Sunday, October 21, 2012

EXPEDITION: Big Bend - Pt. 2 - Trail Fitness

Photo Courtesy of National Park Service
Trail Fitness... Before taking on an expedition such as Big Bend National Park, it would seem that trail fitness is a must.
Big Bend has such a wide variety of landscapes, from the mountains, to the rugged deserts, to the river canyons, it is obvious that this land can break you if you aren't ready for it.

About 2 months ago, when I decided that I wanted to take on a hiking expedition, I knew that I needed to ready myself for it. Even though I did not yet know my destination or the timeframe, as an experienced hiker, I knew it was best to start preparing myself early.
I had put on a couple of pounds from sitting behind the desk too long, so I began my fitness routine by putting myself on a diet and cardio training. As I knew that hiking would be by adventure, instead of running or jogging, I decided to train for the actual event. I began a regimen of Power-walking. At first I was doing a 2 mile flatland hike at a power-walk pace, gradually increasing the time as well as distance. I am now completing a 3 mile flatland hike/power-walk in 38 minutes, so now it is time to add a weighted pack into the mix. Since I live in a relatively flat coastal area, I will add dune-climbing and stair climbing to the regimen also.
I also began a series of stretching exercises to increase my flexibility as well as strength training focusing mainly on lower body, core, shoulder, and back strength.

The diet has been... fun? No, seriously it has been interesting. I gave up all fast-food sources and junk food. I have also given up red meat and cut the starches to a minimum. It has been basically chicken, fish, turkey, and whole fresh vegetables. every once in a while there is some white or brown rice and even more rare is pasta.

The fitness routine is working... I've lost almost 20 pounds of fat, added 5 pounds of muscle, and feel better than I have in a long time. Fitness is crucial for a back country expedition... I plan to be ready for whatever Big Bend can throw at me.