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The American Hiking Trails You Must Do Before You Die

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Panorama Trail
Where it is: Yosemite National Park, CA
Distance: 8.5 miles
Have your GoPro ready—you’re definitely going to want to capture the Insta-worthy views on this hike. Justin Wood, manager of operations and product development for REI Adventures, says this trail starts at Glacier Point in Yosemite, then follows the rim of the valley to offer views of “everything that makes Yosemite the iconic park that it is.” You’ll hit three major waterfalls along the way—Nevada, Vernal, and Illilouette, where you can lie on a granite slab and peer over the edge if you’re feeling daring—before descending into the Mist Trail. There you’ll probably walk straight through a few rainbows thanks to the mist from the falls, so be prepared to wonder if this is actually Oz.
Wood says it’s best to tackle this climb in spring or early summer, so you catch the falls when they’re really flowing. The best way to get there is to “hop a bus from Yosemite Lodge to Glacier Point ($25 for adults), which takes about an hour, then take the rest of the day (four to seven hours, depending on your pace) to really enjoy,” he says.
Half Dome Trail
Where it is: Yosemite National Park, CA
Distance: 14 miles
More advanced hikers should stay in Yosemite to come face-to-face with this trail that takes them 4,800 feet up to the summit before heading back down to the valley floor. “It’s the park’s most iconic feature, and it offers some incredible views of the most iconic waterfalls,” says Wood. The last section is what makes this path a doozy. A 400-foot section of cables installed by the park service is there to help you make it through the narrow climb. Those are only set up from late May to early October, Wood says, so plan your visit for then, as you won’t be able to reach the summit otherwise without technical climbing gear. This hike also requires a permit, and the park has 300 available per day, which you can try to nab in a pre-season lottery every year at Recreation.gov starting in March, or you can enter the daily lotteries. Don’t let the extra prep work deter you: “This is the grand-daddy of Yosemite hikes,” he says. “It’s one of the most exhilarating challenges for you to walk away from saying, ‘Yeah, I did that.'”
Havasupai Falls
Where it is: Grand Canyon, AZ
Distance: 10 miles
After hiking Havasupai Falls, people will look at your photos of the bright turquoise pools and 200-foot waterfalls and think they’re photoshopped. But those #nofilter snaps and posts won’t even come close to capturing the beauty you’ll find on this trail. You hike through reservation land to a campground where you can stay overnight near the falls. “This hike also takes you through Supai Village, one of the oldest continuous tribes in North America, where people still live in a remote village deep in the Grand Canyon,” says Wood. For that reason alone—and the falls, duh—he suggests spending two nights at the campground. “There’s a great side canyon you can explore, a series of tunnels inside the canyon to wind yourself down, and natural swimming pools and waterfalls for you to get into,” he says. Plan in advance: Gregory Miller, president of the American Hiking Society, says you’ll need at least six months’ notice, and spring or fall is the best time to go. If you don’t want to lug all your gear around, he says you can also hire horse packers to trek your stuff to the campground so all you’ll need to carry is a day-pack.
Angels Landing
Where it is: Zion National Park, UT
Distance: 4.5 miles
This trail is a popular one, so make sure you get to the park early if you want to avoid the crowds. Miller says you’ll start with a series of switchbacks known as Walter’s Wiggles, then make your way up narrow paths and climbs before eventually getting to the last half-mile—the most challenging section—which requires using built-in chains to pull yourself up the razor-thin ridge (and no, that’s not an exaggeration—a full sneaker won’t fit). But the incredible views of the sandstone cliffs make the trek completely worth it, and the adrenaline that hits when you reach the summit is proof that you’re a serious badass. It’s best to go in late winter or early spring (before the weather gets too hot), and Wood says to make sure you have sneakers with good traction. “This trail becomes more exposed the higher you get, and there’s no room for misstep once you’re in that last section,” he says. No risk no reward, right?
Queens Garden Trail and Navajo Loop
Where it is: Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
Distance: 3 miles
“Hiking in Utah is this sort of an otherworldly, high desert amphitheater that really is a must-see,” says Wood. Among peaks with fun names like Queen Victoria and Thor Hammer, you’ll navigate through Sunset Point and drop down into a maze of switchbacks and canyons before making your way back, he says. “It showcases all the different faces of Bryce Canyon in just three miles, so you can do it in three or four hours.” You’ll cover 600 feet of altitude, and though Wood warns it can be a bit steep when you get started, it levels out to become a more moderate hike. Most people hike this trail in April, but if you’re more of a snow bunny, Wood suggests checking it out in the colder months. “There’s far fewer people, and the views are insanely beautiful when there’s a dusting of snow added to it,” he says.
