In order to get in shape for my Appalachian Trail (AT) Hike I have been going to our local YMCA since January. Ideally it takes about 3 months of prep time to get you ready for such a journey. Remember I “intend” to hike the entire 2185 miles of the AT.

This 3 months of training is simply to get me “USED TO” using the muscles that will be needed for this hike. It is also meant to ensure that I have the “PHYSICAL CAPABILITY” to make the journey.

The workout I am doing is “NOT MEANT” to make me go faster, go longer, or get me stronger. That will come over time as I hike the trail.

I would like to show you how I start out my routine in the swimming pool but I cannot. The pictures wouldn’t show well enough for you to understand. Don’t worry though I have lots of other pictures πŸ™‚

Basically I do a 1 hour stretching routine in the lap pool. I start by treading water to warm up. Then I swim a lap and start to stretch at the low end. I do a series of leg and arm stretches. I then do another lap and repeat the stretches again. This happens 3-4 times. Next I do 3 different types of lunges. Each version of lunges I do for one length of the pool. Lunges are a walking leg stretch for those who don’t know. The type I do are used in Tai Chi. After these I head to the deep end where I hold onto the wall and do flutter kicks and swim kicks etc… Then I tread water for few minutes.

After the stretching routine I head to the warming pool and let the jets massage my back muscles.

The swim session takes about one hour.

Next I head upstairs to the weight/workout room…

I start by stretching out with the YOGA BALL as seen here…


I stretch my back and legs on the BALL then my back and arms using the POLE


After that I head to the NEVER ENDING STAIRS for 10 minutes… I hate it but it helps prepare me for climbing the mountains πŸ™‚


I wear my backpack packed exactly as it will be for my hike.

Next up is the TREADMILL for 20 minutes…


Here I do the random hill routine. I set it to give its maximum elevation incline of 20 and max speed of 3 mph. So that means it changes throughout the workout from 0* incline to a gradual incline until I hit 20*. My pace starts out at 1 mph then quickly in the first minute increases to 1.5 then 2 mph by the second minute. From here I average a rate of 2.5 mph.

Next up are the leg machines…

Starting with LEG EXTENSIONS, I do 4 sets of 20 reps resting between sets.



Next up I do 4 sets of 20 reps resting between sets of LEG CURLS



Now I do 100 LEG PRESS’S with feet together and then 100 with feet shoulder width apart…



I move to my favorite leg workout now. The ABDUCTION/ADDUCTION upper leg machine. I do 100 reps of each…


After my legs are done I walk around for a couple minutes to loosen them up some then move on to the upper body machines.

The first machine I use is my most dreaded one. The CHEST PRESS is where I do my best to do 4 sets of 10. I try to do more if I can.



Next up is the ROW which I do 4 sets of 20 reps…



Moving on to SHOULDER PRESS I do 4 sets of 20 reps… This is my second hated upper body machine πŸ™‚


The LAT PULL DOWN is last for this part of my workout. Here I do 4 sets of 20 or if feeling good I may do 3 sets of 30…



Now back to the YOGA BALL and POLE again for a few minutes of stretching…


Head back for 10 more minutes on the NEVER ENDING STAIRS



Another 20 minutes of the TREADMILL again…



And after two hours of being in the weight/workout room I am tired and done…

Total workout time including the swimming pool is roughly 3 hours. I go 3 times per week to the YMCA. I also see a Physical Therapist once every 2 weeks and the Chiropractor once every 3 weeks. And I see an Aqua Therapist 2 times per week for the next 6 weeks.

I got special hands on direction from my VA Doctors on exactly what I should be doing and how and how often etc… I attended a 12 week course for pain management to help me better deal with my back pain, migraines, tremors, and nerve damage while I will be gone on the trail.

Next week my friend and I will be going on a 3 day hike and I will be testing out my new gear I intend to take on the AT with me.

Basically I cannot think of anything else I can do at this time to better prepare for my hike.