It’s no secret that Jon Montgomery has stamina. After all, the athlete did win a gold medal in skeleton at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. But when it comes to training for and surviving a gruelling schedule like the one presented on The Amazing Race Canada (Tuesdays, 8 p.m. ET on CTV), that’s a whole other kind of challenge.
In order to survive the 50,000 kilometer, 30-plus day trek, there’s one surprising thing that has kept him going for six long seasons.
“Luckily I’m a ginger so we have lots of doppelgangers. There are about four of me that actually play this role, so it’s not that hard of a job,” he deadpans before revealing his real secret: routine.
Now that’s something an athlete knows a lot about, even if he does happen to be on the road while finding it.
“The whole day is a routine. I wake up and I open a bag that has a picture of me and the name of a city, and I put on that outfit. I go downstairs and eat a prepared breakfast that I don’t order. I get handed a bag of lunch and a script, I get into a van, I go to places, I read what’s on the script, I eat what’s in the lunch bag and then the only decision I make every day is what I have for supper,” he says, noting dinner is usually a protein and some veg.
“If that’s not routine I don’t know what is. I get home at the end of a 30-day tour and I’m basically incapable of making a decision for myself, so my wife has to spend the next 365 days reprogramming me to be a fully functioning human being.”
If that sounds a little harsh, know that Montgomery absolutely loves it. He says that he “quite enjoys” being told what to do for so many days straight because he’s always thrived on routine and structure. If anything, this is the most structured he gets to be all year long.
Of course there are other ways the host prepares to take us across the globe while we watch merrily from our couches with bowls of popcorn and ice cream on our laps. That includes taking his vitamins and making sure his immune system is in top shape so that he’s able to “travel around the globe in a tin can and essentially share recycled air with people.” He also trains physically so that he can enjoy and participate in the experience while he’s at it. If you’ve ever noticed, he performs many of the challenges the teams must undertake as a demonstration for viewers.
“I make sure that I am capable of doing the physical challenges, and of being able to mentally stay focused when I have to concentrate,” he says. “I also make sure that I’ve got an abundance of pictures of my family to squash emotions that come when you’re away from home for an extended period of time. Everybody has to deal with that — every single person on this race is away from family, from loved ones, parents, children, etc. We all lean in with each other for the support it takes to get through the grind that is The Amazing Race Canada. It’s special to be on, but it’s not for the faint of heart.”
This season in particular promises to be one of the most challenging ones to date; not because Montgomery had any idea what was in store when we spoke with him before the starting line, but because this season features an impressive crop of everyday heroes. At the time his first impression was that this was perhaps the most physically and mentally fit group of racers the show has featured to date.
“What’s going to set them apart is how they work with their partners to overcome some of these obstacles,” he continues. “Being able to follow some sort of consistent thought process might be what separates the weak from the strong this year as opposed to physical strength and other things that might be a part of the game play. This year it’s going to be very relationship based.”
We can’t wait.