To reach the summit of Everest, climbers need to be extremely fit. Not only does Rob Hill have to get out into the mountains to maintain his mountaineering skills, he needs to hit the gym to ensure that he is strong and fit to handle the stress of the two-month-long expedition.
“I’ve been training for years to be ready for Everest. I need to be in the best shape of my life if I’m going to have success on the mountain,” explained Rob. “It’s not just climbing. It’s preparing for the altitude, it’s ensuring I get enough rest, it’s eating right and it’s making sure that I don’t get injured. It’s also about making sure that I’m mentally prepared to take on this challenge. There is no room for doubt.”
Rob’s training regimen includes workouts twice a day on most days. Often starting in the dark hours of the early morning, Rob will run, swim and bike for over an hour at a time to work on his cardiovascular fitness levels. Most days also include weight lifting sessions in the gym, focusing on specific areas of his body, timing everything to ensure that no one region becomes over worked or under worked. It’s a lot to manage. And to top it all off Rob will often add an evening session of yoga to stretch out his body and clear his mind.
“In the past I’ve had personal trainers and triathlon coaches who would write up plans for my fitness routines. Having outside help is crucial for success. It’s always good to get acknowledgment that I’m doing the right things at the right times to ensure that I’m able to have peak performance at the perfect time. Over the years I have learned a lot from these fitness experts and my confidence levels are very high now. I know I’m going to be in the best prepared shape I can be when we leave Canada in late March.
I recently moved to a new city to take advantage of the outdoor training available just steps from my front door. In Nanaimo I can be up and out the door with my dogs and on an off-road running trail in about 10 minutes. I can leave the truck at home and run for hours. The challenging terrain makes me engage all of the different muscle groups in my legs and core. It makes me work in a way that I can’t replicate on a treadmill.
The best part about outdoor running, especially right now in the winter time, is that my run ends with a soak, up to my waist, in the icy waters of the lake I just ran around. The “ice bath” is a trick I learned from some of the endurance athletes I’ve watched over the years. It helps my muscle recovery and makes it easier for me to follow up an early morning long run with a session of weights later in the day.
Rob isn’t the only one on this trip who is busy training for the challenge of a lifetime. Sixteen year old Carly Lindsay, who like Rob suffers from Inflammatory Bowel Disease and lives with an ostomy, is actively preparing herself for a new challenge. Carly has been swimming and cheer-leading for years, but hiking and trekking at altitude is a new challenge that Carly is excited to face.
Carly’s training quickly became a family affair. The Lindsay family lives in Waterford, Ontario, about an hour west of Hamilton. Most weekdays, the family walks to the gym together and completes the workouts Rob gave Carly to follow, focusing on cardio endurance and strength building exercises. On the weekends, Carly and her parents hike the trails of the Hamilton area together, discovering new places and new people in the process.
Carly tells us:
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“We recently connected with Chris Ecklund and Dan Court who run the website CityofWaterfalls.ca. The site highlights Hamilton’s many waterfalls and Dan has been taking my family and me on long treks through the surrounding areas to show us many of the beautiful places that we’d never know of if IDEAS didn’t inspire me with this opportunity to discover a love for the outdoors and hiking.
The first trek Dan took us on was a three and half hour hike through some really challenging terrain including a lot of steep inclines. It was minus 22 degrees Celsius out too, so really cold, colder than what Rob tells me we’ll find up at Everest base camp. It was a tough day; I had put 14 lbs of gear into my back pack so that I can get used to carrying the gear that I will have to when I’m trekking in Nepal.
I feel stronger though. I can tell the exercises Rob gave me are working. I’m also doing a kick boxing class at my high school which is really helping with my core and leg strength. I’m feeling really good lately, our weekend hikes are getting longer and we’re always looking for steeper sections of trail to challenge ourselves on. I’m staying healthy, I’m keeping fit and now I’m showing everyone around me that I can do all of these great things even though I live with IBD and an ostomy. I’m not going to let these things stop me.