I average about an hour a day of good general exercise (wts, cardio, yoga), including weekends. I also have a regular job and a commute (11 hrs tot), not to mention family. I get to the gym by 5 AM and try to walk (fast) at lunch hour when I can but I hit the wall after work. I'm not in bad shape but I am also not in great shape.
I need to train for altitude, stamina/endurance, and technique and there do not seem to be enough hours in the day or enough gas in the tank to get it all in. How do you train for the long days at altitude, technical climbs, heavy loads, etc., and still hold down a regular job. Is there a tried and true routine/schedule/plan you know of? Do you have any particular tips for keeping your energy going after a workday? What works?
This is a good question. I just started at a new job, which due to the crappy bus service in Seattle takes up to 3 hours of commuting a day. Here are some things that help me.
-I get up at 4:00 AM to train so I have plenty of energy, rather than waiting until after work when I just want to crash.
-I am fortunate in that I live in the mountains and can run trails with lots of elevation before work. I love to trail run and find that the combination of long slow distance and lots of elevation gain/loss is great endurance, cardio, and strength training for my legs. My longest runs that I can squeeze in before work are 1:45, a decent mid week run. If you can find trails to run or hike fast on nearby, take advantage of them.
-I do hill repeats. This can be simulated with a stair stepper machine. Intervals, in addition to other cardio, gives you an excellent workout in a short amount of time. I keep it simple: -Easy 15 minute run to warm up -Run up hill (or turn up the stair stepper to full speed) for 90 seconds -Jog back down hill and jog in place to recover for 3:30 -Repeat each 5 minute interval 6 times, increasing to 9 reps as you get stronger -15 minute easy run to cool down
-I take two buses to work, and end up walking 1 to 1 1/2 miles between buses and to my office. I walk fast and consider it training. Not hugely beneficial, but every little bit helps.
-I built a small, simple home gym. Rather than spend time commuting to the gym, I can roll out of bed and start working out. You don't need a lot of equipment. I have gymnast rings hanging from the ceiling which allow me to do a large range of exercises. Pull ups, muscle ups, dips, push ups, lever ups, hanging leg raises, etc. You get a great workout with rings as your core and other stabilizing muscles are recruited while you are working the major muscle groups. I also do a lot of other body weight exercises supplemented with lighter weights - planks, ball crunches, wall sits, etc.
-Look into Cross Fit. These gyms are popping up everywhere. The workouts are generally fairly short and intense and offer a full workout in limited time. I don't personally do Cross Fit, but I know some very strong climbers who do and manage to full time jobs, parenthood, family obligations and a kick ass climbing career in.
I have used CF but found Rob's programing at Mountain Athlete.com much better for climbing as it has durability and flexibility already built in. I use their Big Mountain program with great results in Nepal.
I used crossfit some last summer but ended up with an elbow injury because of it. Not saying it has no value, but some of those movements have little to do with mountaineering shape, especially the cleans.....which is what I hurt my elbow on. I'm still using aspects of it, but cutting out the portions that don't make sense for me. I've gone through the Insanity workout and am now doing the 25 minute version of it called T25 along with weight training and stair-stepper sessions. Also climbing o the indoor wall and playing in the winter basketball league. The T25 program really gets your anaerobic conditioning up to par....it's 25 minutes of high intensity cardio, core, balance....I'm liking it and can see big benefits for rock climbing, scrambling, and boulder fields.