Intense workout at The Manor
Working on a magazine and therefore being a humble media type means you lift a lot of biscuits and mugs of tea, sadly biscuits don’t weigh the same as monster truck tyres. Here The Book of Man do a mega workout with Jason Fox, The Manor Gym and our friends at Neutrogena Norwegian Formula. This was a Hard workout. Note to reader: In light of the recent COVID-19 events, the brilliant team at Manor Gym are providing virtual training sessions so you can go through what we did in the comfort of your own home.
Martin puked twice and I hallucinated to the point of seeing the ghost of Peter Ustinov. But don’t let that put you off this intense endurance workout hosted at the The Manor Gym by BOM columnist and Neutrogena Norwegian Formula ambassador Jason Fox.
As a self proclaimed ‘long time user’ and advocate of Norwegian Formula products, Jason is an authentic and relevant ambassador for the brand, and this (so hard I died and then was reborn again later that day) event was fitting for a man who has braved some of the toughest terrains on earth.
Whilst I’m still awkwardly pulling my tracksuit bottoms off over my bulky, no doubt crap 2015 Nike running shoes, Jason tells our group about his experiences in the special forces and how having a ‘gnarly’ job (you didn’t make surf boards Jason) means your hands and skin can get pretty messed up, and you need to look after them. Rightly so. Well said. Who wants to be the guy in a mangrove swamp who can’t put up the tent because he has a palm callous like a teenager who discovered the 1996 Pamela Anderson playboy in his mates garage?? No one. That’s who.
As a former Royal Marine he’s often been ‘ribbed’ for looking after his hands but he’s also convinced countless other peers to follow his simple self care regime. With our newest obsession to hand wash on the minute every minute we should also start relentlessly moisturising as well.
I’m a groomer (grooming cynic at times) and what Neutrogena have is a grown up and useful multi use product range designed to protect you from anything nature throws at you. Only last week I had dry lips from a brisk walk to Tesco’s and a dollop of the hand cream sorted me right out. Ok! so that’s not abseiling down a cliff face or crawling through a minefield surrounded by dead goats but it’s all relative. I work in my pants on a laptop and worry about my hair.
So in light of Jason’s advocation, the ‘hands on’ approach and getting to know what Jason and his surprisingly soft hands go through was the theme of the morning. #GetHandsOn. That and what resilience can do to get you through the hardest times in our lives. If he does this workout everyday it’s no wonder he’s got guns like wellies filled with antique lawn bowls.
After Jason and his gang’s instructions we are divided into 8 groups of 3 – Me, Em and Sarah (somehow there are a couple of 4’s – cheating shits) and we have to do the following tasks to earn KCals. (Burnt Calories 😨)
To explain: It’s basically what would have happened if the producers of The Running Man’ starring Arnold Schwarzenegger had conceived the hit children’s show Fun House, but instead of collecting little green plastic tickets we give back our souls via our body mass and KCals. Here goes…
1: 90 DBall over shoulder.
This was our first challenge of the workout, and maybe it was because I was loaded with caffeine and adrenaline or maybe because i’m a shit hot D-Ball lifter. Either way the false sense of security that this gave me was my downfall. I started very fast on the heaviest setting, but quickly started to wilt. If you, like me watch The World's Strongest man on Channel 5 to see the new year in, then this one is like the Atlas Stones challenge - 100kg boulders that need to be lifted and placed on pillars (the guys good at this have paunched tummies to balance them on... like me). We need to lift them over our head and then drop them behind us. Due to the excitement we are a bit unsure on how many we are supposed to do, so I ask one of Jason’s super fit Manor reps: ‘What’s that we’re doing? 90? Or 19...Oh it is 90. But between 3? Yes. Ok’ Shiiiiiiiit - we all roll our eyes. This was followed by earning KCals on a downhill skiing machine which involves pulling. A lot. Feel the burn. We earned 28 because we sort of forgot to do the skiing bit. Shame.
2: 90 Thrusters!!!!!!!
Thrusters?? More like geriatric driving in a suburb. For me this was mind shattering. You squat, holding 2x 12.5kg dumbbells on your shoulder then thrust up pushing your arms to the sky/car park roof. Jesus. The burn was intense. Once again: ‘Scuse me mate you sure it’s 90’? ‘Yes?’ ‘Oh.ok’ why did it have to be 90? We could do 80 with a real push but 90 is when I start hallucinating.’ It’s 90 or you do 15 burpees' . On top of a near death experience you want me to do 15 burpees’ ??? Where is Pat Sharp, why can’t I just be gunged. I want to go home - pleeeeeease. Then you guessed it....it’s on to the bike to burn the Kcalories. I am flagging. But were sprinting. I’m being resilient. ‘Come on team. Got to not come last’. Workout! We score 75 not last but close. Great effort.
3: 10x Sled Push and Rope Pull
Tobogganing with papa and the puppies through the fens this is not. This workout involves pushing a ‘sled’ filled with 50kg + of weight along a carpet about 25 metres.... sprinting back and then pulling it back 25 metres via an intimating and heavy rope, straight from the set of mutiny on the bounty. Between the three of us we do this 10 times. (After my third go I disappear to cry in the toilets) When we’ve done this (I don’t know which of us did the 10th but I don’t think it was me) we hit the treadmill to burn off the KCals and feed our soul eating master. We do 96 - nice! Brilliant effort from Em and Sarah on this one!
4: The massive tractor tyre lift
My favourite workout technically (think lifting very heavy shit is my strong point, must have been those biscuits) was the 200kg tyre flip. Not something you have lying around when in isolation so not something you can practice unless you often throw two grown humans in the air every day. We powered this hard. All of us. Last push. Lift. Snap. Push. Lift Snap Push. We did that 10 times and then I fled to the toilet again to hallucinate alone. Then onto the bike for a last hurrah. We needed 75 calories to come 5th.... and we smashed it with 79. Winner winner chicken dinner.
The pain after that is a blur. Smoothies were drunk, backs were patted and showers were offered. Someone even said ‘This workout not your usual vibe man’? ‘No it fucking isn’t’
As Martin and I dragged each other out of the underground car park somewhere near Victoria station we said barely two sentences to each other ‘fucking hell’ and ‘great fun though eh!?’.
My legs still don’t work but much more fun than a Rosemary Connelly DVD workout and probably applying to be on Fun House.
See the Norwegian Formula product range here
Photographer credit – @d_v_n_p_r_t
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