When we launched the National Fitness Games our aim was clear. We all loved competitive fitness and we wanted to have an event where everybody could join in, no matter what their level. Did that mean we wanted it to be easy? Absolutely not – the more challenging, the better.
It is all about finding what is right for you and pushing yourself. A lot of people stop doing competitive sport at some point, maybe when they get a bit older, or have kids. And getting back into it can be quite hard. Maybe they join a gym, but don’t find they are really motivated to push themselves.
That’s where the joy of competing comes in. Our philosophy is that we are all athletes, no matter what our level. We divide people into categories and they compete on the same day in the same arena. So one minute you have an elite athlete, like Britain’s fittest man Zack George, then next we have a grandmother in her sixties competing in the novice category.
The buzz at these competitions is absolutely incredible. We test the four main attributes of fitness – strength, power, speed and endurance. All the exercises, from deadlifts and sled pushes, through to rowing and assault bike challenges, are purely functional. You don’t need special training, just a basic knowledge of fitness and a desire to push yourself.
One of our competitors embodies our philosophy perfectly. Tyler Saunders is a former Team GB basketball player and Ninja Warrior. I have watched him put every ounce of effort into each event shows that being born with one leg doesn’t diminish how much you can get from pushing yourself to the maximum.
We have always wanted our events to appeal to as wide a range of people as possible, and with Reorg we are taking this to the next level. On April 2nd we have our first adaptive games, when we will be opening up the competition to people with all levels of physical injury.
We are working with Ben Wadham, who has done great work with Mark Ormrod and many other injured veterans. With all his experience,Ben is helping us put together a programme that mean the events will be adapted to every level, whilst still retaining the level of difficulty.
That is the key. Different physical levels don’t mean a different level of difficulty. In the future we plan to have adaptive categories at all our events. That’s why we are so pleased to be working with Reorg. Everyone understands the power of exercise, but they think competition is not for them any more. It is for everyone, all you need is a desire to compete.
Mark is a founder of the National Fitness Games. He was talking to Richard Holt