Adventurer Eric Larsen on Training for Exploration
The extreme polar explorer on rock lifting, noodles, and scheduling conflicts
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OVER THE PAST 15 years, Eric Larsen has redefined the limits of polar exploration. Beginning in November 2009, during a 365-day window, the Wisconsin native trekked to the North Pole, then the South Pole, and summited Mount Everest. Last year he rode a fat-tire snow bike 350 miles across Antarctica. Next spring, Larsen will attempt to break the 49-day speed record for skiing to the North Pole. His training plan? Carry lots of rocks, eat buckwheat noodles, and stick to a schedule.
Height: 5′ 8”
Weight: 155 pounds
Origins: Boulder, CO
More ExplorationThe 2013 Adventurers of the Year
I WANNA ROCK: “Engage the same muscles in the same way you will on the actual trip. For Everest, I loaded a pack with 50 pounds of rocks and hiked fourteeners in Colorado. For the North Pole, I tied two truck tires to my harness, loaded them with rocks, and pulled them along a trail for two to four hours.”
THINK WARM THOUGHTS: “A big part of tolerating the cold is your attitude. If you think you’re going to be cold and miserable, you will be cold and miserable.”
OODLES OF NOODLES: “My favorite meal is soba buckwheat noodles with chicken and pesto and a big salad. I used to eat a lot of white-flour pasta, but then I switched to buckwheat. My weight doesn’t fluctuate as much, and I have better sustained energy.”
CLOCKWORKER: “I’m all about routines. I eat, work, sleep, and train at the same time every day. It puts you on a structured schedule and makes you accountable.”
WORKOUT WARRIOR: “I travel a lot for presentations, and I hate hotel gyms, but often there’s no other choice. To keep from getting bored, I’ll do a 40-minute workout with ten minutes of intervals on each apparatus: ten on the bike, ten on the elliptical, ten on the treadmill, and ten on the rower.”
WERTHERING HARD TIMES: “On an expedition, I always carry four pieces of Werther’s candy in my pocket for emergency calories and that quick pick-me-up.”
KEEP PERSPECTIVE: “I know at some point I’m going to be somewhere cold feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. That’s why I try to appreciate the nice things when they’re happening.”