Todd Carmichael on Training For an Adventure
With your body in peak shape, the entire planet - even the coldest, windiest place on earth - is yours to explore.
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Adventure exploration has become more accessible over the years: There are cross-country bikes ’n’ beer tours, multiweek rafting and backpacking trips through exotic locales, and even more extreme challenges for those who have the passion. Take Todd Carmichael, 50, who set a world record in 2008, trekking—unaided— from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole, hauling 250 pounds of supplies across 700 miles of icy terrain. He accomplished the feat in just 39 days, 7 hours, and 49 minutes. Carmichael clearly doesn’t believe in the impossible. “Train your muscle memory correctly,” he says, “and you can do what you were born to do.”
Build to Burn
● Carmichael could just work out at a gym every day, but he says he likes to know he's building toward something. This includes gaining muscle even though it’ll be erased by expedition’s end, and modifying his food intake: He eats very late (2 a.m.) second dinners just before an adventure to have plenty of extra calories to burn.
● “Know that it’s going to be really bad,” Carmichael advises. He gets his body used to weeks of trekking by doing intense cardio and metabolic weight training. With metabolic circuits, recommended by trainer Roger Schwab, he blasts every muscle group, largest to smallest, to failure for 30 minutes without rest. Allow ample days for recovery.
Go All In For Adventure
● Carmichael preps for expeditions using a gut-wrenching regimen of tire pulls, 14-hour weighted StairMaster sessions, and metabolic weight training. Sending his system into “red alert,” Carmichael says, gets his body—and more important, his mind—ready for the shock that defines extreme adventuring. Get ready for your next daring thrill by ratcheting up your regimen to Beast Mode.
● When you’re out there, little things keep you sane. For Carmichael— co-founder of coffee roaster La Colombe Torrefaction—relief is as simple as sipping a cup of coffee for 15 minutes. He also packs sausage and chocolate for treats.
A Family Affair
● He takes spinning classes with his wife, singer Lauren Hart. “It’s not key to my prep, but it’s important to spend time with my wife, whom I’m going to disappear on while on the adventure.”
Training Tip: For metabolic training, go super slowly on negative reps. After failure, move quickly to the next machine.