Getting ready next IBD Adventure, It has been a few years since I have had to train hard for a climb, in the past, it was about maintaining a constant fitness level and ramping up a few months out from the next big Mountain.
I still get out on a yearly IBD Adventure and stay pretty active with my young family but the reality is that the same level of fitness is not required to live my life now, compared to when I was climbing something big once a year. Some might argue that Kilimanjaro isn’t that hard and a high
level of fitness isn’t required but this is relative to a standard of fitness. I train and I ask that everyone joining me on a trek like Kilimanjaro, come in at the highest level of fitness they can achieve, why you ask, so they can enjoy themselves.
Since I have stepped away from a very active mountaineering lifestyle, which required a high level of fitness, and moved into a very active lifestyle of being a dad, I have noticed a few things…
Age might be playing a role, I can’t avoid the inevitable, my strength has gone a bit but can be regained but, it is my flexibility and recovery time that has been the biggest concern.
I have been forced to change my game, my routine, and things in the past I took for granted are not so easy anymore. I can no longer skimp on warm-ups, stretching before and after workouts (active and/or static), yoga is turning into a must. However, I am enjoying every moment. I hug my kids, tell them I love them, make sure training doesn’t cut into dad/family time unless they are
involved and enjoying every minute of it as well. Anyone can ask my kids about how I add extra weight on my back for pushups.
I won’t go into what training used to look like because it would scare most people and for those living with IBD as I do, you would think it impossible. As I get ready for Kilimanjaro, this is what training has evolved into the Early morning, mid-day (if work allows) or late night sessions, that look a little something like this.
I have been doing functional fitness for a long time now and was introduced to CrossFit by a friend Dai Manual and have incorporated this into my routine. Why? It is fast, simple, effective, involves many disciplines, supportive community and I can do it in a home gym, traveling, and with a great group of people.
I try to get in a CrossFit session 5 to 6 times a week, it fits in well with other training.
With CrossFit, I can add in a more dynamic warm-up and work on Range Of Motion (ROM), which involves working each joint to full range of motion to prime it for the workout to come. This process has become more important as I get older and hear more clicks and crackles as I move around. I have also noticed my muscles being stiffer and taking longer to get moving in the mornings.
This muscle stiffness is why I have incorporated yoga a few times a week and make sure I stretch. Fitting in the running and biking has been a challenge with the family, I have found by limiting the long days and pushing harder on short runs and spinning at home on trainer have help, make it easier on my body and on time. I have been doing more endurance and hill/peak runs and using riding to juice up my legs, the spinning has helped gain blood flow and add in recovery time.
I usually climb a lot more leading up to a climb/trek, this will come back, both my kids like to climb and are all kitted out. We will start slow, get them bouldering, learn movement and as they gain skill and practical climbing knowledge we will introduce sport and trad climbing into family
All this said I am older and wiser, I realized that over the years, living with Crohn’s, my choice of sport/awareness campaign has been hard on my body. I have learned to compensate, expect limitations and understand growth. I have inspired and am inspired by many, live to support my family, friends and those suffering from IBD, intestinal health issues or who live with an ostomy.
I don’t walk through a door without holding it open for the next person, why would I not share my knowledge to help others reach new heights or have the quality of life. I am excited to be going back to Africa with an amazing group of trekkers/fundraisers/awareness raisers, looking forward to sharing many life-changing moments on one of my favorite mountains with them all, on this next