Whilst you’d be forgiven for thinking our Turf Games winning team was made up of PT’s and instructors, three out of five of them have careers outside of fitness, proving that our members should never be underestimated. Whilst Kendall and team captain Aaron can be found running your favourite Gymbox classes, Eleanor is currently studying at the University or Law, Phedias is studying for his PHD in naval architecture, and Mark co-runs MobFit, a health and fitness consultancy.
I caught up with the team to find out more about the games, and what gave them the edge needed to take home the crown.
First things first, how did the team come together? And what made you all decide to take part?
Aaron: We had qualifiers for the team a couple of weeks before the games. Gymbox were the only gym to have qualifiers! We had loads of people come down one Sunday to Elephant and Castle and ran through loads of workouts. It destroyed people! But that put together the teams. The qualifiers had the best of Gymbox members, PT’s and training instructors.
What made you, as members, want to take part?
Eleanor: I’m friends with Aaron and Kendall, and Aaron said to come along and do it. I thought it would be good fun, so I did!
Mark: I’d actually been training for a team Crossfit competition, but about a week before the event two of my team had to pull out so I never got to compete! Then a friend mentioned Gymbox were holding trials for the Turf Games, so I jumped at the chance.
Phedias: Aaron paid me [laughs]….no, I had been away from competitions for a while so I wanted to start slow and build back up. I was talking with these guys and they convinced me to join them. I compete in cross-fit mainly, and this was more functional training - it ended up being quite intense! It was fun.
Kendall and Aaron, tell me about your roles at Gymbox and why you decided to take part in the games.
Kendall: At Gymbox I teach a lot of Functional and Sweat Drench classes, and the occasional Look Better Naked class. I decided to take part in the games because I’d never done anything like it before! I wanted to try out something different.
Aaron: I teach mainly Functional classes, and I’m also a PT at Westfield London and Victoria. Before the games, Firas [who designed the Gymbox arena] said to me and Gareth “you guys are team captains”. We ended up taking it pretty seriously! Personally, I prefer a team or a partner type style workout because it’s a little more competitive. It’s been quite fun to lead the team.
What are all of your strengths?
Phedias: For me, barbells!
Eleanor: I’d say Kendall and I are quite strong.
Kendall: …are we?!
Eleanor: Yes we are!
Kendall: We did beat a record in the games…
What was the record?!
Eleanor: It was number of tire flips in a set time.
Kendall: We did 50 in 5 minutes.
Phedias: Our strengths were how we chose our strategy for each arena. And we had time between arenas so we used that time to come together.
Aaron: We used that time to not get sunburnt, analyse the arenas, eat…
What do you think was the hardest part of the games?
Kendall: For me, the hardest part was the sled at the KXU arena! The astro turf was like rubber. You had to either keep the sled moving the whole time or sprint with heavy d-balls, and I was like “I can’t sprint and hold a d-ball”, so I asked to be on the sled, and I was on there for 5 minutes.
I’ve never felt leg failure like that before! It got to the point where I would push and take steps but the sled was hardly moving.
Phedias: I think the hardest part for me…was the burgers! They were supposed to be amazing, but the food was terrible! [laughs]
Aaron: The hardest part for me was the bike and the box jumps. It was in the final - the grit was gone, you had nothing left, but you just had to give it.
Eleanor: The worst bit for me was the burpees, or maybe the versa climber [in the Third Space arena], because we didn’t really know how to use that.
What were your favourite parts of the day?
Mark: My favourite part was the Third Space monkey bar workout, and the final - our team was epic!
Kendall: Mine was the Gymbox semi-final!
Aaron: The Gymbox workout was good because none of the workouts throughout the day were very technical: they were just hard work. The Gymbox workout was a bit more technical. It allowed us to showcase our skills. We all do cross-fit, so we were able to use that to our advantage in the Gymbox arena. The technical elements of the rope climb and the snatches were good because it meant we got to show what we can do. I think we beat the next team by about a minute 20!
Eleanor: We beat all the boy’s teams as well when they did it.
Aaron: I think for most of us that was a really fun one…And obviously, winning was nice!
How was the final, and realizing you’d won?!
Kendall: We knew we’d won when Aaron started sprinting in the last part of the final! He came running back and we were like “yes, we have it!”
Aaron: I was on the floor at the end…the final was about 10-15 minutes long!
Kendall: It was a lot of running around a field with weight! And on paper it sounded really complicated…
Aaron: On paper it was ridiculous! But we broke it down into each person doing each thing.
What do you all think makes a successful team?
Kendall: Communication is key!
Aaron: Knowing each others strengths, and knowing where everyone plays well.
Mark: I think you need a good mix of a relaxed and fun team environment, but also the ability to switch it on when needed. I think we got that just right.
Eleanor: We all get on as well. We all support each other and help each other.
Phedias: The performance of the individual is also important, as that makes up the team. And our girls are strong!
Mark: I honestly think the major difference in our team was our girls, they were not only very fit but super strong, which helped massively. Oh and Phedias, we had Phedias!
What about next year, do you think you’ll try and hold on to the crown?
Aaron: Well we’ve won it once now, we’ve got to go back and win it again.