Date: February 16th, 2016
About Matt Helliker
Matt Helliker is a notable alpinist who’s done quite a few first ascents. He’s originally from England, but now lives, climbs, and guides in Chamonix, France. As an ice climber, a mixed climber, a trad climber, a sport climber, and a boulderer, I was really interested in knowing how Matt trains to stay strong for it all. You can find out more about him and his first ascents on his athlete page at Patagonia and on his personal site.
What We Talked About
- What winter alpine climbs entail
- How he trains for it all
- Climbing 5.14a
- Hard alpine ascents in remote areas
- Training 7 days a week
- His vegetarian diet
Matt Helliker Links
- Video trailer of Citadel, a film about Matt Helliker and Jon Bracey in Alaska
- Matt Helliker’s personal site: matthelliker.com
- Matt Helliker on Instagram
- Matt Helliker on Twitter
- Matt Helliker on Facebook
Training Programs for You
- Check out our Route Climbing Training Program for route climbers of all abilities.
- Our other training programs: Training Programs Page.
FrictionLabs (my favorite chalk company by far) is offering you a discount on their awesome chalk – woot!
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Neely Quinn: Welcome to the Training Beta podcast, where I talk to climbers and trainers about how we can get a little better at our favorite sport. I’m your host, Neely Quinn, and today we’re on episode 44.
Today I’m talking with Matt Helliker, who is an alpine climber. You’re welcome, alpinists. I have heard your requests and I’m trying to get more of a varied selection of climbers on the podcast so that we can understand how to train for all aspects of climbing, not just sport climbing, like me, or bouldering. Matt is a notable first ascensionist in the alpine world. He is from England but he lives in France now. He’s in Chamonix and he is a guide, a ski guide and a mountain guide, but mostly he’s a climber. He’s a Patagonia ambassador which, to me, has always said something about the caliber of climber.
Some of his notable first ascents are: The Cartwright Connection, which is ED4 – I have honestly no idea what that means but maybe you alpinists do. That was on the north buttress of Mount Hunter in Alaska. He also did the first ascent of There’s a Moose Loose aboot this Hoose, which is ED4 as well, and he’s going to talk to you a little bit more about some of his other first ascents.
Matt’s also a sport climber. He’s climbed .14a, so I thought it was really cool that he’s pretty well-rounded. He’s about to tell you about his completely insane – I’ve never heard of anything like it – training program, which seems like more of a neurosis to me than a plan. No offense, Matt! I love you and I really enjoyed talking to you, but it’s pretty crazy.
I did give Matt a hard time on this podcast, in our interview. I was joking around quite a bit with him about how insane his program is and I want you to know that I have quite a bit of respect for him. I was just giving him shit because that’s what people in England do to each other so I thought I would try to fit in there.
Before we get into the interview I need to let you know that my favorite chalk company, which is FrictionLabs, is giving you guys some really great discounts if you’re interested in trying their chalk out for yourself. Go to www.frictionlabs.com/trainingbeta and you will find the goods there.
Alright, so without further adieu, here is Matt Helliker. Enjoy!
Neely Quinn: Alright, welcome to the show, Matt Helliker. Thank you so much for being with me.
Matt Helliker: No worries. Good to be here.
Neely Quinn: Yeah. For anybody who doesn’t know who you are, can you give me a brief description of yourself?
Matt Helliker: I’m an alpinist. That’s my main thing, I guess, but obviously with alpinism it kind of incorporates every form of climbing and of skiing, so everything that we love doing but all wrapped up into one. I’m an IFAMGA mountain guide as well but I kind of try to climb, I guess, for myself 90% and 10% mountain guide.
Neely Quinn: Right, and I just read that you said that somewhere, in another interview, that your climbing and your skiing come first before your guiding.
Matt Helliker: Yeah. I think for me, I think I’m kind of in a fortunate position. I’ve managed to work quite closely with a few companies that kind of give me an opportunity to climb pretty much full time but certainly, I think, from a guiding perspective, mountain guiding is super hard work and super dangerous and quite highly stressed. I think, for me, it’s really nice to kind of have that balance so that actually when I do guide, I’m still really motivated and psyched to do that because I think unfortunately a lot of mountain guides who guide a lot, it can kind of tap into your own psych to maybe go out and climb yourself on your days off or whatever, because you’re so tired from working.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, I mean even working in climbing gyms over the years, I’ve been like, ‘Ugh, I don’t want to climb anymore,’ so I can only imagine just going out there and getting wasted, you know?
Matt Helliker: Totally. You know, you feel like you’re flapping up and down a big hill the whole time and then the thought, on your day off, of kind of walking in three hours to a big cliff and then going climbing is kind of/it’s gotta be hard on the whole motivational side of things, for sure.
Neely Quinn: Yeah. Okay, so I’m detecting an accent. Once again, I feel like all I do is interview people from the UK so tell me where you’re from and how you got started in all of this.
Matt Helliker: All of us stem from the center of the universe, the UK, and I’m sort of/I was based down in the southwest, actually. I was brought up on the best rock in the universe: limestone. Most Brits seem to think that it’s gritstone but that’s just not true. I was brought up in the southwest and it’s a great area. I mean, there’s not many mountains down there and such but the rock climbing – North Devon and Cornwall and Pembrokeshire – all on the sea cliffs, a super, amazing place to be, actually. Sometimes I kind of, now, didn’t really appreciate what I had on my doorstep in terms of quality of the rock down there. It’s really nice to actually go back and kind of, like, find your roots again and get to go to your old haunts, you know? It’s a really cool place to be.
Certainly, I think I <unclear> rock climbing down in the southwest and then, for me, I kind of wanted something a bit different and I wanted to kind of get into the mountains. Again, in the UK, we’re really lucky to just go a bit further north and you have North Wales and you have the Lake District and then you have Scotland.
In terms of building on your mountain skills, you know, it was kind of like a natural progression and certainly winter climbing in Scotland was something that kind of captured me, really. I guess then, from winter climbing in Scotland, then the next step for me was to then sort of go to the Alps and then climb in the Alps. It was kind of like a long apprenticeship to kind of get to the Alps but it was kind of a really good one that was well worth doing, I think.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, and you’re now living in Chamonix, correct?
