Testimonials from Members who have trained at The Altitude Gym Gosford
If you’re about to set out on your adventure to Mt Kilimanjaro, let me tell you, you’re in good hands with Jason and the crew. I know this because I did a similar crazy adventure last year in October with The Altitude Gym.
When i say crazy, i mean cah-ray-zeee. Who would have thought trekking day in day out, with little air to breathe, squat toilets, baby wipe showers for 17 days, and a few nights below freezing, would have turned into an adventure of a lifetime?
When i say good hands, I mean seriously good hands. From the very beginning of the experience, where Jason lured me in to an info night that supplied sushi, all the way to walking beside me at my most vulnerable moments on a mountain, bigger than I’ve ever known. Everything between, where Jason set up a 16 week pre trip training program, utilising the simulated Altitude of the gym, booked my flights, wrote me a list of everything i needed, took me bushwalking and camping overnight just to be sure I could “rough it” on the mountain.
As i write this, hundreds of feelings and memories flood me from my 3 week adventure. Too many to capture in one short review. My fondest feelings are towards Jason and his Nepalese touring crew (Namgya, Pemba, and Santos), who made sure that every step of my experience was safe (that I never suffered the extreme effects of Altitude sickness). Who made sure I had someone to walk with me when I couldn’t keep pace. Who sat with me in solidarity through some of my most vulnerable moments. Who laughed at every opportunity. Who shared their stories of success and failure. Who fed me, kept me hydrated, and kept my spirits high with Mars Bars and Snickers! Who helped me understand the privileged and unique position I was in to be able to experience a culture and livelihood that depends solely on the fruitfulness of the mountain. The most resourceful group of humans I know (the Sherpas and Jason’s crew of course ).
Thank you seems like too simpler a word to express my gratitude for such an epic adventure, but thank you all the same -“dahn-yer-butt”.
Aleisha (Feb 2018)
TREK TO 3 PASSES AND EVEREST BASE CAMP – OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017
I decided to join the Altitude Gym trip to Nepal, to trek the 3 Passes and Everest Base Camp, approximately 9 weeks before the departure date (14 October).
Jason provided a generic training programme for the 9 weeks, with ‘activities’ every day and Friday as an optional rest day. The ‘activities’ were generally walking with a pack or cross-training in the Altitude Gym. On Thursdays there was a group training session in the Altitude Gym – Sufferfest (50 minutes) and circuit (50 minutes).
My training regime was walking with a pack on a treadmill at the Altitude Gym – for 90 minutes to 2 hours on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings – and the group training session on Thursdays. I continued with my regular bike riding and running as part of my training.
The training programme also included a bush walk on the Jerusalem Bay track and a two day, overnight (camping) walk on the Otford to Bundeena coast walk.
When I started the training, some of the effects of higher altitude were apparent – short of breath, bit lightheaded, headache later. When I was walking on the treadmill I used the incline to gradually increase and then decrease the effort required. I would monitor my heart rate and blood oxygen while walking. As the training progressed it was evident that the effects of higher altitude were reduced and my heart rate was noticeably lower and blood oxygen higher.
When the training was completed, while I had no idea what to expect in Nepal, I felt reasonably well prepared for walking at higher altitudes. I felt that I had acclimatised to higher altitudes, to a certain extent. I had experienced breathing air with less oxygen and knew how to modify my breathing accordingly.
The trip and trek itself was quite an experience. The group of 5 (including Jason) from Australia joined a group of 5 from Canada. The trek was led by experienced Sherpa guides and a group of porters carried some of our equipment.
The trek, to cross 3 mountain passes and to reach Everest Base Camp was to take 17 days. A couple of the days, in the early part of the trek, were ‘acclimatisation’ days. On those days, while we climbed to higher altitudes during the day, we returned to the same altitude at night. As the altitude increased, as we crossed the first 2 passes, I think I started to feel some of the effects of altitude sickness. Even though I was drinking a large volume of water, I still had some headaches. Breathing was sometimes difficult. I think I lost my appetite to a certain extent, had difficulty sleeping and relatively low energy levels. This was probably compounded by the fact that I was developing what was diagnosed as a chest infection.
At this point I should probably note that I think I would have felt significantly worse if I hadn’t undertaken the training that I did – both physically and psychologically.
Having reached Everest Base Camp and climbed Kala Patthar, I was given medication for a chest infection and the decision was made that I should walk down to a lower altitude rather than cross the third pass.
Jason, as leader, was concerned for the welfare of the group. He often walked at the back of the group with the slower members – Aleisha and me then, later on, just me. Our heart rate and blood oxygen were tested every evening, to ensure that we were coping with the higher altitude. When the decision was made that I should walk down to a lower altitude Jason accompanied Aleisha and me with one of the Sherpa guides.
