Design Your Own Backcountry Fitness Challenge

Design Your Own Backcountry Fitness Challenge

Design Your Own Backcountry Fitness Challenge


Reaching your fitness goals in the outdoors isn’t impossible, but it’s not easy to plan, either. While there are guided fitness hikes you can join, they are usually more generalized and can’t necessarily accommodate your specific needs. However, if you have a goal set in mind as well as a destination, there’s no reason you can’t blend the two together to create your very own backcountry fitness challenge. Whatever it is you want to achieve, there’s a way to get it done, exactly how you see fit:

fitness challenge, hikes, workout

Decide your goals:

What is it that you’re hoping to accomplish? While some people want to be able to just complete a longer trail from start to finish, maybe you’re considering a different goal. Perhaps you want to complete a trail in record time, climb up your favorite mountain, test your endurance, or be able to go up and down steep slopes without giving up.

Remember, whatever it is, it’s a challenge. Something that’s easy for you may be very difficult for someone else, and vice versa. The important thing is that this challenge will be perfectly designed just for you. Maybe you want to lose weight, learn to hike in harsher weather conditions, or even get your body looking in tip-top shape for a beach vacation. Whatever your goals are, narrow them down and figure out exactly what it is you’re going to need to do in order to get that fitness goal right where you want it.

Decide how you’ll achieve those goals:

What is it going to take for you to be able to achieve the fitness challenge you have for yourself? Will it take some workouts on the trail every morning and every evening, or is this goal going to keep you busy around the clock? Do you need to design your own fitness plan, or is it just something you assume will happen overtime? This part may require doing some research to learn about the different muscles in your body and how to work them out without straining yourself. .

Choose a trail:

The United States has trails that are ideal for a fitness challenge. These trails alone are almost enough to get your body in shape just by hiking them, without any other goals involved. Some of these trails include the Ruckel Ridge Loop in Oregon, the Maze in Utah, and the Bright Angel Trail in Arizona.

Just being able to conquer these trails from start to finish will surely help you reach at least one of your fitness goals. However, consider what will be ideal for your own specific goals before just choosing any trail. Perhaps it’s better to start small, and use a trail merely as a starting point in which you’ll take care of the rest.

fitness challenge, hiking, workout

Determine how much time you need:

How long are you going to need to achieve your fitness challenge? Is it something you plan on accomplishing in one hike, or is it going to take time? Figure out how long you think it might take, and plan accordingly. While all goals can’t be achieved in a day, it’s the smaller accomplishments that lead to the ultimate ones.

Create a schedule:

Once you figure out what your fitness challenge is going to be, it’s time to start designing a schedule for yourself. If you plan on doing your workouts while on a backpacking trip, you might need to allot time to your exercises whenever you can. If this is a longer goal, you might have to figure out how often you’re able to get outside in order to achieve it. If you plan on hiking ten mountains, then this might be a goal that will happen over a matter of months, whereas a goal to lose a few pounds can be reached before you even know it.

Measure your performance:

With any goal, especially a fitness goal, it’s essential that you measure your performance. Bring a diary with you to not only write down your successes, but to also keep track of what things brought you down. This will help you get a visual of your fitness challenge as a whole, and if what you’re doing is actually starting to show. It could also help other fitness minded-people out there who want to take on a similar fitness challenge, as they can learn from your experience.


Whatever your fitness challenge may be, keep in mind that going full throttle into it could end up having the opposite result. Make sure you get yourself into shape before you start your challenge, and ease yourself into it. There’s plenty of workouts you can do during the off season to stay healthy, this way you’re physically and mentally prepared for the task ahead.

fitness challenge, hikes, workout

Begin the challenge:

It’s time to begin your fitness challenge. Don’t get distracted, don’t get discouraged, and don’t give up. Remember the goals for you set for yourself and why you want to achieve those goals. Don’t forget that this challenge is for you, and only you, and you are the only one who can determine the outcome. Stay positive.

No matter what your goals may be, designing your own backcountry fitness challenge will help you be successful, while still getting to enjoy the place you love most. 

hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.