A couple years ago Kyla and I went on an overnight hiking trip with my brother (Jon), my sister and brother-in-law (Dawn and Jeremy) and a long time friend of our family (Also Jeremy). We hiked up to the tip top, camped out there for the night, and headed back down the next day. It was November...which means it was freezing. I don't mean oh it was cold, so I'm going to say it was freezing, nope....it literally froze. However, the weather made for a memorable trip. I mean my beard froze, the entire terrain magically turned frosty white, Kyla somehow stayed strangely warm, and in the morning one of our Jeremys had to emerge from a hard, cold, icy cocoon that was once his hammock. Mother nature and Gregory schemed against us...but we proved worthy of passage.
We hiked up a stinkin' mountain...need I say more? In all seriousness, hiking can be quite the workout. Gregory Bald stands at 4,949 feet above sea level in the Great Smoky Mountains. I forget the exact details of our mileage but I believe we went somewhere around 7 miles up, and then 7 miles back down the next day. Plenty of elevation gain, all the while carrying a pack of around 20-25 pounds. This all stacks up to get the heart pumping and the lungs working. Hiking over an extended period of time allows your body to experience a couple of things: 1. AEROBIC EXERCISE...where I was grooving and feeling pretty good. My endurance was dialed in and I wasn't feeling that lactic acid burn. 2. ANAEROBIC EXERCISE...where my thighs were screaming from the lactic acid build up thanks to some tough climbs. The combination of these two energy systems being tested over the course of a couple days allowed for tons of calories to be burned, my body to experience a variation in training, and a fun and effective way to change up my workout routine. Also, for those that want more clarification on aerobic vs anaerobic exercise...here is a simple way of looking at it:
-Oxygen is present.
-Lactic acid is not present
-Lower intensity endurance exercise
-Oxygen is not present
-Lactic acid may or may not be present
-Anaerobic alactic: No lactic acid, so no burn. Short explosive exercises, no more than 15ish seconds.
-Anaerobic lactic: lactic acid is present, you feel the burn. This happens when you pass that threshold of 15ish seconds in a high intensity exercise, or when your body can't provide the oxygen needed in aerobic exercise, you can slip in an anaerobic lactic state.
Sorry, nerded out there for a bit...but just figured some of you may be curious.
FOOD & FUEL
There is nothing quite like throwing some calories down the hatch after a long day of exertion. On the left you can see all of us, sitting around a fire in our campsite, digging into whatever we brought. I believe Kyla and I had some freeze dried spaghetti and meat sauce that you just add boiling water to, and whatever snacks we had left over...probably trail mix and rice krispy treats. I don't really remember, but what I do remember is the feeling of relaxing and enjoying that time together with the present company. Sometimes we get caught up in having the perfect fuel or the healthiest options and forget about the experience. Those things are of great importance, but don't let best become the enemy of better, and don't forget to enjoy the people and the environment around you.
Kyla and I have come a long way in our fitness journey. We have learned and adapted from past experiences, and are further along now then we have ever been. That's the point though right? We are still learning how to improve our fitness, so that whenever we follow it, the experiences are that much more rich. Journey on...and like always...follow your fitness.