Tag: training program

Full Body Band Workout – New Training Manual

It’s finally live on Amazon, Full Body Band Workout and if you want to get the best deal, Friday and Saturday, April 17 and 18, it will be FREE. Yep, FREE.

If you have Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime, you can get it for free right now. In order for Prime to get it free, it has to be your monthly selection and borrowed from your Kindle itself. If you order it from the website you’ll get dinged. I know…

Full Body Band Workout - fast, simple, inexpensive tone, condition, endurance, strength
Full Body Band Workout – fast, simple, inexpensive tone, condition, endurance, strength

I’ll fill you in more on the details later, but here’s a quote for you, from the Preface:

The Full Body Band Workout is a way to get a complete full body workout with extremely limited equipment. This allows you to get many of the same benefits of weighted strength training and bodyweight only exercises while providing additional resistance.

Done correctly and with intent, it can be every bit as effective for toning, gaining muscle and strength as other types of working out and exercising. You can focus on making gains, maintaining gains, increasing strength or endurance, or even use it as a great 10 minute warmup for your other exercise programs, including cardio and strength training. That’s something worth trying for yourself to see if you get that positive warmed-up pumped feeling that leaves you stronger and with more endurance.

To receive a link to the upcoming video production of this book, as well as more great training information like this, subscribe at: http://sevensummitsbody.com/blog/newsletter/

Yes, if you want to be in the loop when I put up that video, be sure to register for the Newsletter, and I’ll also send you a few training program sheets in the next few weeks.

Ice Climbing Training 6 Week Preparation

Ice Climbing Training? It is indeed that time of year. So let’s get this show on the road. I promised a few weeks ago to post my current ice climbing training program.

Ice Tool Chin-ups for Ice Climbing Training
Ice Tool Chin-ups for Ice Climbing Training

I know from previous years that six weeks of good hard work set you up for a much more successful and fulfilling season out on the ice. Ice climbing training is way worth a little bit of effort for about 6 weeks, or more if you have it. I think if you get into a late season, or are mainly going to Ouray, this program could be done for eight or more weeks and work great.

Ice Climbing Training 6 Week Program

It’s the one I’m actually doing right now. Though I am using slightly different weights for it. For myself I’m really posterior chain dominant. That means I can train hamstrings and glutes all day long and get a lot of bang for the buck. So whereas in this ice climbing training program when it says something like 8 x 8 @ 50% – for me that might be more like 8 x 8 @ 100% (the % being percentage of bodyweight for the training load). For example, like with Leg Curls where I’ve actually maxed out the machine at the gym I currently go to. I say that not to impress, but rather to explain that there is a lot of variance in this program. If you can recover fast enough, there is plenty of room to do a lot more weight in the shoulders and chest exercises.

[youtube https://youtu.be/ragJ06a39jo&w=640&h=360&rel=0]


I promised this first to my newsletter subscribers, so if you want your copy, please sign up now and get one without the waiting. It’s a 4 day a week program you can use in just about any gym, even a well stocked home gym. There are a few different options listed, but if you need more let me know and I’ll make a revised version and send it to my subscribers.

[grwebform url=”https://app.getresponse.com/view_webform_v2.js?u=BLe6u&webforms_id=3882404″ css=”on” center=”off” center_margin=”200″/]

If you’re looking for a more generic, long term training program, I’ve had quite a few people contact me about my latest training manual Summit Success: Training for Hiking, Mountaineering, and Peak Bagging

It’s 16 weeks that will get you in amazing shape. Check out the reviews.

Ice Climbing Training is sometimes a do-it-yourself task
Ice Climbing Training is sometimes a do-it-yourself task

Mountaineering Fitness Book Teaser

I’ve been working for a couple years on and off with my Couch to Colorado 14er Training Program. This mountaineering fitness program is going on right now  by Subscription only [HERE]. My group has received their first of 11 emails with the training materials that will get them hiking and to the summit by the end of the summer.

I switched over to the more generic sounding “Mountaineering Fitness” category so that I could add in other books for other objectives as time goes forward. This year I want to get people to the top of a 14er or equivalent peak. Who knows what mountaineering fitness goal I can come up with for next year?

The book, both Kindle and paperback, should be available in about a month for those who want to read it outside of the Subscription. For those in this group I’d like to share the almost final draft of my opening few chapters here.

