Hiking isn’t just a sport, it’s a lifestyle - just ask any hiker, like Max Gorin. If you want to have the energy to tackle harder, steeper, more rewarding hikes, you’ll need a fit body to back you up. Train like a pro and get in shape for hiking season with the following tips.
1. Strap on a pack that weighs 20 pounds (or more if you’re used to hiking with heavier gear). Head to the park and find a bench that’s secured into the ground and that’s at least 16 inches high (no more than 18 inches). Your goal is to work up to 700 steps in half an hour while adding five pounds until you reach a total of 40 pounds.
2. One of the best exercises you can do to prep for hiking are lunges. Make sure to hold weights in each hand, too.
3. Stop grunting! Yes, your workout’s hard. Yes, you’re on a killer of a trail. If you’re grunting, though, that also means that you’re thinking, and you’re likely thinking things like, “This is so hard, when will this be over?!” Instead, focus everything you’ve got on the exercise at hand and stop putting any energy into making noises.
4. Remember that this is supposed to be hard - that’s a huge part of the payoff, aside from gorgeous views and getting away from the Internet for a week. Pace yourself, both when you train and when you actually get out there to hike. Hard doesn’t mean impossible and it shouldn’t lead to injuries, either.
5. Over the course of nine weeks, work on different goals, starting with strength. Then move on to endurance and, finally, to intensity. You need to start with strength so that you have the muscle to be sacrificed during the endurance phase. During the endurance period, focus a lot on jogging or going on short hikes.
6. Look at the short term goal when training feels overwhelming. This is a good attitude to bring to a hike too, especially when you’re planning to travel a long distance. Getting to the next rep or the next step is a much easier-to-handle goal than getting through an entire hour-long workout or being umpteen miles away within two weeks.
7. Suffer through band walks. Tie one resistance band on your legs at the shin. There should be tension when you stand with your legs hip width apart. Stand up straight, suck your abs in, put your hands on your hips, and walk forward, all the while keeping the tension from the band.
Working out and training isn’t easy - if it were, everybody would do it. It is rewarding, though, and you’ll be grateful for all those hours you put in when you’re hiking easily through difficult terrain. Plus, when the weather changes unexpectedly, you’ll have the energy and strength needed to get to safety fast.