Hiking is one of the best activities for becoming fit and to enhance overall performance. It is physically demanding if done under certain circumstances and it also releases stress. Hiking speeds up the metabolism, increase endurance and strengthens the tendons and ligaments. And if that is not enough, you should know that an efficient metabolism that develops as a byproduct will make you feel more energic and help metabolize nutrients faster which is great especially for burning fat reserves.
What Does the Term Hiking Mean?
According to Wikipedia, hiking is the preferred term, in Canada and the US, for a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails (footpaths) in the countryside, while the word walking is used for shorter, particularly urban walks. It is a popular activity, and studies suggest that all forms of walking have health benefits.
It gets you in touch with nature and it also makes you feel happier. But you can also use it to lose weight as I did, or simply for the sake of doing something new and interesting.
By following a rigorous weekly training schedule of 2 sessions of running on the mountain trails and forests, plus 3 sessions of calisthenics and eating a clean diet, I was able to lose around 4 kilograms in a matter of only 3 weeks. As a consequence, my muscles look a little more shredded now. This outcome made a huge difference in my overall performance although I am talking about only 4 kilograms.
I also needed to regain my previous fitness condition that I lost due to some recent inactivity and sedentarism, plus the inadequate diet that I followed for too long. But now that I am back and pushing the limits, results don’t hesitate to come. During this period of 3 weeks, I was out on the mountains for 2-3 times a week and on the remaining days, I followed my usual bodyweight workout sessions.
Other advantages that hiking presents are that it is almost free and I can state now that it worked efficiently for my fitness goals as well. I enhanced my fitness and lost poundage. My metabolism is now working a bit faster. I sleep like a baby after every walk or run and somehow this gives me to stay on the right track with nutrition too. Healthy activity such as this promotes a series of good habits which are only discovered after a period of consistent involvement.
How to Make a Workout Out of It?
There is a big difference between walking in the forest for relaxation and trying to reach a point that is far away and up on the mountain as fast as possible, with minim rest, and then back to the starting point. The second option will be a lot more challenging and that is exactly what it takes in order to shoot for fitness goals.
Start from A, then up to B, and then back to A in the shortest time possible. This will involve running, jogging and walking, depending on the surface and inclination. The way up to B is the hardest because it is an uphill trail, thus running will be tough. This section will boost the cardiovascular system and because of that stamina will and the furnace will start burning a lot of calories. The heart pumps like hell in order to sustain the fast walk. Once you reach B, rest just for a bit to drink water and maybe to eat something and then try to run your way back to A. Running downhill works the muscles big time as well as the joints and tendons.
Try to engage long distances that will keep you on the trail for around 1-2 hours. If not, walk for 2-3 hours at a high pace. The whole point is to keep a high heart rate because that is what will make you burn more calories.
Wear a pair of adequate running shoes unless you want to hurt your knees or ankles.
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Sustain the Activity
Everything is for nothing unless you are doing it with consistency. My first attempt the week is a very intense run and then as I am sore, on the second one I try to cover a long distance by walking as fast as possible. This usually keeps me there for 3 hours, plus the breaks for eating and drinking to regain strength. This kind of activity is great to train your metabolism; hence clean nutrition is required.
To be able to sustain a great workout such as this, you have to stay hydrated. Get a bottle of half a liter of water and maybe another one of water with electrolytes. Make sure that wherever you go, you can refill with water, otherwise you might get dehydrated at some point. Do not put yourself in a position of portioning the water reserves. You will learn how much water you need once you go there for 1-2 times but before that just do your homework well.
You can’t obtain results and in fact, you can’t finish safely (not even back to point A) unless you know how to diet correctly. Getting all the essential nutrients is paramount because otherwise, you can’t recover properly. And even if your goal is to lose weight, nonetheless, you still have to eat a lot of nutrients. Hence, you need to know what to eat and how much.
Let’s say that your purpose is to lose weight too, so as consequence you will have to respect these:
- Eat foods that after the metabolization process, they make the body alkaline
- Drink water and maybe even add electrolytes to it
- Eat just a bit to metabolize faster and to avoid the sleeping effect that usually comes from the consumption of carbohydrates
- Avoid complex carbohydrates and instead of that, eat simple carbohydrates like fruit or a bit of honey and dark chocolate
- Eat fruit or drink natural fruit juice (without added sugars) at least 30 minutes before every run. Once you reach B, then you can eat a bit of fruit again to get energy, increase the glycemia and get those micronutrients too
- Eat leafy greens, or salad, and almost any kind of vegetables, but no legumes that contain a high amount of complex carbohydrates. Corn and beans are sources of carbohydrates but they contain few calories. You can eat them but in a very small quantity and this principle applies especially when you reach B and aim to run back to A.
- Avoid any sauce, crackers, sweets, sausage, frankfurters or fast-food and especially pizza.
If you prefer to make the run later in the day, then what you can eat at breakfast is a lot more permissible than what you can eat on the mountain. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat like a freak. You still need to follow a balanced diet. To get information about breakfast and about nutrients you must read my following articles:
To summarize a bit, I recommend you cut complex carbohydrates as much as possible and focus more on eating fruit and vegetables. You can increase the protein intake but also decrease the animal fats consumption. This was my meal on the top, before running back from where I started: tuna, mozzarella, chicken, corn, and veggies. I also consumed a natural blueberry juice without sugars.