I just moved into the AAI offices, and I turned 40 this year. My previous life consisted of guiding a couple of Denali trips in the summer and then about another 100 days of guiding in the cascades. Off seasons were spent in Indian Creek, Ut, Red Rocks, NV, The Sierra mountains, and Yosemite Valley. In the winters I ski patrolled and ski/ ice guided in various places around the world. Now I live in the largest city I have lived and traded the uncertainty of trips and where I'm going to live for the security 9-5 and a stable lifestyle. Seems like all guides eventually go through this. With these changes mean I still have to be fit enough to return in the summer and still guide Denali and put in days guiding in the Cascades. I realized very quickly that I needed to start to train.
I now have a very similar schedule to many of our clientele. I simply needed to start a training program. I began by getting a simple membership at the YMCA and I am lucky enough that our Y in Bellingham host a great climbing wall. I started to go 3-4 times a week climbing on the wall. My only training background comes from taking a few trainers climbing and the misconception of climb until you can't mover your arms anymore. This concept worked about 2 weeks before I injured my shoulder and was unable to climb. I was lost and didn't know what to do.
I began to search the Internet on training schedules and workouts I kept running across this CrossFit training. According to wikipedia "CrossFit, Inc. is a fitness company founded by Greg Glassman in 2000. CrossFit's exercise program is practiced by members of approximately 4,400 affiliated gyms, most of which are located in the United States, and by individuals who complete daily workouts posted on the company's website."
I found the local CrossFit gym and signed up. The workouts are one hour of sweat and intensity I work out right next to people half my age and 20 years older then me. We all do the same workout but weights and reps are different. The level of intensity is judged by the individual doing the workout and of course encouraged by the coach of the workout.
You tend to do a large number of movements with focus on whole body workout. Their may be muscle group focused but you still will be running or jumping on days you seem to be focused on shoulders. On days the your are squatting you may find yourself finishing with a large number of pull ups. At the end of each work out I feel like my whole body has been worked as well as at some time during the workout I went anaerobic and worked on my recovery time. This aspect seems super key for climbing and mountaineering as recovery time is what need to happen on big routes and big mountains.
I have already started to feel the difference and the best part I am going 3 time a week my injury to my shoulder seems to be getting better and when I go to the YMCA to do some climbing I feel stronger and I am maintaining a standard level of climbing. This is just proof that if you can't be out climbing, skiing, bike riding, or running all the time having a great training program will help you out. I certainly would recommend checking out a CrossFit program.
--Mark Cionek, Alaska and Aconcagua Programs Coordinator