An Awesome New Small Group Program: Train to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount KilimanjaroEven though we’ve been teased with a few warm fall days recently, those are done for good. Summer is officially for real over. Hibernation season has begun.

But not if Chicago Athletic Clubs personal trainer Matthew Hongosh can help it. Instead of moping around this winter, he’s inviting CAC members to join him in preparing for a monster of a physical and mental goal. In February, Matt plans to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Want to join him?

Matt just opened up spots for a new 3-month small group training program. Meeting on Fridays evenings and Sunday afternoons, he’ll work with the group to build the strength, mindset and endurance to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

We wanted to know more about what’s in store for these next three intense months, so we asked Matt a few questions about what inspired him to set his sights on this goal and what he’ll be doing to prepare.

Why did you decide it was time to tackle this personal goal?

Matt: I decided to do this about 6 months ago. I've made it a mission to experience and do as many things as I possibly can being physically able.

Was this something you've long wanted to do?

Matt: It was a client and friend of mine who actually brought up the idea. It's been his dream for years, however, after reading a book about Kilimanjaro and watching a couple of Youtube videos, It's easy to get hooked. I'm excited the closer to February I get.

And why did you decide to open up your training to invite CAC members to join?

Matt: Well, It's the winter months and WE ALL tend to fall off training. And we're not getting any younger. So why not?

What does training for hiking to the top of A FREAKING MOUNTAIN entail?

Matt: Ha, good question! It entails a balance of foundational strength and the proper mindset. We tend to drain our bodies not train them for life. The Kilimanjaro training program is a step-by-step program that starts with body weight and movement quality.

In month 2, we'll take those movements we learned and start loading them up with resistance, and for time under tension. You want to improve the body's work capacity so it can handle the steady climb of Kilimanjaro, while enjoying every step along the way.

Is it also a mental challenge in addition to a physical one? If so, how do you prepare for that aspect?

Matt: Stress can be controlled by how we breathe. Every rep in the gym gets a breath. Our isometric holds and wall sits are measured in breaths, not time. Constantly progressing in the Kilimanjaro Climbing Program will give you the confidence and willpower to keep on with the journey you started before the holidays started.

Is there a deadline to join the training group?

Matt: Yes. We will be starting our training on November 15. This will give of 3 months to build our bodies and minds. We will meet at LVAC on Fridays at 6:15 p.m. and WAC on Sundays at noon.

Want in? Email Matt at to get more info about training with the Kilimanjaro group.

betsy picBetsy Mikel is a freelance copywriter whose passion is telling the stories of entrepreneurs, brands and businesses that challenge the status quo. When she’s not biking or running all over every city she visits to find its best taqueria, you can find Betsy on Twitter at @betsym |

Photo credit: At the Uhuru Peak on Kilimanjaro, Tanzania via Mandala Travel on Flickr.