I’m climbing a mountain in two months – what do I need to do to prepare?
That was the question I posed to Maureen (Mo) Hagan, VP, Operations at GoodLife.
I am a Baby Boomer in my 50s in pretty good shape. I have a desk job but keep fit with lots of “activities of daily living” (that’s how experts describe my lifestyle). I walk the dog two to three times a day, commute on bicycle, manage physical household chores, and take regular yoga classes. Sometimes I work out on stationary equipment at the gym too… it depends on the week I am having.
But when I signed up for an annual three-day hike in the Adirondack Mountains in New York State, I started to panic. I wasn’t in the cardiovascular shape I’d been in when I did the hike previously. And climbing Mount Marcy, the highest peak at 5,343 feet, had been an arduous and sweaty challenge that lasted several hours. The higher we got, the narrower and more steep the path became – and the more out of breath I felt. I was exhilarated and quite exhausted when we reached the summit.
With that in mind, I asked Mo how I should prepare with just two months before another ascent.
She said when it comes to this kind of endurance event, strength prevails… and not to worry. There was definitely time to “influence” my fitness level for the hike. “But you have to be very strategic about building endurance,” she said. “And that’s what I love about the gym – you can be.”
Here are her training recommendations:
Mimic the motion of hiking on the elliptical, treadmill and step climber machines. Start by working out for 20 minutes on each piece of equipment and as each week goes by, boost time and effort. To increase the incline on the elliptical and treadmill, gauge effort at each workout and increase the incline to create a comfortable challenge. Do this workout three or more times a week with a goal to work out at least 90 minutes each time (or 30 minutes on each piece of equipment).
Boost effort when riding my bicycle around town – by riding in a higher, more challenging gear.
Wear my backpack when walking the dog (and increasingly add weight to it). Add a few sets of stairs to your route if possible.
Continue to take yoga classes at least twice a week – for stretching and core.
Sip on water throughout workouts.
Keep energy up during workouts with easily absorbed carbohydrates such as energy bars.
Dress right for exercise – in light layers that are easy to remove and carry.
Wear a visor rather than a full cap (heat escapes by way of your head).
The goal is to build endurance and strength – so that I have enough strength to store energy as I hike, so that I keep the “I’m strong, I can do this” mindset when I feel challenged, and so that I avoid becoming fatigued, which increases the risk for injury.
Ever notice how a new piece of workout gear can get you into the gym more often and working harder? As a very psychologically driven athlete, I’ve learned that rewarding small achievements can keep motivation high over the long haul. No matter what your long haul is (a one-hour workout, a 10K run, a triathlon, a 15lbs weight loss goal) rewarding small steps keeps the dopamine (motivation-reward) chemical pumping through your system so you’re ready to do more of whatever grueling task you’re conquering. Set a specific behavioral achievement marker (not an outcome like lose 5lbs) and plant that reward in your mind. Be careful not to use food-based rewards as this can lead to a complete defeat of your long-haul goals.
Some small reward ideas:
Spend $5 on iTunes and get new workout music
Sip a sport drink instead of water for your next workout
Have a bath instead of a shower… earn it
Get a new headband for your workouts
Plan Sunday morning to get a tea/coffee and go for a leisure walk on your own or with someone you really look forward to relaxing with
Have a glass of wine with dinner
Pick up that novel you want
Set a movie night – pick your movie for extra motivation
A new piece of workout gear so that you WANT to do your next workout!
Sign up for something you’re ready for – Tough Mudder, tri-a-tri, your first 10K, whatever your next challenge is… make the registration your reward!
The best part of small rewards, honestly, is that you work so hard for the reward you’ve planted in your mind, whatever it is, that even a new toothbrush can feel like the most incredible trophy if you set your eye on it.
I hope to see you all in the gym in your new workout gear, with your new tunes pumping… and clean teeth smiling.
Use this 8 step golf warm-up and help prevent injury
If you are like most golfers, you don’t warm-up prior to playing a round even though with almost every other sport, you have some type of warm-up ritual. Why is that? That doesn’t make sense!
For whatever reason we are more likely to just step up cold to the first tee and give the ball a whack.
In the following brief video I present eight exercises/stretches to help get you limber and primed for a great day of golf! Keep in mind that new research is revealing that active stretching (stretching through movement) is superior to passive stretching (holding a stretch) when it comes to most sporting activities. Exercises like gradual swing progressions (Step 8.1-8.3 in the video) are the most important component. Follow this routine to help decrease your chance of injury and maybe even shave some strokes off your game.
Are there any stretches/exercises that you recommend? Please share them below…
If you want to see more results and faster than change up at least one exercise every time you work out. This will surprise your muscles, requiring you to put more effort in and the results will be noticeable! As one example change a Plank into a Mountain Climber to work your core differently. Start: Begin in your plank from your hands and feet as shown. Keep your abdominals braced and buttocks squeezed tight to hold your position. Action: Bend one knee and pull it up toward your chest. As you do, exhale and pull up through your abdominals (your back will round slightly). Hold to breathe in, exhale and you return your leg to starting position. Repeat with the other knee for one repetition.
Repeat 10 repetitions, rest for only 15 seconds and repeat 2 to 4 sets to feel positive muscle tension—this is where change happens!
If I had to rank my top three favourite cities in the world they would have to be: 3) San Sebastian, Spain 2) Dover, England and 1) Panjim, India. I have done my fair share of travelling and love the thrill of airplanes, new cultures and boundless adventures.
But between remembering to pack extra shoes and underwear, and purchasing travel insurance we often forget about the importance of our health and fitness while on vacation. With a new GoodLife Fitness Club opening at Pearson International this year we no longer have an excuse of missing a workout while in transit, but while on the vacation here are some simple steps to keeping your fitness goals in check.
Bring the “gym” to your hotel room. The easiest solution would be to book a hotel or resort with a gym in it but if that isn’t an option, create your own little gym. You can get a pretty good full body workout by being creative and exercising in your hotel room. Exercises like crunches, squats, tuck jumps, and jumping jacks are a great way to start the morning and keep you energized for a jam packed day of sightseeing. If your luggage allotment permits, you can also pack small pieces of exercise equipment like weights, yoga mats, or even a jump rope. And instead of paying for a pay-per-view movie, bring along your favourite fitness DVD as a way to decompress in the evening.
Plan a fitness vacation. This might not sound as appealing as your dream vacation of sitting on the beach sipping a piña colada, but adventure based vacations are as popular as ever. You’ve seen your friends’ Facebook photos of them scaling Machu Picchu or white water rafting in British Columbia – those types of adventures promote fitness and bring you closer to exotic destinations in nature. Some of the most unique trips that I have seen, which I want to go on, are cycling in Vietnam and snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.
Don’t let the buffet win. Vacations typically bring upon self-indulgences, from shopping to over-eating. It’s so simple to forget your fitness goals when you have an all-inclusive buffet waiting for you. However, one way to challenge over eating while on vacation is to reflect on all the hard work you put in before you got there. Think about the weeks-on-weeks you spent shaping your “beach-body,” are you ready to give that up? As another point of motivation, try to increase your willpower by speaking about your health and fitness goals with the people you are dining with. Talking about my fitness goals while I eat always keeps me in check.
Don’t forget the most important part of your vacation – HAVE FUN! Relax, enjoy yourself, and come back home refreshed. Bon voyage.