An American adventurer has become the first person to cross Antarctica alone and unaided. His training included Buddhist retreats and a 400-mile trek in Greenland.
The Impossible First/Colin O'Brady
- American explorer Colin O'Brady just became the first person to cross Antarctica alone and unaided.
- He completed the 932-mile journey in 54 days, ahead of schedule.
- O'Brady spent months training for the mission. His routine included Buddhist retreats, weight training, and a 400-mile trek in Greenland.
Colin O'Brady, a 33-year-old American adventurer, became the first person to cross Antarctica alone and unaided on Wednesday, when he reached the Ross Ice Shelf.
Every person who attempted to trek across the southern continent before O'Brady either gave up or died. O'Brady, however, reached his finish line in only 54 days, completing a 932-mile journey well ahead of his 70-day goal.
Since he did not get resupplied at any point, O'Brady had to carry all of his gear and food on a 400-pound sled as he skied. Most of the sled's weight came from the adventurer's food; he needed to consume about 7,000 calories per day during the trek. His meals consisted of oatmeal, freeze-dried dinners like chili, and special energy bars.
As of Friday, O'Brady was still in Antarctica, waiting by the Leverett Glacier for British explorer Louis Rudd to complete the same mission. The 49-year-old expects to reach the finish line on Saturday.
Before embarking on his journey, O'Brady told Business Insider about how he trained mentally and physically. Here's what his routine looked like in the months leading up to this historic achievement.
Pulling a 400-pound sled for hundreds of miles requires an incredibly level of endurance. Before he embarked on the trek, O'Brady told Business Insider that his background as a collegiate swimmer and professional triathlete helped him prepare.
Crossing Antarctica without any support, however, was O'Brady's toughest challenge yet. He put on additional muscle mass to prepare, spending months doing intense dead lifts, squats, and other strengthening exercises.
The extra muscle mass did not last long. O'Brady wrote on Instagram that he could feel himself losing weight throughout the trek.
During his training, O'Brady underwent blood tests and body composition exams to determine the best combination of nutrients to fuel him.
O'Brady said he wanted to simulate the experience of crossing Antarctica before starting the journey. So he spent 30 days in Greenland with his gear.
Beyond physical training, O'Brady has spent years preparing himself mentally. He told Business Insider that he enjoys going on Buddhist retreats for Vipassana meditation.
O'Brady's drive also came from a past trauma. Ten years ago, he was severely burned in a fire. Doctors said he would never walk normally again. O'Brady said he dubbed the Antarctica mission "The Impossible First" to highlight the possibility of overcoming extreme challenges.
Since finishing his historic journey, O'Brady has caught up on sleep and is waiting for Rudd, the British explorer, to finish his trek. Rudd was less than 20 miles away from the finish line as of Friday morning.
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