Introducing The ‘Heavy Backpack Workout’

You’ve tried everything to get in shape: the Shake Weight, BowFlex, FlexBelt, 8 Minute Abs, NordicTrack, P90X (or maybe P12X), Total Gym—and still, you somehow don’t have an ass that people can bounce quarters off.

What gives?

Maybe you’re not eating right. Maybe you’re not doing the workouts with enough intensity. Maybe you’re confused because magazines tell you to do something different with your training and nutrition every single issue.


You need a fitness plan that works. Something that will shock your body into the type of fitness that can only be brought about by tricking it into thinking it’s the only way to survive.

Not something you can squeeze in with a few minutes a day, in between pulling pans of cookies out of the oven, or in between typing e-mails. You need something closer to what your ancestors were doing while they were inventing the original Paleo Diet—which they didn’t call “the Paleo Diet.” They called it “Hey I’m Going To Go Get Some Food So All Of Us Don’t Die.” And it required lots of walking and carrying things, which burned a lot more calories than sitting at a desk doing whatever it is we do for 50 hours a week so we can pay for a roof and walls and a six-foot-wide TV with infinity colors or pixels or whatever.

Do you need all sorts of new equipment, like a heavy club, a spear, and a loincloth made out of the hide of a saber-toothed tiger? Hell no. This workout requires one piece of equipment, and it doesn’t even have to be new or comfortable: A backpack.

This is





It does not cost $1,800, and Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley will not tell you about it at 1:30 a.m. while you’re eating Cheetos on your couch. Its title was not created by a team of brilliant marketers, or even really considered that carefully. But it will chisel you down into being LESS FAT THAN BEFORE YOU STARTED.

So, how does it work?

Step 1: Get a huge backpack
Step 2: Put a bunch of shit in that backpack
Step 3: Put the heavy backpack on your back
Step 4: Go for a walk you can measure in “miles” or “days”

Your feet will hurt. Your hips and shoulders might hurt. You may experience chafing. You may put photos of yourself doing the Heavy Backpack Workout on Instagram with little inspirational quotes underneath your photo. You may create a hashtag in order to create a sense of community around what you are doing, and encourage others to do the same. After your workout, you may return to civilization and cancel out all your efforts by eating 2,000 calories of bacon cheeseburgers, beer, and milkshakes in one sitting. The important thing is that you keep going out and doing it. Is it getting colder outside? Wear a jacket. Too much snow on the ground? Get a pair of skis or snowshoes. Or posthole—it burns more calories.

What phone number do you have to call to find out more about this incredible, game-changing workout? What website do you need to visit for more information? Where can you enter your credit card number to gain access to this revolution? The answer to all these questions is: NONE. (and also “none,” and “nowhere,” respectively).

Just review steps 1-4 from above and get off your ass and do it. Did you forget the 4 steps already? Maybe you would like them in a more brief, easily Tweet-able form? Here you go:

get backpack, fill with stuff, put on back, go walk, #heavybackpackworkout


More stories like this in my new book, Bears Don’t Care About Your Problems, out now.

20 replies on “Introducing The ‘Heavy Backpack Workout’

  • Kristen Bor (Bearfoot Theory)

    haha! so true. A month ago, I got home from hiking the John Muir Trail. My hips have never been so slender in my entire life. But now, I’m quickly morphing back into my pre-trail bod. Guess it’s time to put that backpack back on! Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Justin Gio

    Great post! I dig the “the paleo diet” dig. If people find a way to sweat in a location that doesn’t have a ceiling or a roof, they’ll be happy or maybe content or maybe they’ll just be less husky.

  • Bryan

    Thousands of us already do this every weekend all across America…it is called GORUCK. Fair forewarning, there is a lot of push-ups involved as well. Check out and I will see you at a challenge sometime soon! (I am not a GORUCK LLC employee, nor am I paid by them in any way, I am simply a raving fanatic who buys too much of their gear and loves getting beat down by special operations cadre)

  • Mauro

    I already go to and from work everyday mostly by walking with my ~12lbs backpack, and well all I get is a sore lower back when I arrive, even if I own a swissgear backpack for my laptop which is supposed to be ultratech.
    Sure I burn calories as well, yet I don’t think my body is hapoy when he’s shouting at me from my lombar area.

  • bob shattuck

    Weight vest! I’ve found a backpack to be awkward in many ways, while a weight vest is a lot more stable. I use a 20 lb . . . I can wear it around the house, the local stairs , do sit-ups, even do some easy routes at the climbing gym . . . You do have people look at you on occasion thinking you’ve either got a bullet-proof vest on or you’re about to blow yourself up, but I am also plugged into some headphones and carrying exercise bands, not to mention sweating pretty good, so I look pretty dorky.

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