Lower body workouts:
Climb sleeping bear dunes 3x in one day
Three climbs equals about 2,000ft of elevation climbing on sand in under a mile. On the bright side, every time you run to the bottom you can dive into Lake Michigan. And yes, massive amounts of sand will end up in your hair, pants, and probably your soul.
Hike the entire Pictured Rocks Shoreline
40-some miles of carrying everything you need to survive on your back. A 3 day adventure means completing around 10-15 miles of hiking a day, which is a guarantee of sore legs and bulging muscles. Take time to absorb the views along the way and be prepared to make a new best friend named Bug Spray.
Upper body workouts:
If you do it correct, it’s going to burn. Goals of making it across one of the thousand Michigan lakes is a good start, but eventually taking on one of the big lakes is the ultimate goal. Take a weekend to paddle up to Petoskey, and set out to cross the bay to Harbor Springs.
Ice climb the Fenton Ice Climbing Course
This one is tough. Even if you rock climb, ice climbing is a whole new level. Your fingers will be cold, your arms will be dead tired, and there’s a good chance you’re going to accidentally fling a piece of ice in your eye.
Kayak to Port Austin Light & Turnip Rock
The three mile one-way trip is a workout enough in itself. Because the lighthouse is located three miles off shore into Lake Huron, a wavy day excursion sounds like a death workout wish. On a sunny day, the shallow waters surrounding the lighthouse carry a shade of Caribbean blue. It’s a fantastic workout, but also one rad adventure.
For the Beginners:
Walk around South Manitou Island
The 10 mile hike may sound daunting, but the easy terrain makes it doable for anyone. There is relatively no elevation gain, and the shoreline often switches from sandy to rocky. This workout is going to call for a water backpack, because there are only 3 places on the island to retrieve fresh water, but luckily even on hot days, all one needs to do is take a nice dive into Lake Michigan to cool off.
Backpack in Manistee National Forest
A good first backpacking trip is into the wild-but-flat Manistee National Forest. Backpacking means leaving your car and comfort behind, and relying on yourself to carry all your food, water, and supplies for multiple days. The area is known for its abundant wildlife consisting of fox, bears, bobcats and, of course, deer.
How to make every last inch of you sore:
Run the Detroit Marathon
I’ve never done it—and I’ll never do it (running and I do not mix), but for everyone who completes this, you’re an automatic badass in my book. In all honesty, if I attempted it, I’d probably give up on the first mile and run into a pizza shop and eat lots of pizza instead, and then cry/laugh face down in the pizza at my pathetic attempt.
Hike the entire Michigan section of the North Country trail
The trail actually extends from New York to North Dakota, but the Michigan section is an accomplishment in itself. Those looking at hiking it are going to need a solid two months (or three), to walk successfully from the southern Michigan border up the entirety of the Lower Peninsula, into the UP, and then across the entire Upper Peninsula to the Wisconsin border. That distance takes 10 hours to drive—so may the force be with you.
100 Grand Haven Beach Burpies
This one is slightly more doable than the previous, but will still leave you sore and not wanting to leave bed the next day. Burpies are hard and burpies in the sand just are cruel. I personally love burpies, but not 100, or even 50 at that. Grand Haven has a beautiful beach to suffer in excruciating pain. And maybe you can attempt to do it at sunset, so you can watch it between the aches of your sore body. If burpies are too easy for you, you’re crazy, but you can also add an extra element of doing a back-handspring after every one. Good luck.