When you love to adventure, building your fitness is crucial for you to manage your ambitions. Whether you want to hike to the top of a mountain or dive to the bottom of the sea, your fitness is the only thing that will put a cap on your activity. If you want to do more, you need to be fitter, stronger and healthier. And you won’t get there by chance.
Since you can’t be on an adventure all the time (though we would all certainly like to give it a try!) money is usually an issue. This means that finding cheap ways to keep fit in between adventures is probably the best way to manage your finances and physique. After all, travelling far and wide to get some of the best experiences in the world isn’t exactly cheap.
Though you might be preparing yourself for a long blog on which circuits you should do and why weight training is the best form of exercise, you don’t need to worry. One of the best ways to get fit for your next big adventure is to on lots of mini adventures and learn the skills you will need when you go away. However, keeping generally fit is a big part of adventuring and eating well is key to building muscle and stamina.
So, if you are ready to go on your first adventure, or you are preparing for your next trip, here are a few ideas for you to stay in peak condition, ready for your next trip.
Join a Fitness Club
If you aren’t really one for running endlessly on a treadmill, the gym is never really going to give you the thrill you need. However, you could join a club to keep yourself motivated. Most people who join clubs are looking for two things: a ready made group of friends and a lot more fun than your average jog.
Finding the right fitness club is a question of personal choice but you can feel free to pick and choose as you like. Showing up once doesn’t mean a lifetime commitment after all! With this in mind, you should try out a variety of different sports and groups to see which one makes you feel most welcome and gives you the most bang for your buck.
There are all kinds of sports you might consider. Climbing walls are quite popular and if you join a club, you may also end up with another group willing to go on trips together. Another alternative is to join a team sport like 5-a-side football. This is another really sociable way to get fit and you can even join a league to get to play all sorts of people.
If you are planning a particularly tough adventure, you might need to build your stamina and strength up in time. In this case, you should plan a fitness routine to ensure that you can get there. For example, if you are planning to go hiking along a mountain trail like the Pacific Crest Trail, for example, you might need to build your muscles so that you will be able to hike well and carry everything you need.
The best thing to do is try to get in a varied workout – or better still workouts plural – each week and build your tolerance. You should do an aerobic exercise like running or swimming, a weight training exercise such as circuits to build up your muscles and ability to carry weights as well as a stretching exercise like pilates or yoga to keep your body supple and give you a chance to recover. Finding a balance that suits you can be difficult but once you are in the swing of your training regime, you will get much better at sticking to it. Variety is the spice of life and as adventurers know, doing the same thing over and over is no fun at all.
Hack Your Diet
While you are on your adventures, you will burn through a heck of a lot of calories and the adrenaline will help you burn through some more! The temptation is to turn to foods containing a lot of sugar and fat. This is a natural response but if you are looking to be in peak physical condition, you should think more carefully about what you eat and where you can get the most energy. You should also think about the best foods for building and repairing muscle while you prepare for your next trip.
Protein is vital for building muscle and it is the best thing for filling you up and keeping you going all day long. Eggs, fish and lean meats like chicken and turkey are all popular options and combined with plenty of fresh veggies, you are looking at the ideal diet for building muscle. As you train, you should try to concentrate on making sure that your diet is well maintained, but while you are hiking you may need to eat slightly differently.
When you are carrying your food, you need to pack calorie dense foods so that everything will fit into your pack. Nuts and dried fruits are really good for this and are a great snack to keep you going as you walk. You can also get dried meats though these can often be quite salty. The best thing to do, if you have the time and resources, is to dehydrate foods yourself.
Because we are all so used to eating foods that are full of sugar and salt, eating this kind of food might be underwhelming. If you are planning your first hiking adventure, you should definitely try all the foods you are planning to take before hand. This will ensure that you only take the foods you are likely to eat and won’t weigh yourself down with excess. It will also give you a chance to figure out a way to make some of the duller foods more exciting with dried herbs and salt.
The more attention you give your diet, the more likely you are to settle into healthy eating routines that will assist in your physical training and keep you nice and fit. While you can do a lot by working out, you can do even more preparation with your diet.
Go On Mini Adventures
Now that you are getting fitter and your diet is in good shape, it’s time to start building up to the big adventure with some mini adventures. The Lake District is an ideal location for trying out all kinds of hiking adventures and there are lots of lovely little hotels and a bed and breakfasts to shelter in too!
If you are planning a hiking trip, there are lots of good reasons to go on practice trips. Firstly, you will need to learn how to use your hiking poles. These are ideal for softening the pressure on your knees when you go down hill as well as helping you get up steep inclines. You should also practice with your hiking pack. Walking up and down dale is one thing, but carrying a big weight on your back will make a big difference.
Gradually increase the weight you carry until you can carry the amount you plan to on your trip. This may take a few months of build up, so be patient with yourself and go slow. Remember that this is never going to be a sprint and if you need to go slower to accommodate your pack, that’s just what you should do. Over time, you will find that you are going faster and faster.
The Lakes are also the perfect place for going on other adventures like canoeing, sailing and rock climbing. Again, if you are unfamiliar with these activities, it is always best to try them out near to home first than it is to jump straight into a two week holiday doing nothing else. This is probably why so many indoor ski slopes have arrived in Britain!
Going on adventures is something of a lifestyle choice – as this blog clearly shows! – and going on lots of mini adventures can quickly become quite addictive. The thrill of reaching the top of a mountain is plenty of motivation for getting to the top and the peace as you paddle down a river in a canoe is all you need to get through the week. In fact, these smaller adventures can be just as fun as the longer adventures you have abroad.
Building up to a big trip isn’t just about learning the right skills and preparing your body, but about giving yourself a chance to do something new and exciting. As you increase your abilities and strength, you will open the possibility of doing much more, but you will also have a lot of fun and see all kinds of spectacular views in the process.
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