For many trekkers, the Tour du Mont Blanc is a dream experience. Sadly, many hesitate to book this experience of a lifetime because they are afraid they aren’t up to the challenge. This is a shame, because, with a bit of preparation, the average hiker can gain the physical conditioning required for this Alpine adventure. To be sure you are ready for your trip, take a closer look at the following tips.
Know What The Trip Will Entail
The Tour du Mont Blanc is a multi-day hike. You will travel more than 100km and the exact distance will depend on the route you choose. Keep in mind that even if you have an exact route in mind, conditions can force you to change that as you climb Mont Blanc. Of course, it isn’t just the distance you will need to consider. You’ll be ascending a considerable elevation, and will be traversing some challenging terrain.
Engage in Four Types of Training as You Prepare for the Tour du Mont Blanc
In order to enjoy a successful trek, your body will need to be properly conditioned. You can prepare for your trip by focusing on four types of physical conditioning. These are cardio, strength training, flexibility, and climbing. Here’s a breakdown of each one.
Here, you should combine aerobic and anaerobic exercises for the best results. Anaerobic exercises are high-intensity exercises of short duration. These include sprints, lifting heavy weights, jumping rope, and other exercises where you use a large amount of energy in a short period of time. Doing these exercises increases your endurance, builds muscle mass, strengthens your joints, and increases your energy.
Aerobic exercises are designed to pump oxygenated blood throughout your body for a longer period of time. These are lower intensity exercises that you do for a longer amount of time. Aerobic exercises include jogging, running on a treadmill, or cycling. Some of the same exercises can be both aerobic and anaerobic depending on the length and intensity of your routines.
To truly enjoy the best Tour du Mont Blanc experience, you’ll need plenty of strength. Think about it. You will have to carry your own body weight over several kilometres each day, you’ll be travelling uphill, and you’ll have a pack to carry. Get into shape for this by strengthening your leg and core muscles. Focus on exercises such as squats, leg presses and extensions, lunges, crunches, back extensions, even deadlifts. Bench presses, rows, and military presses will strengthen your upper back and shoulders.
You don’t need the flexibility of a competitive gymnast to complete the Tour du Mont Blanc. Instead, think of flexibility as a way to help reduce your risk of injury as you train in preparation for your trip, and during the trek itself. Stretch before and after each workout. Then, take some time to stretch each day during your trip.
The process of climbing Mont Blanc requires you to engage in motions that you don’t normally experience on a daily basis. You’ll use muscle group combinations in ways that you haven’t previously. Here, the best preparation is to go on regular practice hikes. Choose routes with significant elevations, and carry your pack with you at all times. Add items to it so that you can condition yourself to carry at least 1 stone (6.8kg/5lb). At the gym, you can improve your climbing conditioning by walking on the treadmill at a steep incline, or using the stair climber.
Develop The Right Eating Habits Before And During Your Trip
The foods you eat as you get into shape for your trek in the Alps is going to be somewhat different from the foods you will eat during your adventure. As you physically prepare you’ll want to build muscle strength and increase endurance. You may also choose to reduce your calorie intake if you prefer to lose weight in preparation for this trek or another climb such as a trek up Gran Paradiso.
For many people, getting into shape for this trip means eating lean proteins, plenty of vegetables, and watching fats and carbs. Of course, your personal dietary plan will vary.
During your trek, your body needs fuel. It needs energy it can access quickly, and burn efficiently. Many trekkers rely on trail mixes, single-serving pouches of peanut butter, bananas, and other high energy foods. You should also eat foods like this on the days you go on conditioning hikes.
Daily Conditioning For The Tour du Mont Blanc
Not all of your conditioning needs to happen when you have time to hit the gym or local trails. There are things you can do to get into shape each day. You’ll build endurance, and get your body used to daily exercise.
Consider buying a step counter or fitness tracker. Start with a goal of 10,000 steps per day. Then increase that over time. Take every opportunity you can to walk instead of ride, and take the stairs instead of the elevator. Slowly increase your daily exercise until you are confident in your fitness level.
Final Thoughts: Book With Care
There are several routes for you to choose from, book the one that is the closest match to your abilities. Remember that your guide and tour operator wants you to enjoy your trip. You’ll be much happier if the trek is easier than expected rather than finding yourself struggling to keep up.