Matt Helliker: Yeah, now living in Chamonix and again, it’s a great place to be but then still – I mean only like, a couple of weeks ago I was back in Scotland, mixed climbing, because I think certainly from a mixed climbing perspective, obviously in our mountains we don’t have bolts like on sea cliffs. We don’t have bolts – it’s all naturally protected like it is in the States and in many places. I think certainly that aspect, it just kind of makes things more memorable, you know? I mean in Scotland you can walk in for about three or four hours and just do one pitch of climbing but it’s a memorable pitch, you know, so it’s worth it. It’s not all about size and I think, certainly, going back there is really cool but it’s really nice being in Chamonix as well. Of course it is. I mean, you know, you get to climb in the high mountains here and you can sort of play around with conditions and you get skiing, so yeah, it’s a good place to be at.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, and you kind of do a little bit of everything, right? So I’m looking at your resume right now at your site, www.matthelliker.com, and I, as a sport climber, have honestly no idea what these numbers mean. Like: first ascent, The Cartwright Connection – AI6, A2, 5.8, M6, Mount Hunter north buttress, Alaska. You have stuff like this all over the world that you’ve done. Do you want to tell me a little more about what you do for all of my listeners who are boulderers and sport wankers like myself? We don’t really have a good grasp on what you do, so maybe you could talk about some of your highlight climbs and really what they’re like.
Matt Helliker: Sure, I mean, I don’t know – I think, like I said at the start, that alpinism has a really big umbrella of all the aspects of our sport. I think/I mean, I’m a sport climber as well, and a boulderer, and a trad climber, and ice climber, and mixed climber, and all that kind of rolls into one to make you an alpinist, and also if you ski. So I think for me, I was/one of my main passions is kind of new routing in the mountains, in the Alps, and in the greater ranges.
I spend quite a lot of time going on trips so I’m away from home quite a bit. I’m going on expeditions to the Himalaya, to South America, a lot to Alaska – I love Alaska. I think part of it is the case that, you know – in terms of it’s all flat, a quick hit. You can go to Alaska and be there for like two weeks and be really productive whereas the problems when you go into places like Nepal or India is that you need a lot longer time and because of permits, you kind of have one objective.
I think, certainly, my favorite place to mixed climb is Alaska, so it’s on your side of the pond. I mean, I’ve done new routes in Alaska, in South America, in the Alps, in Scotland, and I think for me that’s kind of something that is really rewarding, in terms of the fact that I kind of like the fact of going to places that I don’t really know if it’s possible.
I think I’d rather go out for a day and fail on something that is hard and hasn’t been done as opposed to just going and repeating something and stepping in people’s steps the whole time. It takes away a little bit of the edge for me. Also, the whole research as well, seeing what’s a new line and trying to work out if conditions are going to be good at this time of year or that time of year, so that’s really cool.
Also, you know, there’s a lot of failure that comes with alpinism as well. I mean, I’ve been to the Himalaya a little bit and failed every time I’ve been there because we’ve had, like, really bad weather and strong winds and high altitude and so, you know, I think sport climbing and bouldering can be quite glamorous whereas alpinism isn’t that glamorous. I think that’s the thing with it, but yeah…
Neely Quinn: Yeah, well, I don’t know. I think it’s glamorous in that we all know that it’s really dangerous and there’s a lot of suffering involved, so I guess one of my questions for you also is: why are you so willing to suffer? If one of your favorite things is doing new routes, that’s a different level of suffering, where you’re really going into the unknown, so why is all of this attractive to you?
Matt Helliker: I think, again, it’s pretty subjective in terms of the fact that suffering is something that you don’t know that you’re suffering at the time, because you’re actually enjoying it, or I’m kind of enjoying it, so maybe I’m a bit sick. I’m not sure. Also when I go out and do these things, for me, it doesn’t feel dangerous. Sure, I know what we’re doing is dangerous in terms of objective danger that you have no control over, like avalanche or serac fall or rockfall, but in terms of actually what we’re doing, it’s very calculated and I feel very controlled in terms of what I’m doing and where I am. If it feels right then I’ll do something but then if it doesn’t feel right, then I step away from it and I won’t even have sort of a second thought or any regret. I think that’s really important.
I think, yeah, obviously, in terms of suffering – I was only saying quite recently that moving to the Alps has kind of made me a little bit softer because where I grew up and climbed a lot in Scotland it’s just seriously hardcore up there. You’re going out in all conditions and you’re having to navigate whiteouts and it’s cold, and it’s wet, and it’s miserable, and it’s long walk ins. That’s serious suffering, and you kind of come to the Alps and you’re kind of more concerned about where the nearest coffee shop is, you know what I mean? Or if you’re getting a decent suntan. I think – and that was why I recently wanted to go back to Scotland, to kind of, in a sense, toughen myself up a bit and learn to suffer again, which actually I did in the short time that I went there. I come back here and I feel mentally stronger again and a lot more that I can take on objectives in the Alps that maybe I was feeling a bit unsure of because I found that toughness again. It’s sort of weird, but that’s how it feels to me.
Neely Quinn: Would you mind taking me through what the experience was like in Scotland most recently? What was the approach like? How long were you out there? What was the climbing like? What kinds of tools did you need to do it?
Matt Helliker: Well, I mean, the thing with Scotland is conditions are so fickle. One day it can be perfect conditions so the cliffs are kind of white. All the cliffs – for it to be in winter condition and correct for the ethic police – you need the cliffs to be rimed-up, so they need to have a dusting of snow on them and not black. If they’re black and you’re kind of just dry tooling, then the cliffs are out of condition and you shouldn’t be climbing on them. Then it goes the other way and if there’s too much riming, which is where ice builds up onto the rock, then it covers all the cracks and it covers all the footholds and it makes the cracks all verglast so that makes things a lot harder. To climb a pitch can take a few hours because you’re having to Hoover away all of the verglast to find the cracks underneath, and then when you get to the cracks, the cracks are verglast. They’re icy, so then when you put a piece of gear in, like a cam, it’s useless because it’s just going to pull straight out because you’re putting it on verglast ice, you know? Hexes are very good to us because you can knock a hex into the crack and it will hopefully break up some of the verglast and grip in to protect.
Certainly, I think the whole condition thing is really important in Scotland. You’ve got to get the conditions right. It can be good one day and then the next day a huge thaw can come through and it can be gone. I was very lucky, actually. I timed it just right. This time in Scotland, we went climbing up on Beinn Eighe. Beinn Eighe is a really remote place up in Torridon and the walk in to Beinn Eighe was, like, three hours long and you’re kind of post-holing through knee deep snow. It’s really remote up there. It’s not like being in the Alps where you can get on the blower and phone in a helicopter for a rescue. It feels remote to actually be up there. The walk in was, like I said, three hours, and then you get to a big buttress and then you’re climbing 300-meters of mixed conditions. You get to the top and then you’ve got to navigate off and generally it’s in a blizzard, and then you’ve got to get back down to the car. You’re kind of out for 16-18 hours and it’s full-on.