After 3 nights at a lower altitude I had recovered to a certain extent – although the chest infection persisted. We then made it back to Lukla then Kathmandu and, ultimately, safely home to Australia.
As mentioned previously I had little idea what to expect when it came to the trip and trekking. Kathmandu was an enjoyable surprise – somewhat chaotic but very pleasant people. I felt the trek would be challenging – which is why I wished to do it. I think it lived up to that expectation. The views of the mountains every day were breathtaking – hadn’t previously experienced anything quite like them. Despite the difficulties that I encountered, I enjoyed just being there every day and walking in those mountains. Glad that I didn’t have to be taken out on a helicopter – as ‘exciting’ as that might have been. Special mention for the yak trains – always liked watching them go past (possibly because it meant that I could have a rest).
Julian (Feb 2018)
Just to let you know, I returned from Kilimanjaro and Meru a few weeks ago and had successful summits of both mountains. It was brilliant! The sessions in the Altitude Gym certainly helped a lot with training and acclimatisation (plus spending 3 weeks before the climb in various game parks with altitudes ranging from 1,500 – 3,200m) and I had no problems with the altitude on Kili as a result. So, many thanks for your help in my training sessions a couple of months ago.
Cheers. Mike N (2016)
Thank you for all your support during our training to achieve our Mt Kilimanjaro climb. You are an inspiration. All the best on your upcoming challenge.
Kind regards. Graeme, Cathy and Scott D (2016)
I first started going to The Altitude Gym at Central Coast Leagues Club around 3 months prior to a trip I had been planning to South America. I used the room for walking on the treadmills for an hour at a time (ranging my incline). At first I didn’t notice any great difference to my fitness. However, after a month of at least 2 and often 3 visits per week I started to feel fitter. When my trip finally came around, I felt ready to tackle Machu Picchu. When I was climbing Machu Picchu I really started to understand just how much the Altitude Room had helped me!!! I should mention that I am not a particularly fit person; I have never been a runner or a sportsperson. In fact I’m the kind of person breathing heavily as I walk up any hill or staircase. My partner who I travelled with has always been the fit one of us, he runs, plays soccer and goes to the gym once if not twice, 5 days a week. I was beyond shocked when I found that I was actually kicking his butt on the Machu Picchu Trail, I bounded up the hill dancing to my beats as I went. I had to leave him behind!!! I was the leader of the pack the whole time keeping up with a fitness guru and NY City Marathon runner. I always assumed I’d be clutching at my chest and trailing at the back and here I was absolutely smashing it!!! The high altitude of the mountain was no match for me and I have the Altitude Room to thank. Thanks Altitude Room!!! You have improved my fitness and given me the confidence to tackle new challenges.
Best regards. Jean B (2016)
I’ve been training at Altitude since November 2015 and know I’ve benefited in many ways from this training! Amongst other things, it has improved my focus at work, heightened my fitness level and has been a lot of fun (amidst the suffering). In my initial session, Jason took me through all the scientific reasons why training at altitude is beneficial; the way my body would learn to be more efficient with less oxygen, how training at altitude would allow me to achieve better fitness with less effort, and how keen athletes would pay loads of money to go to places with high altitudes for this kind of training. These weren’t the reasons I started altitude training. For me it was simply that the staff took care to give me expert advice and motivate me to strive to be better. From my very first session at altitude I noticed that I was able to think more clearly and be more alert. I now continue to train at The Altitude Gym for enjoyment and to maintain my fitness level.
I’ve made many good friendships with people who train at The Altitude Gym. They motivate me to press on and conquer challenges that I had never dreamed of tackling. In 2016, I took on Jason’s challenge to enter the Bay to Bay fun run – my first 12km run. He put together a 4-week training program designed specifically for me. I’m not a runner, but I finished those 12 kilometres in 1 hour 5 minutes. That’s what training at altitude with expert guidance can do! Another challenge I did in November 2016 was hiking in Nepal, to Everest Base Camp. Again, Jason put together a training program for me and the others who were planning to do this trek. The training was intense, but well worth it as I was able to enjoy the trek and stay well! I like variety in my workouts, and The Altitude Gym caters well for this! Jason puts up new challenges for us to conquer at altitude, the latest being the ‘1000 rep challenge’. The Altitude Gym also has a wide assortment of equipment and training videos, including Sufferfest videos, treadmills machines, bicycles, a Skierg machine (like a rower, but upright), TRX fitness station and weights.
