If you have a significant hike or trek in your sights, you need to be training. That is a simple fact. But for many, finding time to get out on the trail and go out hiking a couple of times a week seems like a distant dream…
Whether it is because of work, family, social commitments or anything else, the simple fact is that many aspiring hikers are incredibly time-poor. And while it might be tempting to simply ignore your training in this situation, and just hope for the best on the trail, this is a trap you don’t want to fall into…
Too many people begin their treks woefully under prepared. And they put them self at unnecessary risk of pain, injury and even failure on their adventures. Instead, you need to be fitting in what training you can. So you can not only ensure you succeed in your adventure, but you also do it safely and comfortably!
Training Strategies For The Time-Poor Hiker
1) Home Workouts
With the right plan, you can get a lot done in 30 minutes. No wasting time getting to the gym, waiting for equipment or anything like that. Whether you want to do a cardio workout, a strength session or a mix of both, this is a great way to fit in your training!
2) Walk Everywhere
For you, every kilometre counts. Go for a 20-minute walk on your lunch break. Get off the train a stop early. Choose a cafe which is just a little bit further... you might think 'what's the point?' But trust me, every little bit helps here!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Get creative here. Got some emails to do? Sit on a bike at the gym and go right ahead! Nothing to do on your morning commute? Practice abdominal breathing. Waiting for your dog to do its business? Stand on one leg and practice your balance. Simply need to unwind at the end of the day and watch some Netflix? Do some gentle stretching while you watch! ⠀
4) Make It Social
Don't have time to go hiking because of your family? Choose a shorter trail and bring them with you! Catch-ups with friends eating into your weekend? Get a coffee and go for a walk! Have night time drinking you can't miss? Don't just sit around, get dancing! Get creative and get moving. Again, this stuff really does add up.
5) Wake Up Early
I know this one is easier said than done… but if you are incredibly time-poor, sometimes the only way to find some time to train is to set the alarm and get up early. If you can drag yourself out of bed 30 or 40 minutes earlier each day, and fit in a walk or a home workout, this will be incredibly beneficial.
Need some more ideas on how to get fit, strong and resilient for the hiking, in the most time-efficient way possible? Check out this article: 20-Minute Workouts For Trekkers
6) Choose Higher Intensity
High-intensity training is not usually a great way of training for a hike. But if you only have 20-30 minutes to train in the day, this will be your best bang for your buck! Choose one or two exercises. Go HARD for a short time (anywhere between 30 seconds to 3 minutes). Rest and catch your breath. And repeat!
7) Use Your Rest
Whenever you are resting in your training, fill this with some lower intensity exercise. Work on things like mobility, core strength or balance. All of these still count as ‘rest’ but working on them is much more productive than simply standing around!
8) Sneak in some volume
Put a repeating alarm on your phone to do 10 squats at the start of every hour. This might not seem like much at the time, but it does add up…
For example, if you work an 8-hour workday, and you did 10 squats every hour, by the end of the day you will have done 80 squats. By the end of the workweek, you will have done 400 squats. By the end of the month, you will have done 1600 squats. And that can make a big difference to your time on the trail!
9) Pre-book hikes
Even if you are incredibly time-poor, you still want to try your best to find some time to spend on the trail. And the best way to do this is to pre-book days into your calendar and treat them as non-negotiable ‘appointments’. This way you can plan to deal with distractions (i.e. plan a sitter for the kids) and you can ensure you get those precious kilometres under your legs.
10) Never Isolate
If you are spending your precious time on small exercises like bicep curls or leg extensions, you need to stop! These not a good use of your time… instead always choose large, compound exercises which work multiple muscles at one time (such as squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts). These are a much better bang for your buck.
Want a List Of Simple, Time-efficient Workouts
Rowan is a personal trainer who specialises in training hikers, trekkers and mountaineers for their bucket list adventures.
Summit Strength is a personal training service created specifically to help trekkers have the best chance of a safe, enjoyable and successful bucket list adventure.