‘Beat Monday’ Rethinks What You Can Fit into a Weekend
In their Outside TV series, Mike Chambers and Jason Antin take on crazy adventures between Friday evening and Monday morning, inspiring the rest of us to do more with our Saturdays and Sundays, too
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At the start of his freshman year at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, Mike Chambers was hanging out with his roommate when their dorm-room door flew open without warning and the five-foot-ten, 265-pound captain of the football team burst inside. Chambers’s roommate was a new recruit, and this stern-faced defensive end was making sure he was behaving. As quickly as he’d barged in, he was gone again.
“Who was that?” asked Chambers, who was sandy haired and lean in contrast. “There’s no way he is a student.”
That was the first time Chambers met Jason Antin.
Nearly two decades later, Chambers, 35, and Antin, 38, are an adventure power duo inspiring nine-to-fivers to make better use of their leisure time. When the two men aren’t at their full-time jobs or parenting young children, they’re traipsing across the globe in the 64-hour window between 5 P.M. Friday and 9 A.M. Monday. They’ve made their epic weekend missions into a TV series called Beat Monday, the second season of which premieres May 20 on Outside TV. (Outside TV and Outside Online were recently acquired by the same company, now called Outside Inc.) The show is designed to push viewers to reimagine how they can fit adventure into their lives, be it with daily exercise or an ambitious international trip. “We want to try and dispel the notion of not having enough time,” Chambers says.
Beat Monday has featured straightforward weekend efforts, like Burro Days, in Leadville, Colorado, a 22-mile run up to 13,186 feet elevation while attached to a donkey, just a two-hour drive from their homes. (Chambers and Antin finished dead last.) It’s also chronicled extreme objectives, like an attempt of Ecuador’s Cotopaxi volcano. Guiding companies typically book clients on nine-day trips to tackle the heavily glaciated 19,348-foot peak; Chambers and Antin, meanwhile, had less than three days for their abbreviated expedition—not to mention factoring in travel to and from South America. (They didn’t summit, due to weather, but it’s “totally doable in a weekend,” says Antin.) Season two will feature big-wall climbing in Zion National Park, winter bikepacking in the Utah desert, and a foot-to-mountain-bike-to-SUP adventure in Maui.
How did they end up doing huge objectives like this together? During college, as Chambers was working toward a degree in government and Antin was finishing his sociology and pychology major, the pair continued to run into each other at parties, and they kept in touch after Antin graduated in 2006. Their first entrée into weekend warrioring was in 2010 in New England; both Antin and Chambers grew up in Boston and were living there once again. Antin had shed his football persona for an outdoorsy one since graduation and invited Chambers on a run. Chambers, done with the party scene and intrigued by the Antin’s new pursuits, accepted. The route was the 30-mile Pemigewasset Loop in New Hampshire, which involves tagging the summits of four 4,000-foot peaks. “We read an article—it was like ‘The Top Five Hardest Day Hikes’—and we were like, All right, we’re going to go nail this,” says Antin.
Halfway through the run, during a break at a hut, Chambers found himself sitting on a toilet nearly in tears. They finished the run, but it pushed them to their limits and proved to be an eye-opening experience. “It was so hard. I never thought I’d be capable of doing something like that,” says Chambers. “After that, I was so fired up to explore this world.” It was a springboard for both of them.
Later that year, Antin quit his finance job and moved to Colorado to be closer to the wild spaces he loved. Chambers stayed in Massachusetts, where he was working for an education nonprofit, but the two kept in contact. Since the toilet tears, they’d each gone all in on the outdoors. They got into ultrarunning—both have since completed 200-mile races—and were geeking out on gear and training. Chambers became obsessed with high-altitude mountaineering, climbing peaks like Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, and Denali. Antin worked part-time as guide and ticked off his own personal objectives, including, in 2018, the Rainier Infinity Loop, which involves going up and over Washington’s Mount Rainier twice, then running the full Wonderland Trail.
