It’s now less than 100 days until we head off to conquer the Everest Base Camp trek! In the lead up to the trek (and because it’s about the only thing I can concentrate on at the moment!), I thought I’d share some of the planning and preparation that I’ve done. Whether it’s all been enough or not – we’ll soon see!
Everything that I’ve read about the Everest Base Camp trek says that anyone of average fitness can complete it, but I really want to give myself the best possible chance, so I’ve started a bit of a regular fitness regime. Hopefully this will reduce how miserable I feel on the harder trekking days as well! To give you some context, I have a fairly sedentary job which means I’m usually tied to my desk for most of the time throughout the day, but I do rely on walking as my main means of transport. I don’t really have a regular exercise routine as such, I more tend to go through phases where I’ll exercise pretty regularly, and then slack off again as life gets in the way. At the moment, I would probably like to increase my fitness somewhat before the trek, hopefully with the added bonus of dropping some weight also.
I’ve cobbled together a bit of an exercise plan, please note that I am by no means qualified in these sorts of things! My main focus has been on increasing my cardio fitness, as I think that’s what is going to help me the most. My weapon of choice has been the stepper machine, as I figured that will assist with developing my leg muscles and coping with some of the steep uphills on the way to Everest Base Camp. At the moment I’ve been doing 30 minutes 3-4 times a week on the stepper, using one of the pre-set workout programs on it that has a pretty tough hill. I like to pretend that it’s Mt Everest that I’m walking up to try and get me through the workout! Occasionally, I’ll mix this up with walking on a steep gradient on the treadmill, or even a hill program on the exercise bike.
Something else that I have been doing is trying to increase my general walking. Most work days, I’m now walking both to work and back home (no mean feat at the end of a long work day), which is about a 30 minute walk each way. There’s also some good small gradients on my walk through Melbourne’s CBD which I think help too.
I’ve also tried to increase the amount of walking that I do on the weekends, and be a bit more active in general. Ash and I have done a couple of short hikes around Melbourne on some weekends (see here and here for the details), and we probably need to do a few more before we head off also. I’m tracking my amount of steps each day with a wristband fitness tracker, and aiming for a minimum of 10,000 steps per day – harder than I anticipated, especially in an office job! I feel like actually keeping track of this has made me more active and more focused on incidental exercise, which can only be a good thing!
Acclimating to the altitude is something that I can’t train for, and have to wait and see how I handle it. Living at Melbourne’s scant elevation of 31 metres above sea level for most of my life and not having ventured much higher than that is not ideal, although it’s what the majority of trekkers face when they attempt the Everest Base Camp Trek. I’ve certainly been nowhere near the 5,643 metre elevation that will be the peak altitude of our trek at the summit of Kala Patthar! All that I can do from an altitude perspective is make sure that we don’t rush the trek, take it slow and steady and really keep an eye out for any altitude sickness symptoms. The Everest Base Camp trek itinerary that we have agreed on allows sufficient time for the all-important acclimatisation days. We’ll also follow the “trek high, sleep low” rule which really helps acclimatisation by making sure that you always sleep at a lower altitude than where you have trekked to each day, slowly increasing your body’s ability to handle the decreased oxygen levels in the air as you ascend.
In conjunction with increasing my exercise, I’ve also started trying to eat fairly healthy. I figure that if my body is in the best condition possible, it’s only going to make the trek easier. I don’t really believe in things like eliminating carbs etc (plus I love carbs way too much to give them up!), I’ve just really been trying to focus on eating more unprocessed foods, and focusing on meats and veggies. Hopefully all of these things together should have me well prepped to make it to Everest Base Camp!
Have you attempted a long or high-altitude trek? Tell me about how you prepared in the comments!
Header photo credit:
Everest Base Camp – Gorak Shep – Nepal. by lampertron is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.