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Gear Report: Melissa Arnot on Training in Motion
Posted on January 26, 2015

Melissa Arnot Catching a Breather in Between Wind Sprints

Melissa Arnot says she is not a natural athlete – instead, it’s her rigorous training regimen that gets her up every mountain she climbs. The high-altitude climber, fitness disciple, and peacemaker currently holds the western women’s record with five summits of Mount Everest, which means she knows what it takes to reach the top. With this month’s launch of Eddie Bauer’s new line of Motion apparel—which focuses on building strength, endurance and fitness for adventure—we tracked down our brand’s most serious mountain athlete for an interview on what it takes to train for the world’s biggest peaks. —LYA Editor

Melissa Arnot Logging Miles to get fit for the Approach

What is your normal training routine when preparing for a big Himalayan climb?

I am not naturally athletically gifted, so I train very hard for a Himalayan climb. My goal is to be 100% stronger than I think I will need to be. I usually walk uphill on snow with a 65-pound pack, do high intensity sprinting workouts, and balance it all out with yoga. My program usually last about eight weeks.

I think people are always surprised to know how hard I have to train to feel prepared. I usually do at least two weeks of “two-a-day” workouts before a big trip. One workout is very activity-focused to mimic climbing and mountaineering and the other is completely not—biking for example.

How do you maintain motivation during your constant training cycles?

I am really motivated by my progress so I measure everything I do. I time myself, record heart rate, use GPS maps to see where I am lagging then compare it week by week. This keeps me accountable and motivated year after year.

I have really refined my training over the years to get the most out of it. I started out just trying random things but now that I have been at it for a number of years I really know what works. Adding structured stretching is a huge change for me. I do yoga for stretching because there is no way I would get that kind of restorative work in any other way.


What is the most important personal lesson you’ve learned about goal setting with regard to fitness?

Set them! And set them realistically for yourself, not for what others might do. Training isn’t a competition. For me, if I don’t have a goal I will just sort of flounder around. I need structure to keep my motivation high.

I also try to maintain a very high level of base fitness so that when I train for an objective all I have to do is tweak my workouts. Because I am traveling for my climbs usually, I will train until the day I leave and then consider the travel and approach a “rest period.” It is a great way to get the most out of seasonal training.

What do you like best about training for a big climb?

Training is a huge part of my life, as much as climbing is. I love the discipline that I feel when training and knowing that I am working towards a real goal. There is nothing more satisfying then showing up for an objective knowing I have done all I could and I am physically ready.


Sunset over the Training Ground Photo: Phillip North Coombes

 Check out the entire line of Motion training and fitness apparel at

Author: - Monday, January 26th, 2015

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