If I had any doubts, last night’s ordeal laid them to rest: I am not Hyperfit. Sean Burch, the guy who jumped rope on top of Mount Everest, who ran the Arctic Marathon, who scaled more mountains than I know the name of and is most definitely the definition of healthy and fit released a book entitled Hyperfitness, and yesterday I began to follow his regimen.
In two words: it was brutal. His theory is that rather than targeting certain specific muscle groups like one does in weight lifting, or developing your stamina for a particular kind of exercise like running or cycling does, you should attempt as broad and thorough a workout as possible that just thrashes you.
And thrashed I was. It was ridiculous. Sure, since I’ve arrived in NYC I’ve done little more than close down bars and desperately try to catch up on sleep while skipping meals, but still, I’m young, I’m relatively fit, I can dance all night and still walk the next day. But five minutes into this workout my heart was hammering against my chest as if it wanted out, my legs felt like noodles and I was desperately trying to find a way to look prematurely exhausted and cool at the same time.
The exercises are a series of squats, leaps, lunges combined with light weight lifting. You basically look like a six year old in Gym class, doing jumping jacks and scrambling around on the floor. It is not a work out for those trying to pick up members of the opposite sex in the gym. What’s worse, they’re brutally tough, in that you have to do each exercise for a whole minute before stopping to switch onto the next one. One minute of surging up from a squat into a leap, followed by two bounces and back down into the squat? Killer. Who knew that just jumping around could be so hard? By the end of the workout (more accurately, at the point I decided to stop so as to not pass out) my breath was coming out in whistles, people around me were shooting worried glances at my wilting figure, and I just wanted to lie down and become one with the gym floor.
My friend Dan reports similar results in California, which is heartening, but I’m already dreading my workout today. I understand that the whole point of exercise is to get fit, and to look good. It’s just too bad that I have to look so awful while getting there.
And why am I following his regimen? Well, here are some of the things Sean Burch has accomplished – you tell me if he doesn’t have enough credibility:
• World Record 63 Summits of Unclimbed Peaks in 23 Days, Solo, Tibet (2006)
• Guinness World Record: Fastest Ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro: 5:28:48 (2005)
• Guinness World Record: Fastest Time for Northern Most Marathon (2004)
• First Place: North Pole Marathon (2004)
• Mt. Everest (29,035 ft.): Summit, Solo, and almost completely without bottled oxygen (2003)
• World Record: Jump Rope at Altitude – 26, 181 ft. (2003)
• USA Record Speed Ascent, Aconcagua (22, 841 ft.): Solo, Argentina, Highest Peak in Southern and Western Hemisphere, (2003)
• First in World: 14 Ascents, 2 Solo 1st Ascents – Previously Unmapped and Unexplored Mountain Areas within Arctic Circle in East Greenland (2002)
• Shishapangma (26, 552 ft.): Summit, 13th Highest Mountain in the World, Tibet, No Bottled Oxygen, (2001)
• First in World: 3 1st Ascents, St. Elias Range, Alaska, (2000)