Getting into shape...

11:18 p.m. on June 21, 2010 (EDT)
30 reviewer rep
187 forum posts

Hi everyone,

I was wondering what all of you do to get into shape for a new season of backpacking? I knew a guy that went for walks with his loaded pack so that he would get accustomed to the straps. I ride bike, but since I haven't rode for a while it is kicking my butt. I was thinking of doing that P90 thing on TV...you know the one that claims "muscle confusion" is the answer. Right now my muscles are not confused at all...they are really focused keeping me upright in the chair in from of the TV. :)


Snakey

12:11 a.m. on June 22, 2010 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,430 reviewer rep
5,313 forum posts

New season? New season? When did an old season end? Backpacking is continuous in all seasons of the year. Gotta get out at least once a week for a backpack, at least once a day for a day hike, at least once a month for a week-long backpack. at least once a year for a 3-6 week backpack.

Hey, it ain't like beisbol or futbol, or one of those namby pamby couple month long activities. Ya do it all year, in all seasons and all weather. And if you aren't actually backpacking, you walk everywhere (or at least bicycle) and carry your stuff in a pack.

There is no "backpacking season".

Lest you think I am joking (yeah, I know, don't ever take me completely seriously), I am serious - there is no "backpacking season." Get out there for at least a couple miles every day of walking with a pack on, preferably at least once a week up some hills, and spend at least 4 nights a month under canvas, or better, under the stars. And make that at least a dozen miles from a trailhead.

P90? Forget fads. Go backpacking - whether it's wearing boots, snowshoes, or skis, or even trail running shoes.

12:30 a.m. on June 22, 2010 (EDT)
30 reviewer rep
187 forum posts

Yeah...this next winter snowshoes will be the order. So Bill...do you have a job?

3:25 p.m. on June 22, 2010 (EDT)
27 reviewer rep
200 forum posts

Bill has a love for frigid weather that not everyone shares. I tend to see my outdoor activities as rather seasonal as well, though I have my sights set on at least one winter outing late this year. We'll see how that turns out. =)

I'm headed out this Saturday for a day hike. Originally it was a group outing but it looks to have dwindled down to a solo trip. No matter, I expected frequent stops to workout my new tripod anyhow.

6:54 p.m. on June 22, 2010 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
263 forum posts

Walk, walk walk. My back is pretty messed up but my doc told me to keep using it so I will load a day pack to 15 lbs or so on many (Not all) walks.


Yock, you can join my group at 8:30 AM on Friday if you would like for a day hike. :)


(I have to work. :( .....)

9:46 p.m. on June 22, 2010 (EDT)
210 reviewer rep
4,216 forum posts

Bicycling does little in the way of getting one in shape for backpacking:

1. Your spine is suspended on the seat so you have very little use except on jarring rides.

2. Cycling uses one type of muscles, hiking/walking another. I like to cross train cycling everywhere as usual and going on weekend hiking trips to work on my hiking muscles.

I always look forward to spring when the snow melts or the temperture warms a bit more so I can go hiking/camping without all the heavier winter gear of snowshoes,crosscountry skiis, heavy boots, insulated underwear, etc. I like winter camping mind you but not as much as a pair of short and tshirt with light shoes on.

9:51 a.m. on June 23, 2010 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
36 forum posts

Bill I'm envious of you if you're able to hike\camp that much! If I tried that I would think within a short time my tent would have to become my home lol

Seriously though after the birth of my second child a year ago I'd found I hadn't hiked\camped at all and I missed it. Although I exercised fairly regularly my first 8 mile hike in a very long time a few months back set me back harder then I expected. It wasn't that I was out of shape that horribly I believe it's that I was using different muscle groups then I did during normal exercise.

So my point is, any exercise is good - you'll benefit from it. I have some friends who have done p90 with good success (if you can stick with it - its hard work). But as Bill says, and my legs and back will tell you from my experience a few months back, nothing beats just going out there and doing it. Start short, walk with your boots\trail runners in the park, then throw on a pack, then do some weekend day hikes throwing in some overnights when you can. The best thing about it that you won't get from p90 or anything like it is the fact that it will never feel like exercising but it is :)

Josh

1:12 p.m. on June 23, 2010 (EDT)
16 reviewer rep
56 forum posts

I'm with Bill that no matter the season Ill get out in the woods. But I will say that I have more motivation to get active and whip my butt into shape come the Spring. Especially come Summertime, since I can usually expect a couple major Long distance hikes to be prepared for.

For me, and those of us with hectic schedules.. i try to at least get out and do 1 or 2 lengthy day hikes per week, with my 35L daypack on. Also, I try to run a few miles about 3 or 4 times a week and hit up the weight room for muscle concentration.

