Photos from Hike to Delicate Arch

I had to attend a high school mountain bike race in Moab on September 22nd in my position as an assistant coach. I took my daughter with on Friday, the 21st, and we had a day to kill waiting for the rest of the family to arrive. Mom was already there as a Utah League Crew Member, setting up the staging (starting line) and we stopped by to deliver some of her things and check in with her after our 3+ hour drive from Salt Lake City. It was a little early to check into our motel, so we planned a hike.

We headed into the National Park and used our annual pass. It’s a heck of a deal if you go to even three parks in a year. We parked in the lot for the Delicate Arch trailhead and took off up the trail. My daughter is a pretty strong hiker for her age, having hit the summit of several area peaks as well as a winter ascent of a Colorado Fourteener. We crested the rim of the bowl in a little over 30 minutes. It was really pretty. Well worth the hike.

After hanging out for a few minutes for photos we took off down the trail. The descent took right at 30 minutes. Pretty cool.

Note that we’ve done this hike a few times before with slower groups, and knew the trail well. We also had a lot of water. I had 3 liters in my pack, and my daughter 1.5. There was a ranger at the entrance to the trail checking for water. It was hot. Several people were huddled in the shade needing to slow down.

Just a warning. If you are not acclimated to hiking in the hot sun in the blazing desert, go slow, stay cool, and drink up. Oh, and use a lot of quality sunscreen. Don’t forget your face and lips.

We then went to check in and play in the pool.

Hot Weather Fluid Replacement

While riding with the Lone Peak High School Mountain Bike Team this morning (July 7) we ran into a hydration and nutrition problem. It was super hot and just a little humid for early July in Utah. We had Ride Leaders (adult coaching volunteers) and Junior Athletes (high school competitors) who had bonking issues, minor heat issues, and just plain wearing out from hard riding in the heat. We did our best to keep them drinking, drinking, drinking, but sometimes it’s not quite enough.

A little bit of electrolyte and sugar helps with the bonking and assists in providing the energy you need to finish that ride in good style. Please avoid heavy doses of caffeine, especially if they’re concentrated. Those little one ounce containers with enough caffeine in them to keep you awake for the whole day? Caffeine is dehydrating. You’d have to drink over a full liter of plain water, maybe two, to make up for the water lost in processing that much caffeine in one shot. Just don’t do it.

Also, NICA has a stance on chemical assisted training and racing. Here are two selections from the NICA Manual:

NICA Caffeine Restrictrions NICA Caffeine Restrictions

For those parents and student athletes who are needing a starting place for how to select an appropriate supplement to their regular hydration, we’ve compiled this quick set of links for some of our own favorites, some we’ve encountered at various charity runs, and some that our triathlete friends recommend.

It’s by no means a complete list, but is a good starting point. It’s from Amazon because it’s super easy to make lists like this, but you can get these at local running and cycling shops, and even Walmart and Smith’s if you dig around.

[amazon_link asins=’B00Y0V1BZ8,B01AMVB87A,B075KPZVNB,B002HWRY5S,B00ENJ7I2W,B0756QVFM5,B01MY8YG02′ template=’ProductGrid’ store=’ruckingsimple-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’5a0b1685-820a-11e8-873b-cd0ce20c2813′]

Adult Athletes: if we missed your favorites, let us know and we’d be happy to add them. Enjoy, and train smart.

Favorite Short Utah Hikes

Favorite Short Utah Hikes

Spring is upon us which means it’s the ideal time to hit Utah National Parks. What a play ground for hikers, campers, rock climbing, Jeeping and mountain biking.  Our state simply rocks.

Here are a few beautiful hikes you can enjoy.

[amazon_link asins=’0897329422,1594859248,1742202012,0762782765′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’ruckingsimple-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’125092b8-6768-11e8-b0b7-a3a1430647a0′]

MANY POOLS- Zion National Park
This is a beautiful, “easy” hike that is great for families and beginner hikers.
This is a good hike to take in the spring before the weather gets too hot. There isn’t much shade here.  Take a picnic and enjoy sitting on the slick rocks.

