Over the past few years, there’s been a spike in the popularity of sadistic Spartan races – obstacle course-style fitness challenges designed to push participants to the limits.
Tough Mudder -– "probably the toughest event on the planet" – is among the most popular. A 10-12-mile course organised by the British Special Forces, it attracted some 460,000 participants in 2012, an increase of 229 per cent on the previous year.
According to founder Will Dean, 750,000 people are set to compete in 2013, with events taking place across the country until October.
The key to Tough Mudder’s success is its "fear and pain factor". Competitors are subjected to extreme challenges both physical and mental – swimming through ice lakes, scaling massive barriers, being electrocuted and so on – all for the thrill that comes from making it through.
"These events really test your mental fortitude and grit, as well as your physical strength and fitness," Dean says.
Not enough for you? Have a go at Tough Guy, the UK’s "spiritual home of mud and obstacle training". Even better, try the 5km Run For Your Lives race in the US, throughout which you’ll be chased by an officially sanctioned "zombie horde".
The Tough Mudder-Ready Workout
This body weight-based adventure race circuit can be performed in a gym or a park (all you need is a bar to do chin-ups from, plus a bench).
The challenges mentioned above are all about being able to move your own body weight around efficiently, so give this circuit a crack. Trust me, it gets tougher as it goes on!
Repeat 3–5 times depending on your fitness levels. This is a fantastic full-body-conditioning circuit – ideal for these kinds of events and also an excellent fat-burner. Enjoy and let me know how you get on @harryjamesonPT