Why you are doing your gym challenges wrong Part 1

World Gym Challenge says think about your gym challenge.

There are are million plus combinations into creating gym challenges. In fact it’s fair to say the list is endless with the right combination of distance , weight, reps and equipment. The current trend is to go hard. In fact go so hard that nothing else seems to matter.

Thats where we are now. There is a tough is best mentality out there.

I’m here to question that.

Is it really best to go hell for leather without the consideration of what best for your body?

So lets start at the beginning.

A gym challenge should always come in three categories of challenge Novice , Intermediate and Advanced. And before you start any challenge you should know your level of fitness.

This is where a lot of people go wrong at the very first hurdle. They undertake a challenge that is wrong for them and have no real idea of their own level of fitness. They have an idea, but nine times out of ten they are in for a shock when challenge ends. Simply put they were not in the right condition in the first place.

So how do you know the level of fitness you are in?

It’s quite simple you benchmark yourself against others and see what the total results are.

World Gym Challenge was the first website in the world that looked at the significance of splits in training for gym challenges. Its no good having a final time scenario for a challenge, that only gives you the end result, not the training pattern required for each stage of the challenge. And if you are training not wearing a watch with a stop watch function then you have even less idea about your projected finish times.

Next time you are in a gym look at how many are wearing a watch to time themselves. You will not see many.

So now you have something to time yourself with whats next?

Thats the next post …

Lets recap .. Know your fitness levels … wear a watch with a stop watch function .

Andy Brown at TruGym Chatham Kent – Sitting Bull Intermediate Gym Challenge

Andy Brown

Ive know Andy for the best part of ten years. He is a top ranking Intermediate Gym Athlete who has competed regularly in the online challenge series over the years. So for him to make the journey from his gym in Camberley, Surrey (formerly Fitness First) to TruGym in Chatham Kent, for a gym challenge that will take roughly 13 minutes was a real commitment to his training. Plus it was great to see an old friend.

The Gym Challenge is designed so that any gym member can attempt these challenges, without too much fuss or disruption to a working gym , using equipment at hand and easy to use. All that is really needed is the format you need to follow and in this case Sitting Bull is:

30 x 30 kg Lat Pull Downs
30 x 20 kg Shoulder Press
20 x Medicine Ball Press Ups (Alternate hand)
1 minute recovery
500 m row
400 m 10% incline
500 m row
400 m 10 % incline

The first circuit is a little power circuit to engage and all over workout, followed by a 1 minute recovery to enable you to transfer to the row. The legs now have to do a lot of the work, to complete the row to treadmill x 4 circuit.

This circuit is set at Intermediate level and if you can achieve a sub 15 minute circuit you are basically Intermediate level.

What time time do you think you could achieve ?

World Gym Challenge supplies a free online leader board for any gym that subscribes so that members can train towards these events.

There are 36 challenges to complete over the year in the Online Fitness Challenge Series

World Gym Challenge / Exercising with High Blood Pressure – 3

Todays circuit in the gym was an amended old favourite concentrating on on 4 stations

Bike 5 km

Aim – to hit sub 10 minutes (90 – 100 rpm) on target 5 minutes at 2.5 km

Step Ups 4 x 50 x 2 10 kg db

Aim – 50 step ups under 2 minutes

Bench Press 4 x 15 x 40 kg / 30 second recovery

Aim – Complete all reps non stop

Row 1000 m

Aim – Complete in 4.30

Bike 5 km

Complete a sub 10 hit sub 5 at halfway stage.

X Trainer

Aim – conclude with 5 mins active recovery

Break down of splits

Blood Pressure Pre Exercise
Blood Pressure Post Exercise

Medication – Ramipril 5 mg / 5 mg Amlodipine

The medication is meant to be the driving force in keeping my blood pressure down. It’s unlikely that coming off the medication will keep my blood pressure down. So Im currently able to exercise due to medication, which seems a little ironic and there is no go to help to find out if I can come of medication. Or at the very least reduce it with the aim to be med free in the near future

World Gym Challenge / Exercising with high blood pressure / What the Doctors are saying.


Since early 2017 my world as I knew exercise changed drastically. Having spent the best part of twenty years training and the last 12 running World Gym Challenge I have been consumed that exercise done correctly and effectively I would assume  with a mixture of recovery and high intensity training that this would be the blue print for a normal and active life without complications.

It turns out the reality is somewhat different. Having hit 52 this year, in early January after a routine health check a notice

able change in blood pressure started to occur. This increased and spiralled out of control in late June, where it became inevitable that medication was the only answer.

