Why: The outdoors in the Northwoods provides a number of recreational activities, and the upcoming Fall season provides ample opportunities to get out into the woods. Many of these outdoor activities involve carrying a backpack. While hiking with a backpack on may not seem like too much of a challenge, carrying a pack while hiking elevates your heart rate compared to regular walking (so it counts as cardio!) and has an effect on your ticker that’s comparable to jogging. This program is designed to help get your cardiovascular and muscular endurance where it needs to be to go out on a hike carrying a pack safely. It will also improve your all-around work capacity and endurance. Gaining the ability to cover the ground under load builds a strong foundation of fitness.

What: This is a 5-week program designed to improve your fitness level and prepare you for the demands of hiking with a backpack. The program includes hikes with a weighted pack, hikes without a pack, and two days of strength training per week.

What if I miss a day? Don’t sweat it while the workout is 5 weeks long and there is a calendar if you miss a day you can either make it up the next day or continue on with the program.

Who: Whether you are a hiker looking to get out on a trail, a hunter getting ready for opening day, parents with young kids who are looking for a way to exercise with your little one or someone who wants a fun way to improve your fitness level, this is a great program for you. This program can be adapted for anyone. There are four different intensity levels to choose from and four different challenge distances. The weight each participant carries in their pack will be based on age and body weight along with fitness level.

Which Level is right for me?: To help you pick which level is right for you below you will find the walk distances for the first week and the last week as well as recommendations based on your current physical activity. Please know though that if you need to change from the level you register for that is fine.

  • Level 1: easiest
    • For participants who have not been participated in regular physical activity or youth.
  • Level 2: mid-level
    • For participants who have been moderately physically active (1-3 times per week)
  • Level 3: hard
    • For participants who have been physically active on a regular bases. (3-5 times per week).
  • Level 4: hardest
    • For participants who are well conditioned and would like an even more challenging program.

Where: This program is designed to be done either at the gym, on your own at home, or outside There will also be some opportunities for small group workouts on the strength days.

What do I need? Get registered!

  • Program materials: Once you are registered, all the program materials including the calendar of the 5-week program, the workouts, the information on the challenge, and any other program materials will be sent to you.
  • A backpack with the appropriate weight.
    • ***Parents with young kids: This program can work for you as well. Instead of a backpack, you can carry your little one in a carrier!***

Is there a cost?  The program cost is $10 for members and $15 for non-members. This will include all your materials, workout options, and a t-shirt!

When: Session runs October 18th to November 20th