My gym holds an Ultimate Fitness Challenge twice a year. I’ve done it a few times over the years. The first time the challenge was held, the age groups were a bit different, so I was in with all women 40 and older. I came in dead last. The age brackets changed after that and now I compete in the 50 and Over challenge. After the first challenge, I trained like crazy and came in first though the age range had changed by then. Still, it felt great to win. I also compare my time with what others do in their age bracket. Even though the weights or reps are slightly different, I think time is a good measure.
Diane from our podcast is in such great shape that she moves down an age level and participates in the 30 to 49 group. I haven’t gotten there yet but maybe I should try that.
I won last fall’s challenge too but that was because nobody else participated. Don’t get me wrong, I did a good job but still, there was no competition from women in my age group. After that challenge, one of the women at the gym said that I inspired her and that she would join the competition. She participated this time and found that it was really hard to do the whole challenge. Even though she had trained, she hadn’t necessarily trained to move from one activity to the next. I told her my story, of being last and then training and getting better so I hope she’ll do it again.
The spring challenge was held this past Saturday. I was reluctant to sign up because I’d been sick this spring and I’ve been dealing with problems with my Achilles tendon and felt unprepared. Others convinced me to do it again, so I registered for the challenge.
I’m happy to say that I did it and was only 19 seconds slower than last fall when I was in much better training shape. I felt proud of that because I really thought I’d not do well.
Ultimate Fitness Challenge Exercise List
Interested in what we did? Here’s a list of the exercises and the weights or reps for my category of women 50 and Over:
Run 400 meters. The secret to this is not to burn yourself out running.
- Dumbbell Farmer’s Carry: 80 yards with 25 pound dumbbells (one in each hand so total of 50 pounds)
- Push press: 35 pound bar and 20 reps
- Deadlift: 35 pound bar and 20 reps
- Sandbag squats: 40 pound sandbag that you have to get onto your shoulders and do 15 squats.
- Lateral burpees: 15 reps. Really, these are hellish.
- Tire Flips: 5 flips. It’s probably obvious that the tire is heavy.
- Prowler Push: This is a sled that you push. Push it for 80 yards with 70 pounds of plates added to it.
- Medicine Ball Slam & Throw: 20 pound ball for 80 yards.
- Sprint: 120 yards shuttle
I did it in 12 minutes 21 seconds, which was not too much slower than last fall’s time.
Why I Participate
These competitions are a lot of fun and it’s great to see the people I know from the gym putting their skills to the test. It really gets exciting when outsiders join us. You don’t have to be a gym member to participate. It’s great when some others join in.
One thing I like about this challenge is that it’s a combination of both cardio and strength. Some of the trainers do a lot of weight lifting but not so much cardio and they’re wiped out at the end. Of course, just getting the sandbag from the ground to your shoulders is a challenge if you don’t do strength training.
The benefit of doing a competition like this is that I get to see how I’m doing with my workouts. It’s certainly motivational to be registered for it and to know that others are going to be watching.
Sometimes I feel weird because there are lots of women over 50 at my gym but there’s only one or two competitors each time. I wish more would sign up for it. On the other hand, I feel like a bad a$$ when I walk back into the locker room with my prize money in my hand.