FitBrit is back!

(Image credit: unknown)

With summer behind us, are you looking for a new fitness challenge to give your training some renewed focus to end the year fitter and stronger than ever? If so, you need to sign up for FitBrit 2017, the UK’s biggest fitness challenge, created by Men’s Fitness and Women’s Fitness in association with Fitness First and DW Sports gyms.

What is FitBrit?

It’s the ultimate test of speed, strength and stamina, requiring you to perform eight different exercises back to back in the fastest time possible at a Fitness First or DW Sports gym.

A member of gym staff will record your time and upload it to the leaderboard so you can see how you measure up against other athletes around the UK. The amateur athletes with the best times will be invited to the FitBrit grand final in London later in the year.

Where can I enter FitBrit 2017?

Simply go to your local Fitness First or DW Sports gym and take the challenge. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a member: you can get a free three-day pass so you can enjoy all the facilities as well as trying to set a new FitBrit PB! Share your results on social media with the hashtags #FitBrit and #Risetothechallenge.

What are the categories?

The Open category is open to everyone, giving you the chance to compete against the fittest in the country. The Masters event is for people aged 40 or over on or before the final date for submitting your time. There’s also a Team category and while the individual categories require you to complete all the events in order, Team requires pairs of participants to alternate between exercises.

What are the nine events?

Here’s the full FitBrit 2017 challenge:

  1. 800m run (0% treadmill incline)
  2. 20 barbell front squats (30kg men/20kg women)
  3. Alternating one-arm med ball press-ups (20 men/10 women)
  4. 20 alternating dumbbell snatches (16kg men/ 10kg women)
  5. 1.5km bike (L14 men/L10 women)
  6. 30 kettlebell swings (24kg men/16kg women)
  7. 20 chest-to-floor burpees with lateral deck jump
  8. 30 barbell push presses (25kg men/15kg women)
  9. 400m row (drag factor 130-140)

How can I set a fast time?

To train smarter for the 2017 FitBrit Challenge and set a lightning-quick time follow these tips from Paul Cheesman, health and fitness manager of Fitness First Ilford

Event 1
: 800m run

“To improve this, work on four to six rounds of 200m sprints with minimal rest,” says Cheesman. “Getting the heart, lungs and legs used to working at a faster pace is the key to improving your time here. As you progress, increase to rounds of 400m sprints and then 600m sprints.”

Event 2:
 Front squat

“Foam roll your triceps and forearms to give you the flexibility to hold the bar in rack or clean position. When getting into front squat position shrug your shoulders forwards to give the bar a better place to rest. If you can’t hold the bar in this position hold it in place across the front of your shoulders with crossed arms.”

Event 3:
 Med ball press-up

“Keep your core tight! Letting your hips drop will make this move harder. To help keep a tight core include dynamic planks in your training. Working from a plank position resting on your elbows, lift one hand at a time to push up and lower. Also work on explosive press-ups (hands leaving the floor) to improve speed.”

Event 4
: Dumbbell snatch

“Struggling to control the weight above your head? Try working on a dumbbell swing all the way above the head. Work with three sets of ten reps with each arm until you can perform the snatch.”

Event 5: 
1.5km bike

“Keep your RPM high! Like the sprint training for the run, work hard on a high RPM for 20 to 30 seconds then ease off the pace for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat until you’ve completed 1.5km. Gradually increase the time of your intense efforts while reducing the time of your recovery efforts.”

Event 6: 
Kettlebell swing

“Can’t do 30 swings in a row? Build up to multiple sets of swings with the target weight, going above and beyond the total reps needed for the event. That way 30 will seem easy in comparison when you’re doing the swings and trying to set a fast time. Try four sets of ten reps, three sets of 15 or two sets of 20.”

Event 7: 
Burpee box jump

“As your hands land and feet jump back, let your hips come down to the floor as you lower your chest. Then pop back up onto your feet and allow the momentum to take you straight into your lateral jump. Work on your jumps so you can clear the deck easily – try four sets of five with a few seconds’ rest between sets.”

Event 8:
 Push press

“Add wall ball shots to your training to improve your push press technique. Stand facing a wall and hold a medicine ball at chest height. Perform a squat and then stand up, explosively throwing the ball as high up the wall as you can. Catch it and go straight into another rep. Do as many as you can in a row.”

Event 9: 
400m row

“Work on generating more power with the pull. Perform ten explosive strong pulls and five easier pulls. Continue this for the full distance. To progress, decrease the easier reps each session. Remember that length and strength is the key to a fast finish: shorter pulls take longer and require more energy.”

Joe Warner
Former editor of Men’s Fitness UK

Joe Warner is a highly experienced journalist and editor who began working in fitness media in 2008. He has featured on the cover of Men’s Fitness UK twice and has co-authored Amazon best-sellers including 12-Week Body Plan. He was the editor of Men’s Fitness UK magazine between 2016 and 2019, when that title shared a website with Coach.