top of page

Hike Fit: Prepare for multi-day hiking Adventures with Women Embrace Adventure

Updated: Feb 16, 2022

You want to have a really good time on your hike adventure, and we want you to have a really good time on your hike adventure. A great step in the right direction to making this happen is doing some training BEFORE your adventure starts.

When you're hike fit for multi-day adventures, you'll be able to appreciate the beauty of the trail fully and recover quicker for tomorrows hike. But what do you need to do?

There's lots of information out there, so we want to share the training advice that we have used in the lead up to multi-day hiking adventures.

Being hike fit is beneficial for many reasons:

  • It will help you physically and mentally complete your adventure

  • It will significantly reduce the risk of injury and pain both during and after your adventure

  • It will put you in a position to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience (rather than just focusing on getting through each step, which is extremely important to us at WEA).

As always, if this is a new activity for you, talk to your GP, and we strongly advise you to seek the advice of an exercise professional.

Tip #1 - Strength Training

Strength training is possibly the most underrated way to prepare for hiking. Done well, and consistently, strength training will have a huge impact on your Hike Fitness.

Benefits of Strength Training:

  • Reduced risk of injury

  • Improved movement efficiency so each step uses less energy

  • Increased walking speed (not that we mind - you walk at your own pace on our adventures)

  • Improved confidence

You might think of continuous squats and lunges, but there are much better ways to increase muscle strength and endurance with a full-body workout. Using resistance bands, bodyweight exercises, free weights or weight machines, or any combination will all result in improved muscle strength and muscle endurance.

  • Focusing on your core strength will improve your ability to hike longer, step higher and head downhill better.

  • Focusing on the large muscle groups in your lower body (glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps) will increase your endurance and stamina, reduce lower back issues, reduce knee/ankle pain and make climbing so much better.

  • Focusing on your arms and upper body (biceps, triceps, deltoids, Trapezius, Latissimus dorsi) will make carrying your pack easier and make using your hiking poles much more efficient.

Speak with a fitness specialist to set up a personalised strength training program for you.

Tip #2 - Aerobic/Cardiovascular Fitness

Working on your cardiovascular fitness is essential to:

  • Improve your stamina and help you to hike for multiple hours/day (as we will on our multi-day hiking adventures).

  • Help your body to recover between days of trekking (you'll need this if we do 4+ moderate to hard hikes over multiple days).

  • Reduce exhaustion (when your body is fit and prepared, you will have a much more enjoyable experience).

  • Increasing aerobic fitness is essential to make the body more efficient at using oxygen, one of the most important aspects of being hike fit.

You've probably heard that the best way to prepare for hiking is to HIKE, HIKE, AND HIKE AGAIN! True, time on your feet is essential, but there's more to it, especially given we'll be hiking for multiple days back-to-back on our adventure.

By your departure date, you should be able to hike similar lengths and grades to those outlined in the itinerary. Give yourself plenty of time to train and gradually work up to these grades and distances.

When it comes to building up your training hikes, there are a few simple rules to remember:

  • Begin training slowly and gradually increase your hikes' frequency, distance, and intensity. Don't overdo it; a good starting point is 1 to 2 hikes/walks per week (around 5 km) and gradually increasing frequency, distance, and intensity. Try not to increase the length of each hike by more than 10% at a time.

  • As you progress to two or more hikes per week, include any specific challenges you expect on your trek (uneven ground, hills, rock scrambling and stairs)

  • Use these hikes to test all the gear you plan on using on our adventure (day pack, boots, clothes, snacks, blister prevention products, poles, wet weather gear, etc.)

Remember that you'll carry a day pack weighing up 5-7kg (depending on what you pack), so incorporate some training that includes carrying your pack.

Add in other cardiovascular activities like fitness classes, biking, swimming, running, kayaking.

Find something you enjoy doing. Including these extra aerobic exercises in your fitness routine will allow you to use muscles other than those used when walking or hiking and will help give you a full-body workout.

