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View Full Version : How much weight did you lose on the trail?



ShelterLeopard
07-05-2009, 12:59
I was just wondering, (if you've done the whole trail, or a large section of it) did you lose a lot of weight? I was talking to a couple thru-hikers who said that they were in fair shape when they started, but halfway through PA, they'd lost 30 pounds. Does everyone lose this kind of weight? (Just curious- I'm not using the trail to lose weight, but it would be nice to lose a bit!)

kayak karl
07-05-2009, 13:19
I was just wondering, (if you've done the whole trail, or a large section of it) did you lose a lot of weight? I was talking to a couple thru-hikers who said that they were in fair shape when they started, but halfway through PA, they'd lost 30 pounds. Does everyone lose this kind of weight? (Just curious- I'm not using the trail to lose weight, but it would be nice to lose a bit!)
lost 45# in 60 days

ShelterLeopard
07-05-2009, 13:31
lost 45# in 60 days

See, I have weight to lose (female, about 170), and I was planning on losing 20 pounds before I leave for my thru in late February, and then hoping to lose at least twenty more on the trail, but I don't want to cut back on protein on the trail and get weak and end up going home. So I was figuring a very protein dense meal plan of about 3,000 calories per day. (At least to start out) Would that work?

T-Dubs
07-05-2009, 13:50
Does everyone lose this kind of weight? (Just curious....

I'd be interested in not only the amount but how long those hikers kept the weight off once they got off the trail. People seem to rebound their weight from calorie-deficient diets very quickly. I wonder about the energy expenditure and how the body reacts once the stress is over.

In today's age of information, I'd like to see a study on this as it somewhat approximates the Keys Semi-Starvation Experiment from the '50s. I suppose the results would be subject to question--it's hard to even imagine a 'control group' eating on the Trail. :)

TWS

fiddlehead
07-05-2009, 13:54
I lose about 5 lbs on a thru.
Gain it back in the next month or so.
I stay active jogging, hiking, kayaking, stuff like that.
I've never been more than 15 lbs more than my high school weight. (right now i'm about 10 lbs over)
Having a wife who likes to cook helps me keep my weight up.

-SEEKER-
07-05-2009, 14:58
I was on the trail for 59 days and hiked 717 miles this Spring. I am 5'8" and went on the trail weighing 130 lbs. When I got home I weighed 117 lbs and despite the fact that I am eating "bad foods that I usually do not eat" all day long I have continued to lose weight and am down to 113 lbs. :eek: BTW I got home on June 16th. It scares me a bit. I'm hoping there is some logical explanation, like I'm loosing muscle weight. When I got home the skin on my torso was actually hanging loose and I looked really bad. In fact I called my husband from the motel the night before I came home to warn him of how emaciated I looked. The skin has filled back out again despite my continued weight loss. I am leaving on Tuesday to do another 200 miles and this time I will try to eat more.

Rockhound
07-05-2009, 15:09
lost 45# in 60 days
I know that really took it's toll on you too. I have to assume you weren't getting enough calories each day. Did you get back on and change your diet some? I lost about 25# by Duncannon.

Marta
07-05-2009, 15:10
I was down about ten pounds at one point, but gained it back before the end of the hike. I did get a lot thinner, though, as I gained muscle and lost fat. At the beginning of the hike I counted calories, packing about 3000 calories per day. As the I increased daily mileage and as the weather got colder, I ate as much as I wished when I could find it.

I don't think in terms of three meals a day. I plan a breakfast of 1000 calories, with at least 30 grams of protein, and a supper of 1000 calories, with at least 30 grams of protein. During the day I plan to eat 250-300 calories every hour to two hours, mostly carbs (candy) with some nuts and occasional things like chunks of cheese thrown in for good measure.

kayak karl
07-05-2009, 15:17
I know that really took it's toll on you too. I have to assume you weren't getting enough calories each day. Did you get back on and change your diet some? I lost about 25# by Duncannon.
I'm leaving 8/9/09 SOBO. I'm changing diet from 3500 to 4500 calories. the cold probably had a lot to do with it and YES it took a toll on me:)

ChinMusic
07-05-2009, 15:56
I'm leaving 8/9/09 SOBO. I'm changing diet from 3500 to 4500 calories. the cold probably had a lot to do with it and YES it took a toll on me:)
If I recall, Karl, you are a big guy. You will still lose on 4500 calories a day IMO. You'll have to eat like crazy in towns.

