Mountain Fitness Tips: Train Your Brain

You may not be a pro skier or climber, but at least you can train like one. Mountain sports coach Rob Shaul and his students share how they prepare for the peaks.

Kim Havell

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Mental fitness is just like physical fitness. Athletes lose their mental edge if they don't train their minds. We use intense work capacity efforts, coaching and gym competition to prepare our students for the mental challenges of competition and the dangers of the mountains. —Coach Shaul

ATHLETE: Eric Seymour, expedition kayaker

MA TRAINING: 2 years

SUCCESS STORY: First descents all over the globe; showcased in eight kayak films, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous paddling publications.

Whether you're running a huge waterfall or portaging 90 pounds of gear over mountainous terrain, kayaking is a mind game. You have to be able to focus in order to succeed. Good mental fitness is essential if you want to come home safely.

Living in Jackson, Wyoming, I'm not able to kayak year-round. Before MA, I used to spend the first half of the season just playing catch-up. My skills were there, but I was not physically or mentally prepared to tackle a hard Class V whitewater expedition. Now, come spring, I have the strength to hit some of the hardest rivers in the world with confidence.