Strength in Depth 2017

Strength in Depth Final 2017

I was invited down by the organisers of Inferno racing to see the final of what can can be labelled the biggest Fitness Racing event in Europe and the search to find the fittest collective members of a fitness training establishment.

More importantly though, and what the main reason for my visit was to see was two fold.

  1. To see how the progress develops into the search of Sport recognition
  2. To compare just how the differences between Gym Sport and SiD have reached their respective levels (later blog)

The first is to see how the progress develops into Sport recognition, something that WGC had the painful process of undergoing in 2006. And this is where Id like to feature predominately on yesterdays event.

Harry Thomsett from Inferno Racing and now set to lead the way in The Federation of Fitness Racing  gave a passionate speech during this event about the need to gain  acceptance as a sport, he mentioned the amount of money table tennis receives each year to compliment its sport, then went onto make comparisons about the level of fitness seen here today and the lack of funding that goes into Fitness Racing and he has a point.

It is unfair for me to write an article to which most of the work that goes on in creating a sport is done behind closed doors, so this observational post, through discussions with Harry throughout the day and what I have seen and experienced over my past endeavours and what I saw take place yesterday. What I can say is its a tremendous slog. It is relentless and there is little reward for the hours spent when seeing little or no progress.

Sport England

Is the obvious place to start.  Its where I started and where the acceptance to be a sport is granted , through a very tough and long winded process. Only those with the very stout hearts and determination beyond their wildest levels of endurance need apply.

 

The first question is the obvious starting point?

Is there a need for Fitness Racing to have a NGB ?

 

 

 

 

 

And the over riding answer on every level is yes. Fitness Racing needs to be  centralised with a governing body to oversee the structure and growth for future events. It is how sports develop and flourish.

Growth Period

If you take 2017 as the day the ball started to roll and look to the future of gaining acceptance. Then this process is at the foot of Mount Everest. The climb for recognition can take take in my opinion at least ten years. If the end goal is to be represented in the Olympics, then perhaps even longer – ask Squash if its been an easy ride? But then ask Parkour and what appears division into whether Parkour is a sport or an art. My point being that an NGB is needed to oversee Fitness Racing, but it will boil down to the mass participants supporting that notion, or if they just want to continue competing in existing events.

 

 

 

 

 

Sport Politics.

Once the momentum starts then its the politics that decide if it stays the course. In fighting, feuds, arguments, pressure of work, lack of empathy, frustration , are just the tip of the iceberg, but all are cracks in what has to be a unified structured approach. If you do not have the bond and a joint vision, you do not have a start point in which to create your platform. After all, what’s to say that in five years time, somebody else comes along and begins their own process, that is well financed, planned and has all the hall marks of the perfect set up. So if Fitness Racing is to have a chance, those that are in the driving seat, need the support of those are representative of the sport they represent.

Will Sport England accept that a NGB is needed? 

Looking at the website for Sport England and their new attitude in acceptance to a changing platform in sport , then perhaps, they may just give Fitness Racing a chance. If FR can adhere to the five principles of acceptance, then there could be a start process. But that is also true for any activity seeking acceptance as a sport, so this is why its vital for the FR community to start looking at Grass Root growth, rather then elite races, to build on.

 

 

 

 

 

Taking the next level 

From what I saw yesterday. FR is a 360 Activity. It encompasses much of the structure from many sports and combines them into a format that allows its own unique individual and team athletes to be acknowledged as some of the fittest and most inspiring athletes in the UK today which have   been created from a Grass Root level. None of the athletes have been funded. They train in their own time, many holding existing and very demanding jobs and furthermore, the expense to compete is met by their own finance.

My concerns at this point. 

Identity . Sport has to have its own identity. Where do you pull participants of your events for a sport ? Now it seems that from yesterday, a large percentage if not all were from certain training establishments from all over Europe. And this brings with it its own risks in engaging into the need for Sport acceptance. As what works now will work in ten years time, only be more refined (and it was pretty slick yesterday), so is there a need for an NGB ? Drawing from an affiliation backed company for your participants, means that effectively, you are dependent on their support and possibly sponsorship. What you don’t want to do is come into conflict or bite the mouth of those  who supply the athletes.

As to who is the Governing Body. Simply put they will be  the ones who run the show and will decide the future of all Fitness Racing Events.

Conclusion

Without question an NGB into Fitness racing is needed. There has never been a better time to start this ball rolling. But that is just a brave vision of the few who dare to look at the potential. And there lies the problem. When a mass market has potential, then it is often followed up , by a pack willing to nip, bite , scavenge and destroy at the bricks that have to be laid in the process that leads to acceptance.

 

 

 

 

 

Harry , I wish you every success in your journey. Its a brave thing you do, which will be relentless and unforgiving over many days ahead.

 

 

 

 

FitBrit 2017 – Gym Circuit 2

Treadmill / Row / Bike / CTF Lateral Jump Burpees

Do you know your treadmill speeds / 500 m row / stroke pace / RPM Bike  pace at maximum level ?

OK ,  so you are now in the sub 12 minute category of FitBrit (Advanced) and you are thinking about training for the big day in December and then thinking how is the best way to train for this?

Well lets something straight outa the way first, those of you with a qualifying time of  – sub 10’s (Men) sub 11 (Women’s) one of you will win this.

So there is no magic potion here, if you are in that category, chances are you have a good shot at winning FitBrit. But training for FitBrit needs a very good understanding of your maximal output.

So here at WGC , we have developed a Treadmill , Row , Bike and CTF finish Circuit.

Aim

To understand your maximal outputs in set distances.

A game plan before you go into the final is a good starting point. To know what your maximal reach is during each stage of FitBrit in your head and what you can do without gassing out during your race is a sensible approach.

Alternative Training

Alternative Training is the new approach to endurance events, where the focus is more on  brain activity during an endurance race and heart rate control. It’s exclusive to WGC and is reliant on having a sports watch monitor and understanding splits in your training approach.

Treadmill speeds 

Know your treadmill speeds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This 2000 m pyramid plays on set speeds with 30 seconds recovery

800 m – as fast as you can on one speed

600 m – match your above speed

400 m – match your above speed

200 m + 2 kph on your best speed

Row 500 m pace 

Know your 400 m pull / stroke finish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 400 m (finals distance) you need to get as much distance covered in the shortest possible time (No shit Sherlock) But if you get on to row and are unable to give your best ever 400 m, it could be the matter of winning and losing .

The final 400 m needs to be conducted by not even looking at the screen , but knowing how many pulls / strokes will get you to the finish line. So you must work on your row ratio. And get the most economical finish.

You must be able to complete 400m in your set number of pull / strokes.

Bike RPM 

Maintain high RPM on the Bike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lvl 14 for Men is a hard slog and Level 10 for women is a push

120 plus rpm must be maintained for the duration of the 1.5 km .

You will need to be coming in under 2 minutes – 2.20 for a 1.5 km finish

Ideally if Mens Fitness and Fitness First DW Fitness got their act together they would be supplying WattBikes.

World Gym Challenge – FitBrit Gym Circuit 2 

30 second recoveries prepare the brain in knowing exactly what breaks you are getting when mixed with fixed distances .

2 min recovery breaks allow the heart rate to return to a lower acceptable start point

FitBrit Gym Circuit 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The CTF Lateral Jump Burpees need to be completed in one hit, which will be possibly where a lot of finalist will come unstuck and a smooth technique , is what needs to be worked on.

 

 

 

 

 

FitBrit 2017 – 13 weeks to go.

FitBrit 2017 

There are roughly 13 weeks to go till the final of FitBrit and probably the winner is already at peak fitness now. That it is to say , the qualifying time and the actual final result, will not vary by much. Excitement and the the encouragement of the crowd will create an edge and your winning time may be a few seconds quicker, but then again you can get penalised for non reps and keeping focused, when being frustrated is another complication and very hard to deal with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mental Focus

Before you know it the final is here. These past weeks of training have now come to an end and you have arrived to take part in your possibly your first final. How do you keep your body in tune? How do you not let the nerves get to you ? What should you eat ? How will you cope with being judged? These questions all rely on what you do now and what happens on the day of the final and its all about preparation.

Preparation

With 13 weeks to go you may think that you now have it covered. But what is your opposition thinking? Are they thinking we can train relentlessly , and go all out giving the body a  huge beasting to prep and be ready for that day. Or are they thinking , Ive peaked now and now I need to train smart. I need to know every part of this course. I need to be trained in all aspects of recovery and taking my body to its limits. I need to look at my nutrition so that when I turn up , there is nothing more I can do. I am ready.

Being ready 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The winners of Fitness events at extreme level will not vary much, those that won it last year will rank well this year. They are looking out for the newbies, who have come out of dark and waiting to unleash their talents. There are those as well that have been involved in Gym Sports for ten years or so who may choose to enter.  There is a certain breed of athlete who is just formatted to cope with circuit type event and they are ready now. They are fine tuning their training. They have the confidence and more importantly the ability to push any single athlete on the day to their extreme limit. They have what it takes to be at the top of their game for around ten minutes extreme pain , where every second counts, every transition has been prepared for and in some cases, their game plan is going according to all of their training. Thats what will make the difference.