Aim to raise your heartbeat to a training level for a sustained period of time.

Click for a simple guide to know if you are working hard enough...

-Level #1 Can you chat normally with normal breathing? You're probably not working hard enough for an aerobic/cardio workout. Pick up the pace and intensity (less chit chat!)

-Level #2 Can you chat with quick comments only, having to pause to breathe heavily in between and working up a sweat? You are probably right in the aerobic/cardio workout range; aim to sustain this for intervals of 10-30 minutes, increasing as your training progresses

-Level #3 Are you unable to speak because you are breathing too hard, sweating a lot, and need to stop to catch your breath? You may have moved past the optimal cardio aerobic workout range and headed toward anaerobic, ok for short bursts such as sprints, but we won't be sprinting on our hike. Slow it down a bit and focus on prolonged aerobic/cardio workouts.

Work with a trained fitness professional who will set up and supervise an aerobic/cardio program for you.

Tip #3 - Stretching

Stretch, stretch and then stretch again! Stretching can be beneficial during a warmup, but it's always important to stretch after your workouts and hikes.

Concentrating on the following areas will help your hike fitness:

  • Hip flexor (extremely important – with all the extra hill walking you will be doing. The hip flexors can become tight and this can lead to imbalances and further injury)

  • Calves

  • Hamstrings

  • Lower back

  • Groin

  • Shoulders

Yoga, Pilates, and foam rolling are all excellent ways to incorporate stretching and recovery into your routine, have your fitness professional set up a dedicated stretch program for you.

Tip #4 -Making training a habit

The more you do anything regularly, the more it becomes a habit. Research shows it takes 30 days to form a habit, so start now, and you'll be well on your way to making fitness and preparing for your hike an enjoyable routine:

  • Schedule times to work out. Decide if you'll be more likely to stick to training it in the morning, noon, or evening, and stick to it. If you don't book it in with yourself, the excuses will start (too dark, too tired, too wet, too hot, too cold, etc.) It won't be long before it's no longer a habit.

  • Start small but start today. Begin by doing what your body is capable of TODAY. It might only be 10 minutes, but that's better than nothing. This is the most helpful recommendation of all. Most people start 'too strong' with all the enthusiasm, motivation and gusto they can. But, doing too much too soon will lead to burnout and injury.

  • Your body might scream, 'what are you doing to me?' because it's not used to this kind of physical stress. The trick is to get started, get out there, and gradually acclimate your body to daily exercise. Your body will thank you for it!

  • Get Prepared. Layout your workout gear the night before. Fewer roadblocks and friction when creating a new habit, the more likely you are to succeed. You might as well go back to bed if you have to get up early and search for your gear while still half-conscious. Get that stuff ready the night before, and you'll be on your way…

Which program works the best for hike training? The one you will continue to do…

Tip #5 -Some other essential things to start to consider and use while training

  • Footwear and foot care: Make sure you have well-worn hiking, trail running boots/shoes that you will be wearing on your adventure. It's a good idea to bring other comfortable shoes/joggers if you have trouble with your hiking shoes (your fave Joggers would be perfect).

  • Tread on Shoes: Some of the downhill sections on the tracks are steep in places and have gravel, which can get slippery, so good tread on your walking shoes or boots makes going easier.

  • Wet Weather Gear: you will need personal rain gear in case of rain (jacket and pants) – we never know when the weather may change, so it's essential to be prepared for all seasons on each adventure.

  • Day Pack: You will carry some light gear through the day like water, lunch, snacks, extra layers for warmth and your wet weather gear, so bring a comfortable daypack with a secure waist strap for better support.

  • Hiking Poles: Walking poles that can assist with stabilisation of the steeper downhill sections and also help with uphill sections. Hiking poles are highly recommended.

Put the work in early and reap the benefits

Talk to your GP and Fitness Professional and start a training plan for your Women Embrace Adventure hiking trips.

Are you looking for a Women's Hiking Adventure?


Download a printable copy below

Get Hike Fit
Download PDF • 609KB


bottom of page