Getting Fit for Active Travel

Have you ever planned a big summer hiking trip only to realize you are not quite in shape for it?  Year after year?  Nope, just me?  This is a chronic habit of mine, which worked OK in my 20’s and 30’s, but the older I get, the more important it is to be well prepared so I can enjoy my travel adventures and avoid injuries. When I found Fit For Trips, a personal training company that tailors fitness programs specifically for outdoor adventures, I knew I had to reach out. For someone like me, who dreams of exhilarating adventures, but frequently falls off the fitness wagon in favor of Netflix and Chicago deep-dish, it’s just what I need to get ready for my summer hiking trip to the Swiss Alps!

“Since 2009, Fit for Trips has crafted over 1000 customized fitness programs that prepare adventure travelers to conquer the trip of a lifetime.”

Fit For Trips Programs

Fit For Trips offers 4, 8 or 12-week programs. You can choose from from a list of popular trips and outfitters on their site, or you can select a custom trip. My tour operator, Alpenwild isn’t a partner of Fit For Trips, so I chose a 12-week custom program for the Haute Route hike in Switzerland. I also provided a link to my itinerary so the trainer could see what kind of mileage and elevation changes I should be ready for.

Fit For Trips Tour List

I spent about 20-30 minutes setting up my profile, providing personal health and medical information, including how many days and hours I could devote to working out, whether I prefer to work out at home or the gym and whether I have access to a swimming pool. A few days later, a customized training program was available in my dashboard.

Fit For Trips Program Features

Each Fit For Trips program is a combination of endurance training and resistance training. The trainer did a great job of incorporating swimming (my preferred cardio), resistance training, stairs, interval training, treadmill workouts and outdoor hiking with increasing pack weight over the 12 weeks. What I love most about the program is that a lot of it can be done outside of a gym. (You can also choose a home-based option that does not require a gym at all.)

Fit For Trips Dashboard

The dashboard is really well built and easy to use.  There are tons of acronyms and at first it may look overwhelming, but with one click, I printed out a 22-page PDF that included detailed instructions for each workout.  For the resistance training, there are also videos showing each exercise.

Fit For Trips Video

The 12 weeks are broken out as follows:

  • Weeks 1 – 3:  Base – I selected beginner level as I’ve had a lazy winter so this was just getting me used to working out on a regular basis
  • Week 4: Recovery – cutting back on intensity for a week
  • Weeks 5 – 7: Build – increasing intensity
  • Week 8: Recovery
  • Weeks 9 – 11:  Peak
  • Week 12:  Recovery & Departure for my trip!

Fit For Trips Dashboard

Fit For Trips Support

The founder and Head Personal Trainer, Marcus, has been readily available via email and phone since he crafted my program.  A few days into the program, Marcus and I jumped on a conference call, where he walked me through the program, took my feedback on my first two days, and adjusted the plan based on that feedback.  I also receive regular emails with helpful tips and encouraging testimonials from previous clients who have achieved their goals.

At under $30/week for the 12-week program, it is much more affordable than a personal trainer. I loved working out with a trainer, but I could not afford more than 1 session per week, which wasn’t enough to maintain a good fitness level.

I am nearing the end of week 1 and so far, I feel really good about the program. I can tell that the exercises I’m doing will prepare me for the strength and stamina I need to power through the mountain passes of Switzerland. With two rest days each week, I don’t feel like this is overwhelming or unrealistic, and I look forward to tracking my progress for the next 11 weeks. Stay tuned for another post when I finish the program, or follow along on social media!

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Fit For Trips Pin

This post contains affiliate links which means I will make a small percentage if you buy the item, at no additional cost to you. I received a complimentary training program in exchange for a review on my website.  All words and opinions are my own. 

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Product Review: Ruffwear Palisades Pack

When it comes to outdoor adventure, being able to bring my dog along is always a plus!  Bailey’s first backpacking trip was an overnight winter trip in Wisconsin.  Carrying her bed, food and blanket in addition to my own heavy winter gear was just too much! After that trip, I decided to purchase the Ruffwear Palisades Pack for our outdoor adventures. I’ve always trusted the Ruffwear brand, as their products are high quality and well tested for outdoor adventure.  My favorite dog training guru, Cesar Millan, also recommends a pack for your dog as a way to tire them out.  (A tired dog is a happy dog!) To that end, I have used the pack for long city walks, too!

Outdoor Adventure Dog Backpack

The Palisades Pack comes with a separate harness to which the pack clips in.  It’s a good idea to start out with just the harness so your dog can get used to wearing this.  I’ve read of other dogs getting hot spots where the harness rubs.  This hasn’t been an issue for us, thankfully, but definitely something you need to watch out for.  There are plenty of straps you can adjust to get just the right fit.

The pack itself then attaches at 4 clips on the harness.

Outdoor Adventure Dog Pack

Each side has a large main pocket, plus small zippered pockets on the outside.  The smaller pocket is good for things like treats and poop bags.  There are also several lash points on the pack, which I’ve sometimes used to attach an extra blanket if we’re expecting low temps at night. Inside the pack, Ruffwear also includes two plastic water bladders.  These are awesome and eliminate the need to get out a water bowl at every stop.  I let Bailey drink from streams along the way, but it’s always important to have backup water on hand, as we learned from a very hot, dry hike in Colorado.

Outdoor Adventure Dog

The biggest issue with the pack, which I suspect is the case with any pack, is that it’s tricky to get the bags balanced out exactly even on both sides, especially as you use up water and food throughout the day.  You can see in this pic that the saddles leaning to the right. I have to fidget with them quite a bit when starting a hike until I get them just right.

Outdoor Dog Backpack

From what I’ve read online, a dog should not carry more than 10% of their body weight, and it’s very important to check with your vet, especially if you have a puppy as strenuous activity can affect development.

So, what’s in our pack?  Bailey carries her own food (pre-portioned into 1-quart Ziplock bags.)  Her food dish is a plastic Tupperware container with lid (the kind lunchmeat comes in) and she has a collapsible water dish. When we’re camping in bear country, I just string the pack up with my own food bag to hang from a tree.

So, even though my dog’s backpack actually cost more than my own,, it was money well spent as the quality is quite good and I think this will last us for many years of outdoor adventure.

Dog Backpack Review

 

What outdoor adventures does your dog join you on?

Note:  I paid full price for this pack and was not compensated for the review.

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