One thing Ive done that helps quite considerably is cross training on an elliptical machine or somthing like that. It really puts those hiking muscles into gear. And if your not big into running, I find that you can get more benefit for your time with less discomfort. give it a shot for a couple weeks and see how it goes.

And then there's always loadin the pack up with rocks and doin lunges...

1:18 p.m. on June 23, 2010 (EDT)
210 reviewer rep
4,216 forum posts

When I was in my 20-40s I spent 75% of the year outdoors hiking,camping and everything in between. Now I have taken about 3 years off from it and its harder to get back into doing it. My muscles have relaxed I guess from not hiking 3000 miles an average year. I do bicycle a lot but when I go on a hike I can see that cycling has done very little for me getting inshape after 50 than it did before.

4:28 p.m. on June 23, 2010 (EDT)
10 reviewer rep
479 forum posts

Usually most people don't have the spare time to get in shape the protracted way by walking or hiking. Below will condense muscle building into an hour instead of several and get better results quicker.

Hiking on trails is almost considered cross training and tunes the entire system.

There are several ways to get in shape (and stay in shape). One is weight lifting at a gym under some supervision of a 'professional coach'. They make sure you are doing the correct exercises toward your goal without getting injured. Weight lifting and a meal plan (not a diet - you need calories to exercise) is the surest, safest and fastest way to loose weight.

Sometime, somehow, you are going to have to accustom your lower part of your body to a lot of repetitive stress. If you are not too big (check with a physician before you start any 'new' life), this is a good beginners introduction into aerobics and can be done on a treadmill as well as on the streets.

http://www.exrx.net/Aerobic/JogWalkProgram.html

It is a better plan than just random getting out there and doing something, as it specifies repetitions for the fastest way to build up stamina. Stay with the regime and don't skip or shun steps. As you are able to complete each level you move on. You should find it a challenge to accomplish any new level. You will soon find that running is one of the boring things in life and is a lot better if you have a partner to make sure you show up each time.

Bike peddling is the surest way to maintain a level of controlled exertion for a protracted time. Much better than most hiking trails can give you. Spinning is a great aerobic exercise while it gives you full motion around a joint.

And of course there are stairs and stairs and stairs and.... If you have a tall building or a stadium that will let you in, you can spend lots of time getting acquainted with all the exit signs.

Stairs also can get you to be aware of what your body is doing easier - since you are in a more controlled environment. This is where you practice Step Breathing. Step up with a foot and inhale -- step up with the other foot and exhale -- repeat. The trick is to set up a pace that after 10 mins you are still at it, but you are a bit uncomfortable and at a stage of 'labored' breathing. You should not be able to carry on a normal conversation or sing. After 10-15 minutes stop and take your pulse. This is near 80% of YOUR max heart rate. This is something you can do no matter your beginning fitness level.

Get where you know how you are breathing and how you feel generally at this rate. You don't want to spend a lot of time routinely on the trail going this fast. When hiking using step breathing, keep your pace (and therefore your breathing and heart beat) at a regular rate and take shorter steps when you need more air and longer when you are on the flat or down hill. The intent is that you set up a pace that you can progress along the trail without having to stop often for a break for air.

For training on stars, see how long you can go at 80% and extend it each week.

If on stairs go down holding securely onto the hand rails and descend taking 2 or 3 steps SLOWLY at a time. Great place to work on the muscles that control your trek poles as well. Use the rubber tips instead of the carbide ones.

Speaking of treks. Work up to putting 10 pounds or more on each trek pole with each stride for a considerable distance...perhaps an hour. In the gym work on those same muscles at very much heavier weights so that 3 sets of 20 repetitions cause failure before last set is complete.

For all those muscles below your belly button, some suggest 3 sets of 10 repetitions (again not able to complete last set) with the exercise repeated again 30 minutes later.

7:09 p.m. on June 23, 2010 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,430 reviewer rep
5,313 forum posts

While I am currently retired and thus, in theory have lots of time (don't let anyone tell you otherwise, but you will have LESS time available after you retire), while I was a "salaryman", I found lots of ways to do lots of physical exercise all year around. For one thing, I bicycled to work. Even when I was living in Boston and the DC Area, I bicycled year around. Yes, you can bicycle in snow and rain - it ain't that hard - and yes, I wore suit and tie.

Since I worked in multi-story buildings, I climbed the stairs and didn't use elevators. When we took lunch breaks, we walked to the restaurant, and picked ones that were a fair distance away (it helps to seek out co-workers of similar mind).

In the evenings, I went for hikes, XC ski tours (in Boston), and pumped weights. Plus, while in academia, I made use of the gym facilities (and yes, as an academic, I had my share of grants and published a fair share of research papers).

When I went to the aerospace industry, my company had a locker room and showers, so many of us went on bike rides at noon (because of time limitations, these were typically 15-20 milers), or in spring-fall, rides after work. Alternatively, I did hikes with a pack after work, usually 5 miles (longer in summer), and usually with 30-50 pounds of load. Because of late meetings, Barb does a long walk starting about 6AM so she can get to work by 8.

