Tag archives: health

For many dog mushers, eating right and healthy is not always a top priority and often neither is fitness nor working out. For many, our workouts are done in the dog yard, moving dogs around, doing chores, chopping wood, carrying boxes of meat, etc. It is not uncommon for dog mushers to not think deliberately about their fitness and to rely on their day-to-day to keep in shape.

Just a quick search of the Internet and you will find plenty of online gurus, coaches, and experts on what you should be doing.

This article is not that. This is what has worked for me, and I used it as a prescription for an Exercise Testing and Prescription course when I was in college at the University of Alaska in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation department (now Kinesiology). In short, this was evaluated by fitness professionals, it was tweaked based on lab values for dog mushing at the Human Performance Lab at UAA (Body Composition, Functional Movement Screening, Resting Metabolic Rate, VO2 Max, Cardiovascular Respiratory Fitness, Metabolic Efficiency Point, Lactate Threshold, Athletic Performance Profile Assessment, Personal Fitness Assessment)

This Lab is used by the HPER department as well as the college athletic departments at the university. This is an intense program, and many people are never allowed to participate in something like this. I was given the insight to share with you should you want to try something new.

Many people have asked about my musher workout and meal plan for optimal performance for the wilderness athlete, and I am here to share it with you. Use the parts that you like and hybridize them if you must. I can assure you it will get you in the best shape of your life, especially if you plan to run with a team of Siberian/Alaskan Huskies.

Note: Since I wrote this so many different fitness apps and trackers have hit the market, and you can gather data on just about anything. Some of my favorite tech are Apple Watch Ultra, Sleep Number bed, Noom (app), Peloton (bike and app), Work OutDoors (app for Apple Watch Ultra), MushOMeter (app), Map My Ride (app) and Garmin Outdoors (app).

Mushers Workout

Day 1

10-minute Warm-Up – Cardio

4 Sets (10 reps) each of the following (20 seconds rest in between each set):

Squats – Lat Pulls – Dumbbell Rows – Standing Calf – Seated Calf – Leg Curl

20-minute Cool Down – Cardio

Day 2

10-minute Warm-Up – Cardio

4 Sets (10 reps) each of the following (20 seconds rest in between each set):

Bench Press – Overhead Dumbbell Extensions

3 Sets (15 Reps) each of the following (20 seconds rest in between each set):

Incline Press – Seated Shoulder Press – Triceps Press Down

20-minute Cool Down – Cardio

Day 3

10-minute Warm-Up – Cardio

4 Sets (15 reps) each of the following (20 seconds rest in between each set):

Squats – Seated Row – Barbell Curls – Lateral Rows

3 Sets (25 Reps) Walking Lunges (20 seconds rest in between each set):

20-minute Cool Down – Cardio

Day 4

Bike 20 miles or swim 1 mile in the pool

Sports

Play sports or activities outside of dog mushing. This will allow you to build up cardio and use other muscle groups that are different than the day-to-day. I enjoy bike riding, hiking, and a rowing machine. Pickle Ball is gaining in popularity. I also enjoy racquetball and tennis.

A Sample Day (Updated January 2024)

Wake-up

Meal #1- Breakfast

▪  Sample Meal: 3-5 Eggs with cheese, 2-3 slices 100% Whole Wheat Toast, Banana, 8oz. Orange Juice, 16oz. Milk/Chocolate milk, Protein Shake after meal

▪  Other foods to add/substitute: Oatmeal, lean ground beef, leftover chicken/steak, any vegetable or fruit, cereal (just don’t only have cereal)

▪  Daily Multi-vitamin, Fish Oil

Meal #2- Snack (if needed)

▪  Sample: 20 oz Water, 1-2 servings of fruit, and 1-2 of the following options:

▪  Protein Shake, Protein Bar, Granola Bar, PBJ/PBH (honey) on 100% whole wheat, low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese, 1-2 cups Trail Mix/peanuts/almonds

Meal #3- Lunch

▪  Sample Meal: Should consist of: 1 Gatorade/Powerade/20oz Water

▪  1-2 Pieces of fruit and 1-2 servings of veggies

▪  1-2 Sandwiches (Tuna, lunch meat, PBJ, peanut butter and honey on 100% whole wheat) chicken/steak/roast beef/etc.

▪  Daily Multivitamin, Fish Oil

Meal #4- SNACK (if needed)

▪  20 oz Water, 1-2 servings of fruit, and 1-2 of the following options:

▪  Protein Shake, Protein Bar, Granola Bar, PBJ/PBH (honey) on 100% whole wheat,

low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese, 1-2 cups Trail Mix/peanuts/almonds/walnuts

▪  Have everything already packed for the day

▪  Wake up early enough to prepare and eat breakfast

▪  Drink 8-16oz. of water immediately

Meal #5- Pre-Workout

*Consume one-hour before your workout.

▪  Option 1: Protein shake, banana, granola bar

▪  Option 2: Protein Bar, apple, 20oz Water

▪  Option 3: PBJ/PBH Sandwich on 100% whole wheat, piece of fruit, extra peanut butter, 20oz Water

Meal #6- Post-Workout

*Consume shake within 10-30mins after training, the earlier the better

▪  Option 1: Protein Shake/Bar, piece of fruit (watermelon, orange)

▪  Option 2: 16oz Chocolate Milk, granola bar

▪  Option 3: 1-3 PBJ/PBH Sandwiches on white bread, piece of fruit

*Consume at least 20-40oz of water/Gatorade after every workout and keep sipping throughout the rest of the day

Meal #7- Dinner

▪  Option 1: Whatever is prepared at home

▪  Option 2: If you must prepare it for yourself – chicken/steak/lean ground beef/eggs,

  • pasta/potatoes, vegetables, 1 cup of mixed nuts/avocado, water
  • ▪  Daily Multi-vitamin, Fish Oil

Meal #8- Bedtime Snack (if needed)

  • ▪  Option 1: Dinner leftovers
  • ▪  Option 2: Protein Smoothie- protein powder, 1⁄2 cup berries, coconut oil, ice
  • ▪  Option 3: 1 cup cottage cheese/yogurt, 1⁄2 cup berries, almonds/peanuts/walnuts,

1-2tbsp. peanut butter is eaten separately