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Mountaineering Training | Getting Motivated After The Holidays

On an expedition someone once announced to our group, “It’s not the altitude that’s hard, it’s the lassitude”! I’ve also heard it called Lazy-tude and I’ll admit to suffering from this once in a while ... even at sea-level and especially after holidays! 
At high altitude, lassitude is a real factor. The work is hard and on a rest-day it’s easy to dig down a little into a minus-20 sleeping bag and remain as motionless as possible, conserving energy and restoring ourselves. And yet, after a while it’s easy to get into a funk, start feeling restless and then begin over-thinking the rest of the climb. At least this is my experience and there’s only one solution; find socks, boots, gloves, hats and any other required gear before suiting up and going for a walk. It’s great because it activates the body, stretches the legs and boosts your overall energy. 
The same is true for training. It’s easy to sit inside in during the Holidays and, in much of the country, look outside at the rain or snow. At that moment in time the positive feelings of imagining climbing, being out in beautiful surroundings and experiencing new heights, can all seem distant. 
At times like this I find that the simplest workout is all that is needed to feel great and most importantly, to move in the direction of our training goals. In my case, I find that mood follows action - rarely the other way around. So, I have a few ‘go-to’ work outs that are so simple or enjoyable that it only takes me a small effort to start:

1. 10-minute walk, 20-minute run, 10-minute walk. 
2. 30 minutes of stairs, elliptical or stair-master machine.
3. The Daily Dozen with a 100-yard run between each exercise. 

If you have eaten a few small feasts over the Holidays, it’s raining outside and the couch looks awfully inviting but you know you want to do something because the expedition date is coming up, just do a short and simple workout! Enjoy the feeling of activity, maybe even leave your watch or heart rate monitor behind and listen to some good music as you go. 
It doesn’t take much and you will feel great! 
It also doesn’t hurt to have a reminder what spectacular views await on the mountain! 

- John Colver

John Colver is a longtime climber, former mountain guide, and certified personal trainer with the American Council of Exercise. Colver introduced outdoor fitness classes to athletic clubs throughout the greater Puget Sound region before creating his adventX brand. Currently, adventX leads training programs in Seattle and Colver presents clinics on outdoor fitness at companies such as Microsoft, Boeing, the American Lung Association, and REI. Colver lives in Seattle.

Questions? Comments? Leave a comment to share your thoughts with John and other readers!

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