Alison Levine (at left) went camping for the first time—and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest summit on the continent of Africa—at 32. Twelve years later with the help of the TRX, she conquered Mt. Everest on her second attempt at the peak and thus completed the Adventure Grand Slam, climbing the highest peaks on all seven continents and trekking to the North and South Poles.
The seven summits are Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa), Vinson Massif (Antarctica), Carstenz Pyramid (Australia), Everest (Asia), Elbrus (Europe), Denali (North America) and Aconcagua (South America). To get to the top of them, Levine climbed 142,120 vertical feet, the equivalent of a marathon straight up into the sky. She trekked to the North and South Poles the hard way, cross-country skiing from the edges of each region dragging a sled loaded with supplies behind her. She did it all while managing an incredibly demanding career that includes running her own consulting company, Daredevil Strategies, and teaching at West Point.
The San Francisco-based Levine started training on the TRX two years ago after a friend suggested it would help improve her functional fitness. She paid a visit to the TRX Training Center for a class and was hooked. “I started using the TRX for strength training and to improve my core conditioning. On my Antarctic expedition, my sled was so heavy, it would turn over and pull me over. At the end of every day, I wished I’d had better core strength and stability.” When she got back from that trip, she started using the TRX.
The TRX helped Levine build functional fitness for Everest and to conquer an equally daunting challenge, her insane schedule. Levine travels so much for work that she once traveled to 28 different cities in a single month. As she prepared for her 2010 Everest summit attempt, she had to squeeze most of her training into the two months preceding the climb while she was on the road. “You land at midnight, the hotel gym is closed and you have to work in the morning. The TRX is small enough to throw in your carry-on bag and allows you to train anywhere, so I started taking it with me everywhere.”
On the road, she’d use the TRX All Body Xpress and TRX Core Strength Vol. 1 protocols three times per week, working her muscles to exhaustion on each movement rather than using a timed or sets/reps scheme. On weekends back in San Francisco, she would walk on an incline treadmill loaded down with a 50 pound pack to simulate the load she’d have to carry up Everest. Levine stands 5’4” and weighs just 110 pounds, which means she had to lug nearly half her bodyweight up Everest. The TRX prepared her body for the challenge, and she reached the summit of Everest on May 24, 2010 to complete the Grand Slam.
During her journey, she gained tremendous insight into overcoming obstacles to reach goals that a less confident person would dismiss as impossible. In an upcoming episode of TRX Radio, Levine shares secrets of her success and tips for climbing your personal Everest.