Posts tagged hiking
Fuel Up On Nature

This is one of my sacred spots where I go to connect with nature and better yet myself. For me, this is paradise… Surrounded by snow cap mountains and unique rock formations the exploring is endless. Fueled and energized by nature, Karuna. A natural coffee drink, sweetened with dates, coconut cream and turmeric for added health benefits. How are you going to fuel your life, mind, body?

-Ashiko #ashikofit

Cross Training- Functional Fitness, Test Yourself On Those Winter Trails

CROSS TRAINING- Resulting in functional muscles. Over the last few months I’ve modified my workouts significantly with each long distance hike I’ve completed. With the knowledge and at first unaware I was developing what I call now functional muscles. Im big on being able to put your body to work, not just for training in the gym. Having modeled for the last 15 years I more then understand estetiques and can appreciate it. Weight training is very important both with free weights, machines and using your own body’s resistance. Alternating body parts throughout the week and incorporating several full body exercises has really helped me stay fit and get in shape. Posture, balance and a proper functioning kinetic chain is prime and it should never be over looked. A common pain many people experience is lower back pain, especially due to the sedentary lifestyle we’re living in. This can be a result from an under developed core, gluteus or most importantly muscle imbalances in the feet. Something I recommend doing is an over head squat assessment, this way you’ll be able to understand what you’re working with. Squat as if sitting in a chair, hands over head running parallel with your ears. Of course this will be hard for you to do on yourself, especially from side view but at least you will be able to feel whats happening in your body. Example is your range of motion limited, is it hard to keep your arms up, do your feet turn in or lift up? Observing all 5 check points, front view -feet and knees. Side view pelvis, shoulders and head. Remember to look below and above for any problems in your body. You should be able to gather enough information with 5 squats.

I recently hiked Mount Baldy in winter conditions. One thing I love about the outdoors is being able to adapt to the weather and mother nature. I believe that spending more time in nature has been a huge part of my emotional growth. This his newfound adventurous mentality I’ve adapted for the last year has not only helped me with training outdoors all season long, but also served in my personal life. One thing I’ve never mastered is change. Im sure many of you can relate… When Im about to do a big hike, I sometimes get this wave of anxiety, playing in my head what might happen if I’m not prepared, or better yet, not being comfortable with last minute changes. Something the outdoors as taught me is that things happen and it’s normal to alter pans. Life will always going to surprise you and it’s how you deal with it in the moment that truly distinguishes your character.

I hiked Mount Baldy again, but this time the conditions were very different. Weather conditions (which can be found on www. were in the 40’s at the portal and gradually decreasing to the low 20’s at summit with around 50 mph winds. I had to prepare best I could for the low temperatures and high winds.

Here is a list of the majority of gear I wore and brought along.

1.North Face Apex + Etip gloves

2.Medical Kit for 2 ppl for 1 day

3.REI Carbon fibre trekking poles

4.North Face hiking Boots

5. Arc’Teryx Gortex Shell

6. Patagonia pack

7. Arc’Terxy Brize 32 day pack

8. Smartwool hat

9. Arc’Teryx fanny pack

10. Kahtoola Micro spikes

11. Pocket knife

12. Arc’Teryx puff coat

13. Gregory 3 Litre camel pack

14. Smartwool neck gaiter

15. Smartwool base layer

16.Arc’Teryx legging

17. Patagonia base layer legging

18. Smartwool socks

I’ve spoken about it but can’t stress enough how important it is to understand what your clothing is made of and how you will layer or remove layers effortlessly when needed. You don’t want to constantly undress releasing body heat and lowering your heart rate, so understanding how you react to physical activity and temperatures is vital. Zipers AKA vents are your friend! You can read more about it on my previous blog “Calorie Burning/Toning..” for more info.

A few highlights from this hike were of course the beautiful snow cap mountains, fresh air and sunshine along with having to use micro spikes 3/4 of the way up AND down. That really added to the Cross Training Workout! It was definitely a surprise but I was ready then I ever could’ve imagined. The winds were the harshest I have ever experienced feeling like I could get blown away so photo ops were limited! Thanks to my partner Don Lee for standing by me, and always getting ready for an adventure. Thank’s to him, we managed to get a few photos at summit. Due to the weather conditions we decided not to attempt the Devil’s Backbone- - it’s a very narrow and exposed path on the mountain top ridge. Always remember to make your health and safety top priority, there’s always next time! Be prepared, and don’t get discouraged by the surprises along the way.


