So that’s my first week of RIPT done, dusted and dutifully… erm… dispatched. Here’s what I’ve learned.

 

1. Work deadlines are evil and will kill you.
This week was both the first week of the #MHTeamFit Staff Challenge, and the production deadline of the March 2015 edition of Men’s Health South Africa. (If you like movies, you’ll love this one. We’re pretty proud of it.) Now, deadline week can be a bit rough at the best of times. Now factor in most of the staff starting out with almost-daily, high-intensity training sessions, and you’ll have some kind of idea of the storm that blew in this week.
Because, you see, most of the crew here are calm, collected professionals with Calvinist work ethics and a true believe that teamwork does, indeed, make the dream work. But one or two people her are complete [ TEXT DELETED BY HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT ] who can [ TEXT DELETED BY HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT ] as far as I’m concerned. And it doesn’t help when they come with their last-minute [ Mark, please come see me. – HR Manager ] when you have a Production guy who’s getting pounded at Boxing; an Online guy who’s getting klapped into shape at Ninja School; a Layout Artist who’s taking a beating at Fight Club; and a full team who are tired and sore.
It’s fair to say that the mood in the office was a bit strained at one point this week. Next time we do something like this, it might be a good idea to start it in the middle of our production cycle. Similarly, if you’re considering starting up a fitness challenge of your own, try to avoid doing it at the same time as everybody else in your office.


2. RIPT will keep your body guessing
I’m really enjoying the training. A RIPT membership entitles you to three classes a week  (due to Deadline – see above – I only managed two this week), and so far I’ve done one evening class and one morning class. The format is pretty standard, but the exercises you do are varied. It’s a 45- to 60-minute class, which runs to the following structure:
> Warm up
> Lifting Prep
> Circuit-Based Training Session
> Cool down
If that sounds a bit like CrossFit, that’s probably no accident. The main training session is a lot like a WOD – as evidenced by the board that greeted us at the start of this morning’s class.

wod   board

3. Form is temporary… but lower-back pain is permanent
I struggled in this morning’s class with my Power Cleans. I wasn’t sticking my butt out far enough, and I was putting all the pressure on my knees and lower back. Thank goodness there was a qualified trainer there who could set me straight. If I’d been doing this on my ace at my local Globo Gym, I’d have made no real gains, and probably done myself some serious damage.

 

4. Smoking is not the best idea you’ll ever have
At Tuesday evening’s class I partnered up with a smoker – and he was taking some serious strain. You could see he had the strength, and he definitely had the motivation… but between the skipping and the stair climbs, he was completed puffed – and that was just the warm-up. It’s not the first time I’ve met a smoker who’s found that exercise – and the discomfort they feel during it – is all the motivation they need to quit smoking.

 

5. γνῶθι σεαυτόν
That’s Greek (“Gnothi Seafton”), and I threw it in there to see if you were still reading. It means “Know Thyself”, and it’s seriously good advice for life – and for training. I’ve found that I’m a bit of a lazy fella when it comes to exercising. While other people in my RIPT classes have been pushing themselves, sweating hard and hitting 90% to 100% of their max, I tend to leave something in the tank. During my pre-#MHTeamFit testing, I knew I could benched over 100kg. But I hit about 80, then tapped out.
Same with push-ups: I don’t enjoy them, and tend to do about a dozen before flopping onto my tummy and giving up. Alone in a gym, that’s not great – and honestly, I’m just robbing myself of real results.
Fortunately – or unfortunately, if you’re me – in a small class environment you have other people working with you and coaches keeping you honest. In that regard at least, RIPT is exactly what I need.