Kilauea Iki Trail
Where it is: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
Distance: 4 miles
If you’ve dreamt of hiking through a rain forest, Hawaii is the place to do it, says Miller. This hike takes you through the lush greenery and down to a solid lava lake, where you’ll pass by natural steam vents, cinder cones, and spatter cones—not to mention find lots of native birds. Miller ranks this as a moderately difficult hike, so be prepared for your glutes to get plenty of action in the two to three hours it takes to hike the full loop.
Grinnell Glacier Trail
Where it is: Glacier National Park, MT
Distance: 3.8 miles
Water lovers will be excited for this hike, as it starts by taking you on a shuttle boat (for a small fee) across Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine to give you more access to plenty of trails, says Miller. Once you’re on the south end of the lake, you’ll traverse wet marshy areas, enjoy the breathtaking views of Grinnell Falls, and pass through meadows filled with eye-popping wildflowers. You’ll even get to test your fear of heights, he says, as there’s a section of trail that hugs a cliff face, providing a narrow edge for people passing. It’s worth the challenge, as that’s where you’re most likely to spot bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Once you hit the overlook, you’ll be greeted with jaw-dropping views of the 152-acre Grinnell Glacier, Upper Grinnell Lake, Mount Gould, and the Garden Wall, the last of which is a part of the Continental Divide. It’s all so gorgeous, you won’t know where to look first.
Hoh River Trail
Where it is: Olympic National Park, WA
Distance: 17.4 miles
Only 20 miles southwest of Forks (the town on which the Twilight novels were based) awaits Olympic National Park and the only temperate rain forest in the United States, says Miller. “The Hoh River trail is one of the wettest places in the U.S., and it’s a slightly difficult climb, which makes it really fun and adventurous,” he says. Go anytime from late June through September to catch it at its best, or whenever you need to escape reality—Miller says the U.S. National Park Service called it the one location in the country with the least amount of artificial sound. “It’s really surreal, walking through the dripping moss and not hearing anything but nature surrounding you,” he says. “It’s a really special place.” Consider it at the top of the must-go-first list.
Presidential Peaks Traverse
Where it is: White Mountains, NH
Distance: 17 miles
There are multiple ways to tackle this hike, but Wood suggests summiting the presidential “faces” in this order: Washington, Monroe, Franklin, Eisenhower, Pierce, and Jackson. Go during the fall for prime leaf season, and if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can tackle them all in a day. Wood suggests breaking it into three days instead, for a more relaxing experience. “You’ll cover about six miles the first day, five the second, and six more on the third to take you to the summit of Mount Jackson,” he says. You can stay overnight in huts maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Trail, and since it’s a one-way trail, you’ll want to take a shuttle from the AMC highland center (where you’ll finish) back to the starting point.
Cadillac Mountain North Ridge Trail
Where it is: Acadia National Park, ME
Distance: 2.2 miles
No matter where you look on this hike, you’re almost always guaranteed a good view, says Miller. Eagle Lake sits to the west, Dorr Mountain to the east, and Bar Harbor village and its surrounding islands to the north, so you really can see it all. And of course, the trail’s summit is Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak in the park and the highest point along the entire East Coast. So yeah, we bet you’re already picturing the photo ops. For your best shot, start your day early—it’s one of the most popular trails in the park, so it gets crowded quickly.
The Lost Coast
Where it is: Northern California
Distance: 24 miles
Hiding out way up in northern California is “a remote stretch of rugged coastline … and untouched land for natural wildlife, like elk and bears, to enjoy,” says Wood. You’ll want to take three to four days to tackle this hike at an enjoyable pace, he suggests, and you’ll start at the Mattole Trail. (It’s a one-way hike, so leave your car at the end point—Black Sands Beach.) Then walk north to south, where you’ll trek through black-sand beaches, past wild creeks coming out of the mountain, through hanging gardens, and next to plenty of wildlife. And of course, since you’re right next to the Pacific Ocean, you’ll fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves each night you camp out. Go ahead, hashtag that experience as #TotalBliss.

