Bob and Eddie Leonard are brothers that train together at TFW Julington Creek. What were they training for, you ask? They were training to climb Mount Rainier which ascends approximately 14,000+ feet above sea level. They knew this would be a challenge, but what they didn’t know was that they would be dealing with sub-zero temperatures, high winds and waist deep snow. Out of the 12 that initially started the climb, eight dropped out along the way. Though they were
eventually turned around at 12,000 feet due to avalanche conditions, Bob and Eddie’s commitment to fitness gave them both the physical strength and mental fortitude to complete this arduous task.
We asked Bob and Eddie a few questions in regards to their trip and their training at TFW:
TFWJAX: How did your training at TFW Jacksonville help prepare you to achieve your mission of climbing Mount Rainier?
EL: Training at TFW Jacksonville was critical to our success. Coach Adam created the necessary discipline to stay focused on getting in great shape. We had a schedule in place at TFW and a solid plan to follow, which is exactly what we needed for high altitude mountain climbing.
TFWJAX: Was there a particular workout or specific exercise(s) that you think helped you the most during the climb? Which exercise(s) and how/why?
BL: It’s all about the core. Don’t leave home without it. We certainly did plenty of legs and cardio work to endure the long days on the mountain. But never leave home without the core being in top shape. It makes strapping on 45lb-plus backpacks a whole lot more enjoyable.
TFWJAX: Based on other training you have done either on your own or with another fitness program, what makes TFW different?
EL: The difference is a customize plan suited to our goals. The coaches are very knowledgeable and think outside the box. We did exercises I’ve never done before, but I found extremely helpful. Our particular goal was to create lean muscle, burn fat and increase stamina. I also slept better under their program. I attribute this to the workouts and foods they encouraged us to eat.
TFWJAX: What was the most difficult part of this experience/challenge (or what obstacles did you overcome) and how/why?
EL: Dealing with the weather conditions was the most challenging. We experienced wind, rain and snow from the moment we started our climb. Once we got above the clouds, the snow subsided, but we lost half our team to the conditions before we got to base camp. The conditions were too much and many turned around. We continued the next day because we had the strength and stamina to do so. I attribute this to our training at TFW.
TFWJAX: What's next for you guys? Are we tackling another Mountain?
BL: We are currently training to climb Mexico’s volcanoes - Orizaba and Ixtaccihuatl in February 2017. This will be back-to-back glaciated volcanoes of 17,000 and 18,000 feet in the same week. If you’re up for climbing, come visit me and Coach Adam on Saturday mornings.