That’s kind of what your days are like in Scotland. It’s not a giveaway, that’s for sure.
Neely Quinn: Okay, I want to talk a little bit about your training. Tell me how one would train for the kind of stuff that you do, and I also want to know how your skiing season plays into your climbing season and how you stay fit for both.
That’s one thing I kind of find, that I wish I had chosen to specialize as a boulderer or sport climber because then you can be really specific for that aspect of your sport, whereas the problem for alpinism is that you need to perform at a reasonable level but in all aspects to actually be able to perform really well in the mountains, in my opinion. It’s a real tricky thing.
I found that last summer I was really rock climbing a lot, sport climbing less. I was in the Dolomites a lot, doing some of the bigger walls in the Dolomites, which is just like heaven over there. It’s actually amazing because it’s limestone as well which, as I said earlier, is God’s rock. It really – but then, the problem is if you’re doing a lot of rock climbing then I’m very aware that my cardio aerobic levels go down because I’m just rock climbing. When it comes to doing things in the mountains, which is what I kind of specialize in, I’m knackered even before I get to the bottom of the route.
It’s really hard to get that balance of being able to feel strong climbing and also to get in and to get out without feeling trashed. You know what I mean?
Neely Quinn: Yeah.
Matt Helliker: The balance is really, really hard, and certainly I think it’s very hard to say, “Right. Okay. This year, I’m going to” – well, I don’t think you can focus purely on being able to perform at high end on the rock and then at high end on the mountain. I think it’s very hard to perform at a really top end level in all aspects because the training is so specific for each aspect and I think, for example, if I’m dry tooling a lot in the winter time/I’m mixed climbing, my power endurance is amazing. I feel like I can hold on forever, but I’m holding onto the same handle and the same grip the whole time. Therefore, I’ve found that my strength, in terms of finger strength, dips off and then I’ve got to compensate for that by doing lots of hangboard sessions to keep my finger strength up. It kind of swings one way, and then if I’m rock climbing a lot in the summertime and I’m close to sending a project, I’m trying recover as best as I can so I may knock back on my cardio so that I’m not just trashing my body and then that effects me in the wintertime when I’m trying to get into routes because I’m not as fit from a cardio perspective.
It’s really hard to strike that balance right and it’s something that seriously stresses me out, too, because I want to feel like I’m strong in all aspects. I think, for an alpine climber, it’s so easy – as with sport as well – to really overtrain because you’re trying to train for rock, you’re trying to train for your ice, you’re trying to train your legs, you’re trying to train your arms, and then it’s just so much training.
I think I’ve definitely suffered a lot in the past with overtraining and I’m still learning. I’m totally still learning. My – in terms of resting, for me, as with every key climber, it’s a bit of a horror word. I’m just not good at it and that definitely affects my performance. It’s silly, because I know that when I do have a rest and I come back and I’m stronger, you’d think I’d learn that, ‘Okay, actually this resting thing is kind of important because I’m actually stronger,’ but then you get back straight into the whole thing of pushing it and overtraining again. It’s kind of like a game and it’s kind of like this total vicious circle that you never learn from, I find.
Neely Quinn: Yeah. Okay, some background questions here: first of all, how old are you?
Matt Helliker: I’m 35.
Neely Quinn: Okay, I just want to give people an idea because we have a whole range of ages. Sometimes I wonder how much age really affects your training and the feeling of being overtrained, and being able to do so much like you’re doing.
Matt Helliker: I think, certainly, I’m kind of fortunate, because from an alpine perspective there’s so much experience needed to perform well in the mountains. I think you can perform really well in alpinism well into your mid-50s, because a lot of it is just tapping into that deep base of training that you’ve had from training hard for years and years. I think, certainly, it is pretty hard on your body. Walking in and walking out with heavy packs, your knees get trashed. There’s so many alpinists I know who’ve had knee surgery and hips and things like that because it’s just brutal, really. It’s just brutal.
Neely Quinn: As far as reaching your peak – or – not your peak, but reaching your goals – do you feel like you do that? How hard are you climbing when you’re sport climbing versus how hard do you think you could climb if you just focused on that?
Matt Helliker: It’s funny. I’m kind of, well, I think for alpinism, if I’m honest, I see it myself – I’m 35 – I’ve got the next 15 years to really, really charge hard and I really think I could do some really cool things within the next 15 years before, maybe, it starts dipping off a little bit. I think, certainly, as we know from a sport climbing perspective, it’s going to go the other way pretty rapidly, or potentially. Certainly, I think that’s what kind of frustrates me a little bit, is that when I’m going really well in summer on the rock, and I’m PB-ing my grades and I’m feeling really strong, and then it’s like someone flicks a switch because as soon as it starts snowing, I’m like ‘poof’ and now into that winter mode. It’s time to get the axes out and it’s time to start training on the axes. I kind of do that when I’m peaking at my rock climbing for that year and it kind of really frustrates me, in a way.
I kind of wish, maybe, that I was strong enough to say to myself, “This year, I’m just going to rock climb all year and I’m going to forget about mixed climbing in the wintertime and then continue it through the winter, rather than hang out in Chamonix or go to Scotland. I’ll go to Spain and just go rock climbing.” Then, I’d be really psyched to see what I could do from a sport climbing perspective for myself. Well, I know what I would do. It would definitely be an improvement, of course.
I feel like a lot of time, at the moment, with my rock climbing, that I’m just maintaining as opposed to PB-ing because I’m mixed climbing and that’s very specific for a different type of training for me. Rather than doing hangboard sessions on my fingers I’m doing weighted hangs on my axes, trying to work on that, so I’m trying to be as specific as possible with my grip types when I am training. It makes a big difference, for sure.
If you’re sport climbing hard you will mixed climb hard, for sure.
Neely Quinn: Can you elaborate on that?
Matt Helliker: Yeah, I just think that if you’re rock climbing it’s all about movement as well as strength. I think, certainly, if you’re climbing at a good level sport climbing, you’ve got the movement as well as strength. Mixed climbing you have to also be really precise and you have to also have that movement and that feel that you get when you’re rock climbing. I think that, because your grip for rock climbing is generally a lot worse than what it is for mixed climbing, the transition phase for a sport climber into mixed climbing is going to be a lot easier than for a mixed climber to a hard sport climber because, like I said, the grips in rock climbing are a lot worse than what they are pulling on an ice axe handle. I mean, the grip is always the same, but that makes it easy for training because the grip’s always the same.
