) I also feel pretty crummy. Seems to require balance.

If you want to play around with some numbers, try the myfitnesspal app or website and start plugging some numbers in.

I shoot for a mix of sugars, fats and protein in our backpacking food, largely because they have a good number of calories per ounce and help with an energy boost. In the field we do breakfast and dinner meals only, otherwise is a 200-300calorie snack every few hours throughout the day, more often if we are packing heavy. Also helps to bring food you really like, because I don't always have an appetite in the field. I literally never eat candy bars at home, but I look forward to snickers, Reese's peanut butter cups, and almond M&Ms when we backpack, it's kind of like my reward for hiking farther with a heavy load (did I tell you I used to be a chubby kid??? :) )

I personally wouldn't endorse a strictly high fat diet, but wouldn't worry much about the fat you find in nuts, jerky or salami, or even cheese. These things are going to be higher in cal/oz and if you are working hard you an afford a little more of them.
 
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