A trek to the Mount Everest base camp is of moderate difficulty which does not require heavy mountaineering tools or experience but good fitness level is required. The trek to the base is achievable by people of all ages, with good endurance, fitness and agility.
If you are interested in participating in this very accessible trek of 130km at about 3000m altitude, then you should take 8-12 weeks to prepare yourself for a mountain trek. Since you would be trekking for a good 9 to 14 days at Mount Everest, it is a good idea to start practising by going on walks and even hikes for a stretch of 5 hours.
The focus here shouldn’t be on the distance covered; instead, it should be the duration, take minimal breaks and start by hiking/walking for 3 - 4 times a week. If you do not have hilly terrain to climb onto, practice on gym equipment for a few hours and a minimum of 5 times a week.
You could also try to replicate the situation during a real hike and carry a daypack/backpack with you and wearing the hiking boots (essential) to get comfortable with the additional weight. If possible, go for a proper hike to the outskirts a few times before attempting the trudge to the Everest base camp.
Why do you need to train yourself for the Everest Base Camp..??
It is always a good idea to prepare yourself for a trek, especially if that trek is to the EBC (Everest Base Camp) since the high altitude atmosphere and the terrains in the mountains aren’t anything like you experience in your meticulous lives.
Now, you may be regular with workouts and are quite fit, however, you may still need to do some additional prepping for a mountain trek. The amount of work you would have to put in depends on your current physical condition.
If you are someone who workouts/trains 3 - 4 times a week doing cardio and weights, you will require less time and preparation. If you are someone who isn’t quite regular with exercising, you may want to give yourself a minimum of 12-15 weeks to train for a hike like the EBC.
Moreover, include breathing exercises and meditation as part of your preparations, and you must also get your health examined by a doctor before starting any rigorous training.
Workout options to prepare yourself
Training for the Everest Base Camp by building on that stamina. You should include cardio exercises, elevation training, strength training and aerobic conditioning by practising meditating and other breathing exercises. The breathing exercises will help your body learn to work hard on less oxygen, while elevation training will help strengthen your muscles for better handling of the elevation gain.
Moreover, enough practice and preparation will make the entire trek much more enjoyable. There are 2 options to train yourself for the EBC trek:
1. Practice Hikes:
A practice hike is the closest you can get to the actual hiking experience and is the best way to prepare for Everest base camp. Start by following:
- Hike or go on long walks
- Start by 1 to 2 hours and gradually build it up to 5 to 6 hours with minimal rest intervals
- Initially go twice a week and increase the number of days from there
- Choose a hilly, uneven gravely terrain for these hikes, if possible
- Start without any additional weight, then start wearing your daypack and over time, slowly increase the weight of its contents till it gets to 25lbs
2. Gym Workout:
Working out in your gym you wouldn’t be able to replicate the natural activity however, it would help you improve your overall fitness, which in turn will be beneficial during the EBC hike.
- Spend at least 45 minutes on the treadmill on hill setting (for a walk or a slow jog)
- Practice by climbing staircases or spend 10 minutes on the stair-stepping machine, either of these should be done at a speed of 30-45 steps per minute. You can gradually increase the time limit
- Run on a slope or slow slow walk with no incline for 10 minutes to improve your breathing. Again increase the intensity with time
- Repeat these exercises 2-3 times by performing a few reps
- For strength training, add 3 sets each of 30 lunges and squats, it’ll help build those leg muscles. Also, do plenty of stretching exercises and you can also practice with your backpacks on for better results
Meanwhile, you must incorporate an hour of respiratory exercises to improve your aerobic conditioning.
Now that you are all pumped to workout for the hike to Everest Base Camp, you should also know about a few additional details.
- Do your preparations well in advance by preparing the trek gear such as your hiking boots. It is very important to break in new shoes to avoid blistering and swelling during the actual ramble.
- You also want to look at your food and nutrition intake by eating healthy and providing your body with all essential nutrients, protein and carbohydrates.
- Take enough time to prepare yourself for the hike. If you believe that you would require more than 12 -15 weeks, then be it. You could be flexible with the training but regular so to be able to build stamina.
- You should also learn a few stretches that will help you before, during and even after the trek. That being said, you must also give your body enough rest right before you commence on the trek. Therefore, take a day’s rest when you get to Nepal, before starting the trip.