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Training & Workout
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Mike Spain

Locale: Georgia
Training & Workout on 10/27/2010 09:10:38 MDT Print View

I've been sliding down hill for years and after spending the summer sick with an upper respiratory infection, have gotten on the bandwagon to lose weight and get into shape. I started out at 230 lbs and through diet & exercise lost 15 lbs in the last 2 months. I've mixed up cycling and weight training. My friend and I have renewed our passion for camping and hiking and are in the process of planning to try the Georgia section of the AT (the hardest part) this spring. I talked to my trainer who can't get his mind out of the gym. I realize there is some merit for mixing weight training with cardio and endurance training. I live close to several parks that have 5-10 miles of trails and plan to start doing weekly treks with my pack to get ready. I want to lose 30 more lbs and get down to 185. I'm also a firefighter so all of this will help in all areas.

Can someone suggest a workout regimen/schedule to prepare for this trip? I'm planning to see a nutritionist as well but trying to combine all factors may prove difficult.


Edited by maspain on 10/27/2010 09:12:20 MDT.

Chris Benson
(roguenode) - F

Locale: Boulder
run? on 10/27/2010 09:23:44 MDT Print View

Don't know how you feel about trail running, but I find it to be pretty good training for backpacking. Works balance muscles better than road running, softer surface, and you get some nature time. Long training hikes are obviously good, but trail running is nice for days when you can't commit a large block of time.

Good luck!

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
go hike on 10/27/2010 09:27:55 MDT Print View

If you are in ATL then go up and day hike the AT and other trails up north. You don' have to wait to do it all at once. Cohutta and Chatooga River are also great areas. If you haven't day hiked Kennesaw Mt you should give that a go. You can get easy or tough miles depending on the route. Also, you may try running and/or trail running. That will likely be the fastest way to get in hiking shape for your trip.

BTW. I have hiked all of georgia and NC up to US 64 and all of it was day hikes. Use GA to get in shape and do NC as a longer trip. Another option.

Edited by gg-man on 10/27/2010 09:28:37 MDT.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: run? on 10/27/2010 10:28:09 MDT Print View

+1 for trail running.
but run on a trail with uphills and downhills. not something flat.
if you've never done it before, do not be daunted by the concept.
You are allowed to WALK whenever you want to in trail running. In long distance trail running almost everyone walks the uphills in power walking mode.

Edited by asandh on 10/27/2010 10:29:20 MDT.

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Training for a hike on 10/27/2010 10:35:13 MDT Print View

I have found that one all day hike, once a week is much better for me than a few short hikes during the week. If you can do both then great, but it's the long hikes that really get me ready for backpacking. Before a trip, I try and do a 10-14 hour hike each week and increase the mileage a little each time. There's no science behind this theory, it's just my personal experience.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Training & Workout on 10/27/2010 11:51:02 MDT Print View

Walking and hiking work for me. You can walk or hike with weight by carrying water or groceries in a pack.

Erik Danielsen
(er1kksen) - F

Locale: The Western Door
Tabata Sprints on 10/27/2010 13:10:07 MDT Print View

Tabata sprints, and most other forms of brief high-intensity exercise, are great for giving your metabolism a kick and are associated with similar gains in endurance without the wear-and-tear of grinding out the miles on a long trail run.

A good mix of high-intensity brief exercise episodes interspersed with a general habit of low-intensity exercise like walking/hiking, recovery-pace cycling, and low-pace trail running if it's in your low-intensity zone (basically anything that doesn't leave you winded) seem to be the optimal exercise profiles for general health.

Mark Hudson
(vesteroid) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Sierras
my theory on 11/01/2010 20:43:43 MDT Print View

I have to agree with the one day a week all day hike.

I find that does the most gain for me.

For short workouts during the week, I load up my pack with much more weight than I plan to carry and try and get in 3-5 miles even after dark on local paved paths around my neighborhood. I try and walk as fast as I can the entire way for a little more push.

If its bad weather, I simply load up the pack and get on the treadmill. I have used the elliptical and raised the elevation and upped the resistance.

