T Nation

Hiking And Adding Mass


#1

Hi. I LOVE to hike and go backpacking. However, right now I really want to gain mass on my legs. Are the two activities completely incompatible? Is ther any way to do both?


#2

I think it's a good form of exercise as long as you don't do it for 10 hours at a time. My friend's dad has the distance record on the Appalachian Trail, and my friend dropped 20 pounds hiking that way - minimal rations (junk food at that), 10 hour/20-30 mile days, and so on.

I think if you do day hikes with plenty of food and for fun maybe even work your way up to heavier packs it could be a good way to stay lean. I think the key here (if you are concentrating more on adding mass) is to try to limit the hikes to under 4 hours and maybe do them once or twice a week.

It would be ideal to do heavy pack hikes for 2 hours once or twice a week, but you can decide for yourself based on your respective interest in hiking and mass-building.

I've seen buff looking hikers out on the trail, and caveman says it's a positive thing in his lineup of physical activity, so don't worry too much in any case.


#3

Oh, another thing, don't hike before/after leg day(s).


#4

You may find hiking adds some shape to your legs, and maybe even size to your calves. In fact, treadmill walking on a steep incline has done more for my calves than hundreds of sets of toe presses. To add mass while hiking, it may be hard, yes, but not impossible.
I do a few ruck marches a month, 50lb plus packs from 6 to 12 miles. I've added size while doing this, and dozens of guys I work with have done the same.
You must eat big to overcome any calorie deficit. Try snacking during your hike (they call it trail mix for a reason) As mentioned above, give it some space between your leg days.


#5

Try sprinting up the steep inclines and walking when it levels out. Sprint intervals have been show to increase growth hormone.


#6

But any natural GH increase has been shown to be too minimal and to short lived to do anything.

But sprinting would be good HIIT.