ON Challenge: Complete

After the fierce competition of the first Optimum Nutrition Challenge earlier in 2015, the athletes went away to prepare for the second instalment in October. With £1,200 worth of Optimum Nutrition products up for grabs, as well as gym pride, the standard was going to be high.

This event had three challenges, all with strict form requirements. The first was a bodyweight challenge including pull-ups and box jumps. The second was a test of strength favouring the big guys. Then the ten athletes with the best times in these two challenges would go on to the final event, a brutal, energy-sucking race starting on the rower. The man with the best time here would take home the title of the UK’s fittest amateur athlete.

Right from the start it was clear Tom Eastham and James Potter, two of the standout competitors from the first event, had come prepared. The pair competed opposite each other on both challenges, with Eastham edging the first by 6sec and the second by just 1sec. The stage was set for the final challenge and the pressure was almost palpable.

There was no sign of flagging in the second stage, thanks in part to the supplements provided by Optimum Nutrition on the day. Gold Standard 100% Whey and Amino Energy helped the competitors to keep going, while the Gold Standard Whey also allowed them to recover from their exertions.

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Heating up

Optimum Nutrition athlete and physique model, Tim Chase, was impressed with the standard. “On paper the challenges look quite easy but on those later rounds you see how tough it is,” he says. “It may sound counter-intuitive but it’s about taking your time. Some guys are struggling and getting no-reps, so they’re having to repeat moves and work harder.”

But even the leaders were not immune – Potter missed out on winning the second challenge because some of his reps didn’t meet the standards. “Those no-reps were stupid of me,” he said. “I knew going into the third stage I had to make sure I didn’t give away valuable seconds if I wanted to win.”

Potter’s renewed focus made the final challenge incredibly tense. He pulled ahead on the row but, with Eastham seconds behind him throughout, he had to keep his form perfect. It seemed Potter had learned from the earlier mistakes as he hung on to lead till the end, winning the final challenge with a time of 4min 12sec.

Although initially disappointed with second place, Eastham decided to look at the positives. “I couldn’t have gone faster in that final challenge… So it just gives me something to work on for next time.”

But it wasn’t just the people getting the top times that made the day a success. Several athletes enjoyed friendly rivalries or just celebrated beating their own personal best times. “I was nervous before the event,” says competitor Andy Knight. “But the atmosphere was so friendly and encouraging that I totally forgot my nerves once I arrived. Best of all I knocked over a minute off my best time in the first event! I’m definitely coming back for the next one.” 

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The events

How would you have done?

Event 1
 Reps 3
Burpee Reps 6
Box jump Reps 9

Repeat 5 times

Event 2
 80kg, reps 10
Push press 40kg, reps 10

Repeat 3 times 

Event 3
 50 calories
Kettlebell swing 20kg, reps 40
Goblet squat 20kg, reps 30
Press-up Reps 20
Kettlebell thruster 2x16kg, reps 10

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Winning times

1  James Potter         4min 12sec
2 Tom Eastham         4min 24sec
3 Gregg McLeod        4min 38sec
4 Nick Seyho            5min 13sec
5 Lewis Richardson    5min 30sec
6 Philip Clements      5min 40sec
7 Chris Hutchinson    6min 17sec
8 Daniel Cooney       6min 35sec
9 Daniel Coburn       7min 0sec
10 Mark Stringer      7min 1sec

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Watch action from the challenge here – and see more of what happened on the day using #onchallenge

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Coach Staff

Coach is a health and fitness title. This byline is used for posting sponsored content, book extracts and the like. It is also used as a placeholder for articles published a long time ago when the original author is unclear. You can find out more about this publication and find the contact details of the editorial team on the About Us page.