In each of our journey’s to optimal health and wellness a large part of the equation is our fitness routine. This routine will differ with each person but there are consistent principles that we should try to adhere to in order to be successful. One such principle is to make a conscious effort to mix up your routine once in a while. We all have our favorite workouts, but when we add in a workout not consistently in our routine we shock our bodies and allow ourselves to cross barriers and get past that dreaded plateau! Whether you add in a swim, hike, cross country skiing, 200 burpees, it doesn’t matter as long as it is an activity that you know will shake things up a bit.
One great opportunity we have to shake things up a bit is at the changing of the seasons. During the summer, you may hike every weekend but you aren’t trudging through the snow regularly during the winter! In honor of the impending first day of spring (less than a month away), I have put together a workout that will shock that booty right into spring. By combining an activity not regularly performed during the winter months (unless you live in CA/AZ/TX etc.) with a few high intensity plyometrics, this workout is a perfect way to reign in the warmer months.
Hiking is a fantastic workout. While some view this activity as simply walking uphill, it is so much more. Granted the intensity of the workout will vary greatly depending on which trail you choose, but hiking has the potential to torch fat and have you utilizing muscles rarely used in other activities.
Choose the right trail for you: assess your current fitness levels and abilities. Choose a safe trail that matches your abilities and preferences. The trail I hiked in this workout is called the Aiea Loop in Hawaii, it was 4.8 miles long over rough terrain, giving me the opportunity to shock those muscles climbing under/over trees.
Prepare and be SAFE: It is important to be prepared. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and provisions in case of an emergency. Make sure that you are not hiking alone and also be sure to let a third party know where and when you will be hiking as well as when to expect you to return. This is important so that in case there is an emergency there is someone who will alert the appropriate people and will know exactly where to tell them you are located.
Drink in the Outdoors: There are many health benefits to spending time outdoors, drinking in the fresh air. The natural surroundings can lower stress levels, provide quiet reflection, and reconnect you to nature. Take advantage of these benefits, maybe even leave your music behind and let the birds sing your way through the hike.
Once you have your destination in mind, map out your workout. This workout includes six basic moves that will boost your heart rate and help build muscle along your hike. When I say map out your workout, I mean choose at which intervals during your hike you will stop to complete each workout move. This can be a time interval, like every ten minutes, or a distance interval like every quarter mile (this option usually works best if the distance is clearly marked on the trail). I chose to stop every 15-20 minutes since the trail I was hiking was fairly long and strenuous.
Move 1: Lunges
Complete 50 lunges each leg. Find a fairly flat and even piece of ground and make sure that you are not bending your front knee over your ankle. Make sure to lunge deep with your back knee only about two inches off of the ground. Increase the intensity by placing your hands on your head or, as pictured, finding a long stick to challenge your balance.
Move 2: Bear Hug Pull-Ups
Complete as many reps as possible
. Find a strong and sturdy tree branch that is a hight in which you can reach up and “hug” the branch as pictured. Perform as many pull ups as possible. As a modification, find a lower hanging branch and utilize the ground to assist you in pulling yourself up. This move is great for your back muscles and your biceps.
Move 3: Tricep Dips
Complete 50 reps
. Find a sturdy rock or tree root that is about 1-2 feet above the ground. Begin in a seated position with the palms of your hands on the rock or tree root, fingers facing you and elbows straight. Bend your elbows straight back, lowering yourself until your are almost touching the ground and then straighten your elbows back to start.
Move 4: Step-ups
Complete 50 reps each leg. Find a rock or portion of the trail in which there is a difficult step up that you can safely repeat the step up for each leg in turn. When you reach the top of your step up intensify the move by squeezing your glutes and intensify the move even further by challenging your balance once again utilizing the stick as pictured.
Move 5: Elevated diamond push-ups
Complete 50 Reps. Find a tree branch or rock that is about 3 feet off of the ground. Place your hands close together with your elbows straight and your body straight with your feet on the ground in an elevated plank position. Bend your elbows and lower your body until your nose is almost touching your hands.
Move 6: Calf Raises
Complete 50 reps, or as many reps as possible
. Find a tree root or flat rock a few inches off of the ground. Place your toes on the rock or root with your heels hanging off of the back. Raise your heels until you are on your tipi-toes then lower and repeat.
That’s it! Remember to stay hydrated and most importantly to have fun.