Mountaineering Fitness results - Happy to be on top. Todd Gilles and Charles Miske after climbing Kelso Ridge on Torreys
Mountaineering Fitness results – Happy to be on top. Todd Gilles and Charles Miske after climbing Kelso Ridge on Torreys


Mountaineering Fitness: Beginner Training Manual

Couch to Colorado 14er Program

a fitness plan for armchair mountaineers

©2013-2014 by Charles Miske



Late in the summer of 2005 I weighed 220 pounds, mostly gained from working 60 hour weeks at a tech job. I attempted Castle Peak, a Colorado Fourteener with a road up to 12,000’ good for 4×4 vehicles. I didn’t summit, because I was really out of shape. I started out too quickly, since in my own mind I was still young and strong and fast. I got lost, lacked confidence on the rough trail near the top, and ran out of time. I didn’t have a headlamp to negotiate the trail in the dark.

A few weeks later I did manage to hike to the summit of Torreys, another Colorado Fourteener. I camped near the trailhead, got a very early start, and allowed more time to go up. Sadly, it took nearly twice as long to descend to the trailhead as it took to get to the top. Going down was really hard on my body, and I was really beat up by the time I got back to the car.

This sorry condition was frustrating to me, because just five years before I had climbed four of the 14ers in one summer, and was among the faster hikers on the trail. I guess that’s what happens when you abandon your fitness in return for success at a desk job. A long time ago I had a personal trainer certification. I had exercised off and on since I was 19. I had been a year-round bicycle commuter. I had run several 5K and 8K races and done well. I never even noticed that I had gained so much fat and become so unfit.

The next fall, 2006, after ballooning up to nearly 240 pounds, my daughter was born. When I looked at her little face, I realized that I had put my health at risk, and if I wanted to watch her grow up, I would need to make some serious changes, starting right that minute. I finally had the motivation to begin a fitness program designed to get me to the top of the mountain. With my love of hiking and climbing, I knew that if I were to focus on the rewards of trips to the mountains, I could sustain a program to return to the me I used to be. Over the next four years I lost 60 pounds, and kept it off for another four years as of this writing in Spring 2014.

During my fat loss journey I started took up several sports and adventure activities. I’ve climbed rock and ice, on glaciers and couloirs. I’ve run on the road in 10K and half marathons. I’ve run on trails in 10K, half marathon and full marathon races. I successfully ran the Qualifier for Elbrus Race 2010, and finished under the cutoff for Elbrus Race 2013. I trained the 3rd place finisher for Elbrus Race 2013, one of my proudest achievements in training an elite athlete.

I studied and experimented with several different training and eating theories. I have figured out since then how I could have sped up my progress quite a bit, and I know that in general you too can have the same results that I got, only in less time and with less effort. In this book I will focus more on the training aspects of the program. If you want more information about how to lose fat quickly using proven, sound science please check out my other book The 100 Calorie Diet Plan – a food portion control program for fast, efficient, fat loss.

We began discussing this journey with a Colorado Fourteener. Let’s start on the path to achieve that goal now, and if climbing a 14er is the carrot on your stick, then by all means, let’s get you to the top.

Me, 240 pounds, January 2008. Mountaineering Fitness fixed that quick
Me, 240 pounds, January 2008. Mountaineering Fitness fixed that quick


At one time I was a Certified Personal Trainer. I let it expire when it was obvious that I would make more money as a Tech Support Manager. I didn’t go to medical school or get a degree in any health related field.  The information presented in this book is a compilation of the knowledge I gained from several different seminars I attended over the years as I studied to get my personal trainer certification, from seminars I attended as someone interested in the extremes of physical and athletic performance, as someone who had the inkling of an idea that I’d be writing this and other training plans, and from practical hands-on experience with both myself, and the athletes I consult and coach for.

I can’t promise anything, or make any claims of a medical or professional nature. Your results are up to you. I also can’t promise that you will not be injured in any way or capacity, mental or physical. I suggest that you get clearance to accept the challenge of this program from a properly licensed medical professional before you begin. If you need assistance from an Adaptive Training Specialist, please have them contact me for suggestions and advice on how to accommodate any special needs you might have.

Having assumed that you are cleared by a qualified medical professional I hope that you agree that I cannot possibly be held accountable for what you do with the information presented here, which is basically a collection of traditional workout and training methods presented in a program format that I personally feel for myself is suitably applicable to climbing one or more of the Colorado Fourteeners. As the car commercials so carefully state in the fine print “Your Mileage May Vary”. Be aware, alert, and careful not to hurt yourself in any way. I would feel bad, if nothing else.

Again, in a nutshell, no promises, no guarantees, get permission, don’t hurt yourself.


Do you want to climb a mountain? Have you climbed one before? Maybe when you were younger or more fit? I’m assuming you’re not all that ready to climb one now, since you’re reading this. I’m here to help you become fit enough to climb a mountain. This program is 16 weeks long. You can start it any time. I hope you never really ever quit this program. I hope you continue to grow in fitness and health. If you need to grow new muscle, I can help you. If you need to shred off some fat, I can help with that too. Even if you need to do both I can get you where you want to go. But let’s get back to that mountain now.

“The Mountains are calling and I must go.” — John Muir

If you’re wanting to do a hike on a bigger type mountain, something to prove to yourself that you have what it takes, I recommend climbing a Colorado Fourteener. Otherwise spelled 14’er or 14er according to Google. This is a peak with a summit over 14,000’ above sea level. Officially and unofficially, there are different rules to determine if it’s a “summit” or just a bump on the ridge of another big mountain. There are over 50 such mountains in Colorado. The exact number depends on which list you accept. That is only important if you’re going to try to do all of them. If you just want to have a great day out in the mountains with the potential for a beautiful view, maybe see some mountain goats or pika, and a great physical challenge, there are lots of mountains to choose from. Many of them have decent road access and a trail that most people of at least average fitness can successfully hike in a single day.

Mountaineering Fitness now allows me to run up many mountains
Mountaineering Fitness now allows me to run up many mountains

I noticed that there are several “Couch to…” books and guides and manuals out there. You could go to a running website and order “Couch to 5K”, “..10K”, “..Half Marathon”, “..Marathon” etc. In my mind climbing a Fourteener is roughly equivalent to running in a half marathon. Yes, thousands of people do it each week, but to someone who has never run one before, it seems rather extreme. In general a good training program during a period of 12-16 weeks could get you from the couch to finishing one. Maybe not in a great time, but finishing a half marathon is possible with about 4 months of training. Climbing a Colorado 14er with 4 months of training is realistic. I suppose that just about any similar mountain climbing goal would be quite possible in that time frame.

If you want to get off the couch and onto the top of one of the highest mountains in the Continental USA, let me help you get in shape over the next 16 weeks. Make a commitment to get on the program, and at the end test yourself. Test your fitness and endurance by hiking one of the Colorado Fourteeners

One of the first things you want to do is find out exactly where you stand physically right this minute. Or at least this week. Keep in mind that I can’t really assess you in person right now, so I’m going to have to trust you to do this for me, okay? It’s very important for both of us that you start out on the right foot.

If you want to pre-order a copy, subscribe to the blog or Like my Facebook Page for the first notice of when it will be available. You can get just the paperback or Kindle from Amazon, or generic eBook and Video files from me. Check back for when Mountaineering Fitness Book One is available.

Ice Climbing Training Upper Body [archive copy]

Part One of an in-season upper body Ice Climbing training program. You should alternate this with Part Two. Since this is an in-season program we’re not going to try to get stronger. Ice climbing training should assist the primary activity of ice climbing, but not take away from it. Proper strength training would require you to take 3-5 days off from training to let the muscles recover fully before training again. This would take away from your outdoor climbing fun, since most of the week you’d be recovering, and in the long run the load would be too high. Begin with about 5-10 minutes of a light duty warmup to get the whole upper body full of hot blood and nice and flexible. I like a full range exercise like the Concept2 SkiErg. You could substitute bands, which I’ll show you in Ice Climbing Training Upper Body Part Two.

Ice Climbing Training: Warmup on SkiErg

[youtube https://youtu.be/-Vdgr0vyhw0&w=640&h=360&rel=0]

Remember, this should not be a workout or cardio. Just crank away till you’re nice and warm and your joints are soft. For most people 5:00 to 10:00 minutes should be good enough warm up for an ice climbing training session. I’ve actually gone without it a few times and been none the worse for wear and tear. But I do recommend it until you know your own body. My first exercise in this upper body program is a very light, fairly quick, nearly full range of motion power rack bench press. Since I’m alone I use a power rack to protect myself from dropping the weights. I set the safety bars about half an inch off my fully expanded chest. If you’re just starting out you might want to set it a few inches higher until you know what works best for you. I usually do a set of 25. I think anything from about 10 up will do, but if you can’t do 25 with pretty good form it’s probably too much weight for this type of in-season ice climbing training program.

Ice Climbing Training: Bench Press

[youtube https://youtu.be/zFTf0xbfvb0&w=640&h=360&rel=0]


This is as far as it got when I saved it as a draft on March 13, 2014! I’m only putting it here for historical purposes and will get my new Ice Climbing Training articles up about once a week for the next few weeks. Remember, if you wanted the free pre-season General Physical Prep (GPP) training program – fill out this form. I’ll totally keep you in the loop.

[grwebform url=”https://app.getresponse.com/view_webform_v2.js?u=BLe6u&webforms_id=3882204″ css=”on” center=”off” center_margin=”200″/]

Remember – Train Smart and Hard for Best Progress!

Losing Weight While Gaining Muscle

Losing weight while gaining muscle is a topic I hear a lot about. From the people I coach, from other trainers, on message boards and comment threads. It’s a popular topic. A long time ago I went to a seminar for personal trainers. I had lunch with a handful of them and the topic of losing weight while gaining muscle came up among us. One of them was an online and phone remote trainer. There’s nothing wrong with that. I do that now, so I can respect that. He worked for a national chain. When I pointed out the extreme difficulty and unlikelihood of losing weight while gaining muscle, he replied:

That’s just not true. 100% of our clients lose weight while gaining muscle. Our system works for everyone all the time. You’re just wrong.

I didn’t bother talking to him after he quoted their marketing materials. I’m sure there’s some weird set of conditions for claiming that grossly exaggerated number. The fact is that it is very difficult. If it were as easy as he claimed everyone would be doing it. You could buy it in a pill bottle labeled “Lose Weight Gain Muscle”. You could read a $.99 ebook and wake up the next morning totally buff and without body fat.


losing weight while gaining muscle is very difficult - 12% bodyfat
losing weight while gaining muscle is very difficult – 12% bodyfat

Are you tough enough for losing weight while gaining muscle?

Sadly, losing weight while gaining muscle is asking your body to do two completely different things at the exact same time. In general, to gain muscle, you need to train your muscles with a bodybuilding protocol. You will do a moderate volume of training at heavy weights. You will go to failure. Your muscle cells will grow and multiply. With more and bigger muscles you will weigh more. This is simple math with simple proven medical science. Your metabolism will adjust so that you can rest more while muscle growth occurs. Sometimes you will have to eat more. If losing weight while gaining muscle is your goal, the trick is to interrupt the resting process and lose more fat weight than the weight of the muscle you gain. This (lose weight gain muscle) is a fine line to walk metabolically, physically, and psychologically.

Most people cannot do it. When you set your goal on losing weight, you generally cut your calories down to a really small number and do lots of cardio. You could lose weight for a while, but a lot of that would be muscle weight as well. You won’t be getting enough calories to keep your muscle mass intact. You wouldn’t be stimulating your muscles to preserve themselves with weight and strength training. This is one major failing common to most of the unguided attempts at losing weight.

Get Guidance Now: Lose Weight Gain Muscle Newsletter [CLICK HERE]

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” — Abe Lincoln

225 pounds of Charles Miske in August 2005
225 pounds of Charles Miske in August 2005

When your goal is to lose fat you cut your calories down to a specific level, do cardio at a specific level, and weight train at a specific level. Normally you could train either at high weights and low volume, or low weights and high volume. The idea is to create just enough stimulus to your muscles to preserve them as you lose fat. I recommend that most people start here and work their way up to the body composition they dream of. Turn your dream into a goal with directed action that follows a specific plan.

Losing weight while gaining muscle: My Experience

It is possible. I’ve done it a few times. But losing weight while gaining muscle is tough. Dang tough. Without a support system, without logging and journaling, without an accountability partner system in place, without proper goal setting and achievement, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I was training for Elbrus Race 2010 the first time I successfully put on muscle while losing fat. I was really motivated to suffer, no matter what.

Your major directing goal should be something that wakes you up in the morning and rolls you out of bed and gets you moving. You should be excited every minute of every day. — from the Steve House seminar in Ouray Colorado

180 pounds of Charles Miske in November 2011
180 pounds of Charles Miske in November 2011

I did it a few other times as I trained for Elbrus Race 2012 and 2013. I’m doing it right now for Elbrus Race 2014. And having been through it a few times now I can honestly say that most people shouldn’t even worry about losing weight while gaining muscle. Most people should lose that fat. Stabilize. Then they can work toward their sports performance goals. Then they can work toward their body composition goals.

You want to gain the most muscle in the shortest time?

