In my role as Head of Digital Marketing for fitness hipsters Gymbox I decided to organise a Champion Bloggers Challenge, which took place at the Farringdon club last week. I invited along some leading female fitness bloggers (it seemed the men were too chicken to take part, lightweights) and decided to throw myself into the mix – to make them look good, of course…
The girls who took the plunge were (left to right, below), me, Elle Linton (keepitsimpelle), Emma Lax and Charlotte Thomas (lungesandlycra), Lorna Mann (dedicatedfolloweroffitness), Georgina Spenceley (fitcetera) and SYA (systyles).
Farringdon VPT Manager Russell ’Rusty’ Clarke programmed the event, who is totally hot and we’ve all got a mega crush on him. Four bespoke CrossFit inspired work-outs were created, which consisted of: rowing, tyre flipping, sled pushing, hand release push-ups, press-ups, squats and sit-ups. Yes, tyre flipping and sled pulling. I was, to be frank, crapping myself prior to the event and grunting and puffing one’s way through a hardcore session is hardly a girl’s best look.
The Tabata rowing section was actually alright. We did 8 rounds x 20 seconds, with a 10 second break in-between rounds. This section was judged on the calories spunked at the end of the session. I was doing pretty bloody well, joint lead with Georgina, and then I fell off like a heffalump on ketamine. Not a winning look, especially with my feet still strapped in. This ungainly sight also occurred right in front of my Gymbox boss David Cooper. His eyes rolled and he tutted: ‘No-one has ever fallen off a rower in the whole ten years of Gymbox’. Oh well, get over it. At least his chances of impressing Rusty hadn’t been foiled. With this slight set-back, I still managed to uphold third position…
This was my favourite section as I was able to try something new. We were to push the sled up and down the track as many times as we could, in 60 seconds. Then the same again flipping a tyre. I have never wanted to attack a spare tyre and tell it to go fuck itself with such pleasure in my life. I literally felt myself become a superhero in seconds. Very satisfying, although in the photo (below) I look like I’ve crapped myself. The sled-pushing, however, was harder than Emma made it look. She whizzed it along as if she were mowing the lawn one sleepy Sunday afternoon. I, on the other hand, made it look like I was pushing a pile of bricks through molten concrete.
Although this was the most intense of the session, it wasn’t as hard as I anticipated. Anything to do with lifting one’s bodyweight concerns me, as I do have the viking statuesque thing going on (blame my Danish heritage) which makes me three stone heavier than everyone else. For this section we did what is called an AMRAP ‘Cindy’ which consists of TRX rows, hand release push-ups and squats. The idea was to do as many rounds as possible in 7 minutes. This was the longest 7 minutes of my life. The push-ups were the hardest, even doing them on my knees which was actually quite pathetic. I could see Charlotte out of the corner of my eye doing full push-ups, which made me think someone was going to kick sand in my face at any moment. I was doing so badly in this round I just couldn’t help but find it amusing. Hell, wouldn’t you?
The last but the most knackering of the sections. Tabata sit-ups is when you touch the soles of your feet together, legs wide and knees to the floor. You pull up and touch your ankles as many times as you can in 60 seconds. Rest then do it again x 8 rounds. It is the most unladylike position to get yourself into in public – and not for ‘fun’ – but I cracked on with the job in hand regardless, and pulled off an alright 72. By the end of it my abs were burning hotter than a hooker’s snatch at a clap clinic.
OK, so I didn’t win. No big surprise there. But it was a bloody good laugh and I did OK for someone who had a good decade on everyone else. If I hadn’t slid off the rower like a whale in the first round I would’ve come in 4th.
7th – Charlotte: 107
6th – SYA: 128
5th – Lulu: 147
4th – Elle: 152
3rd – Georgina: 155
2nd – Lorna: 158
1st: Emma: 201
It was a total blast, and meeting all these amazing sporty women was a real highlight of my week. Even more impressive was that our ‘quick drink’ afterwards morphed into a champion Rosé session, with Emma and Charlotte from lungesandlycra leading the way. My new-found kindred spirits. Apparently, during the fifth bottle, I agreed to join them on a relay Duathlon at Richmond Park in September… Until next time. Hic!
Big ups to photographer Marc Sethi
for capturing the event.