Reading Arthur and Dylan’s posts below makes me realize how the guys are really getting into this Staff Challenge. Not saying it’s getting competitive, just that – you know – everyone is pretty focused.

I took a break to rest my back after going to the chiropractor last Friday. I used a work trip to Joburg earlier this week as a time-out and it really worked. I can still feel some lower-back twinges, but went back to Roark this morning and took it a little easy on the squats, making sure my form was correct. Took some weight of and concentrated on clenching my core muscles and it worked a charm. Ripped through the strength session.

Perhaps at this point, I should explain the workout plan at Roark. Owner and trainer James White uses his background in Crossfit as a basis for our daily routines which start with stretching and a warm up after which we go into a strength session. As we arrive every morning we look at the board to see what “day” we’re on. You follow a day 1 to day 5 plan, no matter if you miss a day. That way, we’re hitting each muscle group and balancing our workouts. Typically, each strength session is made up of two complementary exercises. Today’s menu was made up of squats and presses. We do 3 sets of five 5 reps of each, spending time on our form with just two of us on day 1, it allows James to personally supervise us and watch our form – hugely important, as I’ve come to realize.

After the strength moves, we do “The Daily”, also cryptically written on the board. I think our man Jimmy does it on purpose to keep us in suspense. He hits us with words like “AMRAP” and deceptive names like “The Rockefeller”. We’re wising up though… these Dailies are a bitch: hard, intense workouts that take between 12 and 16 minutes with little rest in between. By the way, AMRAP is sneaky trainer-speak for “as many reps as possible”. Ja, I see what you’re doing there.

Anyway, it’s quickly becoming addictive. I’m finding the intense workouts hugely rewarding. My mood has improved, and dare I say it my favourite jeans are feeling a little looser. Could it be?!

So today’s workout was called “The Fran”. Sounds pretty harmless. On the board all I saw was “21:15:9”. Okay, so I knew it wasn’t our friend AMRAP, but still, James had a glint in his eye. Turns out it’s just two exercises: thrusters and pull-ups – 21 of each, then 15, then 9. We had a time limit of 15 minutes and I managed to do it with rests in between in just over 11 minutes. I felt pretty good until I watched the world record for the Fran. There’s always someone better – check out my namesake killing it: