One of my core philosophies are a coach, is to present and share training and preparation strategies which are practical for a hiker to follow.
My whole intention with the information I share (and use myself) is how can a hiker, trekker or backpacker, see the best results, with the least amount of effort and stress?
I firmly believe that this is the key to success for 99% of people out there.
And this is also why I rarely talk about what is 'optimal' in your training.
Because optimal is almost never practical.
And if something is not practical, then it probably isn't a great recommendation for the majority of people.
Let me give you a few examples:
When it comes to recovery, sleep is incredibly important. And, according to the research, for someone who is doing a lot of training, about 10 hours a night of sleep is considered 'optimal'...
But you will never hear me pushing this because for most people this is just not practical.
Or when it comes to improving performance, having some caffeine before you train or hike, can be a great aid. And, according to the research, having the equivalent of about five coffees before training is considered 'optimal'...
But you will never hear me recommending this because it is not practical.
And when it comes to injury prevention and performance, strength training is incredibly important. And, according to a lot of the research, doing most of your work at 85% of your 1RM or higher (i.e. six reps or less) is considered 'optimal'...
But I don't advocate for this above all else, because I know this is not realistic for most hikers out there.
Optimal is rarely practical.
But this doesn't matter.
Because we are not Olympic Athletes who are trying to shave every last millisecond off our race times...
We are hikers who are looking to get fit, strong and pain-free for the trail.
So we can ensure a safe, enjoyable and successful adventure, wherever that may be.
That does not mean we have to chase 'optimal' training recommendations without any regard for anything else.
It means following smart and proven training methods, which fit in and around our lives.
And in all honesty, if you do this well, it will get 99% of hikers much further then they could ever imagine.
Yours in trekking,
Rowan is a personal trainer who specialises in training for hiking, trekkers and mountaineers for their bucket list adventures.
Summit Strength is a personal training for hiking service created specifically to help hikers have the best chance of a safe, enjoyable and successful adventure.