Tuesday, 26 May 2015

A workout plan with Edinburgh Leisure

Last year when I did Tough Mudder, I was spectacularly underprepared for it, but this time around those pathetic efforts pale in comparison to my current lack of training. There have been a few morning runs but not much over and above that. I've completely fallen off the bandwagon. Perhaps I didn't think last year was tough enough? Perhaps I've lost my sanity? Perhaps I just really like cider, pizza and watching Netflix? Personally, I blame it all on Suits and Peaky Blinders.

So there I was, feeling vaguely bad about the fact that I really wasn't preparing myself adequately for a twelve mile assault course when I received an invite from Edinburgh Leisure to have one of their personal trainers create a workout program for me. They may just be a little bit psychic. I jumped at the chance, because I figured that it would give me a good kick up the backside to get me going.

It's not just me that Edinburgh Leisure are trying to cajole into a healthy lifestyle. Indeed, this month they have a few offers to persuade people to get active with them. They are offering new members £35 cashback if they attend sixteen times in eight weeks or are offering existing members £35 for every new member referred by them. You can find out a bit more about the offers here and you can also find out a bit more about the services that Edinburgh Leisure offer through their website.

I chose to attend Edinburgh Leisure's Dalry Swim Centre as it's just around the corner from my flat so it was very handy for crawling home afterwards. I arrived for my session with a few nerves because I didn't really want to confront the fact that I'm definitely not as fit as I think that I am. Truth be told, I'm still dining out on the fact that I completed a Triathlon MORE THAN A YEAR AGO. An extra serving of pasta? Why not? I am a triathlete after all. A triathlete who hasn't swam or ridden a bike for a year, but I've never been someone who lets minor details get in the way of my love affair with carbohydrates.

My session was with the lovely Francesco who had created a tailored work out for me which would help me cope with the trials of Tough Mudder. In particular, he put me to work doing some pull ups (even though I was too short to reach the handles), lots of squats with a weighted bag (to simulate the lovely obstacle in Tough Mudder which requires you to carry your partner for 100m) and a wonderful exercise called the 'Dragon Walk' which will come in useful when crawling through all those small spaces. Oh and of course, lots of bloody Burpees which I tried to wangle my way out of on account of my 'low blood pressure.'

In between all of these exercises, Francesco asked me to run at 75% of my maximum capacity for intervals of increasing distance. So after the first three sets of exercises I ran for 400m, after the second three sets I ran for 600m and the three sets after that, 800m. You get the gist. It was exhausting. We then finished off with some core exercises.

The day after I was pretty sore, which is definitely the sign of a great workout. It was also a good reminder that if I don't up my game, I'll be feeling even worse than that in the aftermath of Tough Mudder! Most of the exercises Francesco covered in the session were ones that I'd come across before but what was great about the session was that it really pulled them all together in a way that made my body feel functional. I really started to understand how getting better at these exercises would help me get through the assault course with ease. There were lots of explosive, jumping exercises which would help to build strength in my legs, enabling me to leap over obstacles. There were also plenty of upper body strength ones to assist with clambering over walls and the dragon walk and weighted bag squats were clearly designed with Tough Mudder in mind.

I've been a little bit disenchanted with the gym recently because a lot of the exercises I tend to do feel very static. It was really good to learn that there are some simple, slightly more 'active' exercises that I can do to help along my preparation and so I gained quite a lot from the training session in that respect.

One other good thing about the plan was that there was an element of progression built into it. During the initial session I completed one set of each exercise but Francesco told me that I was to progress to two and then three reps of each eventually. The running was also to be increased so that I would be running greater distances on each progression and also, in the week running up to the event, trying to push the effort to 90% of my maximum capability instead of 75%.

Overall then, I thought it was a really worthwhile service which definitely gave me a bit of a kick up the bum to get focused on my training for Tough Mudder. I was reassured by Francesco that a month is plenty of time to get in shape so here's hoping!

P.S - I attended the Personal Training session alone and in the absence of my usual photographer, I wasn't entirely confident enough to ask other people to take photos of me. You'll just have to imagine the dishevelled, sweaty mess that I was.

P.P.S - Here comes the disclaimer. I was invited to take part in this session free of charge by Edinburgh Leisure. In return I have included mention of their current May offers in the blog post. All words and opinions remain my own.


  1. "An extra serving of pasta? Why not? I am a triathlete after all."

    Only you could write a post about a personal training session which makes me laugh out loud!

    I've started running again and I was feeling pretty proud of myself but after reading the exercises Francesco put you through I think I need to up my game (or give up entirely, I could go one way or another at the moment...)!


    1. Oh thank you Charlene! This comment had made my day (/week!)

      Ha good on you for getting out running again. It's been such good weather for it that I've been doing quite a bit of that too. I never seem to run any further/faster though.

      Well I definitely felt a bit taken aback at how unfit I was but I think that's the good thing about having someone push you for a one off session. I don't push myself as hard as that on most occasions but good to see what you're capable of at least!