Directions: The Salt Lake Tribune gave these great directions.
The trailhead is not marked. There is a pullout on the southeast side of State Road 9, about 0.9 mile east of the small tunnel that is east of the big Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel. The road goes over the drainage, which you can access two ways. You can follow footpaths down to the east and walk through a tunnel that passes under the road, or you can walk just 0.1 mile north on the road and drop into the drainage at the north.

skeeze / Pixabay

BALANCED ROCK -Arches National Park.

This hike is super easy (like sidewalk easy so to speak) but beautiful and so interesting. The upper rock that is being balanced is bigger than two school busses!  Your kids will go nuts checking it out.  Look for cactus, wild flowers and even lizards as you explore the area. Remember to obey National Park Rules.

Directions:  Balanced Rock is easy to find because A: you’ll see it! And B: it’s well marked. Follow the main park road.  Balanced Rock is located on the east side of the junction with the Willow Springs Trail.

ROADSIDE RUIN -Canyonlands Needles District

Roadside is a short hike, easy for families and very educational. Built of stone and dried mud, hikers can see an Puebloan granery.

Directions: Trailed is located along the main access road (Route 211) just past the visitor’s center.

Dynamic Stretching Sample

Would you like a sneak peak at the dynamic stretching sequence as specified in one of the most popular hiking and outdoor fitness books published on Amazon today? Here’s a brief look at this exercise from the foundation of the Hikercize Program. When we first created the program and set it out for our beta testers, there was a bit of confusion. Some people liked yoga or tai chi. Some people liked static stretching. I felt like dynamic stretching might be a better alternative for hiking fitness. It’s something you could do in about 10 minutes at the trailhead. You could even do it again on the summit before you return to the parking lot.

Can you imagine your dynamic stretching selfies?

Snowshoeing in a Snowstorm

Snowshoeing in a Snowstorm

Planned on a trail run up American Fork Canyon [Jan 21] but overnight there were about 8″ of new snow in the valley and up to 3′ in the mountains. The surface was really loose and I sank in up to mid-shin so I switched to snowshoes and heavier boots.

I ended up going quite a bit slower than anticipated, but since I had two hours free I just went uphill about an hour and then turned around. I split the time evenly because I couldn’t really plan on going any faster downhill. It seems that with regular sized snowshoes (I was using a pair of backpacking snowshoes, so they are bigger for extra flotation with a heavy pack) a fit person can go uphill about as fast as downhill.

If you have never been on snowshoes before it takes only a few minutes to figure things out and it’s all good fun.

I got in about 2.5 miles with a few hundred feet of elevation gain, and felt really blessed to have gotten to see so much pretty scenery.

On the way home I helped dig out some boy scout groups that had slid off the road, and even used my SUV to pull a mini-van out of the ditch. Right place at the right time.

20 things to start doing RIGHT NOW!

20 things to start doing RIGHT NOW!

Have you been feeling stuck in your office?? Life bringing you down?? Can’t get out to do? the things you really enjoy? Slave to “the man” so to speak?

Try doing some of these and watch as your mood get lifted!

1. drink more water!
2. eat a big breakfast, medium lunch and a smaller dinner (Breakfast like a King!)
3. eat more fruits and veggies. Even more than you are eating now!
4. go for a walk, bike ride or swim
5. read a book. seriously!? Put down the phone and pick up a real book!
6. stop thinking negative thoughts about yourself. (AND OTHERS!)
7. don’t dwell on the past
8. go to bed earlier.? Come on! Stop acting like a college kid. Go to bed at 10. See what happens after a week of a full 8 hours of sleep!
9. focus on the simple, little things
10. STOP COMPLAINING. Seriously! Just stop complaining about work, about your lame neighbors, about your commute, about your family.? Just STOP IT!
11. don’t judge yourself or others. don’t compare your size or success to someone else.
12. meditate. Read the scriptures. Kneel in prayer. Go somewhere quiet.
13. avoid processed foods
14. stretch daily
15. listen to quiet music.? Turn off the latest hits. Put away the rap music. And turn on something classical and quiet.? Your brain will thank you.
16. UN PLUG FOR A FULL DAY! I know this is? soooo hard so start with something smaller.? Plug your phone in somewhere you can’t just reach for it. Hide your phone deep in your bag in the car- so you can’t just reach for it at every stop light. Leave your phone upstairs for an hour.
17. declutter and live with less. You don’t really need to update your curtains. You don’t need new dishes just because they look cute at Target. This is an on going struggle for many. Take baby steps and begin to see how nice it is to donate and get rid of things.
18. wear clothes that make you happy.? Simple but profound!
19. remember that all the efforts you are making daily will be worth it in the end. Don’t give up. Keep pushing. Keep going!

