It’s official: Scott Doolan is the first paraplegic to trek to Everest Base Camp – with a helping hand from his good mate and trainer, Matt Laycock. Just take a moment to let that sink in.
Making your way to Base Camp is hard enough, let alone not having the use of your legs to do so. Scott is the very definition of ‘anything is possible’, having conquered 70km of uneven and unforgiving terrain at 18,000ft up.
The mantra is the underlying message of Apexgen, a lifestyle and athleisure company that raises awareness and supports those living with adversity and mental illness, led by Matt.
Scott became the first Apexgen athlete, and needless to say, smashed the first Apex mission with the team.
We’ve been supporting Matt on the journey to Everest Base Camp by keeping him fuelled with Youfoodz during training. In between sessions, we took five with Matt to get the lowdown on the path to Everest.
How did the idea to climb Everest come about?
I sprung the opportunity on Scott during a coffee catch up. I had been thinking about it for weeks, working out the logistics and whether it was actually possible and safe.
Once I had all of my ducks in a row, I sprung it on him. He said no at first, which I expected, but came back to me after two weeks of sleepless nights and decided he wanted to give it a shot.
It was just a crazy late night idea that we turned into a reality!
Everest is the apex of the world; it was completely out of Scott’s comfort zone and just about as motivational as it gets.
How did you first meet Scott?
I met Scott through a mutual friend in the gym and he instantly amazed me.
Scott’s dream was to inspire other people to step out of their comfort zone and maybe one day, become a motivational speaker.
I hoped Scott’s story would inspire others. I was launching my company, Apexgen, at the time and was on the search for an individual to work with on an ‘Apex-experience’.
I was looking for somebody who had faced adversity and overcome it, and was keen to become a role model; to use their story to help others through mental health issues. Scott and I just clicked as we both used fitness as a coping mechanism.
How do you keep motivated during those times where it seems impossible?
I have always been the kind of person that if I put my mind to something and want to achieve it, I’ll die before I quit.
When you love what you're doing, putting in the work is just part of the process and you learn to love the process.
When I’m really exhausted, I just think about my ‘why’.
The fulfilment I get seeing Scott move closer and closer to living his dreams and doing something he never thought would have been possible is what pushes me everyday.
His growth in the last year working with the whole team and training for this expedition has already been phenomenal. That definitely keeps me motivated.
How has Youfoodz helped you focus on your goals and prepare for the journey?
Youfoodz has been a god’s gift to me through this hectic period of my life.
Launching and building a business, training Scott physically and mentally, organising the expedition to Everest Base Camp and training twice a day leaves me little to no time to cook or prepare meals.
Nutrition is a huge part of your performance and being able to quickly grab a meal or three on the run has given me the ability to tunnel-vision focus on what is really important, while still keeping my health and performance on track.