Hiking the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) Northbound in 2013- sharing my preparation for the hike and my day to day experience while I'm on the trail. Inspiring people to follow their dreams.

Exercise and the necessary evil

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There is one constant in thru hiking or any other outdoor sport, and that is your fitness level.  Every day on the trail I will be physically active.  I will be moving with a 20lb pack on my back going up hill, down hill, side ways and every other kind of configuration you can think of.  It will be a full body workout to the tenth degree.  With this in mind I wanted to post what my plan is between now and the time that I leave, which again is only 59 days away.

My method may not be typical of what they suggest but, it works for me and I believe it can work for anyone that likes to hike or just wants to just be fit.


(Tuesdays & Thursdays):


You might be scratching your head asking, what does boxing have to do with hiking?  Well, I have been a fan of boxing for many years; more for the fitness vs. the ‘get punched in the face’ part.  Boxing is a great sport and a full body workout that incorporates not only your lower and upper body but it’s a great mental challenge.  I’ve seen tri-athletes come into my gym with superior attitudes and after only 3 rounds of a boxing workout they fall to their knees gasping for air. Jump roping improves not only your cardiovascular system and muscular endurance, it also improves your posture, rhythm and joint stability — including your ankles.

jump rope- use this one

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a staple of our workout because boxing rounds are 3 mins long with a 30 sec break making you put in a lot of work in a short amount of time.  We do everything from push-ups, dips, flipping tires, sprints, bear crawls, bench jumps, sparing, ab work, medicine ball work, and the dreaded burpee.  These are all body weight exercises, you don’t need a bunch of boring equipment or some specific routine of Sets/Reps, which you have to track and write down.  If you want to learn more about boxing training that doesn’t require you to spend a bunch of money, check out Ross Enamait at  He is the man when it comes to using minimal equipment while still achieving high impact training.  He goes against the philosophy of “ do it my way or else” and rejects all the marketing associated with exercise.  A simple old tire and duffle bag full of sand is all you need to get started.  Last thing I will say, is boxing helped me feel more confident when I was starting to lose weight.  It makes you feel good that you’re losing weight, you feel great punching a bag and basically you feel like a badass afterwards.

(Monday, Wednesday & Friday)



You either think of running as a necessary evil, or you love it.  I look at it more as a necessary evil because I honestly get a little bored running.  I have done my fair share of it over the last year but can’t say that I ever get excited about running.  If I do run it is usually 90% on a trail because running on concrete hurts my feet, and I feel more sore afterwards.  I’m sure there’s more science to it than what I’m listing, but I figure I’m going to be walking mostly on dirt, rocks and gravel then I am concrete, so my feet need to get used to this uneven surface.  I typically run about 3-4 miles on these 3 days.  Its not a huge amount and I do go for longer miles depending on how I feel.  I’m not a stranger to doing longer runs such as the BolderBoulder, a 10K, and the Spartan obstacle course race.  I find that after the 6-mile threshold I get bored. My form is not great and I feel like I’m going to injure myself, more than gaining any kind of benefit.  I’m sure I’ll get better, the more I push myself to run faster.


These are the days I crave for when I’m in my cubicle at the office with poor circulation.  I want to be up in the mountains hiking a trail with my pack, trying to torch my legs.  This time of year is special because you burn more calories because of the cold, so your workout is even more intense  compared to the summer.  I like the cold.  Spending the next couple of Saturdays winter camping will be a good workout with the heavier pack, snowshoes and general shelter building, which means lots of shoveling. On the weekends when I’m not teaching, I’m going on long hikes with a 20lb pack and logging a minimum of 10 miles on the local trails.  I hike frequently so this is not a lot.  I will start increasing my mileage over the next couple of weekends, working up to 15-20 miles to replicate the days to come.

This is my plan.  This is not a fancy, scientifically regimented plan, but it’s what my schedule allows and something that I’m comfortable with and find fun.  So give it a try and let me know how it works for you.  Also, seriously, I’m no doctor so if you keel over and die it’s not my fault.

Dr. Nick Riviera billboard (The Simpsons)


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