Everest Base Camp


Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp

My 2012 new years resolution was to trek to Everest Base Camp [EBC] on a high level challenge, with a friend by the end of the year. Not being a sporty person, not being a seasoned walker and definitely not the type of person to put myself through any discomfort if i didn’t have to , I realized I needed to take the challenge seriously or else I would injure myself.

So I thought I would go to the gym a couple times a week, and just build my cardiovascular up, whilst doing a walk every weekend with a gradual build up in distance. Unfortunately I then had a road traffic accident, which resulted in whiplash injuries.

As weeks and months went by, I considered time was running out for me in terms of being capable and fit enough to even make it past day one of the trek so I thought I ought to at least walk through the door of the gym and chat to an expert. I was fortunate to find a personal trainer in my local gym that gave me the confidence to work only on my posture. He acknowledged my restrictions in terms of pain from the whiplash so we worked on just getting my knees bending properly, my feet positioning themselves correctly, my shoulders aligning correctly…. all important to walking in Nepal day after day for 22 days. My personal trainer then left for pastures new and I asked him to recommend me someone else who would be compassionate about my injuries and someone who could motivate me to keep aiming for the EBC goal. Andy from Pinnacle was recommended.

The first personal training session [PT] was free of charge and we chatted for over an hour covering:

  • What injuries I had sustained earlier in the year,
  • What I was worried about in terms of expectations and limitations,
  • An overview of my medical history,
  • Historic successes and failures in the gym,
  • What communication styles and approaches I liked in terms of motivating me to achieve my goals,
  • How I liked training sessions to be planned [I am a geek for project management]
  • What a typical work day involved [desk job, lots of travelling]
  • When I wanted to train, where and how often
  • What equipment I had, or didn’t have to help me train

The second session involved Andy asking me to do certain exercises to establish my range of movement, ability and enjoyment of each exercise. Taking my weight and blood pressure and heart rate, during this session notes were taken and Andy demonstrated how the exercises should be done by taking photos of good posture, good technique and adding narrative around repetitions and health and safety tips so as to build a personal and visual PT programme. This was emailed to me at the end of the session.

We agreed a schedule of regular PT sessions, and Andy was always at the end of a text or email to motivate, guide and offer advice when I got stuck, was struggling due to a health set back, or bored with an exercise. Exercises always focused on core, posture and conditioning. I was forever challenging Andy about the fact that other trekkers were blogging they were running to keep fit. With a smile Andy reminded me I was not running to Everest Base Camp, but trekking ascending and descending on long days, and the most important thing was to ensure the muscles and joints could make the challenge and I remained injury free throughout the trek.

I got frustrated that being cealiac I was getting fit but not having enough energy day to day. Andy spent days researching, and provided me with a two week adaptable menu plan, with no thinking required, that totally revised my eat habits without having any carbs and without portion control – the most liberating thing ever! And introduced me to wheat-grass – a miracle supplement in my opinion that I now take daily.

Long story short, I did the trek, which was even tougher than I had anticipated. I found that the training stood me in good stead to keep going day after day and enjoy the trek rather than be knackered at the end of each day. I religiously made sure I did the stretches Andy had instilled in me every afternoon and I came home injury free, having had an amazing experience.

I still work with Andy, who visits me once a week after work. I’ve now taken up Clay Pigeon Shooting, so we are building up my upper body strength and getting back to overall fitness levels, after a rather indulgent Xmas and New Year. I have a goal to run a 5  -10k early this year, and do another activity trek. So Andy is building a new training programme for me which I try and follow 3 – 4 times a week at home [most of it in front of the TV in the evenings] using all the kit we accumulated last year. I’ve cancelled my gym membership as I realise I don’t need to pay £68 per month for the use of classes that don’t fit around my work, and use of facilities and equipment I don’t need when instead I’m using household furniture, a broom stick, dumb bells, gym band and blocks – this is all I need, as well as my stairs to run up and down! Andy’s reviewed my diet, come up with an new interchangeable plan and I am well on the way to another fit, injury free year!

Sarah R. Southampton