High Altitude Conditioning
The physical and mental conditioning for high altitude mountaineering is rigorous. The expedition timeline includes pre-conditioning, technical training, expedition experience at altitude, and alpine acclimatisation. Training milestones for the 2017 season may include: 1. Aoraki/Mount Cook the highest mountain in New Zealand. 2. Mount Kilimanjaro, with its three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira, a dormant volcanic mountain in Tanzania. 3. A summit of approx 7,000m suitable for ice training and 4. an alpine acclimatisation ascent on at least one peak over 8,000m.
My 2017 training schedule includes 2-3 hours of physical exercise per day, six days per week; eating well at ideal times for strength, nutrition and energy; drinking a min 4 ltrs water per day, and avoiding alcohol. I aim to gain 6 kgs of excess body fat four-months before departure by eating a bowl of carbs (pasta, rice, cereal) right before sleeping, without reducing my fitness motivation or focus. Then gain an additional excess of 4 kg in the final two weeks during the pre-climb rest phase. [The reserves would be well-worth it when my body is depleted by exertion and exposure during the climbing and acclimatisation phases. See references below.] I will also begin
In Nov 2015, I visited my alma mater Victoria University (VU), College of Sport & Exercise Science, to tour the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL) a $68 million high-technology research facility. The range of research facilities at ISEALincludes: Exercise physiology labs which study human exercise performance and fundamental human physiology in sport, exercise, and health. The Altitude Hotel which simulates a high altitude living environment by increasing the level of nitrogen in the air. This lowers the oxygen levels from the normal 20.9% typically down to 15.5%, simulating an altitude of up to 3500 metres and can be extended to higher altitudes. I aslo toured Biomechanics laboratories designed to perform technique analysis and understand the mechanical factors that affect human movement; Motor Learning and Skilled Performance Laboratories designed to study and analyse the acquisition, performance, and perceptual-cognitive aspects of movement and related skills; Sport and Exercise Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Laboratory analyse cells and tissues to understand the key processes controlling or modulating muscle and cellular function; and Motor Control & Biofeedback Laboratories which analyse neural control of muscle contraction and biofeedback.
Eating for Everest
In 2015, my “Eating for Everest” Plan was to gain an 10Kg of excess fat in addition to the natural muscle gain from fitness and strength training. Slowly and naturally I accumulated additional fat deposits around my midline, thighs and bottom by consuming starchy carbohydrates in the evening, casein protein powders in morning, and a glutton of pastries around mid day before sitting at a computer for a few hours. Just when all seemed to be on track, I fractured my sternum and ribs during routine bench press training, prematurely suspending all physical activity and prioritising rest and recuperation. At six weeks before departing for Kathmandu, this was two weeks prior to the planned “final rest and get fat” phase of my schedule. Two tips helped me work on my weight gain while my body reduced the inflammation and healed...
 Singh, S. B., Sharma, A., Yadav, D. K., Verma, S. S., Srivastava, D. N., Sharma, K. N., & Selvamurthy, W. (1997). High altitude effects on human taste intensity and hedonics. Aviation, space, and environmental medicine, 68(12), 1123-1128.  Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S., Westerterp, K. R., Rubbens, M., Verwegen, C. R., Richelet, J. P., & Gardette, B. (1999). Appetite at “high altitude”[Operation Everest III (Comex-’97)]: a simulated ascent of Mount Everest. Journal of Applied Physiology, 87(1), 391-399.  Bailey, D. M., & Davies, B. (2001). Acute mountain sickness; prophylactic benefits of antioxidant vitamin supplementation at high altitude. High Altitude Medicine & Biology, 2(1), 21-29.  Virués-Ortega, J., Buela-Casal, G., Garrido, E., & Alcázar, B. (2004). Neuropsychological functioning associated with high-altitude exposure. Neuropsychology review, 14(4), 197-224.  Westerterp, K. R., & Kayser, B. (2006). Body mass regulation at altitude. European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology, 18(1), 1-3.