If you’re anything like me, you like to do it all. You want to lift weights, do some cardio, as well as spend some time outside.
But, a common problem is juggling all of these physical activities together. How can you possibly go hiking on Saturday if you’re still sore from the past week?
Today, I’ll show you some tips on how to fit hiking into any fitness routine. Applying these ideas will help you add a hike to your week without interfering with your workout plans.
Timing Is Everything
First things first, let’s talk about scheduling. The schedule of your workouts is critical to making sure you can have an enjoyable hike.
Everybody has a different workout routine, but there are a few guidelines you can use to make sure that your hike goes swimmingly.
A simple way to do this would be to plan rest days before and after your hike. That way you can pretty much do whatever you want during the week, take a day off, go for your hike, and recover the next day. Pretty easy!
This gives you 4 days to pretty much do whatever you want, then rest before and after your hike.
An example of this would be if you lift weights Monday through Thursday, rest Friday, hike Saturday, then rest Sunday. That’ll give you plenty of time to recharge before and after your hike.
Leave The Legs
We’ve talked a little bit about scheduling, but I’d like to elaborate on one point: leg day. Coordinating your leg day with your hike is absolutely paramount.
Never do leg day right before hiking. Trust me, I’ve tried to do it a few times. Climbing up a mountain with sore legs is not a good idea!
On the other hand, you might be thinking, “won’t I be sore after my hike?”
The answer is – probably. Especially if you’re a beginner hiker, odds are you’ll get incredibly sore.
So, fitting leg day into your hike is kind of a juggling act. You don’t want to do it too close to your hike, but you still want to do leg exercises.
The way to fix this is simple. Just look at your fitness routine and try to put any leg work 2 or 3 days away from hiking (in both directions).
So, if you hike on Saturday, you could do your leg day on Wednesday. That would give you a few days before and after the hike to recharge.
The other answer is to take leg day lighter or do a shorter hike. But, no one wants to hear that!
Careful With Cardio
Now, if you’re reading this article, it’s likely you love to do cardio. Maybe you’re a runner or a crossfitter. Either way, heed this warning…take it easy with the cardio before your hike.
Your heart is a muscle like any other, and you don’t want to overwork it.
Hiking puts a lot of stress on the heart (especially if you’re in high altitude) and you don’t want to enter the trail with a tired heart. So, consider cutting back on the sprint sessions before you go hiking.
Squeeze In Your Schedule
If you’re struggling to get outdoors, it might be worthwhile to skip the gym every once in a while.
Everyone wants to spend more time in nature, but it’s hard for us to find the time. Between jobs, commuting, gym, friends, family, it seems like no one has time for nature.
An easy way to get more time in your schedule is to skip the gym. I know, no one wants to hear this, but skipping the gym might be necessary. That will give you more time to go outside.
It’s up to you to decide what’s important. I know that I need to get outside at least twice a month, and if that means skipping the gym, I’ll get there!
Run For The Stairs
Now, I know I just said to skip the gym. But. If you’re not an experienced hiker, you might want to add some gym sessions in. Specifically – the Stairmaster.
Doing the stairs is an excellent way to condition your heart while also train your legs. I’m a big guy, and hiking puts a lot of work on my calves. The Stairmaster is a great way for me to prepare my legs for hiking in a short amount of time.
If you don’t have a Stairmaster at your gym, try to find a stadium or office building that has a lot of stairs. Then, you can climb up and down the stairs for free.
Recover Like A Pro
The last (and most important) tip is to recover. Between hiking, lifting, and all that exercising…it’s crucial that you recuperate. The harder you work, the harder you need to heal.
Here’s four ways to make sure your recovery is on point.
Eat – don’t go hungry. You need calories to fuel your body, especially when you’re doing all this work. Hiking burns a ton of calories, so be sure to replace those calories when you’re done.
Sleep – although scientists don’t really understand why, sleep allows our cells to rebuild and prepare for the next day. No matter how much exercise you do, it’s crucial that you rack up plenty of sleep. Get at least 7 hours, and ideally somewhere around 9 hours.
Relax – take it easy! With all the work you do, you deserve some rest & relaxation. After spending the day hiking, I love conking out on the couch, cracking open a pint of ice cream, and watching a movie.
Stretch – not to sound like your mom, but you gotta stretch before and after hiking. A good stretching session will help reduce injuries and alleviate soreness. Even just 5-10 minutes goes a long way.
Whatever you do, try to de-stress. Your body works hard, so take it easy after.
Putting It All Together
At this point, we can combine the tips and make an optimized plan for hiking and lifting weights.
The key to success with fitness and hiking is to plan in advance and space out your leg day. You should also start hitting the Stairmaster but don’t go too crazy on the cardio.
And last but not least, make sure you recover. Eating a big meal after your hike and getting some quality sleep will go a long way in helping you reach your fitness goals.
This was a guest post by Mike from WildernessTimes.com