Aerobic fitness will be your main goal during this program. On a Backwoods Adventures trip you may find yourself exerting energy for hours at a time, sometimes for multiple days on end. Endurance and strength is just as important as the gear you’ll use. Make planning your training easy by using one of exercise schedules.
The goal this month is to get into a regular routine. Once this happens you’ll feel like your day is incomplete if you miss a workout. Creating time in your day for your workouts is extremely important, but a full nights rest is just as important. This is a great time to start thinking about eating healthier too, food is fuel for activity as well as recovery, and you want to perform and recover the best you can. Don’t forget to hydrate!
Keep it fun, try new things, and don’t burn out. You’re doing this to ensure you can fully enjoy the trip you signed up for. The more physically prepared you are for your trip, the more you can enjoy all it has to offer!
Shoot for at least 3 days a week of exercise this month. If you are starting from scratch, start slow, listen to and learn from your body. It will let you know when enough is enough. Plan on being sore at first, but by the end of the month you should notice you are no longer sore after every workout.
You should be doing at least 30 continuous minutes of aerobic exercise 3x a week. Running, biking, swimming, rowing, hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are all great aerobic activities. You’ll want to exercise at an intensity that raises your heart rate to a level you feel you can have a conversation at, but that is difficult enough that you may have to focus on breathing. Incorporating strength training this month is an excellent idea if you can handle it.
- Monday: Run/jog for at least 30 minutes, trying not to stop, but fast walking if you need to. Strength train today if possible too. (Break it up if you need to, morning and evening workouts are fine!)
- Tuesday: Bike, run or another aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes. Try a new route to change up the scenery. You don’t want to get bored!
- Wednesday: Strength train, try to add a few more exercises since you will won’t be doing something aerobic.
- Thursday: Aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes.
- Friday: Aerobic exercise (remember you can change it up!), and strength train.
- Saturday and Sunday: REST. Or do something recreational. Go for a light hike or bike ride, enjoy the outdoors!
*Remember to listen to your body. Don’t overdo it. You will be sore, but you DO NOT want to injure yourself. Always warm up the muscles you will be using, and don’t forget to stretch stretch after warming up.
By the second month, you should have figured out your routine, and your workouts should become easier. This is a great time to increase the difficulty of your workouts. If you haven’t already, take your 30 minute aerobic exercise to at least 45 continuous minutes. You can also increase the resistance of your strength training. Try to keep the reps no more than 12-15, but increase weight. If you do not have weights, try a weighted backpack for added extra resistance.
In addition, try to add stair or hill climbing once a week to your routine. Shoot for 30 minutes, but no less than five minutes. If needed, repeat the same hill until you reach your time goal. Eventually try climbing with up to 20lbs in a backpack. Be careful of coming back down with the extra weight, this can be stressful to your joints.
Hopefully you’ve seen some changes in your fitness by now! It will only keep increasing if you stick to your plan. Remember to keep looking for new places to run, bike, hike, etc. You may also want to try adding new exercises to your strength training as well.
The goal this month is to keep increasing your endurance. Shoot for 5 days a week of exercise, but keep it fun! No reason you shouldn’t enjoy your new fitness. Increase the duration of your workouts if you can, or increase the intensity of your workouts. If you can do both, go for it! Try going faster, adding a little more weight, or do another set. Its important to keep up with your stair or hill climbing, this is the closest thing you can do to mimic your ascent. Try adding a little more weight to your pack, keeping your knees in mind when coming down.
Sleep well, drink plenty, and eat right! You’ll thank yourself.
You should be working out 5 days a week in addition to one recreational day. Remember to take that rest day! You can push your workouts out to an hour if possible, but no less than 45 minutes. Your hill climb workout can be done twice a week now, replacing one of your aerobic days if need be. Again, try adding some weight and time to this workout.
This month you should also replace one of your weekly aerobic workouts for an interval style workout. Intervals will push your body into overdrive and accelerate your fitness gains. The goal of the interval workout is to work at a 70-80% of maximum effort, or as hard as you can for up to 1 minute, but no more than two minutes at a time. Follow the hard effort by up to three minutes of rest before repeating the hard effort. Try to make this workout last 30 minutes.
Take the time this month to get outside and test your gear. You will want to be familiar with what you will be using on your trip. Try out your clothing, sleeping bag and pad, cooking equipment, backpack and anything else you may be taking along. Make sure everything fit, is comfortable, and that you know how to use it. Your guides will be able to help, but it will benefit you to know how your gear works.
Its almost game time! You should really be getting ready by now. Your workouts should be no less than one hour; you should even try to have a day that lasts an hour and a half. Long hikes with your gear are a great opportunity to do this. Make sure you are trying out your boots! Also try adding a second interval day this month. Don’t forget to increase the resistance of your strength routines. Try some new exercises, or even mix it up by doing sets of 45-60s of repetitions with a little less weight.
It’s important to be comfortable carrying up to 45lbs in your pack for an extended time. Your stair or hill climb days are a opportunity to be doing this. Just be careful with your knees!
You should be feeling physically fit by this point, you’ll understand how your body reacts to stress and should be really exited for your journey! Continue to exercise at least 5 days a week. Try increasing the number of days you are stair or hill climbing, trading in the strength or aerobic days for hill climbing if need be.
Two weeks before your trip, add an extra rest day, and taper your workouts a bit. You want to be fully rested for your trip. The week before your trip will be filled with final trip planning, but don’t forget to exercise at least a few days. You should have plenty of fitness built up, but you’ll want to be active!
Hopefully you’ve stuck to your exercise plan, feel prepared, and are excited. It will only help you to enjoy your trip that much more!
Example Strength Training Exercises: Complete 4-6 Exercises, 8-15 reps, 2-3 sets
Upper body –
- Body Weight
- Pushups (full or from your knees)
- Pull ups (assisted or body weight)
- Tricep dips
- Seated Row
- Bent Over Row
- Military Presses
Lower body – you will increases strength here with your aerobic exercises, but you can add these too
- Body Weight
- Lunges (front, rear, and side to side)
- Wall Sits
- Dead lift