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Max Prebit of NY Discusses Training the Mind, Body, and Spirit for the Appalachian Trail

Max Prebit NY

Max Prebit of NY is an avid outdoorsman and who enjoys seeking adventure and solitude in the wilderness. With the Appalachians stretching over 2,100 miles, Max Prebit discusses below why the rocky terrain of the southern chain, to the rugged peaks in New England draws visitors from around the world – and how to prepare for a thru-hike.

A thru-hike is what’s known as an extremely long-distance hike, from end-to-end, continuously. These strenuous, life-changing adventures can take anywhere from several weeks, to several months to complete, and are known to be extremely difficult on the body, and the mind.

Extending from Maine to Georgia, the Appalachian trail is a gorgeous path to travel, and an opportunity to connect with nature while exploring the wild beauty of the Eastern US.

But, before taking on such a feat, it’s important to spend some time preparing the body for such an amazing adventure. Max Prebit of NY explains that hikers, both new and experienced, should prepare by familiarizing themselves with similar terrain, take part in numerous short hikes throughout various conditions, as well as regular endurance and strength training to prepare for the rigors of the often-changing landscape.

Important Factors in Training

Training for the Appalachian Trail requires stamina, strength, and cardio. Essentially, hikers should train their body to prepare for the stresses of the experience, including often overlooked details such as:

  • Carrying a variety of supplies in a backpack, averaging 45 pounds or more
  • Walking for long periods across varying terrain, uneven, steep, or unstable surfaces
  • Rapidly changing weather conditions
  • Changing elevations and reduced oxygen content
  • Crossing water
  • The psychological impacts of the a long journey

Things to Consider

Max Prebit of NY says that no matter how much experience a hiker has, for a thru-hike, there are specific training plans that are often recommended. Ideally, the following steps should be taken to prepare for such a feat:

  1. Start training several months before the planned start date.
  2. Strengthen the whole body – a long hike impacts the upper body, core and back as well as the legs.
  3. Be meticulous in planning what gear to take.
  4. Practice with smaller hikes in various terrain and conditions.
  5. Get used to standing and moving for long periods of time – at least 12-16 hours.
  6. Prep the mind as well as the body.

Start Training Early

Ideally, hikers preparing to take on the Appalachian Trail should start training at least three to four months before they plan to start, but experts recommend six months or more. The long pre-hike training period gives backpackers plenty of time to get their body and their mind ready for the demands of the trail, without running the risk of overtraining.
The ideal is to develop the necessary strength, stamina, balance, and focus, so that the body is accustomed to the conditions found on the trail and can handle any unforeseen issues.

Solid, long-term training can do a lot to minimize injuries on the trek, which is vital if hikers want to complete the entire trail successfully says Prebit.

Strengthen the Whole Body

Long hiking journeys will impact the lower body, but it’s a mistake to think that’s the only area to focus on. Even though leg injuries are the most common complaint on these voyages, the whole body will be feeling the impact.

For example, long thru-hikes require a backpack full of equipment. This is going to weigh heavy on the shoulders and spine, and without proper preparation, the back or neck could be injured, or strained.

Likewise, muscles in the core and upper body are constantly used for balance.

Best Training for Preparation

Weight training builds the muscles and protects the joints from injury. High-intensity interval training is also highly recommended for developing cardiovascular endurance.

Implementing core training, agility work, and flexibility is the best well-rounded approach. On top of strength training, and HIIT, Max Prebit recommends adding activities such as yoga or Pilates.

And don’t forget the best source of training available – plenty of practice hiking!

Ultimately, Max Prebit of NY says that no two thru-hike preparation plans are the same – as no two individual strengths, weaknesses, and schedules are alike. Individuals should create a plan according to their personal needs and time constraints.

Be Meticulous in Planning What to Take

Hikers should know what they need, and how much their pack is going to weigh. Ideally, a pack for a long hike would weigh less than 45 pounds.

Of that weight, the essentials should include:

  • Food and gear to cook
  • Emergency water, and ways to ensure safe drinking water, such as charcoal filtered straws
  • Sleeping gear able to accommodate fluctuating temperatures
  • Adverse weather gear
  • Emergency equipment such as a first aid kit, flares and a tourniquet

The above is the short list. Max Prebit of NY says that hikers should practice being outdoors all day and in different conditions to determine what they need and understand that mountain weather can change in an instant – temperatures can fluctuate from hot to sub-zero in a matter of hours, not including driving wind, rain, and snow.

Max Prebit NYAttempt Crossing Water

Additionally, practice crossing over different bodies of water, during different seasons. Currents and depth can change with the tide, so understanding how to safely cross a body of water is essential.

What many hikers do not think about is how long it will take their clothes to dry in such a scenario. Dry clothes can be the difference between an adventure and an emergency.

Hikers should research the conditions they may face during their travels before setting out on the trail. Look at weather reports, radar, and research conditions. Prepare for the unexpected, and for the weather to change rapidly, without warning.

Train the Mind as Well as the Body

Max Prebit reports that mental fortitude can be a key factor in thru-hike success or failure. Training the brain to remain calm during an emergency, and positive during those seemingly endless climbs can mean the difference between a successful completion or coming up short.

Final Thoughts

Prebit says that hiking the Appalachian Trail is not for the faint of heart, but with the right training, just about anyone can prepare themselves both mentally and physically for the journey ahead.

By implementing a well-rounded training regimen that includes cardiovascular exercise, strength training, flexibility and psychological training techniques, thru-hikers can increase their chances of success and enjoy the many rewards that come with completing this iconic trail.

With determination, perseverance, and a deep appreciation for nature’s beauty, anyone can take on this amazing piece of the American wild inspired, fulfilled, and transformed.