In training for Adventurethon 2013, I decided I needed some help. Some advice. Some (dare I say it) training.
You see, no matter what I do to train for my Enduro Adventurethon (14km of open sea kayaking, 21km of mountain biking and 12km of off-road running) I will be totally and utterly unprepared for it, for three key reasons:
1. I don’t believe in being prepared anyway.
2. I own neither a kayak nor a mountain bike with which to train.
3. I arrive in Australia, after a 30 hour journey, less than 48 hours before everything kicks off!
Whatever I do, it is going to hurt. A lot. I therefore feel the best thing to do is accept it will be agonising and dedicate some time to learning to push myself through this inevitable pain. If I can get stronger and more powerful in the process – all the better!
Now, whatever you have read online about training and whatever little pamphlets have fallen out of Men’s Health recently, there is only one real way to get bigger and stronger. There is certainly only one way to increase your sheer grit and determination. You find what you think are your limits…and you shatter them.
How do you go about pushing yourself harder than ever before? Simple. You seek out the biggest, strongest and meanest sonovabitch you know…and try to match his workout, set for set.
That’s why I went hunting for monsters. Specifically, Robster…Le Monster.
I found him at Body Works Gym in Tottenham Hale, hanging out and being enormous. After a quick chat about what Adventurethon involves, Robster had a plan for me. Bring on the pain – then see how I deal with it.
Like he says: the way people cope and react to extreme physical pressure can be quite telling about them as a person in general; do they quit right away and give up, or do they push themselves as hard as they possibly can? A healthy normal is somewhere between the two.
…what maketh a monster, however, is not a healthy normal.
What amazed me most about Rob’s training (and there were many things that amazed me about Rob’s training) was the sheer, unrivalled intensity. I know body builders train hard. It’s obvious. What I didn’t realise about Rob’s training in particular, however, was how hard.
Trying to keep up with Le Monster, even at the lower weights he generously allowed me to use, was agony. Not only were my muscles working as hard as they physically could – to total failure – I was also gasping for air at the same time, my head was pounding and my lungs felt close to exploding.
I’m quite a fit guy, generally speaking. After 45 minutes with Le Monster, I couldn’t stand up. I then threw up, four times, into a bin.
But please, let me defend myself. This wasn’t a “one weird old tip for getting abs in 10 days” session – this was Le Monster MV3 extreme training. This wasn’t “three sets of ten” or “five sets of five” – this was sets of 30, 40, 50, 60 – 100 reps! This was combining two exercises into one and then doing two sets of both back to back. This was lifting until your arms are numb, stopping for five (FIVE!) seconds, then lifting again.
If you’re thinking “that’s not an effective way to get big, strong and fit”, I advise you take a look at Robster – his physique, his sheer cardio fitness and the monstrous weight he is capable of shifting. If you’re still not convinced, go and work out with him – try and keep up, or show him a thing or two.
Body builders have a reputation for being mountains of semi-functional muscle, constructed by performing impractical set movements over and over again for years, until they grow. Not so, Le Monster.
Sure, he uses traditional exercises in his workouts – but often in untraditional ways. His incredible background in martial arts and sports means he is also a huge fan of what he calls “real world exercises”; movements that develop functional, practical strength as well as his colossal size.
Overall, it was the hardest gym workout I have ever had and, when I consider that is how Le Monster trains every single day it was a humbling and inspiring experience – one that I look forward to repeating…when I can walk again!