Calorie Burning/Toning/Conditioning Day Hikes, Mount Baldy 10,064 Elevation
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No Hills? No problem! Understandably, not everyone will have access to trails with hills and/or elevation gain. However there’s a few exercises that can be done in a gym to mimic those movements to gain the same effects of hiking! I’ve recently tried the VersaClimber for endurance training and loved it- -even though it kicked my butt! Should you want to make it even more challenging, try a weighted vest, wrist weights t or ankle weights to intensify your heart rate. Remember to keep your arms moving- -this way, when you do end up using trekking poles, you”ll be engaging your core muscles with the correct posture, getting that upper body workout in. The Stairmaster and treadmill are also great machine to use with a combination of moderate to high incline, and again taking some extra weight will help you burn those extra calories helping mimic the weight you would carry in your bag. on a hike. Keep in mind that on a hike like Mount Baldy, 3 liters of water is sufficient, which equals to 6.6 lbs along with the rest of your gear. If you can’t make it to the trail frequently, don’t sweat it- -weighted cardioid the gym can absolutely condition you for the outdoors!

Mount Baldy, located in San Bernardino County near the eastern border of Los Angeles surrounded by the tall trees of Angeles National forest, is known amongst the outdoor community as great day-hiking trail you can utilize to keep yourself conditioned almost all season long. It’s easy to get to (roughly 1 hr from Central Los Angeles depending on traffic), and has several trails you can take depending on the distance you’re looking to trek and/or the altitude you’re looking to gain. The only permit you’ll need is an adventure pass, which is a parking pass and can be purchased online or at REI and must be displayed in your vehicle window when using the forest for recreation purposes. A day pass will be $5 and annual pass $30 which can be used for Angeles National Forest, Cleveland National Forest and Los Padres National Forest.

I have to admit, there’s not much I love more then strength training and conditioning in the gym. Having access to hight-tech equipment with various options for resistance training is amazing, but every now and then I crave a new environment where I can get a good workout in that really challenges and more so inspires me. Hiking all season long is more then just a passion, it’s a lifestyle-- and being properly conditioned is key to really enjoying long distance hikes with high elevation.

It’s amazing how much my endurance has improved over the last 4 1/2 months with all the hikes I’ve done along with regular conditioning at the gym. Day hikes have become an adventurous workout, and having access to mountains like Mount Baldy really is special. If your looking to burn some calories, tone and condition your muscles day hiking is for you! I usually wear my Apple Watch and try to keep track of calories, distance, steps and flights accumulated. From where I parked to the summit and back I burned approximately 1,800 calories and walked just over 12 miles.

Knowing what to pack from food, hydration and clothing is so important to enjoying any hike, especially when the climate is either hot or on this particular day, cold. I had just bought my Arc’teryx Belt LT shell and was beyond excited to break it in. After my hike to Mount Whitney I knew I needed a shell with more features such as the pit vents which is crucial to avoid sweating. Its worth the extra expense and I would highly recommend it.

I hope this inspires you to explore other trails in so Cal or create that hiking environment in the gym.


Thank you to Emma Zander

13,600 Elevation. Mount Whitney, to be continued...

Something I’ve learned is to never underestimate the climb. Every mountain has it’s own challenges. From switch backs, to steep elevation climbs through loose scramble, to maneuvering yourself between uneven surfaces and tree roots puckered out 1-2 feet (not to mention the distance and the actual elevation gain), climbing can be a dangerous gamble and depending on the time of year, must be considered as a key determining factor.

Mount Whitney, located in Sierra, Nevada was one of the most beautiful mountains I’ve seen to date. With a distance of 22 miles roundtrip and an elevation of 14,505 feet, Whitney is the tallest mountain in California as well as the highest summit in the contiguous United States. She was everything I expected and then some. Surrounded by gorgeous lakes with this delicious dark teal hue, beautiful meadows that stretch a mile long, and bold, jagged rock formations. The views were captivating the higher you climbed.

My friend and hiking partner Joe and I set off on a Saturday with the hopes to receive a lottery permit to climb the next day. After waiting patiently for any remaining permits, a few more hikers with the same hopes showed up. After drawing the last number, I knew the climb wasn’t going to happen the next day. I was pretty devastated , all set and ready to go… but that wasn’t going to stop me. We decided to get permits to climb that Monday. There’s 100 permits available to climb daily. If they’re taken, you can show up the day before and wait until 2pm. At that point should there be any permits that were returned, you have the chance to snag them.

