Beyond Our Backpacks

Updated: Oct 9, 2018

Inspiration can come to you in the oddest places. For me, it was a quote I noticed written above a toilet in a bathroom stall...

“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right”. - Henry Ford

The first time I saw that saying, I was amazed by how much can be said with so few words. Despite the comical setting, this has been a driving mantra for me since that day. It has helped me change my thoughts from “I can’t” to “I currently struggle with…” and that has made all of the difference.

I've been thinking about that quote a lot lately because I've been dealing with a lot of uncertainties. I have never travelled outside of my home continent before. Now in less than 4 weeks, Krystal and I will be travelling for a year across the globe.

Let that sink in for a moment.

I had no idea how to even begin to prepare. It was easy to concentrate my energy into researching where to go and what to pack, but it wasn’t initially obvious that we should be preparing physically too.

After doing some reading and consulting with our wonderfully talented friends, we wanted to share some of the ways we’ve been able to prepare for our year adventure beyond our backpacks and travel documents.

Alex Hart showing me exercises to support proper hip movement

Kaitlyn McDonell, a top notch personal trainer and Alex Hart, an instagram influencer and physiotherapy guru from Myodetox, were both instrumental in our preparation for this trip.

Kaitlyn helped us with personalized workouts to prepare our core muscles and legs for the hours of hiking and walking we intend to do (see the end of this post for an example workout!). Alex (pictured above and below) showed us exercises to prepare for uncommon movements that stem from walking on cobblestone, dirt paths and other uneven surfaces.

Krystal working on shoulder mobility

Alex: "These movements are important to prepare for because throughout a typical day we do not use our full range of motion or replicate the demands on various muscles that will be used throughout a long travel day. This means Greg and Krystal had to expose their hips, shoulders, back, etc. to these movements to better prepare them for the conditions they may face."

"For example, if you take a step on uneven ground, this may place your hips in a certain position that we wouldn’t necessarily experience on an average day. By exposing their bodies to these movements leading up to the trip, their muscles and nervous system have at least been prepped for this moving forward."

At this point you might be thinking, "Do I seriously need to exercise to prepare for a trip?"

Not necessarily.

For us, it was more than just making sure we exercised, we wanted to be proactive to prevent injury so we could enjoy the places we want to explore to the fullest.

It was also this preparation that helped me move away from the mindset of “I CAN’T DO THIS” to, “I’ve got this!” when thinking about our year of exploration.

Everyone's needs are different! What are you going to do to help you prepare for your next adventure?


P.S. Here are 5 practical exercises that our friend Kaitlyn recommends for anyone interested in preparing to hike or backpack:

1. Squats - 3 Sets x 10-12 Reps

  • Beginners can stick to goblet squats holding a dumbbell or kettlebell at chest height

  • Intermediate-advanced lifters can progress to back squats, with an emphasis on keeping the core braced and chest tall

2. Forward Lunge - 3 Sets x 10-12 Reps/Leg

  • Beginners can do body weight lunges, or hold a weight in the goblet position, focusing on controlling the deceleration of the lunge, and keeping the torso tall

  • Intermediate-advanced can step off of a small riser into their forward lunge, either using just body weight, or holding a weight in the goblet position

3. Step-Up - 3 Sets x 10-12 Reps/Leg

  • Beginners can do body weight or hold a weight in the goblet position

  • Intermediate-advanced can do body weight or hold a weight in the goblet position, while adding a high knee drive to the opposite leg at the top of the step-up

4. Farmer Carry - 3 Sets x 60 Seconds

  • Beginners can hold weights (dumbbells, plates, kettlebells) in each hand down by their sides

  • Intermediate-advanced can load up a trap bar if holding weights in each hand is not challenging enough

5. Treadmill - 10 minutes+

  • If you normally use the treadmill at the end of your workouts to get a good sweat on, try changing the incline settings, or use one of the pre-made workout courses involving a change in both the speed and inclination to help prepare you for variety of terrain you'll come across!

#travelcouple #travelblog #travelcoupleblog #tripplanning #adventureplanning #exercise #fitness #physiotherapy #mantra #motivation #hiking #climbing #trekking #explore #europe #southeastasia #northamerica #backpacking #shoulderstrength #hipmobility #walk #squat


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