I think it’s well known that the best training for the mountains is to go to the mountains. I guess it follows that the best training for a mountainous trek is to trek in the mountains. Well, that’s all very well if you live in the mountains and it assumes that you start from a reasonable level of fitness. Neither applied to ‘yours truly’.
Following events in Corsica last year it was necessary to ‘eat for recovery’ which I embraced with customary enthusiasm. Despite my wife’s care and attention to diet my delight at eating great food and the enforced rest resulted in a fairly tubby boy weighing-in at 97kg (over 15 stones) by February. In early March the recuperation phase was over. Physio was ended and the repairs were mechanically complete and signed off so it was time to get a grip of diet and restart meaningful exercise.
I had 3 months to effect a change as I had been fortunate to have been accepted onto the first Exodous GR20 trek of 2016, starting mid June. While I know it doesn’t suit everyone I adopted a simple calorie control approach of ‘eat less move more’.
Using the MyFitness Pal app I tracked my intake and limited it to 1400 calories per day while exercising in the gym before work (almost) daily. My preferred exercise was the ‘stepper’ or ‘stairmaster’ as this seemed to work on the right muscles for a mountain trekker and offered the most calories burned per hour. I also maintained some upper body exercise to improve the strength and mobility of my new shoulder, and walked just about everywhere, typically in excess of 5 miles a day or 10,000 steps.
The result? On the downside – permanent hunger and pining for my old favourites of Cornish pasties, pork pies, sausage rolls and piles of cheese and crackers. All pleasures of the past. The upside was worth it though. The first week of June I met my weight target of losing 15kg to achieve a weight of 82kg. I was under 13 stone for the first time in years and felt ready for Corsica2
The GR20 was awesome. The dragon was slain and I met some amazing fellow trekkers with many of whom I remain in contact.
Returning from Corsica it was necessary to keep the regime of Nepal-readiness exercise going without losing too much more weight. My aim was to get down to 79kg or 12 stone 6 pounds and that was achieved in August before turning my attention to weight bearing. Out came the old exped pack which was weighted with 20kg of water (10x 2 litre plastic bottles) which was used on progressively long walks at home and even one recently in Scotland. Heaven knows what my fellow gym-dwellers thought of the loon with a big pack walking and jogging on the 15% incline treadmill for an hour. Odd for sure but safer than trying to do that on London roads and real hills locally are at a premium.
The result is that with just over 2 weeks until we leave Jomsom I feel good to go. I am trying to bulk up a bit to give myself a bit of lard to burn in lieu of food. The 31 Oct target is to be back to 83kg, just over 13 stones. The BMI index will still tell me I’m overweight but that won’t be the case with fat of around 18%.
So, there are any number of risks to successfully completing this amazing trek, but I am confident in my fitness and the quality of the repair job.