Chef Gordon Ramsay took up triathlons to get in shape. Little did he know they’d set the groundwork for the most physically demanding TV program of his career, Uncharted. — as told to Charles Thorp

Gordon Ramsay Gets Candid: Doing Triathlons Saved My Life

In Uncharted, I’m parachuting into places for a week, trying to keep up with regional chefs on their home turf, collecting ingredients from the tops of mountains to the bottom of the ocean. The lifestyle required to be at your best for a triathlon keeps me in check. And being fit allows me to say yes to more opportunities.

Going Uncharted

I took the preparation for Uncharted seriously. In Guyana, I had to rappel 250 feet out of a helicopter, so I did a special upper-body routine with pullups and holds to help me grapple onto the rope with the rotor wash and winds. That training also came in handy in Indonesia during a traditional race called the pacu jawi, where I had to hang on for dear life between two bullocks bolting through a paddy field—getting mud and shit flung in my face. At my swim club, I’d strap weights on my arms and legs and swim 4K. That work was especially important with so much swimming in Tasmania. We were hunting giant crayfish in a stretch of coastline called the Great White Shark Highway.

Unbend It Like Beckham

I ruptured my Achilles a few years back, and that injury was one of the worst things that’s ever happened to me. Luckily, David Beckham gave me advice on the recovery. I admired the way he worked to get back to his old self, and I tried to bring that same kind of heart to my recovery. I keep my mindset super positive and remember there’s reward waiting on the other side of sacrifice. I have a three-second rule I live by: If a negative comes into my mind, I listen to it, process it, then get rid of it.

Raising the Standard

I’m trying to be an example in the food world. I miss my dear friend Tony Bourdain a lot, and I think he would be proud with what we’re trying to do—magnifying these tremendous, fascinating food cultures. I want to bring us back to the basics and out in the world where cooking means living. If I have to trek through a jungle to get there, so be it.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted airs Sundays at 10/9c on National Geographic

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By: Charles Thorp
Title: Gordon Ramsay on the Wildest Adventures From His Nat Geo Series ‘Uncharted’
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Published Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2020 20:42:32 +0000