Ox97GaMe
07-05-2009, 16:13
I lost 57 lbs on my hike. I started about 20-25 lbs over the recommended weight for a person my age and height, so I expected to lose quite a bit as I got into better shape.

Statistics show that women dont lose as much weight on the traol as men do. I dont know the average weight loss for each. I dont hear of many women losing more than about 10 lbs on a thru. I will follow the thread to see if you get a substantial number of women stating otherwise.

ChinMusic
07-05-2009, 16:24
Statistics show that women dont lose as much weight on the traol as men do. I dont know the average weight loss for each. I dont hear of many women losing more than about 10 lbs on a thru. I will follow the thread to see if you get a substantial number of women stating otherwise.
I know women don't get that concentration-camp look that some men get. They seem to hold weight and not get to that stage. I don't recall reports from "heavier" women. I would be surprised if they didn't see significant loses.

blue07
07-05-2009, 17:00
Didn't keep track of lbs lost, but started at a tight 36" waist, and could easily fit into a 30-32 waist after Katahdin. I hiked with two guys who lost over 50 lbs each over the course of 6 months. One guy hiked hard every day and smoked/dipped pretty heavily. So not only did he lose all his fat weight, but could see his muscle loss as well, getting close to the concentration camp look by the end. They've both gained it all back. I've kept up with walking/biking/cycling, and watch my food portions. Have been able to keep the waist around 34 and not break out my old Fat Pants!!

ChinMusic
07-05-2009, 17:07
Have been able to keep the waist around 34 and not break out my old Fat Pants!!
Weight is over-rated. Waist size is where it's at.

Chaco Taco
07-05-2009, 17:22
Lost 30 pounds the whole trip but 12 of that was in the 100 miles

Marta
07-05-2009, 17:58
...I don't recall reports from "heavier" women. I would be surprised if they didn't see significant loses.

At Glencliffe Hostel I ran into a NOBO woman who had lost 60 pounds so far in her hike. She was not scrawny even then.

rp1790
07-05-2009, 18:24
I lost 24lbs by the time I finished at Daleville. This was 9 weeks / 718 miles. I started at 181, finished at 157 and now, 6 weeks later I'm reasonably steady at 164.

For me, I was very alarmed at the rate of loss. After the first 4 weeks I started eating about 50% more on the trail and pigging out something bad in towns but the rate of loss stayed the same or got even worse. I lost so much weight around the waist that my waist belt ran out of adjustment 10 days before I finished.

Red Beard
07-05-2009, 18:57
This info has me pretty psyched about my 2010 thru. I've been trying to lose weight forever. Hopefully this will get me down to under 200lbs for the first time in 15 years.

Blissful
07-05-2009, 19:08
Rapid weight loss like that means something isn't right diet wise. The only time I dropped weight like mad was in ME (lost 10 lb in a week) when my mail drop failed to arrive- and I had to subsist on mashed potatoes and pop tarts from the convenience store (and we ran out of food also and were doing high miles). I was the same weight after I dropped my initial 20 lbs (which was by about VA or six weeks into the trail) all the way until Maine by using a mix of food drops and grocery supplies.

El Toro '94
07-05-2009, 19:12
1994
Springer Mtn.: 5'8", about 225 lbs, 38-32 jeans
Harper's Ferry: 5'8", 155 bs on the scale at ATC HQ
Katahdin: 5'8", about 140 lbs, 28-32 jeans

Present: 5'8", fat as I ever was. Took about a year and some hard couchtaterin' to gain it back.
Gonna lose it all again this year Greylock>Springer>Big K 09'-10'

Hoop Time
07-05-2009, 19:21
Female hiker we met yesterday in Duncannon told my wife she was a size 12 when she started and now is a size 6. She joked she might write a "You don't have to stop eating to lose weight" diet book.

