Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder preparation

Tough Mudder fun

So you think you are ready for the tough mudder experience do you? Well great. The first part about entering this great event is the decision to give it a try and work towards completing the challenging 20klm long course in tackling approximately 20 or so obstacles. It’s your decision.

At Claudefit we think the TM is a great way to work towards your all over fitness , weigh loss and is a great motivator once you and your team have put the money down and all have a clear focus on what’s coming up. It’s amazing how much ownership you take once you put a cost to it.

Out team here at Claude fit has now participated in 3 of these events and we are proud of the fact that in the second and third one we have always included newbie’s who have managed to complete it unscathed. No major injuries and a lot of fun had. I myself mostly enjoy the satisfied look of all my clients when they cross the finish line looking tired, covered in mud, soggy socks and a great individual story to tell.

So how do you prepare for Tough Mudder?

It’s pretty clear that in order to complete the TM you will need to have a solid running base that will get the job done. Now before you think that you can’t run 20klm think about the fact that you will be running from obstacle to obstacle and then stop (rest) negotiate the obstacle, wait for you team members and continue to run. As this is NOT a race the pace generally is kept by the slowest member of the group. TM encourages team work so don’t think that this is a fun run style set up where you are continuously running.

What you do need IMO is a solid minimum base of around 7-10 klm’s that will get the job done. Prior to the first TM I myself recorded my longest continual run at 11.5 klm. This was enough for me to get by. Now that I’m a regular runner the TM doesn’t really pose that much of a concern with distance. As the stop start nature of the event is great for recovery. So get running.

The obstacles are reasonable for anyone with an average base of fitness. Unlike other event you do not have to do all of them if you are intimidated or simply think they are out of your capabilities. It’s all right, just rest while the others in your team give it a go, then re-group and continue onto the next one. This is what TM is all about – Teamwork.

Without going over the entire obstacle that you will encounter (TM changes a few anyway) let’s go over the basic strength that you need to successfully cover the course.

  • You need to be able to pull your bodyweight up – whether it be climbing over the 3meter wall or getting over the rows of mud moulds, you need the strength and flexibility to get that leg over in making it through/over.
  • The ability to trudge through ankle deep mud for over 500 metres is also essential. Fit enough to do it and well balanced. Expect to fall on your butt and get covered in mud. Guaranteed.
  • A decent center of gravity is required and most of the obstacles require you to have good balance as part of the challenge. For example the balance beams are great. TM mudder also nails old tyres to logs that you have to walk around. Expect to get wet if you fall.
  • Have a decent sprint in your armoury. In order to get up to the top of Everest you need to have a bit of get up and go and sprint full on towards the ramp. (Think skateboard ¼ pipe here) Many don’t quite make it even when a helping hand is waiting to meet you half way. This one was frustration to the ladies in out group.  A few sprints in your training will certainly help out.
  • Hanging strength. The monkey bars are a bit of a novelty during TM. It’s one of the more well know obstacles where the set up allows for many rows of bars to keep everyone moving along. Basic holding strength and knowing how to move come in handy. At Claudefit the pull up is a as staple here so the holding strength should pose no problem. However with all things related to TM, you will have tired and slippery hands by the time you get to this obstacle. In the past we cop it around the 18klm mark.

The event is quite achievable for most as it attracts people of all shapes and sizes and is a well run safe event. It’s really suited t all types. You only need to want to give it a go.

One of my clients didn’t quite get by all the obstacles , however was thrilled that his body was able to at least take part and surprise himself with what he did. That what is t all about

Participating, challenging you and having a hell of a time.

See you in the mud.


Go here for my Obstacle course Page

My Office Glutes

Weak and imbalanced glutes and the troubles they can cause is not something that had ever crossed my mind over my journey to fitness.  I’ve had trouble with my knees as I played basketball for 10 years and had my right anterior cruciate ligament reconstructed and thought that would be an ongoing issue but I found it wasn’t.  Sitting at a desk for 6-7 hours a day is not a natural position for the body to be in. I have been doing this for 15 years.  The butt muscles (Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medias and Gluteus Minimus), otherwise known as the glutes, will be stretched when sitting down, and the hip flexors will be constantly shortened.  This is not a natural state for the body to be in and over time this is going to cause some damage when exercising.   The gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle in our whole body, if it’s not firing this is going to lead to a whole lot of problems.

