Danger Zone Series: Prepare For The Climb #2

Indoor workouts with personal trainer at the gym.

There is something indescribably exhilarating about standing atop a mountain and looking out at the world below. The intense dark blue sky. The peaks below. The slight curve on the earth on the horizon. And nothing to obstruct your 360º view of the world. But preparing for such a climb is no easy feat, and it requires both physical and mental preparation.

Build Up Your Stamina

Climbing an 8000-metre peak is a grueling and demanding task that requires a high level of physical endurance. In the months leading up to a climb, I focus on building up my cardiovascular fitness, endurance, and strength. I regularly engage in activities such as running, cycling, swimming, and weight training to build up my fitness levels. But there’s a catch.  I remember the first time I stepped into the gym, determined to prepare myself physically for my dream of a 8000-metre peak. I knew that building up my strength and endurance was critical to my success on the mountain, but I also knew that I needed to be mindful of the extra weight that muscle mass can add. I made his mistake on Everest – I was not prepared to repeat this for Manaslu. 

I knew that every extra pound of weight would make my climb much more challenging, and I worried that all my hard work in the gym would be for nothing. So, I started by focusing on cardio and endurance training first, spending hours on the treadmill, stationary bike, and rowing machine. Running outdoor is even better, but it’s not for me. And it’s not good for my knees either. 

Rocks Rocks

But even as I pushed myself harder and harder in the gym, I couldn’t shake the nagging worry that building muscle mass would hinder my performance on the mountain. It wasn’t until I spoke with a veteran climber that I began to see weight training in a new light. He explained that while carrying extra weight on the mountain could be a hindrance, building up my strength and endurance would ultimately make me a more efficient and capable climber. 

Go on a walk or a run, grab some rocks on the way and carry a heavy backpack on a long hike. While the extra weight may slow you down at first, over time your body adapts and becomes stronger, allowing you to carry the weight more efficiently and with less strain. 

So over the months, I lifted heavier weights, added more sets and reps to my routine, and focused on exercises that would build functional strength and endurance. My exercises would include squats, lunges, kettlebelts and different types of planking exercises to build my core strength and improve my balance, that had never been that great anyway. But working on your abs, lower back, and obliques, are great for stabilising the spine, improving posture and preventing injury during your climb with a heavy backpack on your shoulders. 

Reach Insanity

And then, one day I stumble upon Insanity Workouts on the web. It definitely looked intimidating at first, especially when I saw the intensity of the workouts but I thought I should give it a go and see what kind of results I could achieve. 

Created by fitness expert Shaun T, programs are designed to focus on full-body workouts that alternate between short bursts of intense exercise and periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise. The massive positive take was that I could do it from home instead of the gym. The downside, it’s really hard and I was constantly out of breathe, gasping for air after 15min. 

So what makes the Insanity Workout program so special anyway? Apart from looking totally insane at first, the High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is highly effective on improving your cardiovascular fitness. As the weeks went by, I began to notice some significant changes in my body and my cardiovascular fitness improved dramatically. I could run for longer periods of time on steeper incline and complete my workouts with more ease. 

But to me, the biggest benefits of the Insanity program went beyond just physical challenges. The high-intensity workouts also provided a new mental challenge, pushing me to my limits and helping me to develop greater mental resilience and discipline. When you’re on an Insanity Workout Program on a timer and you know it is going to last at least 15 long minutes per workout, and your brain is screaming you to give up, remember that tackling any 8000 meter peak will be much-much harder then that. 

Deprive Yourself From Oxygen

Building core strength, endurance, and functional strength are essential components of preparing for an 8000-metre peak climb. Acclimatizing to high altitude is crucial to the success and safety of any mountain climb but I’ve written another blog post exploring innovative ways to acclimatise. 

Innovative acclimatisation techniques, such as altitude chambers and hypoxi training, offer new and exciting ways to prepare for high-altitude climbs and simulate high-altitude environments. But it’s important to keep in mind that these techniques are not a substitute for actually climbing at high altitude and acclimatisation process during your actual climb.

So, are you ready to take your mountain climbing goals to new heights? Check out my blog post for more information on innovative acclimatization techniques and get started on your journey to the top!

Leave a Reply

× Whatsapp