One Trek in Tibet That Could Change Your Life

If you want more than a 3-month shred, and to be really happy, healthy and fit for your entire life, you need to do this.

Sure, anyone can do a 3-month shred, knock off 10-15 kg of lard and pack on some lean muscle.  I’ve seen it dozens of times, from Biggest Loser contestants to the just about every middle-age mate I know. Hell, I’ve done it myself. Several times. Then, a year later, the lard’s crept back on after Christmas. A year after my last bout of hyper-vigilant training, sitting on the couch, pizza in one hand, beer in the other, weight creeping back on, I thought, why does this happen? And more importantly, how do I stop it?

Tibet’s sacred Mount Kailash

I dug out some notes and interviews I’d done with a Hindu monk in Thailand for another story. I remembered him talking about why so many people fail to hit fitness goals. Raj was a successful businessman but gave it all up to become a monk. He was one of those perpetually calm, super smart guys, who says stuff that plays on your mind for days. I listened to his interview again.

“For exercise to be beneficial and successful long-term, the body, mind and spirit must be connected to the exercise,” said Raj.

“The body is simply the machine, the mind is being present to goals and needs, and the spirit is awareness. Spirituality is attention. Through attention comes a space of happiness. If you are happy, you will not quit.”

That began to make sense. After all, the Eastern world seems to effortlessly connect mind, fitness and spirituality. Most Eastern martial arts incorporate some element of deference to a higher purpose. Karate, BJJ and just about every Eastern fitness pursuit, braid fitness training with moral lessons and spiritual self-awareness. Take for example Bruce Lee’s quasi-spiritual quotes and memes that pepper the internet. Think of the moral constraints taught to most black belts. Abs, fat loss and a high VO2 max are byproducts, not goals.

While in the West, fitness is largely externalised. It’s what on show that counts. It’s all about the abs or the guns or the PB. “Most people in the West can’t connect mind, body and spirit.

“First, they neglect the spirit. Then they lose the mind and finally, they are just a body performing a repetitive, boring task. So they quit.”

So how do you not neglect the spirit and connect all three? You find purpose. You find meaning beyond the selfie, beyond pride, beyond vanity. You find meaning in exercise, an essentially repetitive boring task. With meaning, self-discipline takes less, well, discipline.

There are many ways to do this. For me, I like treks, or pilgrimages. The daily grid of walking, observing and simply living brings one back to a pure frame of mind, the beginner’s mind. I especially like treks in places that inspire awe, like the Himalayas.

Seeing your existence in such dramatic perspective creates introspection. And of course, walking all day, at around 4000 meters, you’ll burn calories like a beast.

So if you’re looking for an experience that will possibly change your life and approach to fitness, this trek could be it. And if you want an A-grade testimonial, how’s this:

“Ian Baker’s journeys inspire others not only to venture into unknown lands on a geographical level, but also to discover the inner realms within which our own deepest nature lies hidden.”— His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

SPECIAL OFFER: GET $500 USD off the cost if you mention Men’s Fitness in the Application.


The itinerary will as much as possible accord with what is shown in this prospectus, but changes in scheduling or hotels are always possible. Due to the unpredictability of Chinese Government.

The itinerary will as much as possible accord with what is shown in this prospectus, but changes in scheduling or hotels are always possible. Due to the unpredictability of Chinese policies, it cannot be guaranteed, for example, that we will be allowed into Mount Kailash’s Inner Sanctuary.

The comprehensive trip fee of $8,000 (USD) includes domestic airfare from Chengdu to Lhasa and Shigatse to Chengdu. All accommodations on the trip are on a twin-share basis. A supplementary fee of $568 (USD) is payable by those who desire single accommodations and individual tents throughout the journey.

All meals are included on the trip, including complimentary bottled water. All land transportation is covered throughout the trip. All entry fees and permit costs in Tibet are included throughout the trip, as well as the cost of yak support. In addition to the services of Mark Whitwell, Ian Baker, Eliska Vaea, and Rosalind Atkinson, the journey to Mount Kailash will also be supported by expert Tibetan guides, drivers, and a dedicated chef who will provide highly nutritious ‘yogic’ cuisine.

The comprehensive trip fee DOES NOT include the cost of international airfare to and from Chengdu; China visa fees; travel insurance; alcoholic or soft drinks; laundry; activities not shown in the trip prospectus; and tips for local guides and drivers.

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