Setting FitnessGoals at 50: Delhi Entrepreneur scales Mount Everest

Mind training is much more demanding than body training.

Aditya Gupta, a renowned name in the world of furniture and home décor manufacturing, believes in raising the bar, and he just did that by scaling the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest. Today, his kitty is full of tales of many thrilling expeditions from Mount Kilimanjaro to Mutnovsky Volcano.

In an interview with BW BUSINESSWORLD, Gupta talks about the challenges he faced while scaling the heights, the arduous preparations he underwent, and some tips for other adventure explorers of his age to follow while going for such an expedition. 

What have been your biggest learning experiences?

The final frontier of mountaineering is to climb Mount Everest. Every mountaineer is charmed by Everest and at some point, we all have to believe that we can climb it. It is a life-transforming experience in various ways. It taught me about mental toughness, focus, optimism, self-confidence, courage, the power of goals, and the lesson of breaking the most monumental task into smaller bits to overcome them. 

One needs to expect the unexpected because sometimes equipment will fail, the weather will get worse, tragedies will take place but once you reach the summit, nothing else will matter. All those challenges will become a blur. So, we need to prepare your mind for the worst and hope for the best.

How did you train yourself for this expedition?

Climbing Mount Everest requires fitness, both mental and physical. You can’t train yourself mentally that much as it depends more on what kind of a person you have been all your life and how you have always reacted to situations. However, physically, you need to prepare your body. 

I trained for nine months, in which I increased my cardio capacity, strengthened my back and legs, and lost around 12 kgs. I would run with a rucksack on my back and weights tied to my legs to condition my body to take the extra strain. I was working out for about 15 hours a week without sidelining my professional commitments.

What are some tips & tricks that you would recommend to people looking to undertake this journey post 40?

No "tips" or "tricks". Everest is a test of your body, mind and spirit. As one fellow climber put it - you need to be in "top of the world" shape of body, mind and spirit to reach the top of the world! So this is about passion+preparation = performance.

What are the challenges you have faced?

The first part you cross is the Khumbu Icefall, which is considered the most dangerous part of the climb. You have to cross it in about eight-nine hours and it has a lot of crevices. The terrain is very treacherous. Everest is the highest peak, you have to deal with high altitudes, where you have little oxygen to breathe and face difficulty in eating and sleeping. It all then becomes a question of endurance.

When you are crossing a crevice with an aluminium ladder that is 12 inches wide, you don’t focus on anything else but the next step. Also, the length of the expedition causes a lot of fatigue. Only your mental toughness can keep you going. Luckily, in my group of 4 climbers and a few sherpas, everyone was quite determined to do it. Once you embark on that journey, you don’t think about how much is left, you think about how much you have covered.

What are your comments on the 'overcrowding at Everest’?

I am not in favour of overcrowding but there has to be a healthy number of climbers. Excess of anything is bad but when you have a decent number of climbers, you get better facilities and the path on the climb gets clearer. It’s extremely tough to walk on smooth ice. If there are footsteps, you get a better foothold. However, one needs to understand you can’t lower the number unless there is a government rule. There is only one Everest in the world with thousands of people wanting to climb it with hundreds of agencies facilitating.

How do you train your mind?

Mind training is much more demanding than body training. But for Everest or other comparable tasks, it requires experiential learning and observing oneself for mental tenacity. Some situations are not possible to "simulate" and "imagination" is not enough. 

You got to be in the middle of it know what it does to you. So training the mind involves, in my opinion, exposing the mind to situations you wish to be trained for. If it is Everest for example then other life-threatening adventures with long endurance demand on the body help. Mountain expeditions help more specifically because the altitude is a major issue to deal with and some difficulties are common at certain altitudes on all mountains. 

About Aditya Gupta - 

Aditya Gupta is the owner of brands like Sharda Exports, India, The Rug Republic, and The Furniture Republic. He developed a taste for adventurous treks at a young age as he went along sharpening his business acumen.

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