We spent 2 nights camping at Lone Pine Campground, just 6 miles from the portal. The elevation was around 6,000 feet which was a good start to acclimate for the hike. Temperatures at night dropped to the mid 20’s. We had accounted for the weather, and were prepared with the right tent’s and sleeping bag’s to stay warm. During the day we hiked in the beautiful Alabama Hills, and the balmy temperatures being in the 70’s were the perfect way to keep our spirits warm and high.

On Monday, we packed up at 2 AM and headed to the portal. Excited and tired, we trekked our way up to the summit in the dark taking in the incredible views as daylight started to break. As our body temperatures changed rapidly to the drop in temperature and high winds, we would adjust our layers to avoid over heating. Our Arc’ teryx Gortex jackets were vital to cut the wind and lock in our body heat. One thing you never want to do is sweat. If that happens’ you loose your hydration along with risk the chance of you getting cold and sick with wet clothes.

One of the most difficult parts on the trail was the 99 switch backs. Yes, there are actually 99 of them which seemed endless and harsh, especially when they’re covered in snow and winds at 15 mph. We had micro spikes which we put over our boots upon entering. Along the side were cable wires running along a 50 foot section to ensure the safety of hikers from falling off the steep rock face to the right. Mid way through the switch backs I had to sit to catch my breath and check in with myself. Acclimating is different for everyone and it’s important to listen to your body, and take your time, with it as the effects of altitude sickness can set you back and cause series harm.

After completing the switch backs, we had reached Trail Crest, with an elevation of 13,600 feet and views of a life time (seen in the photo above with the 2 lakes). Unfortunately, my friend had started to get altitude sickness and felt nauseous and weak. After resting, we assessed the situation and decided to continue as we were only 1.9 miles and 905 feet from the Summit. I admit I had summit fever and needed to finish. At this point, the trails were are narrow and very rocky, requiring full concentration as there is a steep drop off the west of you. We continued for an hour until a dark cloud started to roll in. I stopped disbelief and looked on at the safe-house on top Mount Whitney hovered by a dark cloud. Sadly, we had to make a decision: was the climb worth risking our lives. Should a storm roll in, we would be exposed to extremely high winds and lightening. We decided to turn back.

It’s important to remind yourself that mountain climbing is an experience and we’re so lucky to even be able to do it. It’s ok if things don’t go to plan. It’s what you do in challenging moments that shows your character, that’s what builds us. For me, it was shifting the notion of failing into succeeding, learning and letting this be a positive experience. As unfortunate as it was to not summit, I also had so many amazing memories and an unforgettable journey. The walk down was sober and so long…

I told Joe this was my last climb of the year. I arrived home and took a few day’s to recover mentally, physically and spiritually. I got the itch to go back. Maybe this year, or maybe next… to continued.


A special thank you to Joe Flores for the incredible adventure, and my dear friend Emma Zander and Don Lee for all your love and continued support.

14,505 Elevation 22 miles, Mount Whitney

Hey guys! Im so excited to share this weekend’s journey with you. Im finally climbing Mount Whitney. California’s tallest mountain with an elevation of 14,505 feet. After much preparation, the day has finally come. Am I ready? I go back and forth lol But overall yes, I am. I think it’s good to have a little fear in the unknown, after all it’s Mother Nature and a lot can change when you’re navigating in the mountains.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been putting together all my gear. With the temperatures being below freezing it’s been a challenge knowing what to pack and how to dress. With the help of friends, my hiking partner and the amazing sales associates at REI Im ready to go.

This has been such an amazing learning experience. I feel like this will test myself and help me have a better understanding how the human body and central nervous system will react to the climate changes along with the drastic elevation and intense anaerobic hike of 22 miles .

The photo above is most of the gear I’ll be taking. From Smart Wool base layers. Athleta pants, Patagonia vest and locking in the warmth with an REI Magma 850 Down. The Arc’teryx Traverse jacket is both wind and waterproof with Gortex technology. Carbon Fibre tracking poles, head lamp and micro spikes. It’s expected there will be snow at the top, the micro spikes will definitely help keep is safe. I’ll also be taking a North face hat and APEX Gloves along with a few other things.

What I hope most is that I inspire you to do things you thought you couldn’t. If you told me a few years ago one day I would be studying sports medicine and climbing mountains I would smile and brush it off… I dare you to challenge yourself with something that makes you feel alive. Something you thought you couldn’t do or better yet something others told you, you couldn’t do.

Thank you so much for being part of my journey!