LAUREN, A PROUD UNIREC MEMBER AND JOURNO STUDENT OVER AT WINTEC IS SET TO TACKLE TOUGH GUY & GAL WITH THE TEAM ON AUG 9. SHE HAS KINDLY AGREED TO DOCUMENT HER JOURNEY, AS SHE TAKES ON OUR WEEKLY TRAINING SESSIONS LEADING UP TO THE EVENT. HERE IS WEEK FIVE...
I don't recognise the trainer taking this morning's class. Tod looks like a soldier, or a police officer, made for shouting commands and insulting maggots like us – but he's quick to smile, and his oddly soft voice is lost in the cavernous Sports Hall.
A gauntlet of tyres and sandbags and hurdles is laid out like a buffet. I strain to hear his instructions on what the heck we're supposed to do with this wealth of kettlebells and five-gallon jugs, but Tod's gentle manner doesn't extend to his training; he's a powerlifter and avid Strongman competitor, and he expects similar ferocity from our rag-tag band of Tough Guys and Gals. I'm a sweaty waterfall before he calls out the first station switch.
My partner today is a tourism student named Tiffany, who attends Sir George Seymour College and doesn't really appreciate my panting attempts at conversation. Her attention is focused on yanking tractor tyres forward with the full force of her petite frame, and righting the hurdles I've trampled before she can leap them, gazelle-like. I practice star jumps, and feel like a rhino.
Tod's Strongman style is visible in his training technique. We lift heavy things relentlessly, repeatedly swapping strength work for shuttle runs, carrying weirdly shaped weights and keeping our heart-rates booming harder than post-war Britain. He says one of the aspects of powerlifting he loves is the concrete motivation.
“In the kitchen or on the treadmill, it can be demoralising because it's hard to see progress. It takes time for the numbers to start going down, or up if you're a guy looking to gain weight.”
But lifting is different. “You can see the numbers go up every week as you're able to lift more.” It's a solid, real-life payoff, and progress is obvious even to complete newbies.
I consider. A month ago, the breakneck pace of strength-to-shuttles-and-back would have had my whole body screaming, and quite probably landed me faint on the floor all over again. I certainly couldn't have powercleaned the sack of sand above my head, or run high intensity intervals between my sets of pushups. I'm grateful for the progress, since the Tough Guy is looming in the increasingly near future – and I, and Tiffany, and Tod, and the rest of the Get It Fitness team, intend to be ready.
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT UNIREC'S TOUGH GUY & GAL TEAM AND TO GET INVOLVED, SEE THE TEAM AT RECEPTION.