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The Journey Continues: Taking on the Challenge

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, "Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’.” – Muhammad Ali

In my last blog, I shed some insight into the challenges I will be facing on my South Pole

Trek. I would encounter most of those hurdles when I step foot on the ice in Antarctica,

which is why preparation in the months leading up is crucial. After establishing a team

which consisted of a nutritionist, personal trainers, adventure consultants, gear

specialists and polar guides, I was ready to take the challenge head on.

My first goal was to establish myself back into a regular routine of physical training.

This was daunting as I had not trained for over 20 years. It was so noticeable that

people even made comments about how clean my trainers looked the first time I

stepped into the gym! I was looking to change the narrative and prove them wrong!

Before implementing a consistent exercise regimen, I had to undergo an initial

evaluation and screening process. This was necessary to establish a baseline for me to

build upon and address any potential issues that may arise. It covered aspects such as

lifestyle (including nutrition and sleep), body composition, mobility, balance, strength,

and cardiovascular fitness.

As the conditions in the South Pole mean that I need to be working at a submaximal rate

to prevent overexertion and consequently sweating, improving my strength and

endurance is essential since I will also be hauling a sled weighing 30-50kg. With this in

mind, I worked with my team to establish a regular training regimen which consisted of

training sessions in the gym working to progressively improve my baseline strength;

and cardiovascular sessions outside the gym to build my aerobic capacity. This has been

challenging, as my body is not accustomed to such strenuous activity. I started to feel

sore in places I never knew I could feel sore! There were days when the simple act of

getting out bed seemed like a challenge. The physical fatigue was then followed by the

mental fatigue, the drain of keeping up to scratch with my program and ensuring I was

putting in the hard yards to be ready. However, I remain determined to see the journey

out. I keep telling myself to choose the long-term success over the short-term

satisfaction. I may be hurting today, but it will give me the strength I need tomorrow.

In my next blog, I will iterate the challenges associated with changing my diet, and the

next steps required for me to prepare for the South Pole trek. Stay tuned!

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