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A day in the life of Ash Dykes

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With my Yangtze expedition fast approaching, life has been crazy busy! So I thought I’d share some of my routine with you guys, so you can get an idea of what I’ve been up to over the past few weeks.

A typical day starts with a shot of aloe vera gel: it's pure health and is the first thing to hit my system.

I decide the night before whether I want to wake up and train in the morning (which is better for burning fat) or whether I work throughout the day and train in the late afternoon - whilst my body is at its strongest and is full of the right fuel, so that I can build more muscle mass.

If it’s in the mornings I tend to go for a run, followed by a workout routine on my legs and lower back. If it’s late afternoon, it consists of body weight exercises (pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, dips etc.) tractor tire flipping and beating with the sledge hammer, and rope throwing (read more about that here, in my feature in Coach Mag!).

Regarding diet, with all this travelling around, it’s hard to stick to a strict diet and I believe you mustn’t be too strict on yourself, as you have to enjoy the process. It’s important that dieting doesn’t become a chore; I eat unhealthy food every now and then on the road (I’m only human!), but I do try and choose the healthy option when I can. I’m aware of the long-term benefits of good food on the body, which in turn is good for the mind.

As long as I get as many of the right vitamins and minerals down me throughout the day, and plenty of protein to build up muscle whilst working out, I’m happy with that! Peanut butter and chicken are my absolute favourite foods, and are full of protein. But at the end of the day, when I'm on my expeditions, I'm not going to have access to this kind of stuff for long periods of time! But that’s also a part of the travel experience: eating new foods and trying the local dishes along the way, most of which are super healthy and organic regardless.

The last couple of weeks have been full of press interviews and planning meetings with sponsors, as I’m getting all my gear ready for my start date. I’m actually leaving for China in a month, so time is ticking! There are lots of things to sort out over there, and I want to get some training done in the wilds of China if I can before the official start date. So it’s important that I get everything tied up in the U.K. before I leave, which often involves driving from North Wales to London and back again in a day to collect some gear or meet with the team!

In regards to mission preparation, here are a few things I’m currently going through:

·       I’m currently going through kit that I’ll need and will be taking, as I’ll have three different climates to consider!

·       I’m spending a lot of time with the tech I’ll be using out there such as my satellite phone, getting to grips with how they function, building up familiarisation thinking about how to charge them without mainline power sources

·       Working on a plan of action as to how to keep this expedition as interactive as possible throughout the duration of the trip

·       Mapping the route and figuring out the best way to get to the source of the river.

·       Working out distances between communities (especially at the start of the mission) and working out how much food I’ll need to carry in order to make it to the next community.

·       The Yangtze has at least 700 tributaries on route, so it’s important to have a plan on how to go about crossing.

Due to excitement now building in both the UK and China, I’m currently working in two different time zones. First thing in the morning, it’s important that I get back to my team out in China (they’re eight hours ahead). We’re working on visas, logistics, fixers, guides, sponsorship, and working out filming points for CCTV4’s TV commission which will air when I finish.

We’re also liaising with Guinness World Records, working with my book publishing agency over in China, and getting ready for the launch of the Mandarin version of Mission Possible. Online platforms are helping share the journey via the Chinese social media apps, and I’m always keeping my Chinese socials updated, too.

I’m also learning Mandarin on top of all of this I might add!!!

I then need to focus on the UK, with sponsorship collaborations, working and keeping regular contact with team members who are also grinding hard behind the scenes. I have now decided to turn down speaking events for the next month until I leave, so that I can focus on what needs to be completed before I leave. This involves training, logistics, kit prep, organisation and putting plans in place, co-ordinating, managing, delegating and generally making sure things are set in stone and are ready for the big off!

In the evenings (what’s left of them!) I tend to check out my socials, updating them with photos and trying to look through the messages you guys have sent over; and replying to as many as I possibly can. It’s so encouraging to hear your supportive words, and I also love hearing what you’ve all been up to. The perfect end to busy days!

If you want to keep up to date with my daily antics in the lead up to my Yangtze trek, make sure you follow my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages for all the excitement. Not long to go now, and I update them as much as I can!

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