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Use Time to Create More Tension With This Arm Workout

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If you want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your arm day workout, just slow down.

While you’ll build plenty of size and strength by progressively ramping up the weight you use when you work out, you can also adjust the speed of your movements to create more time under tension to challenge your muscles. This is a smart method to ratchet up the difficulty and effectiveness of your routines if you’re stuck traveling without a full gym, or you only have one set of small dumbbells at home.

Trainer Charlee Atkins, C.S.C.S. uses tempo to give her clients an extra challenge—and to make them think a little more about their workouts to keep them from just going through the motions.

“Before you go getting crazy and implementing workouts, you find off Instagram, try this small change: time,” Atkins says. “By changing the tempo of your exercises, you’re effectively changing the amount of time under tension. You can vary your time in workouts by moving slower in the eccentric or ‘lowering’ phases or merely holding an exercise isometrically for a few breaths before releasing the position.”

Whatever you decide to do, the trainer believes the best workouts are the most simple, like this straightforward dumbbell routine that gives your biceps, back, and shoulders some work. All you need is a set of weights to take on the workout—check out this adjustable set from Bowflex if you want to do it at home.

Perform each exercise for 6 to 12 reps. Progress through each movement slowly, and pause for a count at the sticking point of each rep.

  • Bent-Over Row
  • Biceps Curl
  • Half-Kneeling Overhead Press
  • Bent-Over Triceps Kickback

Run through the circuit 3 times to complete the workout. Remember, timing is key here—you lose out if you try to rush. Want to learn more moves from Atkins? Check out our series full of her workout tips, Try Her Move.

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America’s Hottest Gyms You Should Know About

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Today’s best new gyms are about more than just weight loss and muscle. They build community, mental strength, and athleticism, and they push you into workouts that often barely feel like workouts. The wisdom they share can still transform your body, but it may transform you in other ways, too. 


ELIMINATE ANY EXCUSES

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Quadruple amputee Tony Lampkin, a USA Paralympics hopeful, lifts weights using a special Active Hands strap.COURTESY ADAPTIVE TRAINING FOUNDATION/ DIANNE M WEBSTERADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW

Adaptive Training Foundation

Carrollton, Texas

A workout at the Adaptive Training Foundation’s 20,000-square-foot gym doesn’t start with your traditional full-body warmup. Instead it starts with 15 minutes in something that founder David Vobora calls a “recharge room,” a small space where clients release frustrations about any recent struggles.

Only after this period do they step onto the training floor and touch weights. This, says Vobora, is the best way for his gym to help its clientele, wounded and disabled military veterans and others living with physical disabilities who are looking to redefine their lives. “After war,” he says, “these people need more mental training than anything.” Clients of the nonprofit gym, which is free for anyone with a physical impairment, get both mental and physical training that’s designed for their situation. Vobora built his gym specifically for the physically disabled, so anything that can aid their fitness is here. Those who can’t grip a bar because of injury are outfitted with an Active Hands strap, a specialized device that attaches to the wrist and closes around weights or handles. The wheelchair-bound routinely have weight sleds attached to their chairs, and anyone who can’t stand up to use a machine is given a resistance-band chest support to lean against.

This is the gym the country needs, Vobora says. “America doesn’t need more gyms,” but more than 40 million Americans are physically disabled, he adds, so “we need more gyms to open their doors to those who have been left out of fitness.” So far, 160 veterans have completed the Adaptive Training Foundation’s initial three-month program.

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Kris Briggs, an Army sergeant who was hit by an IED 12 years ago, trains at the Adaptive Training Foundation gym in Carrollton, Texas.COURTESY ADAPTIVE TRAINING FOUNDATION/ DIANNE M WEBSTERADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW

TRY THIS MOVE: Get in plank position on the floor, a towel under your toes. Drag your knees in until they’re below your hips. Return to the start. Do 10 reps.

EARN YOUR MEMBERSHIP

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The Maximus Gym

Murray, Utah

This isn’t your average gym hustling for members.
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Owned by tough-guy trainer Bobby Maximus, best- selling author of Maximus Body, Maximus Gym lets anyone work out once, but only focused people are invited to become members. If Maximus regulars notice you’re not training hard, you won’t be invited back. Intimidating? Sure. But it breeds what Maximus calls a “championship culture.” “You’re going to be exposed to more than sets and reps here,” he says. “You’re learning what truly makes champions and causes change.”

TRY THIS MOVE: Pick an exercise for the end of every workout—say, pushups. Do a few reps the first time. Add one rep every workout. “Microgoals are attainable,” says Maximus.


TRY A BASIC BODY SHOP

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The Kitchen

Beverly Hills

All you really need to get in shape? A garage. Need proof? Check out where Justin Timberlake, Kate Upton, and Bradley Beal train. They drive up a small hill to a 16-foot-by-12-foot garage that houses the tiniest elite gym you’ve ever seen. The Kitchen is at the forefront of a different brand of personal training. Rather than working out his clients on a crowded gym floor, MHadvisor Ben Bruno, C.F.S.C., does it in this secluded space. You control every bit of your experience, from the music (hate metal? ditch it) to the selection of equipment. Create the gym you need.