To say I was shocked is a understatement. But it doesn’t end there. What has been even more astonishing has been the reaction from the medical profession. Having been diagnosed with high blood pressure and been put on medication (5 mg Ramipril/ 5 mg amlodipne daily) They are simply at the prescribe medication and forget about anything else..

So this brings me back to exercising effectively and safely, whilst on medication.

The obvious place to start is at the Doctors surgery. This is also recommended on most online search processes. However that is the start of the problem. There simply is no go to recommended protocol for training with high blood pressure for an athlete except standard guidelines. And that does not really help.

To train with a variable pattern of biking , rowing, running  and weights needs a bit of a specialised approach. When you consider that throughout my entire process of being diagnosed with high blood pressure on not one occasion was I asked about my physical activity routine and what type of exercising I have been carrying out. It does come as a slight surprise then, that with the current emphasis on physical activity to prevent heart disease, why is it that they’re is no interest in the history of physical activity in its diagnosis? Or indeed no access to coping with exercise on medication ?

That leaves me in a precarious position in real terms. and leaves me with two choices, give up exercise, or continue on the path that I have been following over the last 20 years.

Pretty easy decision really, but surprisingly hard to come to. You see, during the best part of this year I have been debating whether to carry on fitness. I mean what was the point ? I’d been training regularly for years in order to prevent conditions such as this.

So Im going to continue to train. In truth I find it hard not actually being in the gym and setting myself goals to try and achieve. I found that being at home lead to depression and frustration. So my game plan was to be more positive.

But this is not down to the Doctor prescribing exercise in helping me. Their job was done at prescribing medication. This is me just taking it on the chin and getting back into the gym.

So the plan is to incorporate my training regime with a continued story of results.

Exercise should include variability , recovery and a good warm down.

That will be the subject of my next blog

Here is a quick video of how often you should train.

4 Rules of Gym Training from sean blyth on Vimeo.

World Gym Challenge / Blood Pressure #1

It’s important to me to write these blogs on the issues I have been facing due to rising blood pressure.

There may come a time when something very serious happens and you know how things are – people are very vocal in the fitness industry. So Id like the voice to be constructive and look to the many positives that World Gym Challenge stood for.

World Gym Challenge first and foremost is a live result leader board for gym challenges. It shows a time format of split timings for a challenge carried out in a gym environment. It was never a format on how to train, just the end result of training and then by comparison looking at the results of others and how  they compared to you.

So now I have got that out of the way, Id like to look at the situation I have found my self in.

Blood pressure ! If you had of said to me in 2016 I would be having blood pressure issues in 2017 Id have looked you in the eye and said on what planet are you on. I was in Greece . I was training in the gym while on holiday. I was feeling great. Competing in the Gym Series and feeling in great shape for somebody who has hit 50.

Then January 2017 happens. I’m in the Docs surgery for a routine chest infection or something like that and I decide there and then to pop in for a well man check. Good thing I did . It was there in January , on a bleak mid winters day, that I discovered that my blood pressure was on the rise.

First thing I did was buy a blood pressure monitor. In truth at this time I was sure it was just a blip . A variable mishap to which there would be a logical reason. I was not prepared for the the onslaught of the next few months.

I took my readings over the next two weeks and they were a mixed bag. Ranging from 153/ 81 to 129/77 . There it seemed was my readings high and low, fluctuating madly. But one night I got in and decided to take my readings and it was 167 / 92 . I was gobsmaked . Since January.  to Feb, there was a spike and rise. I consulted my Doctor and we decided to have a 24 hour monitor and go on to 2.5 mg Ramipril.

Ramipril is an Inhibitor which relaxes small arteries (arterioles) which allow blood to flow more easily, reducing blood pressure.

TruGym Chatham Dockside

Do gyms know how to run Gym Challenges ?

So I have been a member now of TruGym in Chatham for approaching a year. And to be honest its not that great. There is some good equipment in there and if you know how to train its great value for money, but the gym itself – na not really . I say this as if you follow the trends that are happening in Gyms and the way the culture of fitness is changing, I cant really see anything in this in this gym that is adapting to the times . Id say it was boring, unadventurous, mundane and show no real knowledge in looking towards creating member participation. I’ve been there near on a year and they don’t know my name when I walk through the door , they have never shown an interest in what I am doing, how I am training, what I have achieved. It really is a mundane gym with little or no charisma to it. So lets see what happens between now and next year , will there be any changes and I suspect not really . Lets see what happens by this time next year.

LIW 2016

looks like there will be some sort of CrossFit exhibition there .

WGC was keen to supply data results for any challenges going on that day – but not this year .

Would be nice to see from somebody who doesn’t go what the results were and what sort of level of fitness is needed to compete. But not from WGC this year .

Will be going as a visitor and will see where the results gets published when we get there.