Mt. Washington, goal setting, and a bit of charity…

Posted: February 14, 2009 in Uncategorized

It’s near impossible to read about fat loss and not see something about goal setting.  It’s used with such frequency that I think many folks have become numb to the idea.  They don’t see value in something that isn’t novel.  Instead of actually thinking about what they specifically want and why they want it, they’d just as soon go off and read the newest and flashiest program in this month’s fitness magazine. 

I promised myself I wasn’t going to get into a tangent about goal setting here because I spewed enough psycho-babble in my last post.  If you haven’t read it yet, it might be worth your time.


For those who don’t know, a team consisting of Gordy, myself and a few friends are venturing on a mountaineering trip this upcoming Saturday.  We’re attempting what’s known as the Presidential Traverse on the White Mountain range of New Hampshire.  The hike spans across numerous mountains, most notably Mt. Washington.  People often times are fooled by these mountains for the simple fact that they’re not very high, relatively.  Mt. Washington is the highest of the Whites peaking out at a mere 6,288 feet.  

What they’re missing is the fact that this mountain houses the worst weather in the country and sometimes the world.  Our hike will span over 3 days at the minimum.  Funnily enough, 1 out of 3 days on the summit see winds in excess of 100 mph.  Yup.  You read that correctly.  We’re likely to see white out blizzard conditions coupled with hurricane force winds.  And don’t forget about the frigid temperatures.  We’ve been tracking the temperatures for some time.  A few weeks back it was downright cold but for the last couple of weeks it has been unseasonably warm up there with temperatures hovering around 0 degrees fahrenheit.  We’re hoping this isn’t the calm before the storm!

I’ve seen temps drop to -30 up there and wind chills close in on -100 degrees.  If you’re interested, you can track the current conditions at the summit at the official Mt. Washington website.  


Coming full circle now, back to goals.  Goal setting is discussed so much that even in my own training I occasionally slip up and forget about why I’m training.  I go on autopilot and invariably when this occurs, my intensity, desire, and passion slip a few notches.  With this trip and it’s level of difficulty, I had no choice but to set goals and it was a great reminder of how influential goal setting can be.  I have a very specific time period I’ve been locked into where I needed to train my ass off so I can tackle these mountains like a machine.  There’s too many forces beyond my control that can ‘get me’ up there so I don’t need my body failing me to boot.  I need to handle what’s in my control.  

Beyond the simple fact that I had a definitive deadline, I also like living.  This mountain has more deaths than any other mountain in this country and I’m not looking to become a statistic any time soon.  This sounds silly, but it’s really not.  I’m very passionate about living and feel that I have a ton left to do yet, so this played a powerful influence on my training for this trip.

When you feel your back is truly against the wall, skipping a session of training seems comically stupid.  

I know the new year recently passed but if you haven’t done so in a few months or even a few weeks… spend a moment alone with pen, paper and deep thoughts and jot down what you want, why you want it, and when you want it.  

You may be wondering how I’m going about training for this trip.  Well, strength training has been moved to maintenance.  You don’t need an exceptional level of strength to do this sort of trip.  What you do need is a ton of muscular endurance and an acclimation to training in cold temperatures.  With this in mind, it’s pretty obvious how one might go about training for this.  I strapped a weighted pack to my back and would hike outside up the steepest hills I could find in my area.  I progressed from 40 to 70 lbs over the course of two months.  

I’d do weighted pack work three times per week, two sessions of upper body strength training per week, one session of lower body strength training per week, and two to four sessions of lower intensity cardio per week. 

On top of this, on the weekends Gordy and I would hike in northern PA and camp.  Temperatures most of these nights would dip into the single digits so this aided conditioning and acclimation to the cold.



My scale has been out of batteries for months but I obviously dropped a good bit of body fat.  It’s a pretty stressful schedule with this level of training and planning, so I loosened up the diet quite a bit.  I made sure I was eating adequate protein (to aid in muscle maintenance with all the energy expenditure and cardio) but beyond that, I pretty much ate whatever I felt like.  If you didn’t know different, you’d say I ate like  a hog.  Low and behold though, I leaned out very nicely.  What was that myopic crap I heard you saying about having to eat “clean” foods if you’re going to lose fat?

Yea…. didn’t think so.

I was downing skittles by the bag full.  The family bags!

To the real point of this post… part of the reason we’re climbing is for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  If you’re interested in making a donation through Body-Improvements, please visit the link below.  100% of donations will go to the charity.  We’ll leave this link open for a number of weeks after our climb too.  Any little bit makes a difference.


We’re also working on providing those interested with a way of watching us progress on hike via google maps and a gps tracker.  We’re hoping to have this figured out sooner than later, so be on the look out for that.  We’ve also been discussing the trip in this thread on our forum if your interested in reading along.  
Best to you!


  1. Anonymous says:

    […]  For those who haven’t been following along you can read about what the trip was all about here.  The trip was successful in that we didn’t die and we learned a lot.  It […]

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