Nov 20

Choosing the Best Hiking Trail

Choosing the Best Hiking TrailThe type and location of the trail you select can play a significant role in determining the enjoyment you get from a hiking experience. Before heading out on your next hike, evaluate the trail based on the following criteria.

Define your objectives: Select a trail according to your planned activities. Hikers hoping to photograph wildlife are going to want a quiet, secluded trail that sees little foot-traffic. Short trails over easy terrain are better suited to hiking with children. A trail with miles of ups and downs will be great for physical conditioning.

Consider your level of experience: If you’re going to hike alone, take an honest assessment of your experience and physical abilities. Are you in good shape or has your physical activity been limited? Can you navigate with a compass and map? If you have a cell phone, take it along. Realize though, that it may not work on the trail and if something goes wrong, you need to know what to do. Unless you have a lot of experience, don’t hike alone.

If you’re hiking with a group, the group should select the trails based on those with the least amount of ability and experience. If you want to reach the summit of mount Buena Vista, make sure you hike with companions that can reach the top. Novices should start on shorter trails over easy terrain until they are comfortable with navigation and carrying a backpack.

Account for distance & time: It’s easy to underestimate the time you need to complete a hike. This can turn a planned 3-hour hike into a 6-hour ordeal. A good rule of thumb is to plan on 5-10 miles per day over moderate terrain if carrying a full load. On flat terrain, you’ll probably cover a mile in about 30 minutes. For every 1,000 feet you gain in elevation add another hour. For every 1,000 feet you lose in elevation add 30 minutes. Factor in 5 minutes of rest for every hour hiked and remember that multi-day trips should include a full rest day for every 4-6 days on the trail.

Location matters: The trail you select should have ample links to other trails or alternative routes should you find a section closed or in case of a medical emergency. If you’re going on a multi-day trip, make sure the trail comes within close proximity to water, campsites and places to re-provision if necessary. Don’t hike trails (however well-marked) that don’t have a map.

Factor in weather: Seasons affect the hours of available daylight and use patterns on a trail. Check local weather forecasts. Certain patterns (sudden storms, for example) are more typical of certain seasons. Don’t forget to take into account variables that might affect the weather like changes in altitude along the trail.

Rules & regulations: Regulations or restrictions on group size limits, campfires, hunting or breeding seasons may be in effect in areas around certain trails. Check with park or trail officials regarding any restrictions or necessary permits that may apply to the trail you’re considering.

Nov 11

Choosing the Exercise Program Based On Your Fitness Goals

The exercise program you choose depends entirely on your fitness goals. The exercises you will be doing and the approach you take in performing these exercises will depend on whether you wish to gain muscle and strength, tone and lose weight or just stay in shape and be healthy. This article will briefly describe a sample exercise program that can be adapted for all people regardless of their age or fitness objectives.

If you are looking to build muscle or strength via a bodybuilding routine, stick to 4-5 sets of 10-12 repetitions. Focus on the positive and negative of each movement of each repetition. Gradually increase the weight as you work out to force your muscles to work.

Otherwise your muscles will become programmed, accustomed to the same weight and you will no longer experience any gains. There are many approaches and techniques that can be used in bodybuilding. Experiment and use the best one that fits you.

If you are looking to tone or just stay in shape and be healthy, an exercise program combining weight training and a cardiovascular workout is appropriate for you. When you are exercising with weights, 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions at a reasonable weight would be appropriate.

Combine this with cardio exercise 1-2 times a week such as riding an exercise bike or elliptical machine or by joining classes at your gym. It is difficult to discuss in great detail in this article exactly what you should be doing.

Here is a sample exercise program that can be modified to fit any person’s fitness goals. Remember that you can change the order and incorporate different exercises for each body part on weekly basis. I encourage this to prevent boredom and your body getting used to the same routine.

Before beginning your workout, you should warm up for 5 – 10 minutes on an exercise bike or treadmill. This will prevent you from pulling muscles or injuring yourself. For a cool-down, you can perform stretching exercises.

Nov 02

Car Camping

Car CampingCamping is one of most favorite outdoor activities and one of the camping type is car camping. However, there are many other types of camping such as base camping, canoe camping, RV camping, tent trailer camping and back yard camping.

Regardless of how you spend your time out of doors or how much time you spend out of doors, there is always more to learn. I have compiled an extensive list of camping tips and this installment is for car campers. Here are my favorite tips for getting the most out of your car camping experience.

Organize your gear before you go. The basic principle is to organize or categorize your gear by “when” and “how quickly” you will need it. When I get to the campsite, the first thing I do is prepare shelter. So my tent and shade awning are the easiest pieces of gear to get to.

Plan your campsite. Understand how vehicles, wind, sun and rain will enter the campsite. For example, if the wind is coming out of the west, you’ll probably want your tent and kitchen west of any campfire to reduce smoke nuisance.

Always have a first aid kit in camp. Everyone in camp should know where it is, have access to it and know how to use it. I keep mine in plain sight in my kitchen. If it’s locked in my truck, no one can get to it except me.

Every camp needs a shovel. I believe a shovel is the most important tool in camp. You’ll use it to manage your campfire, leveling sleeping spots and countless other uses. Don’t leave home without it.

What tent should you use? I recommend a tent that is bigger than you think you’ll need. If inclement weather sets in, you’ll have a spot out of the elements for reading and playing games. My tent is big enough for two people, two cots, two chairs and two dogs.

There is nothing wrong with having a checklist. Things frequently forgotten are: extra batteries, trash bags, kitchen towels, hats, reading material, sleeping pillows, hiking boots and pet food.

Your most important camping gear should always be on your body. Not in your pack, not in your tent or in your vehicle. Whenever you leave camp always have a watch, a whistle, a cell phone, a flashlight and a knife on your person.

Car camping allows you to take virtually anything with you when you camp. But the most important of all is good company. Take along good friends and family. When you do, it doesn’t really matter if you have the best gear or the best techniques, the one thing you will have is the best of times. Use this information and you’ll Get It Right The First Time. Get Outdoors!

Oct 26

Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic SteroidsAnyone involved in the world of bodybuilding, and competitive sport generally, will understand the pressures that go with striving to achieve optimal performance. Sometimes athletes feel they cannot reach their peak without artificially enhancing their powers of recovery from intensive training.

One way to speed up this process is through the use of anabolic steroids. In this article we’ll examine what anabolic steroids actually do. In a second article we’ll focus on the dangers associated with steroid use.

The main active ingredient in steroids is testosterone which is well known as the major male hormone. Testosterone affects the body in two ways, either as an anabolic or an androgenic influence. The anabolic action helps build body tissue by increasing lean muscle mass and bone density. The androgenic actions are those that affect secondary sex characteristics in men.

In recent years research has provided some interesting information in relation to testosterone:

It affects muscle size through muscle fiber hypertrophy with an increase in the cross-sectional area of muscle fiber.

It takes a dose of at least 300 milligrams of testosterone to raise the body’s level above normal.

It acts directly on the muscle itself.

It stimulates the release of growth hormone.

It has an anti-catabolic effect.


From these facts we can deduce that testosterone is an effective aid to muscle building and that it must be taken in significant quantities to have this effect. As far as bodybuilding is concerned the science beyond this is somewhat limited as most users base their steroid regimes on little more than trial and error or the advice of ‘veterans’.

Due to the illegal nature of steroid use little scientific data exists to confirm the effectiveness of the many steroid supplements in use. It is perhaps the tendency of some bodybuilders to use a combination of powerful steroids and other drugs that presents the very real dangers that have sometimes led to tragic consequences.