But over the next few years, work picked up. By 2016, it’d been a while since they’d tackled something ambitious together. “That was kind of eating at me,” says Chambers. He called Antin, and they began to make a list of dream objectives, zeroing in on the first one: climbing and skiing 14,411-foot Mount Rainier, the Northwest’s crown jewel, in a weekend. At the time, neither of them had climbed it before. It would be a first attempt at the kind of steroid-injected weekend-warrior missions they’re now known for.
After work on a Friday in early June 2016, they flew to Seattle—Antin from Colorado and Chambers from Massachusetts—and got a ride to the trailhead. The next morning, it took an hour to convince the rangers to issue them a permit; they were skeptical of these “Colorado cowboys” who’d never been on the mountain.
At 9 P.M. Saturday, they started up the crevassed slopes of the Emmons Glacier. The creaking sounds of ice calving and shifting in the darkness drove home the seriousness of their endeavor. After a 10,000-foot climb to the summit, they were rewarded with a rare bluebird day and perfect spring corn for the ski down on Sunday. Chambers took the red-eye back to Boston, arriving just in time for a 9:30 A.M. meeting. He hadn’t had time to shower.
Squeezing an epic adventure into a single weekend had worked, and Beat Monday was born. Men’s Journal wrote about their trip, and a production company signed on to work with Chambers and Antin to make it into a show. The first episode aired in September of 2018: it followed Chambers and Antin as they climbed and skied Oregon’s Mount Hood and then ran the 41-mile Timberline Trail, which circumnavigates the mountain.
That same year, Chambers, who by then was married and had a kid, moved to Colorado with his family. He and Antin began upping the ante with back-to-back weekends. “It was totally unsustainable,” says Chambers. They climbed Denali in Alaska one weekend, skied California’s Mount Whitney and Mount Shasta the next, then flew to Ecuador the weekend after that. The show started to attract a devoted following. They’ve now filmed 11 episodes in two countries and seven states. Another three episodes will round out season two.
Each show feels like a mini documentary, detailing just how they pulled off that weekend’s mission and offering viewers a rough blueprint for doing it themselves. (In fact, many fans have repeated their exact objectives after watching an episode.) There’s no need to manufacture drama, because the tension is baked in: Will they accomplish what they set out to do in the allotted time?
The cinematography is easy on the eyes—think soaring drone footage over wild landscapes—but the show isn’t overproduced. It oscillates between matter-of-fact narration and shots of the men’s playful, brotherly dynamic, like when Antin spills a liter of coffee in Chambers’s front seat and pretends it’s water. It’s clear they’ve forged a strong bond over the years as mountain partners and settled into their roles in the relationship: Antin is the spreadsheet guy, Chambers is the dreamer. “Mike has stoke and ideas, and I try to harness them and put them into perspective,” says Antin.
Both men have heard from dozens of folks who’ve been motivated to pursue an objective after watching the show. And while not everyone has the resources to do trips of the scale that Antin and Chambers take on, they point out that most of us could squeeze in a 30-minute walk or hike during the workday or come up with a fun adventure close to home. “We get into these routines and habits where we don’t necessarily take advantage of the time we do have. I’ve been there, and I think Jason has, too,” says Chambers, who is now the CEO of a tech startup.
While it might seem like the pair are constantly away from their families (they get comments to that effect), that’s not really the case. Most weekends they’re home with their wives and young children. Chambers now has a one-year-old daughter, a three-year-old son, and a baby on the way, while Antin has two daughters, ages four and one. The two families joined up to go climbing together at Eldorado Canyon near Boulder, Colorado, shortly after finishing their interview with Outside.
Antin currently works as a guide for the Colorado Mountain School, and he coaches at the Alpine Training Center in Boulder. The big novel pursuits are exciting, but he says it’s about more than just the objective for him. “When we did Shasta and Whitney, we had a literal vanload of some of our best friends. And then my family met me at the end,” he says. “It’s the partnership of the people I’m with. That’s what I remember first.”
Watch new episodes of Beat Monday starting 5/20 on-demand at outsidetv.com and on the free Outside TV app. Also streaming Thursdays at 10 p.m. EST on Outside TV+ (available in the Outside TV App), the Roku Channel, Samsung TVPlus, Vizio, Xumo, and more.