Oh, and for many decades, we did not have a TV. Even now, with the 52-incher (a gift from Barb's current company on the 10th anniversary of her working there), we generally only watch things like the Ken Burns series, Nova, Nature, things like that.

It really is not that hard to get the training in IF you really want to. All you have to do is "give up" things like TV, video games, and the like.

Weekends are spent on things like orienteering meets, climbing, backpacking long distances on boot, snowshoe, or skis, or longer bike rides.

And yes, the kids can participate - Young Son's first backpack (carrying his own pack with water bottle, snacks, and rain and warm gear) was at 3 years old. Kids love the outdoors, and it is a lot better than having them watch the tube or play computer games.

I suggested a couple miles a day - 2 miles will take 45 min to 1 hour with a pack. Add the weekend hike up a hill that I listed - that's a pleasant morning. 4 nights under canvas? That's 2 weekends, one night a Friday night at the trailhead, the second a campsite you packed in to.

It really is not that hard or time consuming - IF you leave the TV turned off. It really amazes me that so many of the above posts made statements like "I'm envious of you if you're able to hike\camp that much!". Of course it helps that both Barb and I grew up in woodsy families, and that our "courtship" was backpacking, climbing, and ski trips, plus making sure that the progeny was involved essentially from birth in outdoor activities. What it comes down to is that is OUR LIFE - THE OUTDOORS! (and a secret - it's cheaper, too).

3:35 a.m. on June 24, 2010 (EDT)
30 reviewer rep
187 forum posts

Gee...thanks everyone for all the great ideas. I have no problem with time, its the motivation that is hard. Not to be a downer, but I have been unemployed for well over a year now, and I find that nothing gets the spirits up quicker than a romp through Mother Natures best. It is not really even a motivation thing, but rather that you feel as if you should be looking for work all the time. Yeah that's not realistic but whenever I take some time to myself, I end up feeling guilty.

I have exercise equipment, but why I asked the question is to get an idea of what other people do. You people sure came back with some good ideas. I have decided to load my pack with some weight, not a full pack at first, and walked on my Nordic track. I will raise the incline ever so slightly until I get the good heart rate, working into the big hikes. I try to use the kettle bells but find that it is easy for me to overdue it with those. I do yoga and stretching every morning, and now I try to do a bike ride too. The bike paths here in Denver are really nice, but I need a carrier so that I can get to some of the ones I don't ride. I make the ride a workout and get my heart rate up pretty good...at least more than anything else. The bike helps my lower back too. I plan on taking the advice from you all and just get out there. I am a photographer, and so I will do some short trips with just the camera gear to get me back to nature quickly. The Red Rocks Amphitheater is where some people go, when there is no show, and run up and down the steps. I am not sure if that costs money, but I am going to call them soon to check it out. Anyway....you people are awesome...thanks for the ideas and help.

11:30 a.m. on June 24, 2010 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
263 forum posts

Denver?......... Hmmmm...... What do you do for work? Red Rocks is free and there are many other close in front range day hikes that are free as well.

6:22 p.m. on June 24, 2010 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
263 forum posts

I will add that there are quite a few "Meetup" hiking groups based out of the Denver area and they seem to me to be a great way to meet folks with similar interests as well as a good way to network with folks you would not normally meet.


See?.......... You can look for work and hike at the same time while removing the guilt factor in doing so. :)


Just an idea.

11:51 p.m. on June 24, 2010 (EDT)
30 reviewer rep
187 forum posts

noddlehead,

Hey...that's a great idea! :) Yeah meet, greet, hike and network all at the same time. Really...that's a good idea.

Yeah I go to Red Rocks, but it is so jammed with people it seems. I will be doing a photo outing soon.

10:11 a.m. on June 25, 2010 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
263 forum posts

noddlehead,

Hey...that's a great idea! :) Yeah meet, greet, hike and network all at the same time. Really...that's a good idea.

Yeah I go to Red Rocks, but it is so jammed with people it seems. I will be doing a photo outing soon.

As long as Sting is not playing a concert there is usually plenty of room.

 

11:33 p.m. on June 25, 2010 (EDT)
REVIEW CORPS
1,397 reviewer rep
442 forum posts

Muscle confusion is great, but I love to trail run. Going on one to Eagle's Crag near Palomar Mtn tomorrow morning. I like running with a full daypack for harder workouts (12-15 lb or so). Working your core muscles is a real key to backpacking as well. When I'm busy and gym/fitness time doesn't fit into the schedule, I will recline my seatback in my car and sit up without it's support...a heck of a workout in gridlock traffic. I know that it's unorthodox, but just try it for 5 minutes and you'll see why it's a good exercise (don't cheat by holding yourself upright with a death-grip on the steering wheel.

