3 Performance Hacks for the Preseason

For optimal performance you need to stay on track. When it’s go time, you need to be ready. Practice can make perfect but what you practice can either make or break it. Use these 3 Performance Hacks for the Preseason and be prepared to step with grace and ease when Day 1 of this hiking season arrives.

3 Performance Hacks for the Preseason - by Aria ZonerNumbers (like 18″ of fresh powder!) can help me track my goals and progress

Just below are 3 hiker-friendly movement practices that can help with your overall performance. Each of these exercises forces you to use different parts of your body than you would otherwise if you were just out walking. Not only are these 3 hacks fun and easy to share with friends and strangers, but they require minimal equipment in order to begin implementing them into your workout routine.

2017 – Health Hacks with Aria Zoner


 3 Performance Hacks for the Preseason

Performance Hacks #1: Snow Hiking

Backcountry Snow-hiking - with theedozer - by Aria ZonerTheedozer Climbing to the top of southern Oregon’s Mt Ashland

Whether you choose to use snowshoes, skis, a split-board or gym shoes, hiking on snow can be both an exercise and a sport. I appreciate the workout that can be had on the way up, but for me and Theedozer, it’s the competitive drive to improve our downhill game that keeps us returning to climb higher.

It never ceases to amaze me how the weight of my gear – which can seem so heavy on the way up – practically disappears once I start moving down. This ebb and flow of push and play lulls me into a walking meditation and puts me in a state where I’m simply stepping forward, adjusting to the snow, and zoning on the potential lines of the descent.” – Theedozer

Before this hiking season hits, take advantage of the current conditions in the mountains and get well-versed on how to hike in all kinds of snow – from powder to ice. Also, practice persevering thru its subsequent melt-off streams and potential mud bogs which are only going to increase as peak melt-off sets in; likely just in time for your thru-hike!

Performance Hacks #2: Frisbee Golf

*For this hack all you need is a Frisbee and something far away to throw it at!

Here’s a 2 second tutorial on putting plus a link to additional lessons, from a pro:

WATCH: Pro Disk Golf Putting Lesson

Zoner shows off his putting skills with a distant chain-ringer

Performance Hacks #3: Slacklining

WATCH: Zoner’s first time slacklining – Grand Canyon, N.P.

In 2011, I was thru-hiking the Arizona Trail when my teammate C4 and I stumbled over a rope that was tied across the trail. Upon closer inspection however we could see that this was no ordinary rope. Latched tightly and locked into place with several ratchet straps, this simple yet complex-looking contraption – known as a slackline – was only being used by ghosts on this day. Located just outside of the Phantom Ranch Campground, it was irresistible.

To this day, slacklining is one of my favorite ways to take a walk. The unpredictable motions that your body has to make in order to maintain balance on a slackline is a type of exercise that with practice can improve certain areas of your trail-life – such as when boulder-hopping and log-walking at creek crossings, when strip-lining (hiking along the narrow strip of dirt that’s commonly found along road walks), or for when crossing that shanty old bridge that awaits when you finally get enough vacation time to go do the Great Himalayan Trail.

*To make the slackline easier, make it shorter and tighter. To make it more difficult, make it longer and/or raise the height and loosen it. A single line can be set-up in a variety of ways and locations.

For me, half of the fun in slacklining is just getting to the slack spot itself. What’s the other half? Feeling my balance improve every time I take another step on it!

In Summary:

Get more preseason hikes in and have the ability to perform at a higher level by:

  1. Going Snow Hiking or Snow Adventuring
  2. Playing Frisbee Golf
  3. Slacklining

Leave it up to me to tie things together, but taking the time out to go and do these 3 Performance Hacks for the Preseason will not only help to improve your physical and mental game – and thus your performance in general – but they’ll also help improve work/life balance; which is just as important.

In other words, if you’re trying to optimize your performance, it’s ok to be a slacker!

What??? You didn’t see that coming? Sorry, I should’ve yelled fore!

*During 2017, I’m releasing 3 new Health Hacks each month here at The Trek. To catch up on the year so far, check out my author page – Aria Zoner

Can’t see the 2 videos in this post? Try viewing on Firefox or Chrome.

For additional tips on wellness, nutrition & long-distance hiking, visit me at Whole Food Hiker.

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