Thursday, 3 May 2012

Get super fit in just one month

Hi all,

I write this blog (for the 3rd time) wounded by the fact that my 2 previous finished drafts were completely wiped off by something! argh!

So this is gonna be shorter that the original masterpiece i'm afraid...

yes, im upset too :(

But the show must go on...

How do we get super fit in just one month?

Firstly, I want you to ditch all forms of 'cardio' you are currently doing. Thats right, get rid of everything you currently do. Now walk over to the empty/unused/under-appreciated Concept 2 rower that sits majestically in your gym, take a deep breath and prepare to go on a month-long journey that will take your conditioning to the next level.

Couldn't have put it better myself

The 100,000m challenge

The challenge is simple (and brutal). Row 100,000m in 30 days in as little rows as you need at whatever pace. Sounds easy? Its not. It takes (sorry ladies) balls and mental strength.

Ways to achieve it (metres approach)

3300m daily - easy way to keep track. If you miss a day then double to 6600m the next day.

33 x 3000m - this takes around 12-15 minutes and can be done at the beginning and end of regular training.

25 x 4000m - under 20 minutes, 6 times a week

20 x 5000m - should take 20-25 minutes, 5 times a week

Freestyling - i think most of the guys did it this way based on how they felt. My own rows varied from 500m to 11,500m based on mental state and tiredness.

Great parenting in my opinion, get them early

Ways to achieve it (pacing/effort approach)

Single pace - pick a pace (eg. 2:15/500m) and stick with that the entire challenge. Choose a pace that allows you to be moderately comfortable for longer rows.

Mixed pace - again going on feel and energy levels, work as hard as you feel on given days.

Hint: This challenge is distance based, Dont be a hero and blast out  rows at the start as you wont have the energy or will to continue through the month. Averaging 2:10-2:20/500m for males and 10 seconds slower for females is reasonable.

Ways to achieve it (heart rate approach)
Set the appropriate level on the rower and adjust your efforts accordiong to your heart rate. You could be as harsh or as easy as you like with this. I would suggets again that you stick with easy rather than hard to avoid entering a deep, dark hole of exhaustion. Interval style rowing with heart rate between zone 1 (108-124) and zone 2 (125 to 144) is optimal. dipping into zone 3 is great for your calorie burn and improving fitness but my advice would be to use this sparingly.

Great tekkers for a young 'un

I have done this (100k challenge) twice in the past 6 months and it has significantly elevated my fitness levels both times. The first time was pre xmas (2011) along with fellow PT John Pilkington. We both averaged around 2:08/500m and about 30 seperate rows. The second time (march 15-april 15) was part of the World Ergo Challenge under the 5 man virtual team "PTs under the Bar" and after a slow start we came 129th with a total of 417,000m, which was awesome effort considering we all have full-time jobs.

100k challenge team results:

My apologies to the guys below, i have paraphrased what they said after my original blog was deleted (twice!) but have tried to keep their main themes.

Aaron Small - 118,000

"The World Rowing Challenege was up there for me in terms of the most enjoyable team challenge that I have done! The reason for this is it's flexibility. My team mates and I are on different continents but had camaraderie to get us through the tough days! Physically I am leaner now in terms of body fat compared to 30 days ago! I am also stronger and know I have the mental strength to persevere with the toughest of training programs."
Nathan Williams - 100,700

"I would recommend this challenge to anyone who is interested in improving their physical performance and achieveing a new level of conditioning. This is far more than a fitness challenge. It combines physical and mental strength, stamina, character and requires you to dig deep more than a few times to get through. i dont care what level you think you are - 100,000m is a lot of rowing in just 30 days. Its not impossible, far from it... but it will find a lot of people out.
John Pilkington - 100,003

"This is the second time Nathan got me to do this challenge, i must be either crazy or crazy smart! In all honestly the challenge and the team effort was an exciting way to get some real, honest hard work done. The cardiovascular benefits from both challenges have been immense. Mentally, a 2-3000m row is now almost enjoyable! and there are not that many people that look forward to that!"

Rebecca Scott-Martin - 56,000

"I did as much as i could around my other training and running. It was really hard but it give my bes shot. My  stamina a massive lift which has really helped my running and other gym work. I also got a world ranked 5000m time on the concept 2 website which was both a shock and delight as im a relative newbie to the rower. It will stay in my clients' and my own training program from now on".

Justin Bahl - 40,000

"I travelled the whole month so could not get the access i needed to get more rows in. This was still a challenge for me and i got as many 2000s and 1000s around my pt sessions with Nathan. The biggest change was my resting heart which is now around 56 and i think about 5-10 beats down since the last time i checked". 

Final thoughts
Its not rocket science but it really does work. The great thing about this challenge is that its so simple to do. strip down all your cardio work to one piece of equipment and get the metres in. You just cant take short cuts on this one.
Are you up for the challenge? Let me know if you are thinking of doing it.

"Between the borders of pain and suffering, the men are seperated from the boys"


  1. I miss training with you. Hope that doesnt sounds gay! Lol..I love this article. No more marathon running. Rowing machine here i come!

  2. h'ola nath , how you doin ? hope Singapore is treating you alright , read your blog on the rowing challenge felt like taking it up , started the day before did 5034 and 5100 respectively , i am trying to nail it in 20 days but i have to confess that i am taking my time to reach the 5000 everyday , on the first day i did it in 30 mins and yest in 28 mins hoping that towards the end of the challenge i will get better with the time , i am preferring the distance instead of the timing though i am also foam rolling and stretching everyday , best part is that it works my chest,arms,legs,back and core , what else can i ask for and you certainly are a genius

  3. i will give it a try! anyways it seems like the only thing i'll be able to do during ramadan.

  4. I like it! A Challenge, and I am up for it. I will start on Monday. 100,000m!! Awesome.

    David Jacobs from South Africa


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