Best regards, Elissa M (2017)
I am 100% certain the altitude training was what got me to Everest Base Camp. I am not lean & fit (at all) but the altitude training program with Jason and the crew at The Altitude Gym had me conditioned and ready for the challenge. The trek is fatiguing and very demanding, but I didn’t suffer any shortness of breath or other altitude related fitness issues since I was acclimated to low oxygen and hard work! Highly recommend for general fitness or before you do any altitude traveling.
Regards, Jason T (2017)
The training, advice and support I received at The Altitude Gym helped me tremendously with my recent Mt Kilimanjaro climb. I hardly suffered from any altitude related symptoms and did not need to take any Diamox. It was only above 5,000m that I felt a little effect from the altitude (slight headache and restricted breathing). Training with a backpack and weights helped strengthened my upper body and I had no problems with carrying the backpack while on the climb. Thanks Jason I couldn’t have made it without your support.
Cheers, Hank H (2017)
I completed the Everest Base Camp trek in November 2016. Trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp was an experience unlike any I’ve had before. It began long before I flew into Nepal. That day in November 2015, when I went to see what training at altitude was like, I had no idea it would lead me to such heights! I have Jason to thank for planting the seed of the idea and for making it possible. Jason organised an information evening in July 2016, where we could ask all the questions we wanted to know the answers to. By the end of the month I had signed up.
Altitude Fitness partnered with Grand Himalaya to provide a wonderful trekking experience. At every point, I could rely on Jason to provide reliable and helpful advice. First and foremost, Jason gave me an intense 3-month training schedule to work toward in preparation for the arduous trek. On top of this, he ensured that our travel documentation, accommodation, meals and itinerary were organised for the group. We were given a packing list and practical tips on how to pack smart. Jason was spot on about November being a good month to trek. We were blessed with perfect weather and were able to fly into and out of Lukla airport without any hassles. Lukla airport is apparently the most dangerous airport in the world and any reduction in visibility can delay flights for days.
I enjoyed training with friends who were going to do the same trek as me. We did an intense session every Thursday evening and Saturday morning, when the altitude was pushed higher than usual. The training was a mixture of high impact, short interval training, weight training, cycling, jogging and long walks, carrying 5 kilos in our backpacks.
I trekked to Everest Base Camp in a small group of three, plus our Nepalese guide and porter. We knew our trekking buddies through training at Altitude. Being a small group, we were able to change the itinerary on the go as we learnt what we were capable of trekking at ‘real’ altitude in the time we had. Most trekking companies stick to the average trekking route and the group is wide mixture of abilities. Instead of trekking the average tourist route, our group trekked to the beautiful Gokyo Lakes and crossed over the snowy Chola Pass. On the average tourist route, you wouldn’t get to step on snow like our group did! With the intense training we did in Australia before going to Nepal, our group did not need to take any medication for altitude sickness, and we were able to complete the trek in 13 days, including optional early morning treks up Gokyo Ri and Kala Patthar. I did both, and can say I’ve summited to 5,545 metres on top of Kala Patthar! This is actually higher than Everest Base Camp (5,367 metres).
On the trek the scenery and climate changed almost every day. Our group started trekking from Lukla, amongst the green valleys and meandering river. It was warm enough for summer clothes. Each day we trekked higher, it became colder and rocks replaced the green shrubs. We reached Everest Base Camp on day 10. Everest Base Camp itself is not what I would call beautiful. It is stunning to look at the Khumbu ice fall and consider those people who have made the crossing to summit Everest itself, but most of the glacier is covered with a layer of dust. It is a desert wasteland, a place where you don’t want to stay too long. If you want beauty, I’d suggest the Blue Mountains instead! But then you may not have a porter to carry your gear, a guide to tell you where to go or the experience of a life time!
After our trek we had a few days in Kathmandu. Kathmandu is another world completely! It is busy, dirty and noisy. People crowd the streets. You’ll hear constant tooting of horns as pedestrians, cars and motor bikes negotiate the chaotic streets. While we were in Kathmandu, our Nepalese trekking company, Grand Himalaya, put us up in Hotel Shanker, a hotel which had been a palace. It was a convenient walking distance from the main shopping and tourist district in Kathmandu, but far enough away for peace and quiet. We were taken on a cultural tour of Kathmandu, visiting religious sites of renown, such as the Monkey Temple, Boudhanath Stupa and Pashupatinath Temple.
If you are up for an enjoyable adventure of a life time, I highly recommend going with The Altitude Gym!
Elissa M (2017)
Hi mate, just letting you know I won the sprint world championship for masters 40-44. Thanks for all your help and making the altitude available for me on a Sunday. It definitely helped with my repeat sprint performance and recovery with my fastest ride being my last one in a best of 3 final.
Michael Smith – Track Cyclist, and reigning World Champion.