I’ve been in the business since August 2013. I’m a former Royal Air Force Physical Training Instructor. I served for 5 years and during this time I took part and organised lots of charity events to help raise money for various causes.
Since leaving and becoming a full time Juice Plus Franchise partner, I wanted to continue to give back by challenging myself to do more events to raise money for charity.
I was presented with an opportunity to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest free standing mountain in the world!!
I have completed the 3 peaks in the U.K. before but I knew this challenge was completely different and would really push me.
With the mounting standing at 20,000 feet (6,000 metres) above sea level, I had to be as fit as I possibly could to prepare myself, not just for the physical demands of the 6-day climb, but also the high altitude. This was my biggest concern!
My fitness levels are generally ok but I trained very hard for this challenge. 5 days a week, sometimes twice a day. Things from 10k runs, hills sprints, Interval training, hill walking with weight and swimming.
My diet had to change during this time! I was eating 5 meals a day on top of supplements. I was eating lots of protein, as well as lots of fruits and vegetables, alongside all of the Juice Plus products!
I had to ensure my body was at its optimum during my training, my recovery was quick and that I didn’t get any injuries. My nutrition had to be right!
Before setting off I was very apprehensive of the unknown! I was ready but unsure of how my body would react to the high altitude!
All 15 of us met at the airport and somewhere introduced for the first time. I knew nobody but quickly got chatting and was settled in.
The morning of our first climb the nerves had the better of me but I was excited at the same time. We met out local support team who were absolutely incredible the whole trip.
The first 3 days of the climb were tough but manageable. We really bonded as a group and got to know each other including the support group well.
Each morning after breakfast and every evening before dinner we would join in with the locals by dancing and singing Swahili songs. This is something that will stay with me forever!
The higher we got the more the altitude was effecting us, including me! Headaches, nausea, loss of coordination... this challenge was staring to get real!
Day 6 was summit night. We set off at midnight, hoping to reach the top in 6 hours. I was tired, fatigued, exhausted from the lack of sleep but at the same time I was excited and optimistic about reaching the top...
The next 8 hours were the hardest of my life!!!
It was -15 plus wind chill, there was more snow on the mountain than there has been for the last 5 years, it was icy and at some points the winds were gusting up to 60mph! It was safe to say everything was against us.
Despite all this, 13 of us, including me, made it to the top.
I had never been so tired and exhausted in all my life and because of this and the fact it was bitterly cold, there was very little elation or sense of achievement. We all just wanted to get back down.
I have time to reflect and even writing this now brings tears to my eyes on how hard this challenge was but also how amazing we all were to reach the top and conquer the mounting, in the most horrendous conditions.
This was definitely the hardest challenge I have ever done and mentally took to places I’ve never been before. Despite this, the experience will last with me forever and it one of my greatest achievements.