Why Your Weight Should Not Stop You From Hiking

view from glen pass in california
view from glen pass in california

Hands up if you’ve ever said any of the following…


“I need to get healthier or in better shape before I can go hiking.”


“I will get started as soon as I lose 15 pounds.”


Don’t lie here. You can maybe get away with lying to me, especially since I’m not there with you looking you in the eyes to be able to tell, but if you lie to yourself, you’re not doing yourself any favors.


The good thing is, you’re not alone in thinking this. I cannot tell you how frequently I hear this.


It’s understandable that you feel that way. Not only can hiking be physically demanding, but all of the media that depicts hikers, mountaineers, climbers, etc… they’re all in amazing shape, for the most part on the skinner side, and very fit.


But isn’t that the case with everything?


Most of us have spent our entire lives being told by media outlets that we’re not skinny enough, dressed well enough, our hair is not long enough or volumized enough, our nails aren’t long enough, or our eye lashes… and the list goes on and on.


In college, I did a research project on the effects of how body images are reflected in the media and on eating disorders in girls. Without going into huge details, there was definitely a correlation between them. And in all honesty, that’s part of why I had my eating disorder in my teens and early adulthood.


But does this mean it’s true?


Or is it something that we’ve been told to believe?


Yes, fitness is important when it comes to doing more challenging hikes. I’m 100% a firm believer in exercise and training correctly because you’re going to have a much easier time hiking, it’s going to do wonders to prevent injuries, and you’re going to feel so much better once you’re out there.


But what does training correctly and getting strong for hiking have to do with body composition, weight, your size, or any of those factors?


Does the number on the scale or your pant size have anything to do with your ability to hike and go backpacking?


Or is that something you’ve been told to believe?


And something you keep telling yourself to hold yourself back… because under all of that, you’re scared.


If you’re like others who I have coached, you might be worried that you’ll be judged if something happens and you’ve “overweight.”


Or you might be worried about starting to hike at all and it’s just easier to tell yourself that you’ll wait until the day when you’re “fit enough.”


But how are those fears and beliefs helping you get started with hiking? How are they helping you get “fit enough?” Or are they just keeping you safe and afraid?


Only you can answer that.


But I’m going to leave you with a couple more thoughts…


Is there anyone out there who is hiking the trails you want to be doing and is your size?


If so, shouldn’t that just be more proof that you can do it too?

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