Getting back to Fitness

Getting back to Fitness

We all know the feeling. Month one of your new way of eating or working out and you are ON FIRE!? Nothing gets in your way. You stick to your work outs. You are eating clean. You are seeing results. And then you go to your cousin Bob’s BBQ and you go crazy. Then the next day, Mary at work brings her famous fudge and you can’t help yourself- you eat half the platter (while hiding in your office). Shamed, you declare “It’s only salads for the rest of the week” and hence…you fall off the wagon.? Pizza, fast food, Midnight run for ice cream, sleeping in, ditching your weight workouts.? Ugh!

We have all been there. Guess what! It happens. It’s nothing be ashamed about.? You CAN get back on the fitness wagon.

Do you have your goals written down? Are you checking in with your goals daily?? If not, start now! Writing down your goals is shown to improve the likelihood you will accomplish them. Put a post it on your fridge or mirror.? And tell a trusted friend. An accountability partner is so important.

Please DON’T make unrealistic goals. Example: I will lose 20 lbs in 4 weeks.? WHOA!? That’s like a suffer fest. Not to mention totally unhealthy. A realistic version: I will lose 20 lbs in 9 month.

Other examples:

I will never eat sugar again vs? I will detox for 10 days to break the sugar habit. (after detoxing, you won’t be craving the sugar as much so you can have a slice of birthday cake without then indulging in the whole cake)

I will run for 2 hours every day vs I will run for 20 minutes 3 times this week (adjust it as needed as you progress. If you haven’t exercised in a while, set a? short-term goal: walk 10 minutes a day five days a week. Then move into a goal like: walk 30 minutes five days a week. And finally: participate in the town 5K.)

Another thing you can do to get back on the Fitness Wagon is FIND THE FUN!? Going to the gym and doing the same old thing, every single day, actually won’t give your the results you want AND it’s boring!? Knock it off, k?? Here are some ideas to help you have fun:

*New Spin Class
*Run stairs at the local HS football field (you can even play the ROCKY theme song!)
*Pick up a new sport- Ice Skating, Tennis, Rowing.? I’m pretty sure there is some sport out there that you haven’t tried. Why not? You are never too old for a new sport. (Hey I know a 60 year old who decided one day she wanted to learn to Figure Skate. I met her a competition and she was fierce! No experience prior to age 60!)
*Take a class with your spouse- cardio dance, Power lifting, rock climbing.? Make it into a date night!
*Go with the season- if it’s winter, go snow shoeing or cross country skiing. If it’s summer, try Stand Up Paddle boarding, cycling, Hiking or swimming.
*Look to the pros for example.? I love watching Olympic caliber athletes. They don’t just train their sport. They work out all parts of their body. Find out what other things, besides passing the football, your favorite NHL star does. What about that cool new soccer player that is all the rage? Did you know that figure skaters are known for running stairs and doing box jumps on top of ballet and pilates? Look for new inspiration from the idols of your sport.
*Be a kid. Go jump on the trampoline with you 10 year old. Go on a ride around the neighborhood with your daughter. Or simply-? think? about to when YOU were a kid. What active thing did you like doing? Go do it now as an adult. Climb a tree. Run around at the park. Be a kid!
*Take a dance class. Yup! There was once an adult Tap dancing class I took. It was such a blast and although I’m pretty sure I was horrible, I worked up a good sweat during those classes.

