“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!