Fitness Plan for Trekking - GIO Adventures

Fitness Plan for Trekking

Trekking Fitness Plan

Trekking is fun only if you are able to walk endlessly, feel the thrill and enjoy the beauty around without your legs, back and shoulder telling you to stop or go back. Are you excited? Have you trekked before? Or, are you new to the game? If you haven’t, then it is important for you to prepare your body to take on the intense physical as well as mental strain that accompanies an exhilarating activity such as trekking. This article will help you base your fitness plan. It is important for you to train yourself and it is equally important to maintain a slow, steady and an enjoyable regime. It is after all about having a good time. You will have to push your boundaries having made sure you have set measurable and achievable targets.

You need to gradually work on building your stamina to progress in the expedition keeping in mind the terrain and condition of the trek. Even if you have been moderately regular in your exercises, the strain that your body may have to endure during the trek is not the same.  You may be used to walking, swimming or even jogging, yet it is a different experience when you have to go uphill and downhill strapping a backpack.

Broadly, you should concentrate on the following points to build your endurance

  • »   Cardiovascular fitness
  • »   Strength training
  • »   To stay well hydrated
  • »   Get enough sleep

Here are some suggested schedules and activities that you have to incorporate in your fitness plan in the days leading to the trek. This is a suggestive activity. You may want to consult your physician and a professional trainer before beginning the fitness program. Your training program should be with respect to the terrain, condition, altitude of the trek and your own comfort level. 

 

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thur

Fri

Sat

Sun

Week

 

Steady Cardio & Strength

 

Medium Effort Cardio

 

Long walking cardio

 

One

Rest

Steady Cardio 30-40 mins and strength exercises *

Rest

30-45 minute walk on hills and at a faster pace

Rest

Steady cardio 30-40 minutes & Level 1 strength exercises

Rest

Two

Rest

Steady Cardio 30-45 mins and strength exercises

Rest

35- 50 minute walk on hills and at a faster pace

Rest

Rest

1 ½ hour of comfortably paced gentle hill walking

Three

Rest

Steady Cardio 35-45 mins and strength exercises

Rest

40-60 minute walk on hills and at a faster pace

Rest

Level 1 strength exercises with 10 minute cardio warm up before

2-3 hours comfortably paced hill walking or treadmill

Four

Rest

Steady Cardio 40-60 mins and strength exercises

Rest

60-70 minute walk on hills and at a faster pace

Rest

Level 1 strength exercises with 10 minute cardio warm up before

3-4 hours steady pace hill walking with breaks

Five

Rest

Steady Cardio 40-60 mins and strength exercises

Rest

60-90 minute walk on hills and at a faster pace

Rest

Level 1 strength exercises with 10 minute cardio warm up before

3½-5 hours steady pace hill walking with breaks

Six

Rest

Steady Walk outdoors 40-60 mins and strength exercises.

Rest

30-60 minute walk on hills and at a faster pace

Rest

Rest

3-5 hours steady hill walking with breaks

  • »   Strength training
  • »   To stay well hydrated
  • »   Get enough sleep

Here are some suggested schedules and activities that you have to incorporate in your fitness plan in the days leading to the trek. This is a suggestive activity. You may want to consult your physician and a professional trainer before beginning the fitness program. Your training program should be with respect to the terrain, condition, altitude of the trek and your own comfort level.

*Strength exercises: Bench step up, side lunge to balance, squat, lunge forward, wall press up. 10-14 Repetitions / 1-2 Circuits

Incorporate small treks of 2-3kms in regular intervals (1-2 times per week) initially and without a backpack; then gradually increase the length of the treks with increasing weights of your backpack. You should also steadily increase the number of vertical meters in these treks. The high altitude trekking usually includes trekking on consecutive days and brings the added challenges of possible blisters, muscle aches and skin irritation. Hence, training yourself by increasing the number of consecutive trekking days is important because walking for consecutive days is very different from single day treks with periods of rest between them. You may also want to test your sleeping gear to make sure your comfort level and its efficiency.

For those of you in the metros/big towns having no access to hills and rugged terrain, all you have to do is use the staircase of your apartment. The same concept of increasing the interval of climb/decent with gradual increase in weight of your backpack holds true in this alternate plan as well. And on the weekends, you could plan a trip to the country side and trek those hills. Run in the nearby park or use the treadmill in a gym; cycle and use a rowing machine in the gym. There is a way to train. Don’t you fret! It’s possible.

In the gym or at home you could include basic weight training such as biceps-curl, triceps press and shoulder press. You could do 3 sets of each with weights (as suggested by the trainer) for 8-10 repetitions.

running

Suggested Aerobic activities (Do this in the gym or outdoors)

  • »   Running
  • »   Cycling
  • »   Stair climbing
  • »   Rowing machine
  • »   Walking

Suggested Anaerobic activities:

Strength training (Do this in the gym or at home/outdoors)

  • » Squats
  • » Hamstrings
  • » Calves
  • » Dorsal Raises
  • » Crunches
  • » Side slides

Stretching- It’s often overlooked but it’s worth putting in 5-10 minutes of stretches pre and post work out. This warm up and down is important to avoid straining muscles.

Frequency: It’s recommended you rotate from anaerobic to aerobic exercises and vice versa to give the different muscles time to recover. For all these anaerobic exercises do three sets, with 10-15 repetitions in each set and rest for 30 seconds in between the sets. As you progress increase the number of repetitions in a set – a good benchmark is 10% more weekly.

There are only two objectives to training for the trek-

  • » To increase the capabilities and efficiency of your cardiovascular system
  • » Improve the endurance of the muscles.

How you do it, what methods you employ to achieve the desired result is not the point.

You need to prepare your body for the altitude. How does one in the plains do that you ask? An increase in cardiovascular activity is the answer. Running, swimming and cycling are the recommended activities to up your fitness. Alternately, you could try yoga. Suryanamskar (Sun salutation) and the many breathing exercises are a great mode for improving your flexibility and preparing to control your breathing efficiency in the thin air of higher altitudes, respectively.

A word of caution - don’t go overboard with the training. As pointed out in the beginning of the article, it is important to maintain a slow and steady regime with a gradual increase in intensity of the training. There is no point training yourself crazy for a couple of days and then not being able to proceed with the routine because you got cramps or worse, muscles injured! Hence, at the beginning of your training chart a proper plan that suits your body and present capabilities which would, as the days near the trek, result in total fitness for your expedition. Importantly, visualise- think of those hills, eat well, drink a lot of water, smile and enjoy your training.

It is recommended you consult your doctor to identify any potential health issues and your fitness instructor who can help with techniques and tailor a plan to your individual needs.

This training routine/ fitness plan should increase your overall fitness level and will get your body adjusted for trekking. Let us point out, you will definitely be able to complete the trek without training much for it but let us also tell you that in this case you will have a much rougher time on the mountains. One hopes to enjoy the climb and view; not simply puff and pant away, init? So, Happy training! Happy trekking!