Yahtzee
07-05-2009, 19:22
Springer 187
Hot Springs 167
Duncannon 167
Killington, Vt 167
Katahdin 147
2 months after the trail 207

superman
07-05-2009, 19:43
I don't remember the exact numbers since I seldom get on a scale anyways. When Pat from Maine and I finished the AT we were both very lean. Then we'd go out to dinner and pound down the food like we were still hiking. The weight was creeping up. The funny thing was when we were driving south on the Maine Turnpike and Pat had been ranting about weight for almost an hour, then we came to the rest area and we both yelled "Cinnabuns" as I pulled in for a pile of calories. We finally got it under control but it was hard to lose that thru hiker appetite. We do a low carb/low sugar diet and that works for us.

ChinMusic
07-05-2009, 21:50
From reading all this it seems it is EASY to lose a ton of weight on the trail (if you have something to lose)......just keep walkin'. The trick seems to be stopping the hiker-hunger after finishing. I'm wondering of an appetite suppressant might be in order after a thru......

garlic08
07-05-2009, 22:33
I've never had more than 5 pounds extra weight in my life, so I don't loose weight when hiking. I just have to eat continuously. On the AT, I started with a few extra pounds, lost them by Virginia, gained them back again by New England, lost them again by Maine.

stranger
07-06-2009, 00:28
I gain weight on every hike I do over about 350 miles, kinda strange. I'm relatively thin and usually fairly trail fit other than a few months of the year, so I guess it's due to gaining more muscle.

I find when I start my training schedule each year I drop a few pounds initially then level off, and get off the trail slightly heavier, about 2-4lbs.

Bearpaw
07-06-2009, 00:35
I had just gotten out of the Marine Corps, 207 pounds, about 16% body fat. Finished 5 1/2 months later at 168 pounds, maybe 10% body fat after several trips to a Chinese AYCE buffet.

One of my Marine buddies asked me who stole my neck.:confused:

ChinMusic
07-06-2009, 00:49
I had just gotten out of the Marine Corps, 207 pounds, about 16% body fat. Finished 5 1/2 months later at 168 pounds, maybe 10% body fat after several trips to a Chinese AYCE buffet.

One of my Marine buddies asked me who stole my neck.:confused:
Sad to think of all that upper-body mass turning into CO2, H2O, and urea after all that work.

Different Socks
07-08-2009, 23:15
Lost an average of 35 pounds on both the AT and PCT. Course all the time leading up to the hike, I consumed mass quantities.

Different Socks
07-08-2009, 23:18
Female hiker we met yesterday in Duncannon told my wife she was a size 12 when she started and now is a size 6. She joked she might write a "You don't have to stop eating to lose weight" diet book.

Ive always had this idea to market a new diet where you can eat all you want and not gain a single pound!!

Different Socks
07-08-2009, 23:21
See, I have weight to lose (female, about 170), and I was planning on losing 20 pounds before I leave for my thru in late February, and then hoping to lose at least twenty more on the trail, but I don't want to cut back on protein on the trail and get weak and end up going home. So I was figuring a very protein dense meal plan of about 3,000 calories per day. (At least to start out) Would that work?

On average, an AT thru-hiker will burn upwards of 6000 cals a day, but can only manage to eat an average of 4000 per day. That's one reason we all crave meat, dairy, produce and beer when we come into town!

shoe
07-09-2009, 01:56
I've always wondered were they get the # of calories that a hiker burns.
I wear a heart rate monitor when I backpack and over the course of 8 hours of hiking I have never hit 6000 calories.I hiked for 10.5 hours 1 day and only hit 5200 calories.
And I am considerably overweight...like 80 pounds.

I can't imagine some of these skinny hikers I see burning that many calories.

Bronk
07-09-2009, 04:36
I weighed about 220 at Springer and had lost 35 pounds by the time I reached Hot Springs. When I got off the trail at Waynesville I weighed 167. The last few weeks of my hike I had to drastically alter my food plan because I simply didn't have any excess fat left to burn. Eat a lot of meat and protein...forget about how much food weighs, take what your body needs...listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs.

Within 6 months after I got off the trail I had gained back about 25 pounds back...I stayed pretty steady at that level until the last year or two, so I was able to keep almost half the lost weight off for around 5 years.

