Lee Hart at Everest Base Camp after holding the highest altitude fitness class in the world. Photo: Supplied.

Nelson man breaks record for highest fitness class


As far as gym commutes for a workout, Lee Hart’s is a likely record breaker.

It took nine days for Lee and some friends to tramp into Everest base camp. They endured below freezing temperatures while carrying all their own clothes and sleeping bags.

Most of them succumbed to altitude sickness and food poisoning along the way. They eventually arrived at the Himalayan camp, 5360 metres above sea level.

“It was a battle,” admits Lee, who grew up in Nelson and now works in London as a personal trainer.

But last week, instead of taking a breather, Lee then rallied his eight-person team to engage in a 30-minute, high intensity workout.

Also watching was an “expert” – required by Guinness World Records to ensure that Lee’s experiment was indeed the world’s highest-ever fitness class.

“It was just a Sunday thought,” he says from in Kathmandu, Nepal. “These ideas come and go and you don’t really action them. The idea was to actually pursue it and hopefully inspire others to want to act on theirs.”

Lee applied to break the record several months ago in London.

After ensuring he did everything by the book, Lee is now waiting for official verification for his record.

He went to Nelson College before studying physical education. He originally went to London to play rugby but that morphed into becoming a personal trainer.

“But this kind of venture wasn’t about me being a world record holder, it was about inspiring others to pursue their dreams.”

Lee says the walk back down was a lot easier – taking only three days. But he is still reflecting on his and the team’s achievement.

“It shows ordinary people can do extraordinary things if they want to.”