Effects of a 500 mile backpacking through hike on the performance of a competitive powerlifter: An observational case study
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Objective- To evaluate the effects of a long-distance backpacking trip and a high protein diet on body composition, strength, power, and aerobic performance. Methods- Study of a single-subject who hiked 34 days on the Colorado Trail. Dependent variables measured included body mass, body composition, bone mineral density, VO2 max, resting metabolic rate, blood lipids, strength in squat, bench press, and deadlift, vertical leap, muscular endurance in pull ups, resting heart rate, and resting blood pressure. These variables were measured before and after the 34 day hike. Results- Maximal squat performance decreased by 29.5kg (19%). Maximal bench press performance decreased by 18.2 kg (16%). Maximal deadlift decreased 31.7kg (17%). Box jump decreased 13 cm (14%). VO2max increased 8.7 mL/kg/min (17%). Conclusions- Despite a high protein diet, magnitude and duration of an extended backpacking trip can considerably reduce performance in strength and power.