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backpacking-slideWe will be hiking an average of 6-9 miles a day with an average elevation gain/loss of 2,500 feet. This will require endurance and strong muscles to prevent injury and make the trip much more enjoyable.

This is my 8-week plan to prepare myself for hiking the 4 Pass Loop near Aspen, CO. I already exercise on a regular basis, so if you are completely out of shape, I would suggest beginning at least 12-15 weeks in advance at intervals you feel comfortable with.

I am not trying to speed-hike or do any technical climbing (though we may summit one fourteener without our gear at Snowmass Peak). This workout is purely to condition my body to the movements I will endure with a pack on of about 20-25 pounds. If your pack is significantly heavier, I suggest strengthening your knees and back much more (or of course get rid of the extra weight).

This workout fits in with my personal work-life balance schedule. Feel free to modify as you see fit. Basically,  you need to get in some good stretching, legs/back strength training, cardio, and practice wearing your pack. Eat clean and drink lots of water so your body can work most efficiently, giving you the results you desire.

Notice, these are reasonable amounts of time for someone with a full-time job and a family. Be consistent, and don’t stress if you miss a work-out every now and then. Push yourself and enjoy the journey!

HIIT: High-Intensity Interval Training. I do this because I don’t have the time for long cardio sessions, and this gives great results for strengthening your heart, lungs, burning calories, strengthening legs, and providing endurance (yes, it’s true…do HIIT for a few weeks and then see if you can manage that 3 mile slow-jog you could have never done a month ago…try it!)

My HIIT Session:
If Outside: (it is very flat here, so I have to work harder outside to get the same results)

  • 30-45 Second Sprint as fast as I can; 45-60 second walk
  • x 8

If on Treadmill:

  • Set Incline to 12!
  • 30 Second Sprint at Level 8.0; 60-70 second stop with legs on side of machine
  • x 5-6

Photo Credit: shape.com

Mondays: 1-hour Cardio Workout w/ Pack
(step machine; treadmill at high incline; medium intensity)
Tuesdays: Neighborhood Jog during Lunch (with or without pack);
Yoga After Work
Wednesdays: 20 Minute HIIT Workout;
30 Minute Leg Strength Weights/Squats @ Gym
Thursdays: 1 Hour Strength Workout:
30 Minutes Abs – 30 Minutes Shoulders/Chest
Fridays: 20 Minute HIIT Workout;
30 Minute Leg Strength Weights/Squats @ Gym
Saturdays: Long Trail Hike Outdoors (4-8 miles)
with full pack weight (20-25 lbs)
Sundays: OFF (or light yoga)