Tacoma Strength vs Machupicchu

by Pete Cribbin

There are many reasons why we choose CrossFit as our fitness program. The mutual support of the group setting, the professional programming and the shear challenge of improving fitness levels through hard work.

The concept of GPP (General Physical Preparedness) looms large in the programming. The idea that well-rounded fitness involves strength, endurance, flexibility, power, mobility, and balance being considered the best approach to overall fitness. How does this stack up against a real world challenge?

I recently completed a 45 KM hike on the Inka Trail in Peru. I thought my preparation for and experience with this hike would be of interest to my fellow CrossFitters.


I started to work specifically toward this goal by assessing my own fitness level and limitations. CrossFit programming tends to be in the Glycolytic range (less than an hour 80-90% effort). I knew I needed to do more work in the Oxidative range (Greater than an hour 70-80% effort). I also knew the altitude would be a challenge for me (mid-50’s with mild asthma)

I started doing open gym about six weeks out to emphasize the areas I needed to work on. My programming included 4 days a week at T.S. plus some hill hiking. 5X500 rows, 30 minute rows, sprinting, back and front squats, deadlifts, farmers walks, KB swings, pull-ups, sled drags were among my favorites.


I arrived in Cusco a day before the hike. This city is 11,500 feet above sea level, giving me my first taste of the high altitude. The effect is gradual; you don’t notice much for the first few hours. My measured heart rate was elevated over 20 BPM above normal resting rate.

We started the four day hike the following day. You have to carry a backpack with about 35 pounds of weight. The Inka trail consists of many stone steps and it is very steep in places. On the second day the trail tops out at 13,776 feet. There are four distinct passes so there is much uphill each day.


Most of the steps were between 20-24 inches in height. I quickly learned the most efficient method was to lightly step up and then press through my heel. This is very similar to coming out of a front squat. The body awareness and balance from years of CrossFit helped. This is also the first time I used walking sticks and having the upper back development of many pull-ups helped.

The most surprising thing for me was the lack of overwhelming soreness. I expected to be very stiff and sore each morning but I was remarkably fresh, despite many hours of hard climbing each day.

I believe the T.S. programming helped me complete this challenge. This was not easy for me and I lost 11 pounds on this trip. Thanks to Jared and the coaches for the programming and guidance over the years.

By Craig on Sunday, October, 25, 2015