“Summit begins with a step outside your comfort zone.” – Daniel Akerman
Daniel Akerman may seem like your average person. He was born in Helsingborg, Sweden, but has spent the majority of his life living in the United States. He’s a Vice President of crisis management at an insurance company and goes back and forth between Tampa, Florida and Tosteberga, Sweden, where he lives with his girlfriend Sarah and dog Duke.
Truth is, he’s not average at all. He has a dream: to climb the highest mountains on every continent. Only less than 500 people have ever completed this Seven Summits Challenge. In May 2019, Daniel reached the top of Carstenz Pyramid. With his previous excursions to the tops of Mt. Everest, Aconcagua, Denali and Kilimanjaro it’s 5 down, 2 to go. Up next: Mt. Elbrus in Russia and the Vinson Massif in Antarctica.
Daniel has been using the FitLine products since 2013. They have not only been key success driver for his climbing adventures but have also been a major contributor to maintaining health and wellbeing. In an interview we wanted to find out more about his passion for extreme mountain climbing and how he continues his quest for the highest mountains in the world.
How did you get into extreme mountain climbing?
In 2009, my brother challenged me to climb Sweden’s highest mountain. I had never climbed before and didn’t know if I would be strong enough to get to the top. In other words, I was afraid of failing. After many hours, we were forced to turn around due to bad weather. But I knew: if it hadn’t been for the bad weather, I would have been strong enough to reach the top. I had challenged myself and reached beyond my comfort zone. It was such a powerful experience for me that I just wanted more.
How do you prepare for expeditions?
Climbing the highest mountains in the world requires significant mental and physical strength, which takes several years to build up. My training regime begins 6-7 months before the start of a climb with three 45-minute sessions, 3 days a week. Three months before, I do a lot of cardio and anaerobic training, like going for long runs, bike rides or swimming. During this time of intense training, it is very important to support your immune system. I do this by eating a lot of vegetables, fish, and chicken. But I also add supplements including PowerCocktail, Restorate, and Munogen. Restorate helps my body to recover, PowerCocktail helps maintain my immune system and Munogen helps me perform at a higher level in the gym.
Carstenz Pyramid is the least climbed mountain of the seven summits. How come?
That’s because of its location, technical difficulty and challenge in obtaining permits. In addition to the technical and logistical challenges, Daniel had to fly from sea level straight up to 14,000ft to avoid the ongoing conflict between the locals and the Indonesian government in the jungles below. Gaining altitude so quickly puts immense pressure on the body and can result in severe altitude sickness.
Check out his incredible success during his last adventure in this video:
What does PM-International’s 2019 motto “Break Your Limits” mean to you?
The only way we can advance and grow as human beings is by pushing the boundaries and getting outside of our comfort zone. This is exactly what mountain climbing has done for me. Over the past 10 years, I have climbed bigger and more challenging mountains, constantly pushing the limits of what I thought I was capable of. Most recently, on June 15th, 2019, I embarked on my biggest challenge so far – climbing a hill in southern Sweden as many times as I could in a 24h period without stopping, to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer. I have been on many difficult climbs in my career but have never hiked continuously for 24 hours.
What does it feel like to reach a summit, with nothing around or above you but the sky? Do you even have the time and energy to take in the view?
Many people think that once you reach the top, you have some kind of euphoric experience. The truth is, however, at the top, you’ve only made it half way and there’s a lot of work ahead of you. On Mt. Everest for example, the weather was very bad, with strong winds and temperatures below -40°C. At the top, I was trying to remember all the things I had to do, like take pictures with different sponsor flags etc. I tried my best to really “experience” the feeling and appreciate where I am, but unfortunately you are too busy thinking about the way down and the ultimate goal, which is to get off the mountain alive.