Voorbereiding op een meerdaagse trektocht: Dieet- en sporttips

Preparation for a multi-day trek: Diet and fitness tips

Jun 12, 2024
In 2024, I decided to embark on an adventure! My next destination: Iceland. Despite being active (I engage in strength training several times a week), I was still a bit concerned about multiple days of hiking in the Icelandic wilderness... So, I decided to physically prepare myself with the help of my coach and dietitian!

Whether you're traversing majestic mountains, lush forests, or arid deserts, proper planning is essential for comfort and success. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your trek:

1. Develop a gradual hiking training plan:

Before embarking on a multi-day trek, I made sure I was physically ready. We developed a gradual training plan incorporating endurance exercises, strength training, and flexibility workouts. I gradually increased the duration and intensity of my workouts to improve my fitness and acclimate to different terrains.

Initially, my goal was to walk 10,000 steps every day, something I never did with my sedentary job! After two weeks, I found this quite challenging... Since it often rains where I live, in Bordeaux, I decided to purchase a WalkingPad treadmill... and what a relief it was! I could finally walk in the morning or evening while working, watching a fun Netflix series... I assure you, time passed much faster haha!

For the final four weeks, we increased to 20,000 steps, and thanks to my WalkingPad, this went smoothly.

2. Muscle strengthening:

Trekking primarily engages leg muscles, back, and core. Strengthening these muscles through specific exercises like squats, lunges, calf stretches, core stability exercises, and back strengthening workouts was crucial; but it didn't change much from my usual routines!

We also focused on different types of efforts, ranging from explosive to endurance, to be as versatile as possible. For instance, working on explosiveness with jump squats can be very helpful for efficient mountain climbing! Improving endurance on steep slopes is equally important! But a trek isn't linear in terrain, and it's often difficult to sustain intensity/type of effort for extended periods. That's why I did interval training after my WalkingPad session: I opted for the R1 Pro model, which allows running too! Interval training enabled me to work on varied efforts resembling actual trek conditions.

3. Get accustomed to carrying a heavy backpack:

During the trek, I'll need to carry a backpack with essential items, food, water, spare clothes, and camping gear. I tackled this by training with a weighted backpack during my workouts. This allowed me to get familiar with the weight that would be on my shoulders throughout the journey and adjust my posture.

4. Ensure tailored nutrition:

Before starting a trek, I need to be in good physical condition, which also means feeling comfortable in my body, not too heavy, not too light. Of course, the ideal weight varies for everyone, but I wanted to shed a few pounds (to reduce joint stress). So, I began with a slight caloric deficit for two months (caloric intake lower than daily calorie expenditure). In my case, the caloric deficit had to be modest to maintain energy during my workouts. With daily walks on my WalkingPad, those few pounds vanished quickly!

If you're unfamiliar with these concepts, consult a professional (dietitian/nutritionist).

During the trek, balanced and nutritious food is essential to maintain energy levels. Choose foods rich in complex carbohydrates for sustained energy during exertion, protein-rich foods for proper muscle recovery, and healthy fats, especially omega-3s, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

You'll find a wide variety of food products suitable for trekking in specialized stores. Also, ensure you stay adequately hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day! Especially if you're trekking in a cold environment: dehydration can go unnoticed!

5. Don't neglect recovery:

In the days leading up to the trek, we load up on carbohydrates with a slight caloric surplus to be full of energy! Because our body stores its energy reserves as glycogen in the muscles. And it will need that!

We also reduce training to let the nervous system rest while still maintaining a small routine of daily steps on my WalkingPad (about 8,000 per day to stay active).

And let's not forget the urgency of recovery during the trek. It's crucial to incorporate rest and relaxation periods so the body can recover and regenerate. Because a trek isn't a sprint! It can also be very useful to consume beverages rich in electrolytes (magnesium, sodium, potassium) that the body excretes during intense physical exertion. Finally, getting good sleep every night to recharge batteries and possibly taking naps during the day to optimize recovery!


By following these tips, you'll be better prepared to undertake a multi-day trek, both physically and in terms of diet. Good planning, adequate preparation, and balanced nutrition are the keys to success in fully enjoying this outdoor adventure. Whether your trek takes you through breathtaking landscapes or rugged terrain, careful preparation will help you have an unforgettable experience safely!