Guest author: Hayden Lynch
Back in early December 2019, I received a call from my friend Matt asking how winter in New Hampshire has been. Had I been skiing? Was I writing often? And – in a subtle voice – would I be interested in climbing the Grand Teton next August 2020. I quickly forgot Matt was still talking as I lingered on the thought of potentially climbing the Grand Teton. Could I climb with zero climbing experience? Would I even have the strength to make it to the top? Would I have the courage? I didn’t know the answers but the more Matt talked the easier he convinced me. “All you need to do is be fit,” he said, immediately putting my concerns at ease. Well, I can just work out like crazy for the next eight months, right?
I agreed to join Matt and his friend Eric for the climb in eight months. The next day I signed up for a gym in my home town. I worked out three times a week but was seeing little results in a month. I’d get lazy, skip a set, sometimes skip a whole day. I had no one coaching me, standing by me, helping me train. I needed guidance and structure. So by January, I signed up for a personal trainer. But, again, after a month of working out hard, I noticed problems. I was constantly sore. My lower back would hurt after squatting, my tendons would constrict, I had little flexibility and my trainer never seemed concerned with mobility work. Something still wasn’t right for me. By February, I had moved to Denver, found an apartment, and began looking for a gym. I sought a place that had a strong commitment to their clients, to help them achieve their goals. By early March, I was still working out alone in my apartment. Then, on a weekend getaway to Vail with some college friends, I met Ian Palin and Brooke van Valkenburg who raved about their gym: Omnia.
That day I messaged the owner, Jon Colborn. He asked me to come in and chat about my goals: what I wanted to achieve through class and how he could best set me up for success. It became apparent immediately that this was the right place for me. Sitting one-to-one with Jon I noticed the immense focus and attention he gave me. He listened and designed an approach that felt right for me. I was excited to get to work.
Then Covid-19 surged in the United States.
I left Denver to quarantine back home with my family in New Hampshire. For the next three months, Omnia sent out daily workouts, both with weights and without. I focused hard on my goal of climbing the Grand Teton, but it was difficult not having a coach to train me and keep me disciplined. After three months, I packed my car back up and headed for Denver, again.
It was now June, less than two months until my climb, and I wondered if there was enough time to get my body in peak shape. Jon sat down with me on my first day and squashed any concern I had at the time. He created a plan for me, specific to my body type, my mentality, and my ultimate goals. I would participate three times per week in class, work on specific climbing muscles post-class with Jon, and then practice mobility exercises on my days off to help me recover and improve my flexibility. In the first week, I felt stronger than ever. My body was recovering well every night and I had more energy during the day. After six weeks of this program, Jon had me ready to climb the Grand Teton. I was in the best shape of my life, more flexible than ever, sleeping well, eating well, all because of the program Jon and the rest of the Omnia coaches designed for me.
In the first week of August, I drove up to Jackson Hole, still nervous though I felt as prepared as I could be. Jon had trained me well and put me through exercises tailored to improving my climbing muscles. On the day of the climb, my guide decided we would take a more difficult route, telling us we were fit enough to try it. The climb took nine hours round trip (it was supposed to take us 14 hours). Each pitch I climbed with ease, trusting my legs, and my flexibility. I completed the climb and stood atop the Grand Teton, taking in the incredible view.
At that moment I knew I would never have made it without Jon and the rest of the Omnia team.
I am forever grateful for their confidence and faith in me. For anyone out there looking to accomplish a goal, or someone who just wants to get back into shape, I have no doubt in my mind you can accomplish anything with the help of Jon and the rest of the Omnia team.