SPOILER ALERT: This is basically an early preview of the material that will be used for our forthcoming Hobbit Bootcamp DVD workout box set. Look away if you’d rather wait to discover it for the first time when you are the lucky recipient of this sure-to-be ‘must have’ winterval/ Christmas gift.
It was not only that I watched the fat-shaming (which I don’t approve of) yet compelling obesity the post-mortem documentary on BBC3 the other day, that gave me renewed impetus to trot out for our hobbit boot camp rendezvous on Tuesday. It was also that I have my new performance pants to experiment in. Further, I am always conscientious if not keen. Hobbit buddy and I had made a promise to one another, a commitment to work on our cores at the outdoor gym in Endcliffe Park. We were dependent on one another to make it so, I would not be the weak link in that chain!
There was a minor detail that our morning rendezvous was the morning after the final Trunce of 2016 season, so I did have to stipulate that I’d be too knackered to do any actual running in any meaningful way. However, we told ourselves that this was but a minor detail. The whole point of cross training is that you use different muscles. Today we would work on our core, we were sure to get in the swing of things pretty quickly, how hard could it be to design our own workout? We met at our usual rendezvous point, and I was very relieved that whilst my hobbit buddy was most definitely focused, she was not wearing this top. Had she been, that would have been the end of our training partnership. I’m putting this on record here though just in case, she has been getting more hard-core recently, which is very impressive, inspirational even, but also a bit scary…
We began with a nice gentle run down Bingham Park toward Endcliffe. This was a promising start as it was downhill and so gave us a bit of confidence that our cross training was yielding almost immediate effects. We are so awesome, even thinking about improving our techniques brings results. According to the Daily Mail (so it must be true) just thinking about exercise makes you fit, it can make pigs fly too, which is amazing, and explained our sudden surge of speed way better the influence of gravity and leaning forward a bit much when running down hill. (Being top-heavy can speed you up and work in your favour in some situations it seems. For example, should you trip whilst running down hill, gravity will compel you to move ever faster).
On arrival at the outdoor gym, we sort of eyed the equipment rather nervously. I am after all the woman who managed to put on her runderwear back to front at the first attempt. That was bad enough, but at least it was in the privacy of my own home so no-one need ever know… well, anyway, bit different in the great outdoors. Still, we were game. The novelty of new toy things was hilarious. We basically jumped on each bit of equipment in turn quite randomly, turning handles, swinging on bars and laughing a great deal. This does mean that, irrespective of how effectively we used the outdoor gym, our stomach muscles got a good work out just from the general guffawing that was going on. I was a bit fearful for hobbit buddy on the walkie, stretchy thing, as it seemed to set off in some sort of perpetual motion like Newton’s Cradle. Lucky I was on hand to help stop it and move her to a place of safety.
It was only a matter of time before the appeal of posing in our active wear took precedence over any actual work out. Some of the equipment did clearly work, those bars you pull down were tough. We both liked the one where you just stand on a spinning drain cover and twist from side to side. Nice stretch, not very strenuous and drain covers for up to three people. That would be a very respectable coven say (‘when shall we three meet again‘ etc), but in the absence of any witches to avail themselves of this exercise opportunity, it was fine for two hobbits to twist and chat. I popped back later to catch this health conscious trio making use of it later on at witching hour. They are also doing some upper arm exercises too. Holding your arms up like that is harder than it looks. To begin with you think it’s going to be easy, but phew, it hurts soon enough. Give it a go, you’ll find out for yourself.
