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Richard Callender puts the Fitness Writers through their Paces

Richard Callender puts the Fitness Writers through their Paces
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Left to right, me, Cheryl, Richard, Caroline, Emma and Sarah.

Anyone who’s anyone will have seen the 1998 film Armageddon, where after discovering that an asteroid the size of Texas is going to impact Earth in less than a month, NASA recruits a misfit team of deep core drillers to save humanity. Sounds pretty epic, right?

And epic is what Richard Callender’s class of the same name is.

While attending the FitPro convention in Loughborough the weekend of the 12th April, me and a few others from the Fitness Writers’ Association decided to give Armageddon a try… here’s how we got on!

What is it?

I’d heard a lot about Armageddon before coming to FitPro, from friends who had attended previous events, and from Richard’s activity on social media, but I’d never actually tried it before. Armageddon is the only official Variable Intensity Interval Training (VIIT) class, and was designed to target speed, strength and stamina but without the limitations of equipment.

The class’ original blend between functional fitness training, a pulsating soundtrack and high levels of fitness instruction and motivation from the Armageddon Trainers is what keeps people coming back again and again. Armageddon has a very loyal following, with people wearing Armageddon tees and hoodies (available at http://www.armageddonfitnessretail.com/armageddon/productgroups/clothing/) as a show of their achievement.

What does Armageddon actually mean?

The name Armageddon originally came from the New Testament, and was where a battle was supposedly fought between the forces of good and evil. Its meaning now is “the last and completely destructive battle”… Oh Em Gee, that’s quite some promise! Now you can see why I was scared!

Before the Class

As myself, Sarah, Emma, Cheryl and Caroline huddled at the side of the hall waiting for the class to begin the nerves were bouncing around.

Caroline Dean (personal trainer at Richard’s Exclusive Training Studio in Richmond) was the only one of us to have participated in an Armageddon class before, so knew what to expect; “Although I’d only done a 30 minute class previously, so I knew a full hour was going to be intense!”

The rest of us were more naïve in the matter…

“To be honest I didn’t really know what to expect from the class. I’d heard a lot about it but didn’t actually know what it entailed. I thought that it was going to be tough and it certainly was!” said Emma Cherry, of Action PR.

Sarah agreed and it seems Emma’s anxiousness was rubbing off “The nerves from Emma were being passed on to me throughout the day.”

Cheryl was the only one of us that didn’t seem too nervous, but she certainly wasn’t taking it lightly, expecting “A rock hard workout!”

During the Class

The class was made up of an enormous circle (filling the entire netball hall!) of different exercises to be performed constantly for a 30 second burst. After which, you moved to the next station, with 10 seconds of rest between each station. We were split into teams of three at each station ready to begin, but before we started the circuit Richard warned us that if we weren’t working hard enough we would be put on the “naughty step” and everyone would have to do extra burpees at the end of the class.

This was obviously a very effective technique as Sarah felt the fear factor: “The whole way through the class I was knackered, but because I was scared Richard would put me on the naughty step I ploughed through and was loving it.”

Cheryl Hersey, Action PR, loved the “great atmosphere and camaraderie in our teams. Although I’m convinced Richard was guessing how long 30 seconds was!”

The interval work also seemed quite popular with Caroline: “The class certainly challenges you. I loved that you were in competition with yourself and quite often you get near the countdown and you have to push yourself for that extra 10 seconds.”

Emma, although enjoying the class admits that upper body strength isn’t her forte: “The upper body stations were most challenging for me, I was exhausted and in pain!”

All the Right Moves

There were a plethora of different body weight exercises on offer throughout the Armageddon class, with a great mix of the higher intensity activities such as burpees and plyometric squats, along with lower intensity core exercises like the plank and windscreen wiper. This is what gives Armageddon its unique VIIT status. Just to prove that there’s always something for everyone in the Armageddon classes, some of the girls’ favourite moves, were others’ dreaded moves…

Cheryl’s favourite move was one that involved jumping forwards in a squat position and then running back to the start to repeat. Sarah Packer, personal trainer and owner of health and fitness blog Fitness Nirvana, on the other hand wasn’t too keen on the power jump; instead favouring the see saw, which involves a burpee followed by a “zombie” (where you lie down flat on your back and get up again). She’s even started to incorporate this into sessions with her own personal training clients “Thanks Richard!”

Not as much of fan of the see saw was Emma, while Caroline loved the 180 degree burpees (hardcore!).

Emma’s favourite move was the monkey runs, where you run sideways on your hands and feet – which was Caroline and Cheryl’s dreaded move! Not all of us were able to do this one fast enough so well done Emma!

The Aftermath…

After the class we all felt pretty exhausted with a very un-ladylike sweat on! But despite the aches and feelings of tiredness, the reviews speak for themselves:

“I felt amazing! The time went so fast and I really enjoyed myself. Richard has inspired me to work my classes harder (and that it’s ok to threaten to hit people!)”

Sarah

“The class is energetic, fast paced and fun and gave me that smug factor that you get when you know you have worked hard and pushed yourself”

Caroline

“I felt like I’d had a great workout. It’s definitely something I’ll be looking to do again…”

Emma

And, as the perfect preparation for the convention’s social plans that evening…

“Afterwards, I was ready for a glass of wine!”

Cheryl

As for me, I loved it so much I signed up to become an Armageddon Instructor!

Where to find your local class

To find out more about Armageddon, find an Instructor, or to sign up to be a trainer yourself, head to http://www.armageddonfitness.com/

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Georgina Spenceley
Georgina Spenceley

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