It’s not like in the summer time where you’re kind of on your hangboard and you’re doing two-finger, one-finger, or whatever. It’s like, ‘Well, now I just need to train holding onto this one jug,’ which is what it is on an ice axe, you know? So, it’s kind of/so that’s kind of interesting from that perspective but it’s a real headache for me to try to get that sort of balance right because you’re sort of working on your strengths and then you think, ‘Well, now I’ve got to go do some cardio because I’ve got to be strong to be able to get in,’ you know?
So, yeah. It’s something I’m always fighting with and I’d love to just be able to, one year, just focus on one thing and see how far I can push it.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, but it seems like a trade-off for you because you really love all of these things.
Matt Helliker: Exactly, yeah. I love all aspects, and that’s why I say it’s kind of like flipping a switch, you know? I’m rock climbing loads and I’m like, ‘Oh rock climbing. I love rock climbing!’ and then the snow comes and then my mind just goes ‘woop’ and I’m still psyched on my rock climbing but I’m straight into my mixed. It’s really funny how that works and it kind of goes the other way as well. In the autumn, when the snow’s kind of disappearing and the boys are all starting to go out to the crags again, that switch flips from winter to summer.
I guess the beauty with it is it kind of keeps things fresh and you’re always – for motivation, it’s great. I’m a really motivated person when it comes to climbing. I’m properly psyched and I think a lot of that comes from trying to perform hard in all aspects because, I think if I’m honest, if I just went sport climbing all year and just trained for that all year, that would be tricky for me. I kind of feel that I need something a bit more than that. I think that’s why alpine climbing is really cool, because it just kind of gives you all of those other things, you know?
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Alright, back to the interview.
Neely Quinn: I would love to get some details about, for instance, how are you training right now? Like, what does a typical week look like for you right now and why?
Matt Helliker: So, right now I’m kind of really mixed climbing focused. Right now, in the high mountains, and also for Scotland, I’ve got to basically work on my mixed climbing and also on my cardio as well, in order to get into these things. So I guess, from a climbing movement point of view, I’m doing a lot of dry tooling. There’s a cliff here which I go to a lot. I kind of look at dry tooling not as a sport in itself, for me, because it’s kind of a little bit strange. You see some people, particularly in the summer, go to these/they’re there with their shirts off and they’ve got an axe in their hand and people are there in rock shoes, rock climbing. It kind of just feels a little weird, so dry tooling, for me, kind of is a pure training thing to be strong for the mountains.
What I would do, I would go to the cliff and I would go through the process of warming up and then I would lead/I would have – down where we have 12 routes, I would lead each route and then rest. My partner would then lead that route and then rest, and then I would add weight, so I would have a weight vest. I would then just top rope that route, sort of, twice or three times, depending on the burn, and come down and repeat through each route. Then, over weeks, I would obviously add weight to the weight vest, so very similar training to any kind of sport climber, I guess, in the gym, but I’m training that outside as best I can.
There’s nothing like training outside. It kind of feels a bit more real for me. I think it kind of helps with that mental side as well, for what your axes can do and what they can actually stick to or what they can grip onto, or what crack you can torque to keep you on. From a movement/climbing confidence in your tools, mixed climbing and dry tooling is really important. I’m doing that, and I’m doing that when I’m going through a heavy stage in training when I’m not able to climb in the mountains. I’ll probably do that four or five times a week.
Then, because I’m then very aware that the grip is always the same, I would then come back to the garage here where I’ve got a little bit of setup of weights and stuff like that, and I would then do one-axe hangs, and again, I would do that with weights. I would kind of do a very similar repeater session, you know, so like seven on, three off, for seven sets with a minute rest. Then, I would kind of repeat and then I would start off using the low handle on an axe, which is like a super big jug, and then, on the modern axes there’s one above, and then I would sort of do another set or two sets on the one above.
When I got really strong on that I would just kind of hold onto the shaft and I wouldn’t use the rest underneath, which kind of makes it a lot easier. Very similar to weighted hangs, to what everyone is used to when they’re trying to do training for sport climbing. I do a lot of that, and a lot of one-arm lock-off things on axes as well because, again, you know, axes, generally, you’re just sort of dragging, locking, and pulling. A lot of one-arm type things on axes to get your lock strength in. You imagine when you’re mixed climbing, you’re locking really deep in on your axe and you’re kind of using the other axe to clean away all the rime for another placement and eventually you pull on that and you lock on that and you do the same sort of business.
The movement is actually quite similar, so you’re not training that many different movements. Then, apart from weighted axe hangs, I’m then also very aware that I want to keep my fingers strong for when I go back rock climbing. Then, I do sort of your standard hangboard sessions that everyone knows about, you know? We’ve got a couple of boards set-up in the garage here. We’ve actually got one of the Rock Prodigy centers and an Eva Lopez Transgression Board, and we kind of use that for pure finger strength training.
Then, I’m pretty heavily into also doing P90X-type things as well. That is super good, so a lot of circuit training. I’m pretty aware of stabilizing, because dry tooling is all about bigger muscle groups. I find that when I am actually mixed climbing, my muscles get bigger because you’re working bigger muscle groups. When I’m rock climbing, I kind of get a lot leaner, so I try to build upon that a little bit in the winter and I kind of – not bulk myself up, but I feel that I’m a bit more sturdy in the winter than what I am when I’m rock climbing in the summer.
Then, I lock down in the climbing gym, so a lot on the circuit boards, a lot of power endurance type work, and also a lot on the campus boards as well. I’m a campus board lover so I find for that, that is really, actually, amazing for lock strength for me on my axes. I see huge gains, actually, on the campus board when I’ve been mixed climbing a lot because my lock strength, I find, gets a lot better on the axes in the winter. Then, when I start campusing or when I come back to campusing after I’ve been laying off it for a bit, I find my lock strength is unbelievable to pull to the next rung. I can just hang and just pull and <unclear>, so that makes a difference in my campusing, I find, so obviously that then helps in my rock climbing later in the year.
Obviously, then, on top of all that, then I’ve got to do a huge amount of cardio work, and I try to do 70% of my aerobic cardio in sort of a zone one, so a low heart rate, just building huge amounts of base. It’s kind of almost so slow, or it can feel so slow at times, that you don’t feel like you’re actually doing anything. You should be able to breathe through your nose.
