I am 52. Aging can be tough on the body and ego but the alternative is worse. I’m thankful to be where I am. My mantra is “never give in”; including to the inevitable downsides of aging. This year has tested me, though, with hamstring injury and (like many of us) hormonal chaos.
I have gained weight, and lost muscle. Why I care, beyond the obvious waistband searing discomfort of my too-tight skinny jeans, is that I place a high value on being able to continue doing what I love – cycling, running, swimming, hiking – for as long as I can and in as little pain as possible. Don’t we all want that? To be able to physically do what we want? Flip that and ask yourself – what if I couldn’t get out of bed tomorrow morning and just walk to the kitchen? Ah – that’s where self-care and fitness enters.
The idea to trek the Himalayas arose from a blog about a man who hiked for 29 days with extraordinary physical results. He reduced from 13% to 5% body fat. It made me wonder if the results would be the same for a woman. I had done long treks before but never quantified the results. I decided that a 20-day trek in the Himalayas, using Dexafit biostatistics to track my results, might be a solution to reclaim my fitness.
My resting heart rate is at 40 which is low. My VO2 Max, a gauge of my body’s ability to use oxygen for intense exercise is at 56, which rates as “superior” for 20-29 year old women. I guess this was my one shining star, as it has been hard earned through my past 5 years of endurance training for various events. My metabolic efficiency is good – I have a “fast” metabolism (17% faster than “expected” compared with others my age), and I’m getting 53% of my energy from fat, and 47% from carbs.
Blood draw in a random parking lot to get bio stats completed!
I will re-test all of this, upon return from Nepal as well as my hormone levels – such as Cortisol (stress hormone), Estrogen, Testosterone and more.
My expectation is to lean up (lose body fat), increase VO2 Max and lower my resting heart rate further. I will likely not gain muscle, as the Nepalese diet is mostly rice and legumes with little protein. Protein is required for muscle building.
I have also committed to eliminate refined sugar and alcohol from my diet for 30 days. Ok – lets be honest………..this is because I can’t GET sugar and alcohol in Nepal!
Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted on the trials and tribulations, plus excitement of climbing to 18,000 feet, where oxygen is at 50% of street level and the temperatures reach (-10 degrees).