Which product for intense stair workout?

The Forum for Endurance Athletes

Which product for intense stair workout?

Postby Briody » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:54 am

I’m a new customer of Hammer and this is my first post here.

I’m a regular runner and cyclist, but I’m seeking advice for a workout called ‘The Incline’. The Incline is 1.2 miles (distance + elevation) of stairs up the foot of Pikes Peak. These aren’t normal stairs, these are uneven railroad ties. The middle third of the stairs are as steep as a stepladder. Some of the steps are over 2 feet high and there is the occasional boulder to climb over. This is a brutal workout and a favorite one of the U.S. Olympic Team. I love it and try to do it once a week.

I can do the Incline is about 35 minutes. That’s considered a decent time but not earthshattering by any means. A world-class athlete does it in under 20 minutes. 45 minutes is average for my age group, so 35 minutes is decent.

I’m looking for advice as to which Hammer product may help my performance during this workout. My heart rate is very high for about 30 minutes of the 35 minute workout, this is an intense workout. I run out of energy with about 10 minutes left. My leg muscles hold up well but I’m just spent. So basically I’m looking to sustain energy while doing continuous steep stairs.

Any advice appreciated.

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:31 am

Re: Which product for intense stair workout?

Postby steve-born » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:34 pm

Hello Briody -

Welcome to Hammer Nutrition and to the Endurance Forum. Just a friendly reminder to please list your first name when you post... it's less formal that way (and that's how we like to keep things!)

As far as "The Incline" workout is concerned, the #1 thing that comes to mind (aside from the fact that it sounds brutal) is that you'll be using a lot of muscle glycogen during the workout, muscle glycogen being the first fuel your body will rely on when you begin a workout.

That's why it's absolutely vital that you "refill the tank" with carbs and protein ASAP after all of your workouts, so as to maximize glycogen stores. The fitter you become and the more consistent you are with ASAP post-workout replenishment of carbs and protein, the more minutes of glycogen you'll be able to store in the muscles (up to anywhere between 60-90 minutes worth). And again, since muscle glycogen is the first-used fuel by the body, and considering the intensity of your effort (which means you'll be going through a fair amount of glycogen), it stands to reason that having as much muscle glycogen "on board" presents a distinct advantage.

We discuss this in more detail in the article Recovery - A Crucial Component For Success

So that's the first place to start, making sure you're taking the steps to maximize the amount of glycogen stored in the muscles. The next step, in my opinion, is what to do leading up to the workout. In general, we recommend the consumption of no calories for a 3-hour period between the completion of a meal and the start of a workout or race. There is an exception, however, which I explain in the article Proper Fueling - Pre-Workout & Race Suggestions. I've taken the liberty of cutting and pasting that particular section of the article for you...

Are there any exceptions to the three-hour rule?

When you’re engaged in training sessions or races in the 90-minute range or shorter (personally, I prefer an hour limit), fasting three hours prior to the start is not necessary. Consuming some easily digested calories an hour or two prior to the start will not negatively affect performance, and may actually enhance it. Here’s why:

As we’ve discussed earlier, when you consume calories sooner than three hours prior to the start of a workout or race, you accelerate the rate at which your body burns its finite amounts of muscle glycogen stores. In events lasting longer than 60-90 minutes, refraining from calorie consumption for the three-hour period prior to the start is crucial because you want to preserve your glycogen stores, not accelerate their depletion. Muscle glycogen is the first fuel that the body will use when exercise commences, and your body only has a limited supply of this premium fuel. If your workout or race goes beyond the 60-90 minute mark, you don't want to do anything that will accelerate muscle glycogen utilization.

However, when you consume calories within three hours of a race, that's exactly what will happen; you'll increase the rate at which your glycogen is burned.

During shorter distance races, however, accelerated rates of glycogen depletion/utilization are not problematic. You don’t need the calories for energy, but the presence of carbohydrates will elevate glycogen utilization. In a short race, that’s what you want.

Dr. Misner explains that prior to shorter-duration bouts of exercise, "consuming a few easily digested carbohydrates [such as a serving or two of HEED or Hammer Gel] will advance performance, because carbohydrates consumed prior to exercise make the body super-expend its glycogen stores like a flood gate wide open." In other words, if you eat something 1-2 hours prior to the start of a short-duration training session or race, thus causing the insulin "flood gates" to open, yes, you will be depleting your glycogen stores at maximum rates. However, at this distance it’s a beneficial effect, as glycogen depletion is not an issue when the workout or race is over within at most 90 minutes.

This advice assumes that you have been effectively refueling your body after each workout, as this is the primary way to increase muscle glycogen (see the article Recovery - A Crucial Component For Success for details).

Bottom line: Fast three hours prior to the start of a longer-duration event (60-90+ minutes). For shorter events, consuming a small amount of fuel an hour to two prior to the start may enhance performance.

----- END -----

What I would suggest doing is sipping on a bottle of HEED in the hour or so leading up to the workout. That way you give your body a few more calories, some electrolytes, and fluid... all from one source.

The last thing that I think would be extremely helpful is using 1-2 Energy Surge tablets about 5-15 minutes prior to the start. Here's what we write about this particular product:

Energy Surge is pure ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the chemical compound - the "energy currency" of the cell -that provides the overwhelming majority of the energy needed by your body. Under normal conditions (such as at rest) the body can produce all the ATP it needs for a healthy existence. However, during stressful conditions, such as high-intensity exercise, the body's ATP stores are rapidly depleted and cannot be replenished quickly enough by normal means. When you're in a race and you need to step up the effort - be it prior to attacking a climb or dropping the pack - your body must have the cellular goods to deliver the performance. And that's exactly when Energy Surge shines. When you put an Energy Surge tablet under your tongue and let it dissolve, you get a nice boost of energy exactly when you need it. It's perfect for interval sessions, a hard section of a workout or race, or when it's time to put away the competition for good.

----- END -----

I hope that you will find these suggestions helpful, but if you have any questions or need more clarification - especially after reviewing the information in the articles whose links I've attached - please let me know.

Sincerely -

Steve Born
Fueling Expert
Event Sponsorship Coordinator
User avatar
Posts: 300
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:16 pm

Return to Endurance Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests