How to prepare for a trek in Nepal while working the 9-5

In exactly eight weeks, I will be leaving my desk to prepare for a trek in Nepal.   I have opted to do the Annapurna Sanctuary where I’ll be heaving my sedentary body up and down mountains for up to seven hours a day for nine long days. To say it will be a shock to the system compared to my cushy 9-5 lifestyle will be an understatement.

Spinning prayer wheels outside the Monkey temple in Nepal

Pablo Nicola Staiba Cicane Close up of Prayer wheels at the Monkey temple in Nepal

In a mild state of panic, I’m cramming all the training I can into my weekends and evenings, with a few sneaky additions squeezed into my daily working routine.  If you’re wondering how to prepare for a trek in Nepal while working the 9-5, come and join me on my bumpy ride.

Reducing the commute

To build my stamina, I’ve decided to depart the tube two stops early and thus fit in another thirty minutes of walking each day.  As I’m an early bird, this change to my routine doesn’t disturb my beauty sleep and can slot in nicely to my mornings.  The return journey is another matter.  As I’m normally tired, ravenous and desperate to get on the tube before the 5.30pm stampede, this doesn’t work for me and I’d rather fit in some exercise when I get home.

Stair climbing

This is a quick-fire fix I used previously when I was training for my trek to Mount Toubkal.  In my office, the stairs are positioned 100 metres from the lifts so it adds another small burst of exercise. While I eagerly bound up the first set of stairs, by the third floor, I’m panting. And typically, it’s at this point that I bump into a sprightly colleague flashing past me like a whippet out a trap.  I would love to say it’s getting easier (I’ve now been doing this for four weeks), but it never does.  Onwards and upwards.

close up of office stairs

mnadi Office stairs


The problem with working in an office is that you’re always surrounded by colleagues and it’s challenging to find a discreet spot for a squat!   I normally venture to the top floor fire escape or disabled toilets can also be a godsend.  Squats are designed to strengthen your legs and can prevent injuries to the knees and hips so are very useful preparation.  On the recommendation of a ski fanatic colleague, I lean with my back against a wall and crouch in a sitting position for as long as I can bear it.  Initially, it was excrutiating and I could suffer about ten seconds before my legs collapsed.  But I have gradually progressed to 45 seconds which is heartening, unlike the stair climbing.  I manage to fit this in at least twice a day.

Working the floor

In my previous article, 5 sneaky ways to fit in exercise at work, I mentioned the importance of getting up and moving around the office.  Every forty-five minutes, I’ve set up an alarm to get up and walk around the room which could be getting a drink or speaking to someone in person rather than by phone or email.  If I need to speak to a colleague on another floor, this adds in an extra burst of stair climbing. Small acts which will hopefully have a cumulative effect.

Outside the 9-5, I am running twice a week for approximately 5 kilometres and my weekends are taken up with a full day hike on Saturday and a shorter two-hour hike on Sunday which I combine with a quick spin at the green gym.  Will it be enough?   All will be revealed on this blog in the next eight weeks.

Have you ever trekked in Nepal?  How did you prepare?  Please share your views below.



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