#BeYourPersonalBest Challenge [Part 1]

Just last week, I was contacted by Virgin Active to see if I would take part in their #beyourpersonalbest campaign. The idea is to highlight the facilities they have and the personalised support and training they have available at their fitness clubs and put it to the test. My challenge was an indoor triathalon – 2.5km run, 10k Bike ride and a 400m swim.

The idea couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I had already felt my enthusiasm for the British Military Fitness classes that I usually attend waning, as the nights drew in and more significantly the rain continued to fall. Although I started the classes in January and went through bitter frosts in the dark, somehow it only got easier as the weather improved. In reverse it’s not as appealing. Cold I can manage, wet I don’t love. So with my holiday at the end of the month (and bikini) in mind I decided to take them up on their offer, and to see if I could improve my fitness. I know many of you will be facing the same challenges I am right now so thought by sharing some of my activities it might help you guys stay motivated as the long dark nights approach, when the urge to get off the sofa and away from the ice cream tub hits an all time low.

I headed down to my local Virgin Active club last week for my induction with Terry and stated my intentions, so we started off on the machines with a half duathalon to measure my success against at the end of the training period. With Terry spurring me on, I managed 1.25k in 7.08minutes and did 5km on the bike in 9.08. The time I did for the run wasn’t spectacular for me but an improvement on the first fitness test I did at BMF earlier in the year so I’m hoping to shave a bit off that. The bike though? That was hard! I hate cycling and I haven’t dipped my toe into a pool (aside from the holiday variety,) in over a year, so that’s going to be a shock.

It can only be a good thing though right? One of my reasons for taking them up on the challenge was having a specific measurable way of recording my progress but I also wanted to mix up my exercise routine a bit and improve my overall tone. BMF is great but I certainly haven’t lost any weight doing it and whilst I feel a lot more ‘solid’ all over and strong, I’d like to be a leaner more feminine version of that fitness level. I’m a firm believer that shocking your body by trying new things is a great way of doing that. As a result of my request, after tackling some training techniques to improve my fitness, like gradient training on the treadmill, we headed over to the mats for some resistance work.

I tried the Vipr technique, kettle bells and resistance bands and really rated the Vipr technique – it’s unbelievable how many muscles you can feel working and I think it would produce quite a difference if done regularly.

On that note, I’ll keep you posted. Each week I’ll be trying to get you guys involved a little bit so today I’d like to hear what your current exercise regime is, have you winter proofed it and if you want to take the challenge with me, how about doing a preliminary time like the one I recorded above and testing yourself again at the end of the month with me?


Disclaimer: Rebecca has been provided with Virgin Active membership whilst completing the challenge but all subsequent posts are an honest appraisal of the service provided and the benefits she gained.

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7 thoughts on “#BeYourPersonalBest Challenge [Part 1]

  1. I have just moved to the absolute middle of nowhere, where the nearest gym is a half an hour drive away- so it’s lucky that I’m pretty self motivated for exercise! I like to walk in the morning or evening, and as it’s pretty hilly here that can be hard work. I tend to do at least 45 minutes of circuit training 3-4 days a week- after 2 years of gym going I know what exercises I need to do- squats, lunges, presses, upright rows, bicep curls etc- so I just get on with them. Also, and I think this is a massively helpful thing… I have an exercise bike that I sit on while I watch TV- you can seriously destroy calories with this method.

    The best sports activity I do is play hockey- I can’t praise it enough. I got back into it after a break since my school days, and have found it such great fun and good exercise with lovely ladies. A hockey match burns up to 800 calories apparently, and you don’t even notice until the next day!

  2. I here great stories about Virgin Active but the closest one to me is 30 miles away grrr. I started the 5 x 50 challenge with is 5K for 50 days running,cycling, walking or a fitness dvd/class which finishes on 27th Oct when the clocks change, this has really motivated me. I have siged up for the 10k next year with a possibility of half marathon.
    Motivation is the problem with me, I know what I should be doing just dont have the get up and go. Im looking into buying a second hand running machine when the dark nights draw in or I will be a couch potato!
    Good luck Rebecca and I look forward to reading your progress x

  3. I do muay thai boxing for 2 hours twice a week and love it! It’s a serious killer the next day, but I love the mix of fitness training (lots of burpees, squats and the dreaded plank!) with the power aspect of the muay thai moves. Not only can I feel muscles that I didn’t know I had hurting, I love that I’m becoming stronger and more confident. The fact we only have 12 girls and 60 guys is also pretty funny – trying to roundhouse kick a 6’4 guy when I’m only 5’3 is pretty challenging!

    I’m trying to keep up my fitness outside classes by running 5k through the park on other days – but it’s freezing and so dark! I’ve bought a fluoro running jacket, but I think my next purchase will be a hat! x

  4. I am in the middle of exercise no-mans land. I love running, but after a break due to injury I am really struggling to get back into it. The snooze button is my enemy!

    I am not a big gym fan, mainly because in London they are so extortionately priced that I resent paying almost £100 per month and having to do the exercise too :o)

    I used to go kickboxing 2-3 times a week, but a change in jobs meant that I couldn’t get to the scheduled classes.

    I am now trying to get myself into a routine, rather than giving up this early before Christmas. I just need to stop snoozing and lace up…….easier said than done. Any recommendations would be most welcome.

  5. I’ve just run a half marathon, 3 days ago now, which was my exercise motivation for the spring/summer. I need a new aim now!

    I used to work for Virgin Active but since I’ve left my free membership has lapsed and I can’t afford to go at the moment. I do see a personal trainer privately once a week, and aside from that I’m trying to swim regularly. I might enter a triathlon next year as my next goal to train for. I’m hopeless at motivation without a fixed goal!

    K x

  6. We got really into going running outdoors throughout the summer months and even managed a 10k run. However, due to weather and where we run we have had to go back into the gym. I find it so much harder to run on a treadmill and get bored so quick, therefore I have gone backwards quite a lot. Instead of focusing on distance with running, I now find myself doing a lot of fast speed short distance which I prefer. It really pushes me and although I am sad that I am only doing two to three miles a time I do sweat by the bucket load!! I then follow that with five k on the bike but man it kills my arse!! My time is poor and it takes me 11 mins to do it but I do use it at level 5 which is a fair effort for me. I then do 1000m rowing and finish with some arm weights.

    I realise this may become stale and I will need to shake it up again at some point but for now it still really challenges me. We go about 3 times a week, sometimes 4 sometimes 2 but always work really hard once there.
    I am hoping come spring next year we can start back outside again with new vigour!! I am also on a low fat diet too which is making a difference. Good luck Rebecca!

  7. Having just had baby, I’m now getting back into my training, but its so hard now the nights are getting darker! I’m running the London Marathon (hopefully anyway!) in April, a place I had deferred from this year as I would have been 7 months pregnant, so I really do have to get on it.

    I’ve started running using the Marathon Coach app and Nike+ iPod and surprisingly I’m doing pretty well. I managed just over 5k in 30 mins on Saturday – was actually quite shocked at how much ground I covered! Not bad from a standing start really having recently given birth. Time will tell!

    I’m going to the gym too twice a week when Hubbie and Grandma can look after Wee-Man, but it’s not a Virgin Active unfortunately. I was a member when I was at Uni in Leeds, but my life down South now means I’m not near one both at work (near Tower Bridge) and home (Surrey), so it didn’t make financial sense to join a place I can’t use in the week and at a weekend. I’m happy to try the challenge with you though, even though it will be at a Fitness First 🙂

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