By setting realistic and attainable goals and making your workouts fun (and something you actually look forward to), you will have an easier time staying motivated to workout.

Check back tomorrow for more tips on becoming the best you can be!

Hiking for beginners

Hiking for beginners

Does the idea of hiking sound exciting to you? You like the idea of getting out in nature, seeing the beauty of the wilderness, but you haven’t hiked in years and you are nervous?? That’s okay! We applaud you for wanting to get out there. That’s? awesome.

First– pick an area to hike that is family friendly. Even if you are going alone, a family friendly area will be basic then, let’s say, something with a steep trail? of unstable gravel. There is NO SHAME, I repeat, there is no shame in hitting up a completely flat trail that circles around a pond.? The point of hiking is not “I’m so strong, I can do this super hard and scary trail”. The point of hiking is to get outside, see something pretty and enjoy the outdoors. Don’t make it harder then it needs to be.

Second– you don’t need to go to an outdoor store and buy $200 hiking boots.? Do you have a pair of running/walking shoes? Something you use for running errands, doing yard work, dancing to zumba?? You can use these shoes. They may get muddy or dusty, so keep that in mind, but you will not need something with a high ankle when you are starting off. I am not an expert hiker like my husband, but even so, I just wear my cross training shoes when I hike, unless I’m on a big mountain like Rainier or Elbrus where a boot was needed because of temperature and snow. I climbed Mt. Olympus in Salt Lake City and Mt. Fuji in Japan in a lower cut hiking shoe. It wasn’t above the ankle.? Breaking in new boots can be painful, so when you are just starting out, keep it simple. Don’t buy expensive boots.

Third- you don’t need to be a speed demon. Yes, you may be in last place on Strava, but who cares! This isn’t a competition. Are you a competitive person by nature? I am!? That’s okay. Just know that in the beginning you will not be the fastest, and that’s OK.? If being on top of the list on Strava is important to you, then use this as a goal. Join the Hikercize program and we can help you get faster. Don’t go fast!

Fourth- Reward yourself!? I know that may sound silly but you need to reward yourself when you are starting a new program. It can be something as simple as a new pair of socks, or your favorite iced tea drink. Don’t reward yourself with a donut or chocolate cake.? Do reward yourself with a nice soak in the tub. Pick up your favorite magazine at the grocery store. Buy that new trail mix you’ve had your eye on.? Spoil Yourself!

Congratulations on taking the first step to get healthy through hiking. Hiking is something you can do your entire life and can truly lead to youthful exuberance.?

Get MORE results

Get MORE results

“I don’t understand why I’m not seeing results!”? It’s something we’ve heard over and over again.? One of my favorite quotes is: If you want change, you have to do something you haven’t done before.
If you want change, if you want MORE results, you need to step it up. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

1. Keep a Fitness journal. Do you know how many miles your shoes have ran? You would if you kept track of your runs. The Association for Applied Sport Psychology strongly recommends Fitness Journals. Not only will you keep track of your workouts but you can go back in time- what was I doing in 2013 that allowed me to be so strong on that mountain trip? You can also avoid overloading your body and find the patterns that will point to adding more weights or reps.

2. Set Goals! You can’t simply let this go by the way side. Even if you aren’t training to win first place, you need goals. Use ?SMART Goals?: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
I’ve always been taught- if you goals don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.
WRITE THEM DOWN! (yes, I’m writing in all caps. It’s THAT important).? The best athletes and the most successful business men have something in common. They all write down their goals and have them in a place they can see them and see them often.? On your mirror. On your fridge. On your dashboard of the car. As the wall paper of your phone. Life gets busy and it’s easy to lose sight of your goals. Put them out there. Remind yourself often of your goals.

3. Mix it Up! If your daily workout is the same, every single day, your body won’t keep changing. That workout will become the norm for your mind and body.? It’s important that you cross train for your sport. Are you hiking?? Make sure you do more then just walk. You need weights and other forms of cardio. Try a spin class. A family bike ride. Cardio dance.? Running. Ice skating. Fast and slow days are important too.

Try these three things THIS week and let’s see some results. I know you can do it!