Problem is that after a few months of burning that amount of calories, your body is programmed to think it needs that many all the time...so just because you stop hiking doesn't mean the hunger will go away...your body will still think it needs to go back for a 7th plate at the AYCE buffet. The longer you continue this behavior the more of your lost weight you will gain back...you might even end up weighing more than you did to begin with when all is said and done.

Plodderman
07-09-2009, 10:01
Lost 25 pounds

jersey joe
07-09-2009, 10:34
I went from 175 to 135(40lbs lost). I put almost all of it back on within two months.

ChinMusic
07-09-2009, 11:03
I've always wondered were they get the # of calories that a hiker burns.
I wear a heart rate monitor when I backpack and over the course of 8 hours of hiking I have never hit 6000 calories.I hiked for 10.5 hours 1 day and only hit 5200 calories.
And I am considerably overweight...like 80 pounds.

I can't imagine some of these skinny hikers I see burning that many calories.
A am a gadget guy and too wear a heart rate monitor most of the time while backpacking/walking. It is nothing for me to hit 5000 cal burn on a day, in fact 5000 is a comfortable day. I have a burn rate of around 500cal/hr just walking (3.5 mph, 225 lbs = 525cal/hr) on a flat bike trail without a pack. I have a burn rate of around 700cal/hr while backpacking. The most I have registered is 7700 and I had almost nothing left.

Add to that the bodies normal BMR and ranges of 6000 to 9000 are def doable and I would say normal for individuals over 200 pounds. I would think a strong hiker over 200 pounds could easily go over 10000 calories on a long day.

chicote
07-09-2009, 12:02
6'1" Started at Springer at 198 *got to Ms. Janets and lost 25 pounds. By the time I hit Vermont I was 155. About 145 on top of Katahdin. I couldn't or didn't get enough protein. I was eating so much food by the end that in the 100 mile wilderness my pack weighed around 40 pounds it started out weighing 30 pounds. One the other hand my wife who's 5 feet 103 pounds ended up losing 3 pounds.

The Solemates
07-09-2009, 12:36
217 starting at springer, less than 8% body fat (i was an amateur bodybuilder)

195 by PA

187 in NH/southern ME

195 at Katahdin

213 2-4 months later at home, less than 8% body fat, when i picked up lifting again

215 5 years later, stopped lifting, 14% body fat :)

Ladytrekker
07-09-2009, 13:27
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1946964

Article on the difference of men and women and long distance backpacking on the trail

Filadelfia Greenberg
07-09-2009, 14:23
Hiking Davenport gap to Rockfish I dropped from about 220lbs to 180 lbs in 54 days. Hiking from Rockfish to Katahdin and then from Davenport to Springer I dropped from about 189-174.

So yeah, you'll lose weight.

Turtle2
07-09-2009, 21:36
I averaged about 1.5 pounds per week of weight loss. About 35 pounds over my hike in 2006. I haven't gained it all back, but close. Lighter is nicer.

BigCat
07-09-2009, 22:21
I weighed in at about 310 at springer and by the time i had off 714 miles later i was about 260.

jkstacey
07-10-2009, 00:27
I'm concerned about losing too much weight on the thru-hike (starting AP 2010). I don't have a lot I can lose (105 lbs); I always lose some when backpacking ... maybe 4 or 5 pounds over a week. I'll try to eat on the trail while moving every 1 -2 hrs. When I hiked across the Grand Canyon I ate a lot of liquid energy, but everything weighs so much ... including trail mix. Ideas for keeping weight up??

El Toro '94
07-10-2009, 06:37
Ideas for keeping the weight up?


Weight Gain 4000.

Beefcake!
Beefcake!!

:bse:bse:bseBEEFCAKE!!!:bse:bse:bse

Marta
07-10-2009, 06:47
...Course all the time leading up to the hike, I consumed mass quantities.

It's called "pre-eating," and is a common method of hike preparation. I practice it myself. I calculated that I was packing over 100,000 calories of "food" on my own body. (30 pounds above ideal weight x 3500 calories/pound = 105,000 calories of extra food stored for consumption on the hike.)

In other words, even if I needed 5,000 calories/day during the hike, I had "pre-eaten" to the point where I could have hiked for three weeks without eating anything at all!:banana