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Practical Tips for Extreme Trekking Training

Whilst Extreme Trekking you can experience the awe-inspiring beauty and formidable dangers of Mother Nature.

She is such a powerful force; from cold of the Arctic to the searing heat of the Desert; from the majestic Mountains and serene Forests to turbulent Storms, nature captivates and Challenges us.

‘Head to Toe Fitness’ is crucial for extreme trekking due to the demanding physical and mental challenges involved. Being well-prepared allows you to handle the rigorous demands, enhancing your safety, enjoyment, and overall experience.

Mindset for Endurance and Extreme Adventures:

One key ‘suggestion’ for all types of endurance adventures is to “take it slowly.” Set a comfortable and consistent pace. Remember, “Plodders get there; sprinters don’t!”

This approach has proven successful for me, (Roger.D) in various extreme environments, including the Arctic, Sahara desert, the ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest ABC.

On Kilimanjaro, the mantra is “Poli Poli,” which means “slowly” in Kiswahili and in the Arctic, it’s known as the “Polar Plod.”

The same principle applies with Coastal and Atlantic Kayaking and Rowing.

Extreme Trekking Training Programs

Strength Training Program: Aim to maintain a strength training program 3 to 4 times per week at the gym. Here’s a list of compound workouts that effectively build muscle across all major muscle groups:

Try to maintain a strength training program 3/4 times per week at the gym;

I’ve listed a compound workout that is the most effective in building muscle across all of your major muscle groups.

To maintained a strength routine at the gym would be helpful for any adventure

These are part of my current and on-going routine.

Key Exercises include:

Dead lifts

Back Squats

Front Squats

Shoulder Press

Bench Press

Incline Press



Weighted step-ups (Beginners should start with the unweighted step-up).

Kettlebell Core Exercises

Strength routine lasts 45-60 minutes. Build from 3 up to 5 times per week

Holistic Gym Tips

Holistic style of training addresses the ‘whole’ person , not just a physical training schedule

Cardiovascular Training / Aerobic Exercise

Key aims of cardio/aerobic exercises are crucial for maintaining overall health and fitness. These types of exercises primarily focuses on improving the efficiency of the cardiovascular system, which includes the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Understanding the aims of cardiovascular training can help you develop a more effective workout routine and achieve your health goals.

1. Improve Heart Health

Cardiovascular training strengthens the heart muscle, enabling it to pump blood more efficiently. This leads to better circulation, reduced risk of heart disease, and lower blood pressure. Regular aerobic exercise can significantly decrease the risk of heart attacks and strokes. ( I had a stent fitted in 2009; 8 months before trekking 650km to the North Pole)

2. Enhance Lung Capacity

Aerobic exercise increases your lung capacity and improves the efficiency of your respiratory system. This means your lungs can take in more oxygen and expel carbon dioxide more effectively, which is essential for overall health and endurance.

3. Boost Metabolism

Engaging in cardiovascular activities raises your metabolic rate, both during exercise and at rest. A higher metabolism helps in burning more calories, which is beneficial for weight management and reducing body fat.

4. Increase Endurance and Stamina

Consistent cardiovascular training enhances your endurance and stamina, making it easier to perform daily activities and other physical exercises. Improved endurance means you can exercise for longer periods without getting fatigued.

5. Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

Regular aerobic exercise helps in controlling blood sugar levels, which is particularly beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition. It improves insulin sensitivity, allowing your muscles to use glucose more effectively.

6. Enhance Mental Health

Cardiovascular training is known to have a positive impact on mental health. It can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve mood, and increase the release of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters.

7. Improve Sleep Quality

Engaging in regular cardiovascular exercise can help improve the quality of your sleep. It can assist in falling asleep faster and enjoying deeper sleep, which is essential for overall well-being.

8. Strengthen Immune System

Regular cardiovascular exercise can boost your immune system, making you less susceptible to illnesses. It helps in the efficient circulation of immune cells throughout the body, enhancing their ability to fight off infections. I also have a 5 minute Wim Hoff Shower (cold shower) every morning

Types of Cardiovascular Exercises

Running and Jogging

Running and jogging are excellent ways to improve cardiovascular health. They can be easily incorporated into your routine and require minimal equipment.


Cycling, whether outdoors or on a stationary bike, is a low-impact exercise that effectively enhances cardiovascular fitness and builds lower body strength.


Swimming is a full-body workout that not only improves cardiovascular health but also strengthens muscles and enhances flexibility.

Walking & Hiking

Walking is a simple and effective form of cardiovascular exercise, suitable for all fitness levels. It is an excellent way to start if you are new to aerobic workouts.

High-Intensity Interval Training

It involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by rest periods. It is highly effective for improving cardiovascular health and burning calories in a shorter time.

Tips for Effective Cardiovascular Training

Consistency is Key: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercise per week.

Warm-Up and Cool Down: Always start with a warm-up to prepare your body and end with a cool-down to aid in recovery.

Monitor Your Heart Rate: Use a heart rate monitor to ensure you are exercising within your target heart rate zone.

Mix It Up: Incorporate different types of cardiovascular exercises to keep your routine interesting and target different muscle groups.

Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workouts to stay hydrated and maintain performance.

Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body feels during exercise. Rest if you experience pain or extreme fatigue.


Cardiovascular training is essential for maintaining optimal health and fitness. By understanding its aims and incorporating various aerobic exercises into your routine, you can improve your heart health, boost your metabolism, enhance your mental well-being, and achieve your overall fitness goals. Stay consistent, monitor your progress, and enjoy the journey to a healthier you.

Training Timeline:

  • If you are already fit, start your training at least 8 weeks before your event.
  • If you are not regularly going to the gym, I recommend starting 12-16 weeks prior.

Note: Always consult a qualified physical trainer or your doctor before following any personal training tips.

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