Training. Preparation. In interviews with elite athletes, we often focus on their accomplishments, not the hard work it took to get there. Hour after hour, day after day. The North Face® has captured the essence of this hard work in a project called Mountain Athletics. Recently released in Australia, the centrepiece is a free App for your iPhone or Smartphone with 6-week sport-specific training plans. But the project is bigger than just the digital App. The North Face has also introduced a line of Mountain Athletics training apparel and footwear, as well as offering free “boot camps” in select US cities (so far) led by The North Face trainers. The whole goal of the project is to inspire people to “go big outdoors” by providing the tools to prepare you to do so.
Mountain Athletics was created in collaboration with Rob Shaul, the man behind Mountain Athlete, a gym near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that helps train elite athletes for a variety of mountain sports. The idea is to increase your fitness targeted at a specific sport, allowing you to be better prepared and achieve more. To date, the gender-specific programs support Running (aimed at long mountain trail runs and Ultramarathons), Alpine Climbing, Rock Climbing, Backcountry Skiing and All-Mountain Skiing, as well as General Fitness.
Photo: Dane Geerke, Reel Imagination
Each program is 6 weeks long, 4 to 5 days per week and is primarily gym-based, though the exercises can be done at home if you can find substitutes for some of the weights (I’ve heard of someone using simple dumbbells, along with bags of bird seed). The Mountain Athletics App lays out the workout plan for you, including the gear you’ll need, instructional videos from some of The North Face sponsored athletes and opportunities to tell your friends about your accomplishments. While the latter might sound a little narcissistic, the point is to motivate you in whatever way works. Be aware that the workouts aren’t for the faint-hearted. The exercises get tougher each week and will push you to build what’s being called your “Mountain Chassis” – your legs, lungs and core. Ultimately, the programs are designed to help build strength, endurance and physical durability for your adventures in the mountains.
The Mountain Athletics apparel line is just as well thought out. It’s designed specifically for training. Using The North Face’s proprietary FlashDry™ fabrics, the garments are lightweight, moisture-wicking and breathable. FlashDry is a technology that embeds microporous particles into the yarns that expand the fabric’s surface area, which in turn accelerates evaporation of your sweat. The company has also used body-mapping to determine the places you sweat the most and added mesh-knit panels to aid in quickly drying off. Little additional touches, like reflective trims and logos improve the products even further.
The North Face Mountain Athletics App is free for download at the App Store on your mobile phone. The apparel line is available in Australia at The North Face stores and online at www.thenorthface.com.au, as well as Paddy Pallin retail outlets. The rest is up to you.
Featured Product Photos: Dane Geerke at Reel Imagination, The North Face Media Images