I have found running and hiking to be much different in muscles required. I am just getting into running but I find it uses my quads much more as opposed to hiking where I feel like I use my hamstring muscles more

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Training & Workout on 11/01/2010 20:54:24 MDT Print View

If you're not tall, you've probably already found how uncomfortable it can be to run and walk long distances at 215-230 pounds. As I'm sure you know, it's better to lose fat than to lose weight. I doubt you'd complain about being 215 pounds if you were built like Arnie when he was big. Anyway, doing big muscle compound exercises are great. Do squats, deadlifts, lunges and leg press, somewhat in that order. Definitely check out youtube videos for how to do the first two, or ask the biggest dude at the gym how to do could ask a trainer, but I've found most are clueless. Pull ups and bent over rows should hit most of your back. That pretty much takes care of the two biggest and fastest progressing muscle groups in your body. Swimming would be great for cardio, but I totally understand how stripping down to swim can be undesirable when there's more than a few pounds to lose. If you can, walk, walk, walk, and then walk some more. The other exercises are basically for when you can't walk.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
hike or walk hills on 11/01/2010 21:27:02 MDT Print View

just hike or walk hills .... or jog up hills and take yr sweet @ss time walking down

whatever you do the most important thing is that you MUST feel burn or you MUST sweat like crazy

if neither is happening ... your just not trying hard enough

and keep at it day after day

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Consistency, Consistency, Consistency on 11/01/2010 22:05:37 MDT Print View

Congratulations Mike on your weight loss, that is something to celebrate, lifestyle change isn't easy and takes time. Mike, I'm by no means a personal trainer, or health guru so take what I say as my opinion, but I can tell you as a son of a lifelong endurance and fitness proponent and trainer that body weight exercises and CONSISTENCY in whatever you chose to do is going to be most beneficial to you right now, both in your nutrition and your exercise. If you've been sedentary for an extended period of time simply getting out like you've been doing and walking paired with your change in nutrition is going to yield an increase in overall health. I'm going to be the devils advocate here and disagree with the once-a-week approach to preparation for an extended hike, sure, there is no argument to the benefits of doing so and it works for some, but you run the risk of overuse injuries biting off more than you can chew in an extended day hike at this point. Gradual growth and progression throughout the week is going to train your body's muscles, bone structure, ligaments, tendons, etc. for the relative rigors of repeated use on the trail hiking which you'll encounter in your GA section hike. Once you've established a solid base level of fitness I think you'll be ready to start training with more specificity towards your goal, but in your early phases (which from your post it seems you are in) progressive and consistent proper physical activity throughout the week is going to be most beneficial.

It's been my experience that many traditional gym trainers have one goal in mind and that is to LOSE WEIGHT, which seems harmless enough and is a byproduct of attaining fitness, which should always be the foremost goal IMO. Often trainers neglect functional strength, which can very easily be attained in simple body weight exercises that can be done at home or on the trail such as: hiking, sumo squats, lunges, pushups, pullups, chinups, short intense cardio intervals, box jumps, planks, burpees, knee raises. I'm not suggesting you quit your trainer, just consider that being able to move your body around with control and function isn't always found in repetitions on a machine that limits your range of motion and controls the weight for you. Eric nailed it in his suggestion to just get out and walk hills, nothing can really replicate hiking like...hiking, pair that with some cross training and you'll lose that weight you mentioned, be ready for your section hike, and have some additional fitness to boot. Elevating your heartrate is going to be beneficial in gauging your effort, just recognize your limitations and don't push yourself to the point of injury. You're probably going to get a "forget all this workout mess and just hike!" suggestions, sure, hike and hike as often as you can, but just hiking doesn't necessarily develop a well rounded and fit individual, but that's an entirely different subject I suppose. Best of luck to you Mike!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Training & Workout on 11/01/2010 22:32:10 MDT Print View

Daily one hours walks are great for you. Do them.

But more important will be creating and sticking to a *real diet*. Weight has to come from somewhere: excess food is the only source. Sorry, but that's pretty basic.