If planning a multi-day backpacking trip, I start training weeks ahead of time with my pack set up the way it would be for the actual trip (especially for winter trips). I don't get to go on trips all of the time, so they are typically planned well in advance. Simulating actual conditions in training makes for a more enjoyable excursion, I believe. In any event, good for you! Have fun and enjoy the journey to get to the journey!

2:36 a.m. on June 26, 2010 (EDT)
30 reviewer rep
187 forum posts

When I'm busy and gym/fitness time doesn't fit into the schedule, I will recline my seatback in my car and sit up without it's support...a heck of a workout in gridlock traffic. I know that it's unorthodox, but just try it for 5 minutes and you'll see why it's a good exercise....

How the heck did you discover that? You must have had a seat break on you once...right? :)

2:38 a.m. on June 26, 2010 (EDT)
30 reviewer rep
187 forum posts


That had to be great! Gives a whole new meaning to getting stung outdoors. LOL (get it...sting....stung) :)

4:00 a.m. on June 26, 2010 (EDT)
REVIEW CORPS
1,397 reviewer rep
442 forum posts

Re: Getting into shape...

When I'm busy and gym/fitness time doesn't fit into the schedule, I will recline my seatback in my car and sit up without it's support...a heck of a workout in gridlock traffic. I know that it's unorthodox, but just try it for 5 minutes and you'll see why it's a good exercise....

Snakey: How the heck did you discover that? You must have had a seat break on you once...right? :)

Thankfully no :D Actually it was from horsin' around while my then 8 year old son was in the seat behind me. We had just seen Star Wars w/ the Trash Compactor scene a couple of days before so I was re-inacting it with him while driving to baseball practice. I then held myseld up to adjust the seatback forward and immediately felt the muscle stress. It definitely works!

10:30 a.m. on June 26, 2010 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
263 forum posts


That had to be great! Gives a whole new meaning to getting stung outdoors. LOL (get it...sting....stung) :)

I think the only sting is the price of the tickets. Great hike just to get to the amphitheater from the lower parking lots.

10:04 p.m. on June 26, 2010 (EDT)
30 reviewer rep
187 forum posts

Re: Getting into shape...

Snakey: How the heck did you discover that? You must have had a seat break on you once...right? :)

Thankfully no :D Actually it was from horsin' around while my then 8 year old son was in the seat behind me. We had just seen Star Wars w/ the Trash Compactor scene a couple of days before so I was re-inacting it with him while driving to baseball practice. I then held myseld up to adjust the seatback forward and immediately felt the muscle stress. It definitely works!

You have to be the coolest Dad ever!


:)

2:08 a.m. on June 29, 2010 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
34 forum posts

Weight lifting and a meal plan (not a diet - you need calories to exercise) is the surest, safest and fastest way to loose weight.

Well, I'm not a dietician, but I often play one on message boards, and I tend to read a lot, so IMO a very low fat vegan diet combined with exercise is the fastest way to lose weight and improve biomarkers. Lowering your caloric intake is what will result in weight loss. To build muscle, you will theoretically need to maintain a calorie *excess* as speacock said.

I've lost and kept off 50 lbs and lowered my cholesterol from 220 to 170 while raising my HDL using a diet similar to the one advocated at http://www.drmcdougall.com. For weight loss, keep in mind that diet will be the major component of your success--it's difficult to put in the time required to burn large amounts of calories while taking in large amounts of calories. Hiking is not extremely calorie intensive.

As for training, I believe people advocate "specificity of training" so I put my scuba weights in my daypack along with 2L soda bottles filled with water and do a "power hike" somewhere. I'd rather be hiking in mountains somewhere but the Chicago lakefront is all I've got so I improvise with the weights and try to repeat the one hill that's out there several times.

Oh yeah, if you use some kind of machine, gym training, or stairs, it's good to train the eccentric contractions of your quads and so forth, i.e. going downhill.

--Peter

3:48 p.m. on July 30, 2010 (EDT)
121 reviewer rep
599 forum posts

I have a pretty strict gym regiment when I'm training for a climb or hike. I have several routines, but one of the best I have for getting into shape is doing stairs with a loaded pack or with dumb bells in my hands.


Typically 80-100 flights of stairs for about 20 minutes, with 25 lb weights in each hand.


To make it functional and mimic the movements of climbing, I'll do military presses (shoulder exercise), one hand at a time, alternating back and forth, while climbing the stairs. When my shoulders get tired, I switch to curling the weights. This mimics motions and strengthens muscles used for ice axes, fixed lines, top roping, and more.

October 23, 2014
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

 
More Topics
This forum: Older: Goat Rocks, White to Chinook Newer: Back Country around Illinois
All forums: Older: A few Day Hikes in The Wichita's Newer: Easter Island