View Full Version : Using the AT as a training exercise...

02-05-2017, 11:48
I know there are many different reasons for someone to go on a long hike, though many of them are similar, just about any reason is a good reason.

My plans are to hike as far as I comfortably can from early March to early April (dates TBD). I had been wanting to do this for 6-7 years, ever since my brother told me about it. And I finally found my reason, and am in a place where I can take the 2 months to do so. Rather, I'm making the opportunity available.

After the trail, I'm almost immediately going into the Army. So I'm taking this trail partially as a training exercise. I'm 5'10", 185 and I'll be 28 in July. I'm healthy and in pretty good shape, but I want to see what the trail can do for me physically.

I'm almost done compiling my gear, though the only things I really have left are too pick up some emergency, meds, and hygienic items... Nothing with too much weight or bulk. I expect to have a base weight of around 35-40lbs at this rate. Not bad considering how much I've spent, and the fact that I'm taking a number of frivolous items with me (rock climbing shoes for some bouldering, and a small camera + tripod for some nighttime shots... I'm definitely planning to enjoy my trip my way.)

Obviously, I should get a decent leg workout just from the hike and my pack weight. I'll be doing some daily stretching and various workouts along the way. Pushups with/without my pack, squats with the pack, and pullups when I can find a sturdy bar/branch/anything.

With that, I just started taking a protein powder. Nothing fancy, just a generic GNC. And I'm contemplating taking it with me, along with my shaker which can replace a water bottle. A ~1 month supply is 2lbs, so not bad, and my pack is huge so I'm sure I'll be able to get it in there easily even in its original container, though I may pour it into a hefty ziploc bag. I figure I can find a GNC somewhere around the halfway point and pick up another.

So, here's the question. For anyone else who had used, or is planning to use the trail for some training purposes.... What has been your experience with it? What types of exercises did you find you were able to do consistently given the surroundings? What foods did you eat? Supplements? Results? Etc...

Thanks! Any/all are welcome to come in. Even if it doesn't necessarily apply to you.

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02-05-2017, 11:52
well I would have to say that the trail is not very related to basic training unless you bring someone who will yell at you lots and make you wake up at 5am every day. But, that being said, add in some situps, hello dolly's, scissor kicks, etc. And make sure you do your exercises before breakfast and with heavy boots on.

Good luck

02-05-2017, 12:11
Early March means southern Appalachians where there aren't any real opportunities for bouldering, so you might as well leave those shoes at home. It's not until you get well into Virginia where you'd find some small cliffs to climb.

If you have a 35-40 pound base weight which does not include food or water, your really going to suffer. Good luck with that.

02-05-2017, 12:41
Hiking the AT is nothing like hiking in the military. The army is the reason I avoided backpacking for 25 years. I find it much more enjoyable now.

02-05-2017, 12:51
Best trading book out there: MOUNTAINEERING: TRAINING FOR PEAK PERFORMANCE - Clyde Soles. Three month mountaineering training program, have used annually for years....

02-05-2017, 15:07
If Army enlistment is the path you're anticipating post hike condition your feet to a greater toughness on the AT. Might want to anticipate specific shoe(boot) type the Army is now issuing and use them on the AT.

02-05-2017, 15:08
Fitness training military style also includes mental training. Work on increasing it on your AT hike. You'll be better for it once enlisted.