Well it’s been a while since I’ve done any real training, I guess it would be back June before Yosemite, the time spent in between: away on trips, climbing at home, but like most people, just working. I’ve come to realise - well I’ve known for a long time - that I’ve got a bad habit of ‘one hundred percentism’, where I go 100% at one task and won’t do anything else. This could be writing a book, being on tour, or working on this website (which I spent a month and a half rebuilding in December). That obsessiveness is of course a gift and a curse, makes me who I am, allows me to be good at some things, but very bad at others. I only want to do what I want to do, and when I do it, that’s all I want to do!
But it’s winter time, the time I need to be fit for projects, plus I know that my fitness has slipped into the red, well at least how fit I look and feel (different to how fit I actually am).
On Christmas day I went for a swim in the sea in Galway bay (the water was only 8 degrees), and Ella filmed the swim for a school project. I guess I’ve been in this body a long time - 45 years - and have come to terms with my shape and body type, and know that even when ‘unfit’ and ‘fat’ I’m generally fitter than most people (I have a below 50 heart rate yet I’m obese). And yet seeing myself stripping off for Ella’s movie I just thought, ‘fuck, I look dad fat!’. I thought back to six weeks of sitting eating sausage sandwiches for breakfast, then munching the best Italian sandwiches down in the Italian quarter of Bray (I say quarter, but it’s actually just an alley), the big dinners of spaghetti and green curry. All fine when training hard, but not when you’re sitting on your hole.
And so I jumped on the scales. What had read 98kg a month before, now read 102kg. It may not sound much, just stick 4 bags of sugar in your pockets and try climbing at your grade (note that bags of sugar sized pockets tend to also look a bit odd). It was time to do something about it.
I get a lot o questions about fitness and training, as although I’m no Steve House, I do get around - somehow. I look like your average joe, well maybe fatter than average (someone once said I looked like a tenement block), but I am very average in most things, especially false modesty. And so I thought I’d detail my training in a daily, so people could see what I do, how I do it, and maybe get some ideas.
I’m going to try and keep it simple most days, but give enough details to allow people to really understand what I’m up to, as I hate general comments, like “I did some deadlifts and became the strongest climber in the world”, your brain shouting ‘how many reps, HOW MANY REPS… and what are reps!’. I’ll also maybe expand out some thoughts that come to me when training, about fitness, body image, things, people and thoughts that come to me in the gym… or maybe just about reps.
I’ll try and keep it up as long as I can, or as long as I remain uninjured!
You can follow my diary here on my Training page (I’m on day 4 BTW)
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Andrew Kirkpatrick is a British mountaineer, author, motivational speaker and monologist. He is best known as a big wall climber, having scaled Yosemite's El Capitan 30+ times, including five solo ascents, and two one day ascents, as well as climbing in Patagonia, Africa, Alaska, Antarctica and the Alps.Follow @ Instagram