When I started getting fit I wanted a new passion like I had for basketball. I gave that up thinking my knees couldn’t cope and I didn’t want to go through another ACL reconstruction. So I began running, yep that seems like a good idea!  No twisting and turning forward running movement, knees will be fine I’d done the rehab they felt strong.  So running it was, and the first issue that popped up was slight soreness in my hips after 20 mins or so.  Just felt like aches from running they’ll be fine I thought.

Wasn’t till a few months of this pain getting worse and worse and the repetitive stress on the legs and hips of running that eventually I felt something pop and that was it I could hardly walk!  Thinking this was it I’ve got a bad hip now. Great!

I visited my GP thinking I need to get this fixed, I had no idea what it was, why it was happening or what I could do to fix it!   Not the smartest doctor I don’t think, just sent me for a Ultrasound, he thinks I’ve got tendonitis,  results came back.  Nothing was found, no bursitis of the hip either.  Gave me a Cortisone shot and sent me on my way!

Of course this relieved the pain that was what he gave it to me for.   But it didn’t fix the problem and unbeknownst to me that I was actually still injured.  I got back out running again (relatively pain free) and even completed a Tough Mudder and Eureka Tower stair climb during this time.

Fast forward three months and my hip muscles were a ticking time bomb and although I was having pain running again now, I just kept going. And thought well this is what I have to put up with when I jog. I competed in a Triathlon, and after my swim and cycle I began my run, which was only 2kms, (I had stopped running anything longer) and 500m from home I felt that pop again in the right hip, POW! Felt like it ripped something also, I struggled to the finish line in a lot of pain.  S**T this was really bad. Sad face Nikki.

Heading back to my GP I told him straight up,  give me and MRI I need to know exactly what this is, cortisone shot was a temporary relief to a problem that was chronic, and  I need to take the time and rehabilitate this properly.

Got my results, told him I had another Tough Mudder coming up in a month, he said come back for a cortisone shot if you need it… Um… NO THANKS!

I saw an Osteopath for this also, who is a runner himself.  I had torn a muscle called the Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL) in my right hip.  It’s a tiny little muscle that joins at the hip to the knee, I’d read about it extremely briefly through my studies.  He told me this is a good injury and not to worry. He said it could have been the actual hip bone and I could never run again!  Ahh relief!

What caused this muscle to tear was what I wanted to know.  He knows I work in an office,  I’ve sat in this position at a desk for 15 years!   My glutes, to put it a simple way, just stopped working when I ran.  And this little TFL muscle was doing far too much work than it was designed for.  So it tore, was bound to happen with all the running I was doing.

Ok so problem is diagnosed, what now!?  My osteo said I have to start strengthening and stretching my glutes to build them up to the powerhouse they should be while I’m running, they should be the power muscle forcing my pelvis through each stride.  He said just to get out there jogging again but shorter times and regularly stretching after, heat bag at nights and treatment with him. And to stick to this like glue!

It’s a long process but in the long run I literally will be able to do a long run, pain free!   That’s the goal.  I gave up my dream of a third Tough Mudder for now and put my smart cap on, you’re a trainer now Nik, what would you tell a client to do?

Some basic exercises to do for activating the glutes are bridges and lunges,  it will fire them up and the stronger they are the more efficient all your workouts will become, and if you’re sitting all day, get up and go for a walk at lunchtime!

Moral of the story?  Well I think there’s two, there’s no easy fixes for injuries, and they need to be taken care of correctly and precisely if you don’t want them to happen again.   And your butt, if you sit on it all day it’s going to need some extra special attention so it can work it’s correct way and give you the best possible performance.

Guest blog from: NikFitness Owner : Nikki Wallace

That’s a wrap – Tough Mudder report

Well Tough Mudder now has been conquered with all team members managing to make it through without any major mishaps and achieving a major goal that a few months ago was in their opinion something that “others did”. Now sitting comfortably ,dry, exhausted, a little sore, nursing some minor scratches, I’m finally taking the time out and reflecting on a challenging yet rewarding day out in the mud.

