Honestly, when I was invited to go workout with Jessie Pavelka, I didn’t know who he was. A HIIT class and the promise of a healthy buffet is more than enough to get me somewhere. Things started to get a bit more real when I told my friend Laura what I was up to: “Have you SEEN A Year to Save My Life?!”
Erm. No. I hadn’t, actually. Maybe I should get out more. Or should that be stay in..?
It was only fair that I got Laura involved, so one evening after work we went to the incredible Carden Park near Chester to go train with Jessie.
Remember I wrote a post, Get Spartan Fit, about training for a Spartan Race? I posted that after having a look around online for the obstacles, and after finding only a few (Spartan are cagey about which obstacles they have at each race) I did a bit of extra upper body stuff at the gym and headed towards my first Spartan Race with confidence.
Oh, how wrong I was. As I walked towards the race village last weekend and spotted some of the obstacles, I realised how under-prepared I was. Now I know the only thing that prepares you for doing a Spartan Race is to do a Spartan Race, because most of the obstacles are pretty unique. Of course, now I have completed a Spartan Super I feel much more wizened to Spartan’s suffering, so read on for my tips on surviving your first Spartan.
Today was my fourth CrossFit class at QDos, thus completing my first week at the box, which is near Manchester Airport. Major kudos to the guys as not only do they have a gym name where you can make that “kudos” pun, they’ve also improved my form remarkably and already taught me to do new things. Considering these improvements it’s pretty unfair that CrossFit has a bad reputation for ruining form and getting injuries: throughout this week I’ve been under the watchful eye of a coach at all times – even two for bigger classes – with small adjustments being made to each movement I’ve made.
If you’re a beginner thinking of starting CrossFit, my advice is to just go for it! Everything can be scaled or modified to your own abilities, and there’s absolutely no shame in doing so. Everybody is working too hard on their own workout to mind what you’re lifting, and also many of the workouts are AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) which means that even if fitter athletes have finished their first round they’ll continue onto further rounds. It’s impossible to tell who’s up to which point in the WOD.
That being said, don’t hold back with trying out more advanced things. I accidentally turned up for Games Team training, decided to just go for it and had a great time. I’ve really surprised myself at the amount of things I’ve achieved this week.
Les Mills classes were the way I first got into fitness, with two hours of back-to-back Pump and Combat twice a week. Picture me jab, jab, upper, hook-ing in training gloves and baggy Nike dance pants and you’ll get the idea of a big Wednesday night out of my early twenties. Fast forward seven years and I was totally Pump-ed (ho) to hit up London’s ONELive with my fellow Les Mills-mad pal, Debs.
The classes have grown so much since I started doing them in my local JJB Sports gym and Les Mills has turned into a bona fidé mega-brand, with revellers at ONELive dressed top-to-toe in LM gear. If you’re unsure as to what ONELive is, it’s basically an enormous workout with thousands of other fitness freaks. There were three different studios (that I was aware of!) running classes all day, and I – being a glutton for punishment – did four sessions with what seemed like mere minutes of refuel in-between.
Spartan Race is coming to Manchester in July – AROO! – and I’ve put my big brave girl pants on and entered the Super*. The Super race is 13+km worth of obstacles, but there’s also Sprint at 5+km at Beast at 20+km.. I might have been tempted by the latter but in Manchester this time Super is the longest! I have an entry place for any Spartan you wish to give away (worth up to £90) so read on for details of the giveaway plus some of my tips to help with your Spartan training.
The Spartan is a pretty unique race, and from the information I can find the obstacles vary from race to race, so there’s not just one set of exercises you’re training for. I had a look around my gym to see if I could get creative with some of the kit and hopefully build my strength to help with the Spartan.