What I’m doing to train this is I’m ski run <unclear>. I go down to a local ski area and I put my skins on at the bottom and I’m just skinning up the slopes, and I’m getting to the top, I’m listening to some music, and then I’m skiing down and looking at my altimeter and I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s 900 meters. I’ve got another thousand meters to go. I’ve got to go and repeat it.’ It’s mind-numbing stuff but, you know, from a base perspective, it works. It totally works.
Once I feel that I’ve got a lot of base again, because I’ve let that slip, maybe, through the summer because I’ve been rock climbing a lot, once my base levels are back up then I start building some strength training also into my legs. Doing some squats and high steps and things like that.
Now you can see why I overtrain.
Neely Quinn: I am exhausted right now.
Matt Helliker: [laughs] I know. It’s full-on and even just saying it, I’m like, ‘Bloody hell. That’s actually quite a lot.’ I just don’t, like I said, I’m so bad at resting as well and it’s no wonder I can get a bit tweaky and a bit injured, I guess.
Neely Quinn: Yeah. Okay, I have questions. How many days a week are you training?
Matt Helliker: Every day? Every day. Yeah. This is where I probably really should have – I am really structured in my training and I know that when I go to the wall, I know what – I think people think I’m probably quite an unfriendly, miserable Brit, because when I go to the wall I just lock my chains in and I train. The wall can be quite a social place, you know, and so I’m kind of just this guy in the corner just going for it and everyone else is there chatting and thinking, ‘Oh yeah, he’s a bit of a weirdo.’ I think it’s sort of something that I really have a structure and I try to keep to that. I do think that I can limit my amount of overtraining by how I structure my training.
This evening/tonight, I’ve just done 2,000 meters of vertical skinning and I’ve just come straight back into my garage here and I’ve just done a hangboard session. Then, after the hangboard session I just did 45 minutes of circuit training. I’m trying to – but then tomorrow, I’ll try to work something else.
One thing that I haven’t even mentioned is core. I do an unbelievable amount of core work. To me, that is super important, so yeah – I train a lot. Seven days, I know, is a lot and I’ve got people saying to me, “Matt, you overtrain,” and I’m like, “Yeah, I know.” I do actually see benefits and I think that’s why I’m so psyched to train so hard and I will train seven days a week and I will feel like I can train seven days a week. If I just try to be selective in how I’m training, but because I am seeing benefits, it kind of makes you more psyched. For sure, we all plateau. I plateau like everyone and that, obviously, is really frustrating and you kind of think, ‘Well, what do I need to do?’ Then, again, it’s just all about shocking the system, isn’t it? Then you do something completely different.
I think because I’m always trying to do something completely different/I’m trying to be a master in all aspects, I’m shocking my system differently the whole time. I’m probably not overtraining as much as someone who is being really specific sport climbing training, I think. I don’t know. That’s my thing.
Neely Quinn: I don’t know. I think that may be a little delusional.
Matt Helliker: Am I delusional?
Neely Quinn: Maybe. Hold up – I’m sorry – I have some questions. You said that you are making gains now. Does that mean that every year – because you said earlier that you’re just maintaining, does that mean that every year that you’re getting higher grades? Climbing harder alpine routes? Are you doing harder sport climbs?
Matt Helliker: Yeah.
Neely Quinn: You are?
Matt Helliker: Totally – yeah. I’m feeling like I’m faster, I’m feeling stronger, I’m sport climbing, like – last year was my best season, ever, sport climbing. This year I’ve gone mixed climbing a lot already and routes that should be feeling quite hard, which are kind of high-end grades, like in Scotland, where I’ve been, they didn’t feel that hard, you know?
Neely Quinn: Can I ask what those grades are?
Matt Helliker: I mean, I’ve been rock climbing 8b+ and loads of routes this summer from 8a to 8b+, whereas normally, for me, 15 – no, no no, not that many – maybe 12 or so routes in the ‘8’ grades, whereas for me, that’s actually quite a lot. Normally, for me, I would do two or three, you know?
For Scotland, climbing a ‘Scottish 8’ or ‘Scottish 9’ is kind of quite a tough grade, for onsighting. Routes that I’ve kind of stayed off of because I’ve been really, probably, quite scared of getting onto them because they’re pumpy and they’re hard, I’ve kind of got on them and been like, ‘What have I been worried about? I’m kind of crushing this.’
I think that – yes, because I can see gains then it’s kind of good for me. One goal that I had this summer, which I didn’t actually do is, I really wanted to climb 8c this summer. I was kind of on the cusp of it and I was going for it and it was looking really good and then the winter came and that kind of screwed me up, but next summer.
Neely Quinn: Just for anybody who doesn’t know, 8b+ is .14a and 8c is, obviously, .14c. Just for our American people. Anyway, keep going.
Matt Helliker: Sure. Obviously in Scottish grades, you have something that you probably don’t understand at all, but don’t worry about that. It’s hard mixed climbing on trad gear.
Certainly, next – well, this year now, that’s my goal for my sport climbing, and then some real big routes I want to do in the Dolomites, which are kind of around that sort of grade that I really want to go and do. I mean, like I said earlier, if you see gains in what you’re doing, it makes you want to do more, for sure.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, so is this kind of what all of your – because you live with a bunch of guys, right?
Matt Helliker: Well, I don’t actually live with a bunch of guys. There is, where I live, a lot of psyched people around and in the house where I live there is a mate who I train with a lot. I’ll say his name, Pella Bagavist <spelling unknown>, because he actually loves your site and just to get his name on your podcast, he’ll absolutely jizz himself. There’s a good scene of people here who are training and that’s always nice, as well. It kind of helps, for sure.
Neely Quinn: So, are they doing the same kind of thing as you? Or are they training everyday? Or are these the sort of people who are saying, “You’re doing a little bit too much? You’re pretty much a freak of nature that you can do all of this and stay psyched and climb as hard as you’re climbing.”
Matt Helliker: Yeah. There’s only a handful of people who are into <unclear> mixed climbing as well. I mean, their focus is just more on sport climbing and they kind of look at me like, “Oh yeah – you’re going/what’s that in your hand? It’s like some axe thing. That’s weird. Why are you doing that?” They kind of look at us like that is a complete waste of time, that we’re going to go – and I feel, initially, like, ‘Yeah, I know what you mean, but hey – I’ve kind of signed up for this so this is what I’m doing.’