It started pre dawn with the team bus departing from Claudefit right on time for the hour and a half drive to Phillip Island. As you would expect the feeling initially as quite nerve racking for the newbie’s along with the more experienced ones still sharing in the anticipation on what was to come. Sometimes having “been there done that” is not a good thing as you know what you are about to partake in again and with Tough Mudder it’s a fair chance that you would be thinking about the old obstacles that previously challenged you and the scary new ones that have yet to be experienced. Once we got there and collected our event bibs. It wasn’t long before we were front and centre ready to roll out on the next wave. This is where the MC pumps you up during the countdown – 3,2,1 Boom were off.

The harders part again during Tough Mudder was the Running component, lots of it!  After all it is a running event along with the obstacles that are frightening and challenging for some and a cakewalk for others which if you are not aware are all optional.  You don’t have to do them. It’s alright to give it a miss and allow those who can give it a try. After all we all have our strength and weaknesses as I clearly demonstrated by not even reaching an obstacle called the leap of faith. And landed in water! This waiting time is also an opportunity to give the legs a rest from the running get your breath back and be ready to march on running toward the next obstacle,

The team covered the terrain at a reasonable pace which meant we didn’t leave anyone behind. After all that is what we do. With the support of previous Tough Mudder participants like Kaan – my running buddy, Katie (Pocket rocket) and Nikki from Nikfitness who unfortunately was injured became the official team photographer. My role as a Team leader on the day was pretty straight forward. Ensure that all participants stayed together, keep the individuals within their abilities and approach it with a proactive managing style not by yelling down my clients, being aware of what was required within the group dynamics and not placing then in any situation for potential injuries to occur. Adrenalin and fatigue don’t mix.We play it safe at Claudefit.

Overall the team did an exceptional job in keeping an eye out for each other while individually tackling the obstacles and helping each other out when the need arose. I mean how do you scale a 12 foot wall alone without getting a boost? How do you manage to jump off a 5+ meter ledge into the water? (Think Momba birdman rally here for those who can remember) How would you get up on top of Everest after running 19klms? (giant ramp) without a helping hand waiting for you on top? Well you have a team that supports you that’s how. The new members consisted of individual just like you. Take for example Kimberley and Justin who each have sought my services as a trainer one with one on one Personal Training and the other joining our ladies only group training. Both have their own goal and continually put in the time and effort to make the changes required. My wife who prefers to do Mini triathlons, Caroline that clearly turned up prepared, Jackie who can knock off a run at the drop of a hat, and Shai who in the past “only lifts heavy stuff for cardio” who decided to give Tough mudder a crack and on the day did what was required to rough it out and put up with me.

Once at the finish line it was all about the celebrations, photos, hugs, handshakes and thanking your new mates who witnessed your great achievement in getting the job done.

Well done to all the new Mudder’s support crew and repeat offenders.

Next stop Pizza shop!

Tough Mudder- It’s all about the headband

Given the recent interest in all things obstacle racing by the general public and the abundance of current choices promoting these events I thought it might be good to educate some on what these things are all about.

So here’s the deal with our event- tough mudder. You have to like to run (20klm) on dirt, mud, gravel, pavement and trotting along paddocks. You have to like getting mud everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. If you are the type of person that likes to jump of moderate heights into a dam, slide down a makeshift water slide, get “mildly”electrocuted, trounce over mud, enjoy and ice bath, swim in cold water and even crawl underground for a few dark metres you should be ok and will survive! Oh did I mention you have to run.

At the end of the line In Tough mudders case , we are welcomed with a complimentary beer (VB) which to me, I wouldn’t even wash my old mans carburettor with , however not to be too anti social and really wanting to drink anything that did not have mud in it turns out to  quite a treat. The reality is I’m just a beer snob!  On completion all you get for your effort is a silly once size fits all orange head band along with a finishers T-shirt. You then basically look like everybody else around. Filthy, exhausted, jubilant, proud, somewhat energised, ready to tackle the world knowing you have accepted the challenge and along the way conquered some fears! All while proudly showing off your new kit! I really treasure my “silly little headband” It is after all my badge of honour.

