Six of the best Expedition Fitness Tips
Our expeditions do not demand super-human fitness
Unless clearly stated otherwise, we do not expect you to be experienced mountaineers, downhill skiers or ultra-endurance athletes. We expect you to be people who are willing to put a bit of effort into some training in-between job and life commitments. We pride ourselves on being able to prepare anyone with the enthusiasm to travel with us – so, if you’re reading this, it’s almost a certainty that you can gain the required basic fitness for any of our expeditions.
Expeditions are designed to be enjoyed
Our trips are not races against the clock; an ability to keep going at a comfortable pace is more important than having top-drawer cardio. Such fitness is easily attainable, as specialised training is not always needed. Do not be put off by what you imagine is required - a 15 stone golfer may find many of our trips easier than an 8 stone runner. A strong mental attitude, coupled with moderate fitness, will get you through.
If you have any concerns, call us. We don’t have sales people, so you can chat to an expedition leader. Once you’ve booked, we’re here as a resource for you, so don’t hesitate to use us for anything from training programmes to help sourcing kit.
Below are 6 tips to help get you expedition fit:
1. Train tired
It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to recreate a multi-day expedition in your training, so training when tired is a great way to get your mind and body expedition ready. For example, if you were training to complete a long ride or trek, try to do a 2 hr walk or ride the day after a 30-60 min run, walk or ride. This should get you used to the fact that the body will loosen up and push on through fatigue, especially where low-intensity disciplines are concerned.
2. Don’t take easy options
If you can walk or cycle any journey rather than take transport (even if it’s to the pub), do it. Whenever possible, take the stairs, walk up escalators, etc. It all counts.
3. Eat before training if you need to
Weight loss during training should be of secondary concern to gaining fitness (unless your BMI is very high). There’s no point being too hungry and tired to either want to train or to cover the distances you’re aiming for. If you usually get back from work feeling hungry and tired, have a snack on the way home to get the blood-sugar up. A Mars Bar and a jog is far better than no Mars Bar and no jog.
4. Have ‘escape routes’
The idea of training is always far worse than the actual training. If you’re tired, aim to do 15-20 minutes of exercise. If you still feel tired 10 mins in, then head back, but the chances are you’ll have warmed up and will feel like doing a longer session. Getting moving is the key.
5. What to do
The usual disciplines of cycling, jogging, walking (up hills and with weight if possible) and swimming will all help massively. If you’re aiming to do a ski-traverse that requires pulling pulks, cross-trainers will be of particular help. For more realistic training, rig up an old tyre or two to a belt or harness (weight-lifting belts are very broad and about £10; climbing harnesses work well too) and pull it wherever you can (beaches, parks, cycle tracks, fields, empty commercial areas, etc.).
6. Get out/Find friends
Exercising indoors can be boring - an hour on a treadmill or static bike often feels like an eternity - so either exercise outdoors or use interval training to break up indoor sessions. Try a 30 minute session of 2 minute intervals, alternating between 2 minutes high effort and 2 minutes low effort. It will do more for your fitness and be less of a grind than 30 mins steady effort. Also, it can be hard to motivate yourself when exercising on your own. If you can't find a training buddy to match you step-for-step, just getting someone to cycle along with you while you run or walk will make it more enjoyable, spur you on and make it harder to skip sessions.