Friday, 9 December 2011

Fitness in Dubai reports on the UAE Fitness Challenge II

Today’s Men’s Fitness and Shape Magazine UAE Fitness Challenge (!/events/190453464376856/) was a tremendous success. OK, I lost the title I won back in June, but that didn’t dampen my day in the slightest. I finished third in the individual men’s event and I’m over the moon with that.

This time the event was outdoors, on the lawn before the beach at Le Royal Meridien Hotel in Dubai Marina. The format was different too. Only on Tuesday were the exercises revealed; plyo box jumps, hand release push ups, kettlebell swings and a 100m run, but it wasn’t until moments before the first heat that competitors were informed of what the workout would actually entail, such as length of time, or number of reps etc. Gathered in the sun we were told that the format for the individual event was a 12 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of the following:
  • 10 plyo box jumps with full extension (24 inches for men, 20 for women)
  • 15 hand release push ups
  • 20 kettlebell swings (16kg for men, 8kg for women)
  • 100m run.
For the team event, every member of the team had to work the four exercises listed above, but would switch exercises only when one of the team had completed the 100m run. Each rep completed by each team member would be added together to give a total rep count score for the team.
In my head I was worried about the kettlebell swings, but quietly confident... until I watched the first heat. Oh my God, it was destroying very good athletes, and 12 minutes at such a high intensity seemed an eternity!

I was in the second heat, and right away I struggled with the box jumps, which seemed really high and I couldn’t get a rhythm. The push ups started OK, but the 20 kettlebell swings did the real damage. In was near the back on the first round but tried to make up ground on the run. I nearly caught the guy next to me (individual men’s winner, Justin, who is on my left in this pic), but when the exercises started he stormed ahead of me again. And so it continued. I remember hearing there was 5 minutes to go and I was devastated. I was already on my last legs. For those 5 minutes every rep was excruciating. I could hear people cheering me on put the words sounded like a different language, I was lost in a world of pain.

I finished up completing five full laps along with the box jumps, push ups and 16 of the 20 kettlebell swings. I thought six full rounds would be a good score, and I gave it my best. I couldn’t have done anymore. 

I slumped in the shade for an hour trying to get my breath back. I was absolutely knackered, and missed out on watching some of the other heats which was a shame. I’ve got ot say I thought the atmosphere was electric. Everyone screaming words of encouragement and pushing each other to give everything they had. I loved it.

The finale was the top three men, women and teams to do a one off race to decide the winner. The challenge was a 50m bear crawl, then 50m of five frog jumps and three burpees in sequence to the finish line. I was shocked I was in the top three men and really wasn’t in any condition to take part, but I gave it my best. I was third of the three men.

Also, I must take my hat off to the women competing today. Rock hard. I can't be sure, but I think in the men's category, only the winner completed six full rounds, but all three of the top women did (I think). And the Glory Girls team( done incredibly well to place second in the team event. Amazing performances!

The whole event was excellent. It was a privilege to take part in it. Huge congratulations to Cliff and his team at Core Direction ( for pulling it off. Also huge congratulations to everyone at CrossFit LifeSpark ( who absolutely smashed it today. Candice Howe, owner and trainer, was victorious in the women’s event, and the team including Ben, also owner and trainer, won the team event. What a great advertisement for CrossFit they all are!

Roll on the 2012 event, I’ve got a title to regain!


  1. Great stuff Paul, good on you for taking part!


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