To be fair, we're not, but someone is and we're here to tell you all about it !
In just over 4 weeks, a group of ambitious lads are heading to Nepal with the goal of setting a Guinness World Record for the Highest Altitude Fitness Class ever completed!
Stephen Geddes, who owns The Gym in Ballina has assembled a crew of 10 men hailing from Mayo, Galway, Sligo & Cork to climb to Kala Patthar, just past Mt. Everest Basecamp and complete a 30 minute HIIT class at an altitude of more than 18,000 feet. Stephen reached out to us for some support and we were more than happy to oblige - check out the guys in their Gym+Coffee hoodies on their Insta page!
A little different than his usual organisation of Croagh Patrick climbs and Tough Mudder runs (though those are intense enough), this scaling of a section of the world’s tallest peak requires some pretty serious training. Stephen sat down with us to talk a bit about his background, how he got to be organising a trip to Everest and what kind of training is involved for him and his team.
The team doesn’t have access to altitude chambers or similar equipment, meaning they can’t simulate Everest air pressure over here in Ireland. Instead, they adhere to a strict training schedule and once they’re out on the mountain, they must make sure they follow specific guidelines:
- Pacing themselves for each day’s trek.
- Allow time for the team’s bodies to adapt to the thinner air & higher altitude.
- Ensure a high fluid intake due to an increase in loss of fluids through respiration (faster breathing) on top of normal fluid losses.
- Additional acclimation days (2 total) to allow the body time to combat any altitude sickness symptoms.
The Training Schedule
Stephen has been in the health & fitness industry for around 12 years now, so knows a thing or two about keeping fit. He’s also climbed to Everest Basecamp once before, in 2018 (what doesn’t this guy do?) however this time felt a bit different: There would be a team going with him and they’d be doing High-Intensity Interval Training for 30 mins at 18,000 feet..!
Stephen upped the ante on his training schedule and this is what he’s packing into just one week:
- 3 x full-body strength sessions, with particular attention paid to the legs & core
- 4 x 45-minute spin classes to improve cardio output (it doesn’t hurt that this increases leg strength & endurance capabilities as well!)
- 2 x 1-hour standalone cardio sessions in order to burn calories and keep body weight down before the trek
- 1 x outdoor mountain climb. So far, Stephen and crew have been out climbing Lugnaquilla, Carrauntoohil, Ben Lugmore, Croagh Patrick, Nephin, and Mweelrea - basically anything that can start to simulate their Everest trekking!
Everest + The World Record + Fundraising!
The lads will be trekking between 6-8 hours per day raising funds for the Ballina Men’s Shed, a community space for men to meet, discuss health & wellbeing and create or maintain community connections; and the River Moy Search & Rescue Ballina, a non-profit organisation that operates search & recovery missions on the River Moy.
The achievement of the Guinness World Record will be monitored and judged closely. Stephen’s team must adhere to some set guidelines in order to make the cut: Provide an unedited video of the class, obtain a Specialist Witness Statement, include media articles, provide photographic evidence of the climb & class, and provide measurements from a calibrated Altimeter & GPS system.
The group is hoping to raise €20,000 in aid of River Moy Search & Rescue and Ballina Men’s Shed. The team will be running several events locally to raise funds, or you can head to their Go Fund Me pages here and here, or find more info out by checking out their Facebook page! Look out for them in their Gym+Coffee gear during training!