World Gym Challenge will help you in that preparation. 

We will provide a number of gym challenges specifically aimed at FitBrit, to help push you to your extreme. To keep you focused in the gym.

Look out for our FitBrit Challenges … coming soon

 

World Gym Challenge – Gym Sport Championships – Black Hawk – Advanced & Intermediate

Charles Green

Charles Green is from a number of gym’s. Fitness First in Romford, Absolute Gym in Romford and his local CrossFit Box too. At one time he was spending over £200 a month on gym membership alone. Charles is a dedicated gym athlete. He also won FitBrit in 2015, beating Mens’s Fitness promo athlete Will Kane. In 2016, Charles for some reason was not invited to the finals, although having submitted a time that allowed him to qualify.

Gym Sport Championships

World Gym Challenge created 36 events to be completed each year at your own gym. We supply the database so that any member of a gym take part and have their results uploaded into a giant database so that all results can be be compared.

The events are broken down into 6 Series Events

  1. Legends
  2. Baddass
  3. Bite Hard
  4. Braves
  5. Hard Steel
  6. Psycho

Each Series having six gym challenges to complete.

This is Black Hawk from ‘ Braves’ it allows both Intermediate and Advanced athletes to see their combined comparisons.

 

 

 

 

 

This is the video that shows you the disciplines involved in Black Hawk

 

 

World Gym Challenge / New Event / The Cornwell / Advanced

New Gym Challenge – The Cornwell at Bannatyne Health Club.

 

 

 

Once the gym sport bug takes hold it grabs you for good. You don’t let go of it. You become engrossed into the challenge. And then you start understanding the balance of disciplines. And then you put on your own event.

Ben Cornwell (Read this short profile )

 

 

 

 

 

Ben has now constructed his own challenge based on years of experience in Gym Sport. The club that he trains at Bannatyne Health Club in Sutton Coldfield will be hosting this challenge for its members on the 4th November.

There will be three levels of fitness for this event, Novice , Intermediate, Advanced. Lets just have a look at the Advanced. There are some very challenging aspects to this race and at this level.

 

 

 

 

 

Of note on this challenge is the transition between Alt Squat Thrusts, Box Jump Overs to Shoulder Press. Static Shoulder movement in both the AST and Box Jump Overs means there will be an excruciating section with the shoulder press. The very high lactic generated at this early stage will allow a welcome transition to the Sit Ups.

Sit Ups do get a bad deal in modern ‘functional fitness’ but in Gym Sport they will allow you lie down and recover somewhat but also keep the momentum of the circuit to continue by stressing the CNS with forward flexion from the hip. The relationship between core strength and CNS /  movement is dubious at best, basically train for sit ups and continue them in a all round training and then you should be able to complete the required rep range.

Step Ups 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 2 x 16 kg and 65 reps we are looking a combined 32 kg weight transition between steps that are 5 risers high. The average gym user will not be able to do this and Step Ups are a constant source of training for the gym athlete. Only by continually taking on high rep training will you be able to sustain 2 x 16 kg.

 

 

 

Press Ups 

The traditional press up (off toes) is a classic movement pattern and a firm favourite for setting up events that rely on space saving and equipment saving. In this case the traditional bench press has been replaced with press ups.

WattBike

 

 

 

 

 

 

The king of the Bike in the gym. Too many variations in cadence between other brands allow the WattBike to dominate a professional quality of movement.

Row

 

 

 

 

 

 

Concept 2 rowers have long played a vital role in all Gym Sport events, the ultimate all round exercise. At 650 m the distance will have to be taken with caution as the follow on Chest to floor Burpees will sky rocket your heart rate and do you want to be be gassing as you approach these?

Chest to Floor Burpees

Again space saving and equipment free, the CTF Burpee is mostly about technique and letting flowing movement work for you . If you break these into static and slow patterns the time impact will influence your end result.

Treadmill 

Nice to see the 2% increment at 200 m coming into play for the first time in events. WGC has used this measure of training for a number of years and forms part of our 5 treadmill inclines at a fixed pace challenge. For those of you who don’t understand the increment, its a 2% increase from 200 m and every 200m till you reach the final 1000 m which will be at 800 m to a 1000 at 8 % incline.

Conclusion

Ben has put together a good combination of disciplines. At this level this is very much an Advanced Athlete level. This would mean that this challenge is not something you should do without significant training and understanding your body limitations. Do not take this challenge as goal, unless you are already very capable athlete. For those of you who are at the correct level of fitness, I think you will struggle early on and find it very taxing throughout, so you should enjoy it. Good luck to those of you who take this on.