Outdoor Life – Reader Questions About Circuit Training
QUESTION: In a quick web search for a conditioning program for hiking/backpacking, I came across Nomadik.com and your programs.
I am looking to get in shape for an attempt on Mt Borah, Idaho's tallest peak (12,662 ft elevation and roughly 5200 ft gain in less than 3.5m) the first week of July and a week-long backpacking trip in Wyoming's Wind River Range the first week of August.
During the past winter, I got in four cross-country skiing trips (approximately 5m round trip) and two snowshoeing trips (approximately 5m round trip).
I would classify myself as being in fair shape, could lose about 30 - 40 lbs and definitely improve my cardio. Following your programs as shown on Nomadik.com, how long should one continue the Basic Conditioning Program before moving to the Advanced Conditioning Program?
I guess the real question is, do I have enough time to get in shape for these two outings?
Thanks in advance,
Ryan L. Christensen
ANSWER: That's a great question, Ryan. You definitely have time to get in shape for your two hiking trips this summer - I'm so jealous!
Since you are already in "fair shape" you'll probably make the transition from Basic to Advanced a little more quickly. Stick with the Basic Program for at least four weeks and by the end of the fourth week, your cardio total should be at 120 minutes per week or higher. This translates to 3-4 workouts of 30-40 minutes per week. The Basic Strength component should feel easy by this point.
To ease yourself into the Advanced Program, do it one component at a time.
¨ For the first two weeks, stay with the same Basic Strength program and focus on increasing your cardio and incorporating one stair-climbing or hill workout (will count as a cardio workout) per week.
¨ After 2 weeks, start into the Advanced Strength program - for the first week you might want to stick to 2 circuit workouts rather than 3.
¨ Once you're accustomed to 3 Advanced Circuit workouts per week and your 4 cardio/week including 1 stair/hill workout, you can increase your stair/hill workout to 2 per week.
¨ Remember to continually increase your weekly cardio minutes - but by no more than 10% per week. You don't have to do an equal amount of minutes for each cardio workout; you could do one long cardio workout per week and 3 shorter ones, or 2 longer and 2 shorter ones.
Remember to rest one day every week to allow your body to recover. The week before your trip, don't stop working out
Don't forget, there's nothing better than the real thing. If you can get out on the trails for a good hike, do it. I'm assuming you will be hiking with a full pack, so carry a 10-15lb pack to get yourself used to hiking with weight on your back.
Another thing to prepare for is the elevation. For your Idaho hike, you'll be well above 8000 ft, which is the elevation some people notice a decrease in air pressure. Even if you're in good shape be prepared that you'll likely feel pretty crummy during the last portion of the ascent as your body will be working hard but receiving less oxygen. But reaching the top will definitely be worth it!
Good luck - and let me know how it goes!
Nomadik Personal Fitness Expert