The plus side? You can do it.

PS: post exercise snacks? A killer.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Training & Workout on 11/01/2010 23:34:33 MDT Print View

I agree with the last few posters. Just change your life style with daily exercise, which can just be walking for an hour or two every day. On days you don't have to go to work, you might want to do extra mileage, but it doesn't have to be super strenuous. Compliment this with a healthy diet and you will soon be in good shape.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: Tabata Sprints on 11/04/2010 19:35:29 MDT Print View

I've done a little scouring of the web on Tabata- I can see where this could be really beneficial (albeit somewhat torturous!)

watching several videos (only 4 minutes long) I can see that my old idea of what high intensity is, has changed completely :)

John Wozniak
(woz9683) - F

Locale: Southeast
High Intensity on 11/05/2010 12:42:09 MDT Print View

I'm a big proponent of the high intensity intervals. My favorite are short, all out sprints on the bike. Might be good for you, since you already mentioned cycling as something you've been doing. The cardio benefits are pretty impressive.

I find this is a really good routine:

1. Warm Up (slow increase to my avg. pace ~ 20mph)
2. Intervals of:
1/4mile sprint (up to 40-45mph for me, lasts < 30sec)
1/2mile avg. pace (1.5min)
1/4mile sprint
1/2mile avg. pace
1/4mile sprint
1/2mile avg. pace
1/4mile sprint
3. 3 mile avg. pace
4. Repeat 2 and 3
5. Repeat 2
6. Cool Down (drop to avg. pace and continue to slow until your heart rate is just above your starting heart rate)

In this setup, my goal is to sprint until my heartrate is just approaching my theoretical maximum. Then avg. pace long enough that I'll be able to maintain the next sprint without hitting that max heart rate too quickly. The 3 mile avg. pace between sets should get your heartrate back down to a comfortable active level.

Obviously, this is not something you want to attempt as your first foray back into cardio training, but it is great for much faster results once you know your heart can handle it.

And on another note, "snacking" after training is not necessarily a bad thing. You have to pay attention to what you eat, as you always should, but depending on how long and how intense the level of exercise, eating after training can be dam-near mandatory. It helps you (and your muscles) recover quicker and more effectively.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: High Intensity on 11/05/2010 13:03:25 MDT Print View

There are two types of conditioning, aerobic and anaerobic. The first is base training and the latter intense intervals. It is best to build your base conditioning with aerobic, before attempting intervals.

You will find that most competitive distances runners will do months of base training before stepping on a track to do interval training. The interval training can be hard on the body for those with joint problems and such. For most hikers I think the aerobic is much more important than intervals, although interval training can be helpful for many, assuming the proper base conditioning is in place.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Training & Workout on 11/05/2010 13:22:33 MDT Print View

Cardio intervals have been proven to dramatically increase the aerobic capacity of an individual in a fraction of the time. They have also been shown to naturally increase the production of testosterone in men, helping to add overall body muscle mass and decrease fat.

Unfortunately, they are hard as hell to do.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Training & Workout on 11/05/2010 13:37:28 MDT Print View

Just as an FYI, intervals don't require you be on foot. I get the majority of my anaerobic/interval activity on a mountain bike during the nicer seasons.

Edited by simplespirit on 11/05/2010 13:37:47 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Intervals on 11/05/2010 14:03:20 MDT Print View

Exactly Chris. Thanks for pointing that out.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Training & Workout on 11/05/2010 14:46:53 MDT Print View

>> Unfortunately, they are hard as hell to do.

>> Exactly Chris. Thanks for pointing that out.

There are lots of methods to do both which do not require running.

I prefer to just hike, it is the most fun. I am fortunate that here I can hike year round and scenic destinations to do so are very close.

Unfortunately I have suddenly gained a bunch of weight the past couple of months, which is a new thing for me... so I shall be hitting the gym for a while. I didn't realize it until I took some pictures for Dan McHale with the demo pack on. I noticed I now have belly :(