“Before anything else preparation is the key to success” – A .G. Bell

Our preparation began by getting our general physical preparation (GPP) up to safely ensure we would all have a better chance of getting out it alive! (joke here) Let me put it this way Lack of preparation will show up on the day. period. Like any endeavour this will ring true. The better the preparation the better you will be both mentally and physically ready to not only run the 20klms plus 18 obstacles, but to actually complete the event and complete it well. That is after all our plan.

Our team at will be tackling this event for the third time and having been through the initial “first scary one” we know what lies ahead, what it takes and most importantly how to prepared for it. We now have a team of around 10 plus our support crew/cheers squad tagging along for the ride. For the tough mudder crew in addition to their own particular Personal/group training requirements our basic programming over time has been lots of bodyweight movements, regular running, all the basic compound lifts ( pulls, press, push and squat) while utilising both barbells and Kettlebells for variety.  A solid serving of hard style kettlebell swings was always a regular treat. The Cardio component in particular with the ladies group has been complimented with Boxing specific training (a truly full body workout) overall the group is well prepared and physically ready to tackle the coming challenges.

With a basic preparation of running along with a solid strength base anyone should be able to complete the course without much trouble. A properly followed program not only readies you for the event but allows you to recover quicker and reduce the risk of injuries. However if you are one of many and turn up unprepared with only a bare minimum of preparation, (and believe me I’ve seen plenty examples out there) You will somehow find a way through and eventually make it but I don’t like your chances of pulling up well for the next couple days following or even worse, get an injury that could have been prevented in the first place by simply taking the time to prepare your body for the an obstacle course. So please be warned.  Our team newbie’s naturally are a little nervous but with all our events they will be taken care of by the more experienced among us during the day  – after all it the way we do it.

We are prepared and we will conquer it ……….Together as a team.

If you don’t turn up you don’t get results.

Hello and welcome to the first publication of my blog on fitness, life, banter , promoting myself silly and whatever happens to jump into my old head. I’ll try not to go astray and do my best to keep to the subject matter. Well ill try at least, ok?

A bit about me. I’m currently 46 year young and sometime behave like a 12 year old, really I do, just ask any of my colleagues and my clients. I keep things simple which allows me to get results and be understood. Why complicate something for the sake of impressing great people who are after results and a solid workout. Not a workshop. My background to my own training goes back to the good old days where I would just turn up and decide on the day what I was going to train.  Most likely chest and arms. Quite simply I wanted to get big, lean and look good for the ladies. In actual fact I was more interested in looking better than my mates for bragging rights as the ladies didn’t give me attention     ( feel free to pity me now) So after approximately 10 year of “ bodybuilding” type training I decided that I needed something else that wasn’t going to break me , actually see my neck again and take me onto my future years and be pain free.

And a little bit of that fitness stuff other people do would probably be ok.

This is where I took up traditional karate (Goju Kai) learned to move , and slowly over the years worked my way up the ranks by simply turning up, listening, training hard and making an effort to learn what was on offer. Basically I was the fellow who was always there chipping away, (over the colder months) not fast, strong or gifted. Just happy to be there, in fact by doing so I got to be respected by my peers and as a consequence was given some extra attention by my new friends which went along like this “we are sparring on Saturday, be there!”. In later years I followed the same process with Boxing at club level. Turned up, got fit, got leaner, and got to learn a little about the sweet science known as boxing. Are you following the pattern here? TURN UP! As a bonus my coach who knew I was a personal trainer invited me to participate in the coaching course and as a result I’m registered with Boxing Australia as a boxing coach. Oh yeah.

It was only when I began my professional career in Personal training that I realised that with a disciplined approach to traditional karate and boxing, what all the years of training did for me. It actually taught me how to be a better person/trainer that now operates as Claudefit. how? By listening, caring and knowing how to help others…..go figure.  And I thought my high kicks and sense of humor were enough.

Fast forward to now and how it affects my Approach on training you?

I simply listen to your needs and ensure that we prepare the body and mind accordingly in order to meet those goals.  Whether you are looking at losing weight, getting stronger, fitter or becoming more resilient for your chosen sport. I see myself as only a trainer that gets the job done.

Look forward in catching up with you soon. Our group is getting ready to tackle the future fun runs along with tough mudder and Spartan race. Let me know if you are keen.

One more thing before I go. Commit to your fitness program and TURN UP.

Book A Session Today!