How to Prepare and Condition for Long Hikes

IncaTrail Hikers 1

With the weather cooling down a bit here in SoCal in our “winter” months, it’s usually terrific hiking weather. So start planning some day hikes and really enjoy the sights and sounds and the scenery that outdoors and nature has to offer.

One thing I always recommend is if you are going to buy some new hiking shoes, break them in at least a week before your big hike so you don’t get blisters. Just wear them around the house and make sure they feel good. By the way, the best time to try on new hiking shoes is towards the end of the day. That’s because our feet are usually more swollen at that point of the day. You wouldn’t want to buy a pair of shoes that are too tight because you tried them on in the morning.

One of the best ways to prep for a hike is walking stairs. Create a routine of walking up 10 flights of stairs, at least twice a day. If you don’t have access to a stairwell, use a park bench or something you can step up and down on. This activates your glutes and quads which will be your major muscles doing the work when hiking through elevation.

If an inside gym is more ideal for you, then crank up the incline on a treadmill to level 10 or so and just walk. Try to do at least 30 minutes. If you need to interval it, you can do 2 minutes at level 10, then turn it down to level 2 for 1 minute, and then back up to level 10 and repeat for at least 30 minutes.

Another method of conditioning for a long day hike is to fill up a backpack with about 30 – 50 pounds of weight and just hike some local short trails. This will get your heart pumpin’ and legs burnin’ for sure! But it’s oh so good to get you up to par for a longer duration hike.

When you do go on your long day hike, make sure to bring at the very least 3 liters of water (I always use a backpack that has a bladder, and additionally I have a belt that holds a bottle of water). It’s always a good idea to bring a flashlight, some munchies for energy, and have a clear picture of how long your trail is and how long it will take. Do your research ahead of time so there’s no surprises along the way. Hiking with a partner or a group is always suggested.

I’m excited to be organizing another international Active Hiking Trip, and here’s the official group trip page for the April 16-24, 2015 Peru Adventure, featuring the 4-day hike to Machu Pichu on the Classic Inca Trail.

We’ll arrive at sunrise to the ruins of Machu Picchu on Earth Day 2015. How cool is that!? Our group will have private porters and a private chef travelling with us too. It’s luxury camping at its best!

*** This experience is high on the bucket list for many people. My group is limited to 20 people. Passes to the trail sell out well in advance, so a $500 non refundable deposit is due no later than December to secure a spot on this Adventure if you’d like to come along with me.

We’ll be doing some local hikes to prep for the trip. If you’d like to join us, sign up for free on my MeetUp page at

See you on the Trails !


Jack Witt, MS, CPT
Fitness and Health Coach
“Get Fit with Witt”
Individuals / Groups / Corporate
310.562.5629 Cell / 818.760.3891 Main

* New exercise & diet books Tight, Tone, and Trim” and “Cut, Cool, and Confident

* Peru Adventure Trip with Machu Picchu Hike April 16-24, 2015