The way I see it training volume is the amount of work you do in a workout, averaged over time. Work is loosely defined as force x distance in elementary physics. We’ll think of force as the amount of weight or resistance you’re going to generate to move a weight. The good old fashioned iron weights work best for explaining this train of thought. If you lift a 100 pound iron weight 2’ that’s work. The math becomes a bit trickier when you add in pulleys and cables and bands and bent fiberglass wands or fan blades in a cage. You know which machines I mean, right?

But even if you are using one of those machines you can still use many of these principles to measure your training volume for all practical purposes. My own experience is that I subtly decrease my training volume when confronted with a plateau in my training. My clients have reinforced that opinion over time. It’s surprising how you do it and don’t even notice. — from Weight Training Secret Manual: 8 Hacks to Beat the Plateau

Don’t fall prey to the plateau! For the optimum goal – lose weight gain muscle – combine the diet plan book below with my new “Weight Training Secret Manual: 8 Hacks to Beat the Plateau” and get on the fast track to muscle growth and strength.


You really want to give it your best?

You really want to try losing weight while gaining muscle. What’s that worth to you in time and effort and ambition and sticking to it with rock solid tenacity? I trained for up to 4 hours a day. Now and then even more. I had partners I shared my training and nutrition journals with. I had 100% support from my family and loved ones.

How about you?

Would you train for 2 hours a day 6 days a week and log every single last set and rep and tenth of a mile in your training journal? Would you eat strictly according to simple 5th grade math and sound scientific principles? Would you do that over and over in 6 week cycles until you had achieved your goal? What is that worth $100/mo? $80/mo? $60/mo? What if it were only $10/week to have your

  • Training and nutrition journals analyzed and assessed
  • Your strengths magnified
  • Your weaknesses countered
  • Your success amplified

Would you sign up for all of that if it meant losing weight while gaining muscle?

Losing weight while gaining muscle – Diet – the starting point to success

In my book “The 100 Calorie Diet Plan” I outline some of the steps in this plan. I describe journaling, food portion control, how to determine your actual scientific caloric needs, how to create your own daily menu, how to create your own weight training program. Most of all I explain how to create goals and measure progress. CLICK HERE if you want to know more.


Phase One Training Protocols for Elbrus Race 2013

This is a great workout to prepare for the hiking season too!

This first phase of training is four weeks, and builds a base for the rest of the training.

Stairmaster Stepmill
Stairmaster Stepmill Training

1) strive for 4,500′ of vertical per week

You can break this up just about any way that makes sense, but at least 2,500′ needs to be outside and it’s better if it’s like 3 x 1,500′ though it can vary depending on conditions available.

Stairmaster – is great and about the right inclination, or angle of ascent, for Elbrus Race training. Work at 75 steps per minute at this level. 20 minutes at 75 s/m = 1000′
Incline Treadmill – set at 28% and strive for 1.8 mph. 20 minutes at 28% and 1.8 mph = 890′
Incline Ellipticals – while this is great training for your legs, I can’t recommend including this in your weekly vertical targets. None of them have you using anything close to your full bodyweight, and it’s not directly proportionate. If you want to, you can use them as a warm-up for strength days.
Jacob’s Ladder – Far out. Excellent. Not quite directly applicable to climbing Elbrus, but a great workout. If you move at 60 feet per minute (on the gauge) you’ll do 1200′ in 20 minutes.

Using a jacobs ladder
Jacobs Ladder training

2) Strength Training 2x per week

Try to do the following two sessions per week for this phase of training. Any weight = whatever you can manage for the whole set/rep session. This could be as low as one 45 lb bar, or level 3 on a selectorized machine or tower. You want a good solid burn, but recoverable.

Deadlift: 4 x 25 any weight
Squat: 4 x 25 any weight
Bench Press: 4 x 25 any weight
Lat Pulldown: 4 x 25 any weight
Hanging Leg Lift or Knee Raise: 6 x 15
Roman Chair Ab Curl: 4 x 25
Back Hyper Extensions: 4 x 25 – if too easy hold a plate

Set of 25 Hanging Knee Raises


3) Leg Speed 2x per week

Do “Mountain Climbers” shooting for fast feet. You can do this either before or after your “running” sessions. If done on strength sessions, do first. If you’re using this as a hiking workout then you can skip the Mountain Climbers unless you’re already in excellent general condition.

Weight Training Deadlift
Weight Training Deadlift

Anyone wanting to participate in Elbrus Race 2013 and not knowing where to start, here’s a great set of goals to get you through the first one third of your available training time. Go for it. Be the best you can.