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Meet Me at the TOP: The Inspiring Story of Werner Berger

By Lisa R. Mele

While some senior citizens are planning to escape the cold weather this winter, Werner Berger is planning his next adventure back to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2016.

Werner Berger is seventy-eight years old and is the founder and president of Meet Me at the Top, Inc., and Strategic Results International; he is a health and wellness consultant, a leadership coach, movie producer, CEO Space Member and a world-renowned Mt. Everest (and 7-Summits) climber. Berger and his wife, Heshie Segal, reside in Yardley, Pennsylvania, which is a long way from where Berger was born, South Africa.

Berger spent a part of his early life growing up on a farm in South Africa. It was life on the farm that bonded him with nature. Berger remarks, “I was fascinated by track and field and one day, I cut down a bamboo pole and I made sure it dried straight so I could use it for my pole-vaulting training.” Berger loved his sporting activities and when he attended the university in Johannesburg he played rugby and was a self-taught pole-vaulter.

In Canada, Berger received two postgraduate degrees. At the age of twenty-seven he took over a small business and within seven years watched it grow successfully from seventeen to ninety-four employees. Berger always kept active in sports such as tennis, water skiing, snow skiing, sky diving, racquetball, squash and even golf.

In 1992, Berger attended a forum and during one of the workshops he was asked to write down three things that he would like to do in his lifetime. Berger thought about it for a while and wrote down, “Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Matterhorn and trek to the Mt. Everest Base Camp.” When Berger returned home from the workshop he told his family about his new goals but they did not take him too seriously.

A few years later, Berger’s son Paul invited him to hike to Mt. Everest Base Camp and Berger eagerly accepted the offer. Berger knew he needed to prepare himself mentally and physically. The first thing Berger did was cut out all fast foods. He then started to take high-quality supplements in addition to eating healthier and more nutritiously. Berger remarks, “I do not recommend diets that tell you to eat less and exercise more.” Emphatically, Berger then adds, “Exercise requires more energy, eating less reduces energy. The result: unsustainable cravings!”

Berger prepared for his trip with a cardio and weight regiment. He does not recommend any type of running program; instead he strengthens his legs and lungs with the stair climber, step master, step mill or simply by finding a set of stairs. Berger adds, “I lift weights four days a week and on my off days I train by carrying a backpack.”

When Berger and his son reached the Base Camp at Mt. Everest, Berger was not only inspired by the breathtaking beauty of the snow-capped Himalaya Mountains but also by the local people known as Sherpa (a member of a Himalayan people living on the borders of Nepal and Tibet, renowned for their skill in mountaineering). Berger remarks, “These mountain people were extremely poor yet extremely happy, friendly and helpful.”

Berger adds, “I loved the joyous experience of being in this majestic environment and bonding with the locals, other trekkers and most of all, my son. I experienced a sense of living completely in the present moment. Hour after hour, day after day, there was a deepening sense of who I was; indeed a humbling experience.”

This trip led Berger to more climbs and he eventually became the oldest person in the world to complete and conquer the 7-Summits, the highest mountain on each of the seven continents, including Mt. Everest.

Now Berger shares his amazing experiences by taking groups on what he calls “life-changing adventures.” His travels take people on climbs to Mt. Kilimanjaro, which also includes a Serengeti safari tour, and treks to Mt. Everest Base Camp and across the Inca Trail to Machu-Picchu in Peru. Berger’s success rates with his groups on Mt. Kilimanjaro exceed sixty-six percent and on the Everest Base Camp and Inc Trails one hundred percent.

This past summer, Berger assisted Anne Lorimor with her climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro and at the age of eighty-five years, she set a world record by becoming the oldest woman in the world to reach the roof of Africa.

Berger prides himself on his trips being far more than great adventures. He remarks, “I build in leadership development and opportunities for group members to discover, and be blown away by their own inner strengths, explode their personal power, appreciate their uniqueness and also frequently find their true purpose in life.” He states, “Everyone comes back saying that this was a life-changing experience.”

Prior to the adventures, Berger also coaches his clients physically and mentally so that they can enjoy the experience to the fullest. He chuckles and states, “They think they are working out for the climb and all the while they are in fact improving their health. I love it.”

Berger adds, “While trekking or climbing with my friends and clients, my philanthropic wife, Heshie Segal, distributes water purification systems, brand-new clothing, school and medical supplies to thousands of orphans. In addition, she teaches them crafts and character education to help them become self-sustaining citizens of the world. Her mission by December 31, 2020, is to provide one million Puritii systems to kids who are now dying at the rate of five thousand per day from drinking polluted water.”

For more information and to contact Werner Berger, online go to AfricaWithWener.wordpress.com and PeruWithWerner.wordpress.com. See Facebook, “Leadership – Tips From the Top,” or email him at Werner@MeetMeAtTheTop.com.

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Lisa R. Mele holds current fitness certifications with AAAI/ISMA and is a licensed Zumba® Instructor for LA Fitness and Future Fitness Centers in South Jersey. Since 2011, Lisa has been a featured PhillyFIT Workout-a-thon Instructor and in 2012 became the Stage Manager for the Workout-a-thon event. Lisa has won numerous instructor awards for her unique and easy to follow style. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys writing fitness articles for PhillyFIT Magazine and loves spending time with her family in the Pocono Mountains.

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