TRY THIS MOVE: Hold dumbbells at your sides. Walk uphill. Hinge forward after each step, then straighten up. Do 10 reps.


BUILD MORE THAN MUSCLE

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Detroit Body Garage

Detroit

AT DETROIT Body Garage, power cleans help raise money for charity. Community workouts—group fitness sessions open to all comers—are part of owner Terra Castro’s quest to aid her neighborhood. Profits from these sessions go to local organizations like the Michigan Humane Society. Gym members also regularly turn out en masse to, say, clean up area trash. Castro hatched these projects shortly after Detroit was named America’s most unhealthy city in 2017. “I’m doing my part to change that statistic,” she says.

TRY THIS MOVE: Stand in athletic stance, a resistance band around your ankles. Keeping it tense, step to the right with your right foot; follow with your left. Take 10 paces in each direction.


ROW YOURSELF INTO SHAPE

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CityRow

Portland, Oregon

Ever since CrossFit popularized the Concept2 rower, group rowing classes have been on the rise. But no gym handles things like CityRow, which uses the quieter, custom-built WaterRower. You alternate between intervals on the rower and dumbbell strength work. The blend is so popular that CityRow, which debuted in Manhattan in 2014, will open new locations in Denver, Atlanta, Dallas, and Boca Raton this year. “We’re offering a low-impact workout that’ll build strength without breaking you down,” says Hollis Tuttle, director of instructors, New York City.

TRY THIS MOVE: Do this circuit: Row 200 meters. Do 10 deadlifts, 10 dumbell rows, and 10 pushups. Do 3 rounds.


PAY YOURSELF TO TRAIN

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Reebok HQ Fitness

Boston

Taking up two floors and 30,000 square feet of an eight- story renovated Army storehouse, Reebok’s in-house gym leaves the company’s 750 employees no excuses. They pay $75 a month but get a $7.50 credit every time they take a class or just work out on their own. (The gym is also open to the public for $300 a month.)

New 15-minute, 20- minute, and 30-minute workouts are posted daily, so lack of time can’t be your excuse, either.

TRY THIS MOVE: Short on time? Squeeze in this workout. Go hard for 2 minutes on a rower, spin bike, or treadmill; do 1 minute of burpees; do a 1-minute plank. Rest 1 minute. Do 4 rounds.


LIFT YOUR OWN WEIGHT

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The Gravity Vault

Radnor, Pennsylvania

What if a workout was just plain fun? It’s an idea that’s increasingly the focus at the new wave of climbing, parkour, and American Ninja Warrior–style gyms.

At the Gravity Vault, you’re not lifting weights (although you can do that in a corner of the gym). You’re scaling massive, textured rock walls 40 feet high, firing up your core and forearms in ways even bodybuilders don’t expect. That was the vision that owner Zach Barber always had for a gym. You make friends, too. It’s not uncommon to be ten feet up, unsure of how to progress, and have somebody use a laser pointer to show you a hold you missed. It takes a village to take on the Gravity Vault’s toughest routes. That’s half the fun.

TRY THIS MOVE: Start in a high plank. Shift to a side plank, then an opposite-side plank. Hold each for 30 seconds; do 3 sets.


CREATE MUSCLE WITH VR

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Mayweather Boxing + Fitness los angeles

Los Angeles

Floyd Mayweather’s days as the world’s finest pound-for-pound boxer are over, but he’s still putting all that ring knowledge to use in his latest project: kicking your ass into shape. At the boxing legend’s new gym, when you want to spar, you don’t always need a partner. Instead you can put on an HTC Vive VR headset, a weighted vest, and weighted gloves with resistance bands attached and step into the ring to begin a 12-week virtual- boxing program, with a digitized Mayweather as your trainer. (You can also skip the gloves and vest to get started.)

“There’s mitt work, bag work, and full sparring once you’re up to that level,” says programming coordinator Reid Silverman. Virtual Floyd pushes you through zero-impact drills, so you break a sweat without battering your joints. Not that you’re stuck doing only VR training. A 60-minute group fitness class called Championship Boxing lets you go at a real bag for 12 rounds, again borrowing from the ideas that Money himself used.

TRY THIS MOVE: Learn the Mayweather situp: Do a situp. Lean forward, press up through your heels, and stand. Throw a right jab. Squat and return to situp position. Repeat, throwing a left jab. Do 15 total reps.


SLOW DOWN TO SPEED UP

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The Movement

Minneapolis

Mastering your body includes knowing when you aren’t moving properly—and correcting the issue. Walk into the Movement and you’ll see the office where the on-site physical therapist works with all members. (The first PT visit is free.) A coach may notice you laboring in a deadlift and, if needed, send you to the PT to see if there’s a problem. “That communication keeps you healthy,” says founder David Dellanave.

