Gym body or mountain body
You can have a great gym body, but not do so well on your attempt to bag Kilimanjaro or the Cordillera Blanca. How can that be? You can train for months in the gym and look as good as you did in high school.
You’ve seen the studs of both sexes down at your local gym and want to be just like them. You worked on every body part with every piece of machinery and are proud to sit in front of the mirror admiring the sweat coming off your growing biceps and the possibility of 6-pack abs. You’re developing a gym body not a mountain body and there is a world of difference.
Gym rats don’t have the cardio chops to pound the trail for days at a time. Be a mountain woman, not a gym rat. Muscles look great, but being lean and cardio strong is the better blueprint for hanging with the Tusker trekking tribe.
It’s January start training
Getting in trekking shape doesn’t happen by accident— you have to be disciplined, focused and strategic. It’s January, you booked your next trekking adventure and have seven months to lose the five to ten pounds you gained over the holidays. But it’s more than that, although losing weight is definitely key to getting in hiking shape. Plan to drop the ten Christmas pounds plus an additional five through diet and exercise. This is not rocket science—eat less/eat healthy/exercise more.
If you don’t have the discipline hire a personal trainer who will bust your butt, but in a nice, intelligent way. Look at everything you are doing to get into hiking shape as an investment in your future both short term and beyond the Tusker trek.
During the winter months spend some gym time especially if they have stationary bikes and a swimming pool. Lap swimming and bike work are cardio complimentary to hiking. If you live in a wintry climate get on your skinny skis (cross-country) and ski uphill. Snow shoeing isn’t bad, but you don’t get the cardio workout that X-country skiing will give you. If you don’t ski, jog around the track at the local high school then climb its stadium steps. Think like Rocky Balboa training for the big fight, but instead of Philly’s City Hall steps you see yourself at Everest Base Camp or the top of Kilimanjaro.
It’s spring start hiking again
With the snow gone it’s time to hike every weekend spending at least three hours each weekend day preferably in hilly or mountainous terrain. Hike with weight on your back and make sure the boots for the trek are well broken in and friendly to toes, ankles, arches. As you build strength try to quicken your hiking pace and build stamina.
Hike by yourself or with a friend who is serious about getting in shape too. Don’t be dragged down by a fellow hiker who is telling you about their lousy marriage or job. Hike with purpose and positivity.
Cross-train after work during the week hitting the gym swimming/biking and doing some leg presses, lung walks and leg extensions. Pick up a bar bell now and then, but a series of pushups to build strength is just as good.
The trip is quickly coming and you’re excited because you’ve lost the weight and can hike without heavy breathing or joint pain. Your body is working like a well-tuned Ferrari – not a Chevy truck – and your confidence is building. A month before the trip take a major hike; either a weekend backpack or an eight hour day hike with at least 2,000 feet elevation gain. See if that Ferrari is still running smooth. Hopefully it is and you’re in the home stretch.
Start tapering before the trip as you don’t want to risk injury by over exercising. Because you’ve been working out since January you are not pressured to get in shape two weeks before the trip. Focus on hydration and eating well and being 100 percent healthy before stepping on the plane
New you: mountain ready
When you’re in hiking shape you know it. You glide uphill in the flow without thinking about your stamina and if that balky knee is going to hold out. It’s a liberating feeling and gives you the confidence you need to bag the summit and enjoy the world class places Tusker goes. To get to that point you need to put in the hard yards months before the trip. It’s a process that you should embrace.
When you’re ready, walk into your gym with your new mountain body and challenge those muscle-bound studs to a race up the stadium steps. We will put our money on you.