Training for a Mountain Hunt
with Ashley & Jesse Kurtenbach
Learn More Below
Are You Mountain Ready?
A mountain hunt in the backcountry is no easy task. Add hiking “mountain miles” every single day with carrying a weighted pack, and you are guaranteed a challenge. The reality is, the hardest and most crucial part of your hunt begins when you harvest the game. Quartering, packing up and extracting the animal need to be executed efficiently in order to preserve the meat. Quite simply, if you want to exceed the normal limits and be successful, it takes preparation.
When to Start
Even though we personally train all year, we like to start laying out our specific backcountry training five months in advance. Depending on where you live and what your regular daily activities are, you may be able to start two to three months before. We choose to be over-prepared. Getting started doesn’t mean going 150% right out of the gate, but gradually building your time at the gym, being active daily and incorporating adequate “rest” days. Listen to your body and gradually add to your routine to avoid injury and frustration.
Indoor vs Outdoor Training
Cardio is obviously important to build your endurance for the mountains, but so is regular weight training. Lifting weights three to five days a week is a great way to add strength. We do a mix of traditional weight lifting, active rest, tabata and plyometics, always mixing it to improve and keep the body guessing. The best indoor cardio to prepare you is a high intensity interval training program, which may include incline treadmill walking/running and the stepmill. When you do your cardio training indoors, do everything you can to simulate the work you will do in the outdoors.
Training in the great outdoors is essential and should be mixed in with your indoor training. Hiking, trail running, hiking with a weighted pack or vest, sprints on a track or running/walking stairs are all things you cando in your routine preparation that will greatly assist you in getting mountain ready. We also recommend in taking one to two rest or active rest days per week to allow your bodies to recover.
What You Eat Will Reflect Results
Being active is important, but so is the diet. It’s the fuel you use to push through those workouts that can make a difference on performance. Eating a balanced diet of healthy whole foods allows you to get the max effort and results out of your training and will help you get your physical ability to the next level.
In addition to healthy eating patterns, supplements are also a key ingredient to success. You can’t possibly get all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs from food alone. Supplements include products like protein powder, pre-workouts and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), all of which will help with your workout routines. We prefer the Mountain Ops line of supplements available at Scheels, products created by and for the outdoor enthusiast.
Training the Mind
While being in great physical shape is important to any backcountry hunt, having your mind trained is equally, if not more, important. When you push yourself to the limit while training physically, you are preparing yourself mentally as much as physically. Having mental toughness and the desire to succeed will likely be a key ingredient to your adventure, as the time may come when your head will get you further than your body.
Tailor your workouts for what you can handle and what you want to accomplish in the field. If five months of training seems like an eternity, pick a race or other physical challenge early to mid-summer to motivate and push you to train harder. We also recommend taking notes each year on how you train and your overall progress, that way you can adjust the following year.