But I think that most people think that I am a bit of a nut job when it comes to training. I try to get people to come with me to train and I don’t get many offers. [laughs]
Neely Quinn: On that topic, though, you do have a pretty consistent climbing partner. Am I right?
Matt Helliker: Yeah, this one guy called Jon Bracey, who I climb with a lot and go on expeditions with a lot.
Neely Quinn: And does he do similar training as you, since you guys are doing sort of similar things?
Matt Helliker: Well, he kind of used to but he’s got a couple of kids now and he’s busy being a good dad a lot of the time. He trains when he can train but he’s got a lot on his plate being a good dad. I get that, and I’m probably not a good influence being around. I’m like, “Ah – can you train? Can you go to the wall? Do you fancy a hangboard workout? Do you fancy a skin?” and he’s like, “No, no – I can’t.”
I’m probably not the best person to have around at times. I imagine I’m more of a hindrance than anything but yeah, I’ve got a couple of close mates here that I kind of train with a little bit, and then when they’re done I can train with the other person a little bit, and then when they’re done I can train with another person.
Neely Quinn: Oh my god. You have to have, like – wow.
Okay, so for somebody who – because, fortunately, you have sponsors who will pay you to, basically, do this full time, which is amazing. Have you ever met anybody who – well, I guess it’s kind of like your climbing partner. He can only do what he can do and he doesn’t have all the time in the world like you do. Do you feel like there’s a more efficient way of training that maybe you would do if you had to? What would you tell somebody, who isn’t in your position, to do but who wants to be good at mixed climbing, alpine climbing, and all of it?
Matt Helliker: I mean, I think, in rock climbing now, it’s normal to have a sort of coach, whereas in alpine climbing I think it’s still kind of pretty unheard of. I’ve done so many things wrong, you know, over the years in terms of how I’ve trained, and I’ve done so much trial and error, and if I had had some really good input when I was a lot younger, I would have been less injured and I’m sure, climbed a lot harder. I would just say to people who are trying to master everything – I mean, that’s the thing, isn’t it? You’ve just got to go out, a lot of it, and just enjoy what you do and rock climb, or go and mixed climb.
The most important thing with all of this and with training is to actually go and do what you’re training for because I’ve found that, at times, I’ve done so much training that when it comes to a window in the weather when I can go and do a big route in the mountains, I’m like, ‘Oh man. I’m so tired,’ because I’ve trained for the last week, solidly, and now the window’s here and I’m just like, ‘Oh, I’m absolutely smashed.’ I should have rested and that would have helped with motivation levels and with my strength, of course, so I would say to people to enjoy all aspects of your sport but try to train each individual aspect smartly and specifically, and not look at it like I look at it, like you have to do everything and this affects that and this affects that, because it’s quite stressful.
I just think that people getting advice from a trainer, someone who is well up and can work out your heart rate zone to see what your zone one, your zone two, your three, so you know what zone you need to work in when you’re trying to build up your aerobic base. Speak to someone who’s up on the rock climbing as well, because I think trying to do these things by yourself is really difficult, particularly when the fact is that, when you’re psyched, you don’t give yourself any rest days, like I did, and then you end up getting absolutely trashed.
Neely Quinn: So, you’re basically saying, “Don’t do what I do,” but it is working for you.
Matt Helliker: Basically, but it is working for me. I think I could do it better and everyone says to me, “Matt, you can do it so much better,” and I’m like, “Yeah, I know I can.” I just need to get a bit more advice on certain aspects but I think – don’t do what I do is what I mean to say.
Neely Quinn: [laughs] This is so funny. This is one of the funniest interviews. I don’t think I’ve ever had anybody say that. I mean, I appreciate the honesty. It just seems like you have an abundance of energy that you’re just kind of like, ‘Well, I just have energy so I’m just going to use it for the sixteenth hour today.’
Matt Helliker: Yeah, I know. I don’t know. I’m definitely obsessive. Obviously, you can tell, but like you say, if you can see gains then you’re going to be. I think for a lot of people, having some formal structure is the way to go, for sure.
Neely Quinn: I was thinking that you were going to say to me, “During my climbing season, I do all this training for climbing and then now it’s sort of ski season for a little bit and I kind of lay off the climbing stuff and I’m just mainly doing legs and cardio and stuff,” but it’s full-on, all year round.
Matt Helliker: Full-on. I mean, my skiing is generally pushing planks uphill.
Neely Quinn: Do you skin like that, like your 2,000-meter vertical skinning today, do you do that because that’s what you’re doing with your clients or just purely to train cardio?
Matt Helliker: No, that’s just purely for me. When the iPod runs out, that’s seriously some dark days, because it’s mind-numbing stuff. Generally I’m doing it when it’s dark because you can’t go up some of the runs here during the day because, obviously, people are <unclear> skiing and they’ll fly down past you.
Neely Quinn: And they’re going to make fun of you, like, “What the hell are you going up for, buddy?”
Matt Helliker: Yeah, what’s that all about? One of these guys with crocodiles on their hats and stuff are taking a piss at me and I’m like, “Hang on. You should look at yourselves, guys.” [laughs]
Neely Quinn: Here’s some real talk.
Matt Helliker: Yeah, I think for guiding, you’d be lucky to – if I’m honest, most clients are more into the hiking for 15 minutes to go and try some powder as opposed to going and trying to schlep up and down a slope. I can totally get it, but I’ve never had that problem with not having motivation. I’m always motivated to train and to climb, and that makes my life. If you see – it’s just such a cool thing.
Neely Quinn: Okay, so we’ve been going for a while now and I want to ask about your diet because, for what you’re doing, it sounds like you are probably consuming or using 5,000-10,000 calories a day or something stupid.
Matt Helliker: Okay, and this is what’s going to seriously shock you, knowing your background. I’m vegetarian.
Neely Quinn: Like, full-on vegetarian?
Matt Helliker: Pescetarian.
Neely Quinn: So, do you eat fish everyday?
Matt Helliker: Yeah – well, no. No, I don’t. My diet/I’m really into watching what I eat. That’s for sure. That, for me, is a huge thing with what goes with my training. Years ago I did it super bad and I got/maybe I was a little bit anorexic, actually. I kind of went into a real dark place with my food because I wanted to be light for climbing. Then I would try to approach these mixed routes for three hours on ski, and then I’d get to the bottom feeling absolutely trashed, and then not even be able to do any climbing because all I had the night before was a stick of celery or something, or some blended broccoli. I kind of went into – and my friends were all like, “Matt, you are seriously looking rough.” It was like, “Yeah, yeah. I kind of feel it,” and I managed to pick myself out of that situation.
