April 5, 2023

Getting Fit: How to Design a Pre-trip Fitness Program (Part 1)

- By Jules Torti

Continue reading Getting Fit: How to Design a Pre-trip Fitness Program (Part 1)

Our Adventure Expert team frequently fields the question, “How can I prepare for my upcoming trip?” 

On each Wild Women Expeditions trip page you’ll find a section that reads: “Is this trip right for me?” All of our adventures are ultimately determined by the collective experience and pace of an individual group whether it’s hiking in the Alps or kayaking in Baja.

Because we offer a myriad of activities from canyoneering to rafting to horse riding, it’s difficult to create a custom pre-trip training program for our expeditions as a personal trainer would. However, in this Getting Fit series we can definitely point you in the right direction with ideas and resources that will help you tailor the best plan for you and your upcoming adventure!

Community Cheerleading

Three months prior to your Wild Women Expeditions trip, you will receive an invite to a private Facebook page that is exclusive to members of your Wild Women group. This is the ideal place to ask your fellow travellers what they are doing to prepare. It’s also the perfect spot to challenge each other with fitness goals, share tips and compare training notes, helpful links or YouTube tutorials. 

On the Wild Women community page (on Facebook) you’ll find an even bigger audience of women that are eager to talk about their trip experiences and how they found the terrain, mileage and elevation of a particular destination. Here on our blog you’ll find all sorts of pre-trip info related to packing, choosing a pack, Wild Women Expeditions staff picks for hiking boots and trail runners and other hot tips and hacks too.

Designing the Best Program For You

Writing a goal down or saying it out loud (preferably to someone else, not just your cat) will instantly increase your commitment level. You’ve already booked your dream trip (that’s the easy part)–now the focus can shift to making sure you’re healthy, mentally prepared, fit and ready for the challenge.

Finding an exercise program that you’re enthusiastic about can involve some trial and error. That’s natural! Make a list of activities you enjoy that get you outside and moving. If you hate running, setting a goal to run everyday will probably fall flat. Instead, are you more keen on biking or walking? Do you have a friend or family member nearby that can join you? This added commitment to another person creates responsibility, positive obligation and fun, naturally. Maybe you have a neighbour with a dog who would appreciate a bonus walk?

Signing up for a fundraising walk, bike or run is another easy way to establish a goal. The race date will keep you motivated and in turn, you get to support a great cause and probably get a free technical shirt. Visit your local outdoor gear store or running store for info on local events (or check online). Bookstores and coffee shops are also hubs for discovering community events like this. If you’ve signed up for a Wild Women Expeditions kayaking trip and are eager to spend time on the water practicing your techniques and building confidence in the cockpit, visit your local canoe and kayak outfitter for guidance. If you’re looking for concrete ideas on preparation for a Wild Women Expeditions horse trip, stay tuned! Caroline, our in-house horse trip expert will weigh in on this with her sage advice and experience.

A mature Mexican woman jogging on a trail

Run With It!

It’s natural to be nervous and excited all at once. You’ve made a big decision. The best part is that you have full control over your fitness program and tailoring it to meet your unique schedule, needs and desires. 

The Running Room has a free run club on Wednesday evenings at store locations across Canada for all levels of runners. They also offer classes on endurance, core training, stretching, injury prevention and healthy eating. Alternatively, you can choose to train from home and sign up for Zoom sessions with expert instructors.

REI has a full schedule of classes and day trips to choose from. Sign up for an intro to mountain bike riding, e-bikes or get greasy in a women-only flat tire repair workshop. They also offer basic skills classes on hiking, camping and women-only workshops on how to pack a backpack.

In Canada, Mountain Equipment Company has endless resources, gear guides and videos on choosing indoor bike trainers and how to choose an activity tracker to monitor your progress, sleep and mileage.

A New Blank Page (and Pillow!)

If you’re still unsure of where to start, find a fun blank journal and dedicate it to recording your goals. You don’t have to join a gym but if that helps you maintain focus, awesome! Maybe a series of spin classes are your jam! Trying something new can surprise you and unlock an instant love–maybe it’s rowing or rock-climbing. Try it!

You can begin your Get Fit program slowly, adding gradual changes to your lifestyle. It can be as simple as being more mindful about what you choose to eat for breakfast. Try an avocado and banana smoothie or easy overnight oats. Maybe it’s time to nurture yourself with a better (longer) sleeping routine. Buy yourself a new pillow. Replace your old running shoes as part of your commitment to taking bigger strides in the right direction.

Moving towards Motivation

There are many free ways to get to a better you. Visit your local library branch (in addition to books, many libraries offer free national parks and conservation area passes, pedometers and mindfulness workshops. Some carry non-traditional lending items like snowshoes, pickleball sets and yoga kits. Pick up some books on your destination to get in the groove or delve into a motivational read. Check out these 7 Inspiring Books for Women Who Love Outdoor Adventure. I’ve made note to grab a copy of Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North by Blair Braverman for the title alone!

Even closer to home, Netflix has countless yoga documentaries and the Nike Training Club series on body-weight strength training, core workouts and yoga.

There are endless ways to kickstart your commitment and getting fit comes in so many shapes! So, go blend yourself an avo-banana shake and get yourself some new sneakers. It’s time to commit and get fit!

In this Getting Fit series, we want to know how we can help support you! Please email any questions you might have or topics that you’d like to see addressed in this blog to Jules at jules@wildwomenexpeditions.com

Getting Fit Series

Ready for more?

Read Part 2 of our series here: “Getting Fit: Be Flexible – Tips on Self Care, Stretching and Therabands

or Part 3 of the series here “Getting Fit: Walk the Walk – Endurance, the Elements and Virtual Trainers

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