Jenn's workout routines are a mix of cardio, weightlifting, yoga, Pilates, and recovery to prepare her of the rigors of climbing mountains, but they're important mental preparation as well. "When things get hard on the mountain, I can remind myself: I showed up, I did the work, I am ready, my mind is just trying to take the easy way out,". Very rarely does everything line up perfectly on the mountain, she said, so all you can do is "show up, give your best that day, and understand that your best will always be a moving target." That goes for fitness, too: "Every workout, I find something I am grateful for," Jenn said. "The bad times allow us to appreciate the good times even more."
Keep reading for an up-close look at a week of Jenn's workouts as she trains for Everest, K2, and beyond.
Monday: Low-intensity cardio and weightlifting
"I like to get the kids to school and start my workouts, and I mix up my activities to help fight off boredom. I know snow is melting soon, so I try to take advantage of it as much as possible. I live close to a rolling hill area, so today, with four hours of cardio, I put on my snowshoes and leave right from the backyard. Within two miles I am on a trail that has multiple trails to pick from. I get home and do some upper body lifting along with core work. If it's cold out, I'll sometimes do weightlifting first and then do cardio, hoping the weather will warm up!"
Tuesday: 10-mile hike with vertical gain
"Luckily I live in Park City, UT. We have mountains in all directions and it is very easy to get elevation gain and I try to get 6,000-9,000 feet in elevation gain on Tuesdays. This hike should try to mimic my future climbs as much as possible. Fueling correctly is also a big part of today, as is layering clothing so I don't ever get too hot or too cold. Trying different socks, boots, and gear allows me to make sure it is going to work well for when I am actually climbing Mt. Everest."
Wednesday: Rock climbing and yoga stretches
"This is a partial recovery day since I just got done with two big days of cardio. Today, I am just working on climbing strength and getting more comfortable on rock. I have a fear of heights so exposure therapy is the thing that helps me stay ahead of that fear. This week I was too busy to make it to a yoga class, so I just went home and rolled on the foam roller and did some stretching."
Thursday: Weight training and foam rolling
"Today is a lighter day. The kids have a lot of activities on Thursdays after school so I try to keep my energy for them. I do a lot of core exercises with the weighted medicine ball."
Friday: Skate ski session
"I love to skate ski. We have great trails in Park City that are groomed multiple times a day. Again, I get to get out in nature and have a few paths to pick from to keep my brain busy. Skate skiing is really good for the glutes and legs: the uphills are killer and the downhills allow you to recover a bit. Mountaineering is the same, there are sections that require a bit of punch, and then there are sections where you can recover some."
Saturday: Pilates and step-ups
"My kids are around Saturday, so they'll be outside playing on the trampoline or riding bikes and I'll bring my step outside to be able to watch them play. Sometimes we even throw a ball back and forth while I am doing the step ups. I wear BFR bands- blood flow restrictions bands to try and maximize the shorter cardio workout and wear a weighted vest to mimic the weight of my backpack. I also have a simple Pilates routine that is more stretching than strength but does the job!"
Sunday: Rest day
"I usually will stretch, journal, and keep the day open for whatever. If I had a day too busy in the week to get a workout in, then I move the workout to today and use the other day as a rest day. Climbing Everest is a big deal. This workout week is a big one that I took months to build up to. Soon the workload goes down as I taper my training to store up energy for the big event!
The key for me to stay motivated is to do a variety of activities every week. So when it says cardio I will interchange biking, hiking, running, skate skiing, and cross country skiing. If I can't climb outside, I'll go to the indoor climbing gym, or if it's raining, I might move a weight lifting session for a climbing session so I can climb outdoors. The key to success for me is looking at the calendar and having a bunch of choices to get the specific workouts in. Then I can easily adapt for my mood and time allowance. This gives me the best chance of success!"