Category: Low Level Aerobic Activity
June is National Get Outdoors Month. Here at MDA, we’re spending the next couple weeks teeing you up to have your best summer yet in the great outdoors with posts to inspire you to get into nature.
Today we’re talking about how to train for backpacking. Let’s start with the most obvious question: what IS backpacking? Backpacking is simply multi-day hiking where you carry all your gear on your back.
Say you’re going out for a day hike carrying water, food, and basic survival gear, but you return to your car the same day you set out. That’s not backpacking.
If you’re trekking across the country, but someone else is sherpaing your gear from one sleeping spot to the next, that’s not backpacking either.
In a nutshell, backpacking is essentially a long hike with more gear and more details to think about because you’ll be spending at least one night—but possibly many more—camping out. I think of backpacking as a kind of endurance sport. As with any endurance sport, you want to train for your event. You probably wouldn’t enter a half-marathon this coming weekend with minimal or no training. You could, but it would hurt a lot less, and your chance of success would be significantly greater, if you took the time to train. Same goes for backpacking.
The good news is, if you already have a solid fitness base, you are well on your way. Now you just need to tailor your training to get ready for your backpacking expedition.
As a former elite triathlete, I’ve spent more time in the saddle (the bike saddle, that is) than I care to remember. Hour upon hour up and down mountains, through countryside and towns, cranking away on the pedals. That might sound like a cool gig—and it was for a time—but those training sessions slowly wore down my body to the point where I eventually had to walk away from triathlon.
It was a long time before I could enjoy being on a bicycle again. That’s a shame because bicycling is fantastic for many reasons. Commute or run errands on your bike, and you start and end your workday with physical activity, reduce your carbon footprint, and never need to find parking. Mountain biking gets you out into nature, hitting trails you might never reach by foot. Road cyclist ride in packs and then relax at the coffee shop or pub after, so they are getting social interaction along with exercise (the benefits of which are somewhat mitigated by the beer…).
I hope you enjoyed part one of this presentation. I’d like to you pay particular attention to the four prerequisites in your diet and fitness program that must be in place before you can properly benefit from explosive sprinting and jumping workouts. They were detailed at the end of part one, and to briefly recap they are:
Diet. Ditch processed sugars, grains, and industrial seed oils
Movement. Increase all forms of general everyday movement
Avoid the chronic. Correct anything in your training schedule that gives off even a whiff of being chronic in nature
Do high intensity correctly. We’ll detail the workout templates here, but make sure that you only attempt explosive, high-intensity sessions when you are fully rested and energized to deliver a peak performance effort.
Increasing all forms of general everyday movement is a broad and non-specific recommendation, which makes it more difficult to integrate into daily life. It’s time to focus on a life-changing centerpiece to meet this objective: A morning flexibility, mobility, core & leg strengthening routine. I do this every single day immediately upon awakening. What started as a pretty simple and non-strenuous 12-minute session has progressed gracefully over the past four years into a quite challenging session that takes a minimum of 35 minutes every day to complete – by choice. You don’t have to make a big production out of it if you don’t want to.
Mark’s Daily Apple veterans are familiar with one of the most controversial and impactful posts ever published to the site, Mark’s 2007 treatise called A Case Against Cardio. The article changed my life and caused me to rethink many of the flawed assumptions about endurance training that have been indoctrinated into conventional stupidity for decades. Follow up posts like this one dig deeper into the do’s and don’ts of cardiovascular exercise, as does the Primal Endurance book and online multimedia education program.
The title of this article is a quote from Paleo movement pioneer Dr. Art De Vany. Far from a tongue-in-cheek wisecrack, De Vany detailed in a 2017 podcast interview on the Tim Ferriss Show how steady state cardio is in conflict with your genetic expectations for health.
Over the first few days (up to two weeks) of eating low-carb, you may run into some frustration. Where is all of this energy I’m supposed to have? Why do I want to mow through that bag of chips right now? Am I coming down with a cold? For some people, the transition from burning glucose to burning fat comes with unwanted symptoms that range from slightly uncomfortable to miserable. This transition period is known as keto flu, or low-carb flu. It’s real, and it can be pretty terrible.
But, it’s temporary.
What is Low-Carb Flu?
Low-carb flu, or keto flu, is a set of symptoms that you may feel over the first few days of limiting carbohydrates. Low-carb flu isn’t a flu or infection at all, and it’s not a medical term. It got its name because some of the symptoms of carb restriction can feel like you’re sick with the flu.
Low-carb flu has dissuaded millions of people from pursuing and sticking to a healthy diet. You can laugh now that you’re fat-adapted and humming along on stored body fat, but you’ve forgotten just how terrible the transition from sugar-burning to fat-burning can be.
Symptoms of Keto Flu, or Low-Carb Flu
People do not pay much attention to how to strengthen tendons and ligaments, until they suffer a tendon injury. Only then do you realize that training your tendons is just as important as working on muscle strength and endurance.
Our bodies “expect” a lifetime of constant, varied movement. From a very early age, most humans throughout history were constantly active. They weren’t exercising or training, per se, but they were doing all the little movements all the time that prepare the body and prime the tendons to handle heavier, more intense loads and movements: bending and squatting and walking and twisting and climbing and playing and building. It was a mechanical world. The human body was a well-oiled machine, lubed and limber from daily use and well-prepared for occasional herculean efforts.