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Fitness and Training

Fitness on Field Courses

You will be hiking through rugged canyons and mountains at elevations ranging from 3,000 to 11,000 feet above sea level, often while cold, hot, hungry, thirsty or just plain tired. We recommend arriving for your course feeling comfortable with the idea of hiking long miles off-trail at high elevation. Cycling, running, swimming, and other aerobic activities are good ways to prepare for your course.

We have frequently seen a person in good condition with a great attitude outperform an athlete in peak condition but with a rotten attitude. Attitude, however, is not easily quantified, whereas physical fitness is. For this reason, we ask our students to participate in a test called the “Cooper 1.5 mile run” before they arrive at BOSS as well as during Orientation on all Field courses.

Please Note: This test is for evaluation purposes only and is not designed to eliminate you from the course. However, students who place poorly on this test have a tendency to hold the group back and suffer physical stresses more than others. If you are concerned about your level of fitness and how it might impact you on your BOSS course, please contact us.

We strongly encourage all of our students to arrive in good physical condition for their field courses.

Fitness on Skills courses

For those familiar with the health and fitness considerations of our Field courses, you may wonder about our Skills courses. Do you need to be in great shape for, say, the 7-day Primitive Living course?

While our Skills courses occur in basecamps (which means that we won’t be hiking nearly as much as Field course students), you should be ready and willing to participate in day hikes and overnight stays in other locations. This means that you should be willing and able to hike short distances with your gear through rugged terrain. Some routes involve steep climbs/descents, travel through knee-deep rivers, and bushwhacking. Most of these hikes are under two miles in length. As long as you are comfortable with the possibility of backcountry travel, and are in good enough shape to handle moderate hiking, you should be fine on a Skills course. Physical challenge is not one of our goals on skills courses.

Fitness on Wilderness Medicine courses

Wilderness medicine courses are mixed lecture and practicum format and are held on or near BOSS’s property in Boulder, Utah. Fitness is not a factor in these courses.

Please contact our office for any information about the above or to address any concerns you may have regarding your health and fitness.

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