In terms of eating now, I just try to really enjoy my food and my girlfriend’s amazing with the whole food thing. She takes care of that with me.
Neely Quinn: You have time for a girlfriend?
Matt Helliker: Yeah, yeah – it’s amazing, isn’t it? She’s incredible to be able to put up with it. I know – I don’t know how she puts up with it. I amazed she’s still with me, if I’m honest.
I’m really into, now, watching what I eat but really doing it right. I’ve noticed that me doing it right in the last couple of years as opposed to me doing it wrong, the differences are quite large. Certainly, I’m burning huge amounts of calories but my intake, everyday I would say, is well below what I’m burning. I have a very high protein diet.
Neely Quinn: How do you get the protein?
Matt Helliker: From your standard stuff like protein shakes and bars, but also in the food I’m eating, generally, like fish and quinoa. I’m really trying to get it from food as opposed to just powders but sometimes I can be quite lazy and just go for the powders. Certainly, my protein level is definitely a lot higher than my carbohydrate and I find that, sometimes, it’s tricky because I don’t feel that I’ve got power. Like I say, I did 2,000 meters this evening and I felt strong and I haven’t really had/I didn’t have any sort of carbs today. I just had a protein shake before I went and I had a gel on the training session and then I had a protein shake to finish.
Neely Quinn: And the protein shake is just protein and water?
Matt Helliker: It’s just protein, yeah – just protein and water. It’s not even huge amounts. I think it’s 30 grams per hit.
Neely Quinn: I think you’re a robot. I don’t think you’re a human.
Matt Helliker: Yeah, it’s funny, and I would be quite interested in seeing what I do and how I could improve on that but also, what I did find in what I’m taking and it made massive differences in terms of my recovery, was BCAA’s.
Neely Quinn: I knew you were going to say that. How much are you taking?
Matt Helliker: I’m taking – okay, it says on the pot to take three tablets, 2-4 times a day.
Neely Quinn: Oh god. How much are you taking?
Matt Helliker: Like, six? I’m taking three tablets, three times a day.
Neely Quinn: Okay.
Matt Helliker: So, I’m not going crazy, I don’t think.
Neely Quinn: That’s what my husband does. He’ll do two before, two during a workout, and then two after and he’s sworn by that. Is that kind of what you’re doing?
Matt Helliker: Yeah, totally, and it definitely helps at the start of the workout for the psych, and I’ve found that afterwards, definitely for recovery. I find that in the mornings when, of course, I get up feeling not great but I don’t feel like I can’t go and do it all again, I’ve definitely found since taking some BCAA’s, which I’ve only been taking for probably seven months I guess, I’ve seen and felt like the recovery rate is just so quick for me.
Neely Quinn: And, shoot – I just forgot what I was going to ask you – oh, so it sounds like you are eating a lot of these powders and pills and stuff, but are you having a lot of vegetables and fruits and grains and dairy at all? Eggs?
Matt Helliker: Well, I’m having loads of vegetables, so lots of veg, lots of beans, chickpeas, and lots of grains, but fruit, if I’m honest, I think I’m just lazy with fruit. I just kind of get lazy to peel it so I think fruit – like, if it’s a banana? How long is that going to take? Maybe I could do a hangboard session in that time. I don’t know, but fruit is something that I don’t have much of at all.
Neely Quinn: And then what about caffeine?
Matt Helliker: I’m an absolute caffeine addict. I’ll have I don’t know how many espressos a day. Today, I’ve probably had seven.
Neely Quinn: Seven?
Matt Helliker: Yeah, that’s why I’m a total insomniac. I don’t sleep all night so it’s got to be something to do with that, I reckon, but…
Neely Quinn: Right, it might very well, Matt.
Matt Helliker: I think it also has to do with overtraining as well. I mean, I’m overtraining and that’s kind of what makes you – I go through stages of insomnia, for sure.
Neely Quinn: So, you do all this on very little sleep, too.
Matt Helliker: Yeah, yeah, it’s a lot of <unclear> effect but I think, I mean, my diet is something that I’ve really tried to tighten up on and I’ve noticed massive gains on eating well and having a good breakfast, and I’m really into/I’m definitely a breakfast person. I try to – my breakfast at the moment is: I’ll have some sort of porridge with almond milk and coconut oil and then chia seeds. If I can be asked, I’ll peel a banana and put a banana in there and then some sort of frozen berries, which I’ll add beforehand and put in. Then some linseed oil as well, and stuff. I try to have a good breakfast and kind of work off that and a good evening meal.
When I’m in the mountains I’m not an eater at all. I can go/I feel like I can go a whole day without really eating, and in terms of water, I’ll take like a half a liter of water for a 12-hour day out.
Neely Quinn: So, do not do what he’s doing, if you’re listening to this. Do not do it.
Matt Helliker: Do not do what I’m doing. Remember what I said <unclear> do what I say, not what I do. That’s really important. You’ll be a lot better <unclear> that’s for sure.
Neely Quinn: So, you’re one of those people who/you’re just so psyched that you probably don’t even think about eating or drinking when you’re out there.
Matt Helliker: Yeah, but I think also with alpine climbing, it’s a weight thing. If you start to take in too much water, or if you started to carry the amount of water that you should be drinking, you’re never going to get up your climbs because you’re just so heavy, in terms of what’s in your pack. I mean, I try to hydrate heavily beforehand and heavily afterwards and I always get down dehydrated, but I try to work on it. A lot of times during the night after a big route I’m up with cramps in my legs. That’s pretty brutal but most alpine climbers would say the same thing. It’s good to have a little straw – that’s a good tip, to have a little straw in your pack so then when you get any running water anywhere, you just get your straw out and you can sort of just suck it up off the rock.
Neely Quinn: Again, do not do what he’s doing.
Matt Helliker: [laughs] You can filter all the grit through your teeth.
Neely Quinn: [laughs] Right. All the bacteria.
Matt Helliker: All the bacteria and stuff – yeah, I’ve got guts of steel, by the way, so that’s how it works.
Neely Quinn: Apparently.
Matt Helliker: That’s not true.
Neely Quinn: Okay, we could probably go on forever but I want to do some closing thoughts here. Do you want to do a shoutout to any of your sponsors?
Matt Helliker: Shoutout? Yeah – I’m very fortunate to be sponsored by Patagonia, Black Diamond, Osprey Packs, Adidas Eyewear, Scarpa, LYOFoods, and MaxiNutrition, and I’m very fortunate to have their support because, without their support, I couldn’t be doing all this overtraining that I’m doing. [laughs]
Neely Quinn: That’s cool. You have a lot of sponsors.