There was one bit of equipment I really didn’t get at all. It was a tai chi turning thingy, or something, but it seemed to me utterly pointless, plus hobbit buddy hasn’t done me any great favours with the camera angles either which may be a factor in how I feel about it all. I would put this piece of kit in a category with those child play mats. You know the ones with textured bits you can stroke the ribbon, and feel the sheep’s wool or whatever, and push a button and – as in this case, turn a pointless wheel. This may constitute a learning opportunity for a small child, even enrichment for a parrot, but it did nothing for me. In fact, those play gyms look better, you get to lie down in comfort for starters, which would be better for meditation purposes, if that is partly what the tai chi label is about, which I don’t know to be fair, never tried it. Maybe if I did I’d understand…
So after a bit, we decided to do some drills. This was mutually entertaining if of dubious value in respect of achieving physical transformations. I found it was a lot harder to make myself and motivate hobbit buddy to go as far as we do with the drills when at woodrun. Also, we were a bit self-conscious (I know surprising really given the kinds of things we have got up to in public places with Roger and Ginger) and there were families strolling by, and ‘proper’ athletes doing chin ups on the parkour area – here are some photos stolen from the interweb of the Endcliffe parkour area, of which I thoroughly approve by the way, what those free running guys and girls can do messes with my head!
After the drills, press-ups. No we didn’t keep count – just did ‘loads’ (ahem) – what do you mean ‘full or half?’ what do you take us for? Then we decided to mix it up a bit and jogged down to the kiddies play area. We decided that it would be fun to go on actual swings, and probably it would be a lot easier than swinging on the bars which was fun but hard on the arms. En route we speculated about whether or not it was OK to go into the children’s play area if we were not in possession of children. Hobbit buddy is a parent and she said it would be OK as long as we didn’t push any children off any swings. As it happened, because schools are back, the children who were in there were too small to be using the swings so we had them all to ourselves.
It is ages since I’ve been on a swing, years probably. It was harder than I expected to get going. They have a back bar now, presumably for safety purposes, but it makes it hard to really lean back and get some momentum going. I didn’t feel we could really ask anyone for a push. It’s one thing getting someone to take your photo for you, but as a (reluctant) grown-up playing on the swings, even my ‘social inappropriateness’ warning indicator was sensitive to the fact I shouldn’t really be looking for help there. I improvised, and got going. Hobbit buddy was not impressed, it hurt her back, apparently. Then again, she liked the twirling tai chi wheels, so I suppose we all have our individual strengths. To begin with I felt a bit of motion sickness which was very odd, but actually, it was a lot of fun. It must help your core, all that thrusting! Surely?
So next up, jogged back to our start point and then, go us, we turned around and ran back, again! I know. And it wasn’t even a running day for me, we ended up doing about 5k in total, which isn’t much, but as an addition to our hardcore, intensive swinging about, shows real commitment!
To ring the changes a bit, we took a slight detour on our route home. This also took us to a dilemma. I think word is getting out about runderwear, and people everywhere are just dumping their pants at will so they can don runderwear instead. Either that, or there is some sort of local Sheffield superhero, who’s just done some amazing heroic deed in Endcliffe Park, and inadvertently left his purple pants behind when he was doing his lightning swift change of outfits afterwards. We examined the evidence, but only from a distance.
This actually presented me with a dilemma, we should ‘just say no‘ to littering the park with purple pants, as surely as Zammo should have just said no to heroin. But then, what if the superhero realises he’s lost them and comes back looking for them? I felt we ought to have picked them up and disposed of them, but to be honest, I was a bit squeamish about doing so without gloves (well, you know, don’t know where they’ve been do you?). It did feel a bit wrong to pose with photos with them and then walk away. However, I am going out again with hobbit on Friday, and I promise to go and look for them, and to take a bag with me so I can dispose of them responsibly.
So finally, we were back where we started, feeling transformed as well as just a tad smug, but deservedly so. We had tried something new, and whilst it may not be true to say our transformation is as yet complete, more work in progress, but we have achieved the goal of incorporating some spontaneous cross training into our training regimes. This is how body make-overs begin. That and Photoshop. But I don’t know how to use that.
So that’s it for now, keep in the swing of your training y’all – and remember, as Ella tells us ”Tain’t What You Do (It’s The Way That You Do It) that’s what gets results’!