TRY THIS MOVE It’s called the Jefferson deadlift. Stand over a barbell, right foot in front of it, left behind it, knees bent. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip, torso at a 45 degree angle, core tight. Straighten your legs, lifting the barbell. That’s 1 rep; do 4 sets of 5 to 8 per side.


YOUR ULTIMATE HOTEL GYM

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The Aria

Las Vegas

The Aria, Las VegasYou won’t find a more tech-ed out hotel gym than the one in the halls of the Aria. Driven by brand new Technogym gear, every single weight machine can connect to your iPhone and track your workout, calculating everything from reps to calories burned to the rhythm and pace of your reps. It’s a game-changer for OCD trainers who want to know everything about their traveling clients’ workouts. Not into weights? The Aria’s Technogym-powered cardio equipment is just as nuanced, with treadmills and ellipticals that also connect to your iPhone and track performance. And rowing fans will love the Technogym Skillrow machine, which is sturdy enough to survive the most powerful of rowing strokes but smooth enough that you’ll still feel like you’re on the water. Expect other hotel gyms to follow the Aria’s lead and eventually deliver more connected experiences.


PUMP UP YOUR PILATES

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SCULPTHOUSE

Nashville

Katherine Mason knows exactly how the bench-pressing crowd views Pilates. “Men usually think it’s for women,” she says. Her solution: Blend the Pilates Megaformer with a vicious CrossFit mainstay, the nonmotorized treadmill. “Guys think our combination of machines is interesting,” she says. The mix gets guys sweating like crazy first, then zeroes in on their abs when they’re fatigued, a challenging formula you can’t help loving.TRY THIS MOVE: Struggling to focus? Find five things you can see, four you can touch, three you can hear, two you can smell, and one you can taste. Your focus will return.

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This Guy Lost 35 Pounds and Got Ripped Thanks to a Simplified Diet

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After unhealthy eating habits led to weight gain, William Underwood set a goal of losing roughly 30 pounds.
• He started by counting calories and committing to a strict vegetarian diet of mostly plants and eggs, all while running and lifting up to five days a week.
• As a result, Underwood underwent a dramatic 35-pound weight loss transformation and hit his goal weight.

William Underwood had taken a radical move: The 27-year-old from London, England, had picked up with his girlfriend and moved to Paris, France, where he later began working for an English school. “I fell out of healthy habits and started to put on a few extra pounds,” he says. Even with a vegetarian diet, he was eating too much for someone spending so much time at a desk. Flipping through his phone, he saw some old pictures of himself; realizing just how much weight he’d gained, he promised himself a change.

That was in February 2019. Underwood weighed 196 pounds, and declared that by September he’d be down to 168. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d slimmed down; entering university as a teenager, he weighed 270 pounds—by the time he finished, he was at 154. “I thought if I had made so much progress 4 years earlier,” he says, “why not try to do it again? I saw it as a challenge for myself.”

Underwood started by calculating his maintenance calories to establish the caloric deficit he needed to his hit goal weight. He broke it down: 30 percent of his calories from carbs, 30 percent from fat, and 30 percent from protein. He tracked it all with MyFitnessPal; as a vegetarian, his diet was mostly plants and eggs.

He didn’t use a trainer—being new in Paris, he didn’t have any gym buddies, either, so it was up to him to stay motivated. (One trick: taking pictures of himself every Monday after the gym, so he could see his progress.) He upped his workout time to five weight sessions a week, with cardio two to three times. He’d hit the weights for about an hour in the morning before work, with 30 minutes of cardio after work. The schedule fit his daily routine, making it that much easier to implement—and to stick with.

It wasn’t always easy, Underwood says. His diet meant burning fat reserves; he also had to give up butter, a personal favorite. “I think another challenge you face when doing something like this is to not become over-obsessed,” he says. He wanted to enjoy himself despite the challenge, not torture himself with a strict regimen. “Luckily I also had my girlfriend there to keep things in perspective,” he says.

In about eight months, he lost 35 pounds, exceeding his goal. Most of his friends back home in England didn’t know what he’d been up to. But he did send his mother a before-and-after photo so she could see his accomplishment. “As any good mum would,” he says, “she said she was worried I was wasting away and prescribed some more food!”

Looking back, he’s proud of his results. “I improved my organizational skills, which helped with things out of the gym in my personal life and work,” he says. “I also feel I learned a lot more about self discipline and delayed gratification.” And ultimately, he enjoyed himself—something he emphasizes for anyone looking to follow in his footsteps: “Make sure you have fun doing it. If it makes you miserable to do it, what is the point?”

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