Matt Helliker: Yeah, I’m very lucky. I’m very lucky. I actually like that whole process, because it’s not just/they don’t just pay you money to go climbing. I really like the whole aspect of actually working on product and putting a lot of feedback into that kind of thing and going to the trade shows and talking to their customers and stuff. It’s kind of like another aspect of climbing that I kind of like, that whole scene. It’s pretty interesting to be involved with, that’s for sure, in terms of product development.
Neely Quinn: And your website is www.matthelliker.com. What are people going to find there?
Matt Helliker: Yeah, www.matthelliker.com and you can see my Instagram and my Twitter. It’s all on there. Also, we’ve just done a new film which you can actually get. We did a new route on a mountain, actually in Alaska this year, in the Neacola Range called Citadel. The film is called ‘Citadel,’ and if you go onto Posing Productions’ website you can download the film, ‘Citadel.’ It’s a 50-minute long film of a new route in Alaska. You also get to see my life and my climbing partner, Jon Bracey’s life, in Chamonix, and how I train a little bit. That might kind of help with a background of this interview as well.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, that’s really cool.
Matt Helliker: Also, there’s another film on Posing Productions called ‘Moonflower’ which is when we did a new route on the Moonflower buttress of Mount Hunter. Yeah – so you can see both of those films from Posing Productions on his website.
Neely Quinn: Great. I’ll link to that on the episode page so that people can find it.
Okay, we have been talking for a really long time and I really appreciate it.
Matt Helliker: Yeah, I’ve got to go do some training.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, I know. It’s so cool to see how different everybody is, and you’re definitely on the end of the spectrum of lots of training and it is working for you, so – I mean, it sounds like you’ve taken lots of years to figure that out, that you can handle it and it does work for you and that’s why you keep doing it.
Matt Helliker: Yeah, exactly. I think, certainly, in the next few years I’ve got a lot of projects in the mountains that I really want to go for and for me to be able to send those projects, I need to be climbing hard and I also need to be cardio strong as well. I think I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and hope that I can pull a few cool expeditions out of the bag in the future. That’s the plan.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, and keep inspiring people the way that you have been.
Matt Helliker: Oh, I hope so. I think/I’m definitely – it’s nice to feel that you can inspire people to go out and just go and have it. I think, certainly, to let people know that you can perform at a good level in all forms of climbing is quite a nice thing to know. You’re not just wasting your time.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, and that’s why there are so few of you out there. It does take so much hard work and such varied work, so…
Matt Helliker: Yeah, absolutely, but everyone can do it. You’ve just got to be psyched. You’ve just got to crack on.
Neely Quinn: Yeah. Have your own espresso machine.
Matt Helliker: Absolutely.
Neely Quinn: Well, on that note, thank you very much.
Matt Helliker: That’s cool. Thanks a lot.
Neely Quinn: Alright, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Matt Helliker. I had a really fun time talking with him and I learned a lot about alpinism and what it takes to do all of the things that he does. I learned even more about it after the interview. He sent me a link to that film he was talking about called ‘Citadel.’ You can find it at www.posingproductions.com if you want to check it out. I actually watched the whole thing. It’s about 45 minutes long and it is, honestly, amazing. I don’t really watch very many climbing films. This is setting the bar really high. The quality of the film is really high. They’re really fun to watch. What they’re doing is totally epic.
It’s about this route that they put up in Alaska in the middle of nowhere, in the winter. Actually, I don’t know if it was in the winter, but it looked like winter there. If you want to check that out go to www.posingproductions.com and thanks Matt, again, for the interview.
Okay, so coming up on the podcast I have two interviews which I’ve actually already done. One is Ethan Pringle and we talk about Jumbo Love and what he’s currently working on. He’s bouldering in Vegas right now. I also have an interview coming up with Jorg Verhoeven. He is a many-times World Cup boulderer and he’s done hundreds of them, so we talk about his training for that, but he’s also, last year, freed the Nose. He was the fourth person to do that, ever, so we talked about how he trained for that and his experience up there. That was pretty awesome.
If you guys want more psych for your climbing and training we always have training programs for you, as you know. I actually have some really sweet emails that I wanted to share with you. One is from this guy, Ben, who did our six week power endurance program, which is a PDF. It’s downloadable and you just bring it into the gym with you on your phone. It tells you exactly what to do for six weeks and it gains you power endurance, AKA strength endurance.
Ben says, “Hi Neely. TrainingBeta has been extremely beneficial to me. I had no idea how to train for climbing besides some basic 4×4 workouts and I was having a hard time getting over the 5.10 grade for a couple of years. Since doing the six week power endurance program I am leading 5.11’s and top roping 5.12a’s, and I’m feeling a lot more confident in my ability to keep improving. TrainingBeta is worth every penny and I highly recommend it to everyone I meet at the gym and the crag. You guys are awesome. Ben.”
Thank you, Ben! I really appreciate that. I love emails like that. They really make my day so thanks and really great job.
Another email I wanted to share with you is from Teal. She’s doing, well she just did, a five week training program with Kris Peters, a custom one, so he created it just for her. You can get that on TrainingBeta, too.
She says, “Hi Neely. So, I am on the last week on my custom five week training plan with Kris Peters. I have to say, I have never trained so hard in a five week period. I’m training specifically for two boulder problems that I have tried in the past and I’m hoping to send on an upcoming trip.
I initially sent Kris a short video of me working on one of the projects to give him a feel for my climbing. I was very impressed with the feedback I received from him. I have done all of the individual moves on the climb so I assumed it was a power endurance problem that I couldn’t quite put it all together, but Kris astutely pointed out that my feet fly off on a few of the moves, meaning I don’t have enough body tension, so my training focused a lot on core and shoulder work.
So far, I’ve been very pleased with the workouts and training plan, as it incorporated things I have never done before, even though I have done quite a bit of training in the past. I am very excited to see the results in a couple weeks when I go on my trip. I will let you and Kris know how it went on my projects. Thanks, Neely. Teal.”
Thank you, Teal, and we really hope you send. Please keep us posted.
If you guys want to train like Teal and Ben, go to www.trainingbeta.com and there’s information on our training programs and online training all over the site. Okay, that’s it today. I want to thank you for listening to the end and for listening at all. I really appreciate your support and I will talk to you next week. In the meantime, train hard, have fun, and I’ll talk to you soon.