Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

ShortList fitness challenge: Tough Mudder


It’s the same every year, the Christmas holiday finishes and everyone comes back to work, all a couple of kilograms heavier and all with a firm goal of fitness for the year ahead. Then someone in the office suggests we set ourselves a goal. Some kind of event in the coming months which means we can’t just let our fitness aspirations drift away as the weeks take their course. This is the point where someone sent around a link to Tough Mudder.

It isn’t your normal race. It’s not just signing up to a 10k in a park down the road and hastily doing a few weeks’ training just to make sure you can finish it. This is a little bit more difficult. A 12-mile obstacle course made up of electric shocks, fire, lifting heavy things, climbing high things, jumping off high things and a fair amount of freezing cold water.

We ignored all of this at the time. With our New Year’s resolutions of being athletes by the summer, this all looked like a walk in the park. We’d probably be doing these every weekend by then. Now five months into 2013 and the reality is sinking in a little further. This may actually be quite hard.

So with about a month left before the event, the Shortlist Media team are preparing for the worst. Eight of our best “athletes” are taking on the challenge, all working on our own individual training tactics to survive the course. Here’s where we’ll let you know how we’re getting on, whether it’s good or bad.

Did we mention electric shocks?

One week to go

With less than one week to go, emotions among the team are showing. Some of us are counting down the hours until we finally get to test ourselves against the various obstacles; others are just looking a bit sheepish when reminded about it, then wandering off. So at this pivotal point we decided to test our fitness levels.

According to Nigel Thomas, an ex-SAS member and the man that designs the Tough Mudder obstacles, the best way to train for the event is circuit training. With that in mind we visited Barry’s Bootcamp, a series of classes offering intense cardio workouts with strength training.

Some of us had done similar classes before and were comfortable in the knowledge that what we were undertaking was well within our abilities. After all, how different could it be from all the other circuit training classes out there? Surely there’s only so much exercise you can do in one room in an hour. After 20 minutes our attitudes had changed.

The first 15 minutes of interval running on the treadmills pushed us hard enough to work up a sweat. However it was the following weighted floor exercises that really started testing us: a blast of lunges, squats and shoulder presses all in quick succession as our instructor Anya watched everyone closely, making sure we were keeping up and performing the exercises correctly.

With a just a few seconds to reach for the towel we jumped back on the treadmill for another interval sprint session before some final floor work using resistance bands. It was then that the music changed from dance to something a bit more relaxing, marking the end of the workout and the start of some light stretching. Very rarely have we felt such relief.

As a workout class it was hard, much harder than circuit classes we’ve done before, but it was enjoyable as well. As the trainer walks around the room motivating everyone individually by name, it feels as if you’re benefiting from a personal training class. We just wished we’d started doing it earlier on as it was clear that frequently using these sessions would have an enormous impact on our overall fitness for events like Tough Mudder. Still, just finishing the class gave us some much-needed confidence.

You can book classes directly from the website or follow on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

See how we did at the event here.



Luis Suarez talks English football and the toughest PL defenders

He's a lover, not a biter

19 Oct 2016

Gary Lineker talks crisps, Rooney and "Sh*t on pitch"

Crisp don Gary Lineker reminisces about the time Diego Maradona nearly fell off a balcony

by Alex Christian
19 Oct 2016

Park Ji-sung now plays for De Montfort University's student side

And can't even prevent them from getting utterly drubbed

by Tristan Cross
14 Oct 2016

Watch San Marino players celebrate first WCQ away goal in 15 years

Ecstasy in Oslo

by Dave Fawbert
12 Oct 2016

The first-ever green card has been awarded in a football match

But how do you get one?

by Dave Fawbert
10 Oct 2016

Football's wonderkids that never made it

The prodigal youngsters that left us boy wondering

by Tristan Cross
05 Oct 2016

Celtic’s 13 year old wonderkid is already better than you'll ever be

Karamoko Dembele made his debut for the U20s last night

04 Oct 2016

The new FIFA president wants to ruin the World Cup

He might have just f*cked up massively

by David Cornish
04 Oct 2016

Sam Allardyce was foolish but he shouldn’t have been sacked

The England mess leaves more questions than answers

by Dave Fawbert
28 Sep 2016

England manager Sam Allardyce leaves after one game in charge

Farewell, Big Sam, we hardly knew ye

27 Sep 2016