Week 43: Bear Grylls Fitness

Week 43 in my year of trying a new fitness find every week – single digits remain and still so many things I want to try!

This week I headed (a little way) out of London to try Bear Grylls’s obstacle course fitness concept at a trampoline park in Croydon. Not the most glamorous destination, given, but I was keen to have a go

What They Say:
This innovative indoor obstacle fitness concept is designed around the way Bear Grylls keeps fit.

You have to be willing to push your mind and body out of its comfort zone. Prepare yourself for adventure!

Bear Grylls Fitness is an epic, multi-level obstacle fitness course, but it’s more than just a workout. Bear Grylls Fitness is about helping you build the strength, flexibility and fitness to empower you to live your adventures to the max.

We believe it’s the ultimate in functional fitness.

My Experience:
Normally on my fitness finds I like to take the opportunity to discover streets I may not have been down before, but my expectations weren’t high heading off to a business park in Croydon. That said, the drive down there was really rather glorious – the autumn leaves were putting on a stellar display, and there was something quite homely about the orange tree-lined suburban streets.

The park itself was pretty uninspiring; Pizza Hut, McDonalds and an enormous discount furniture store were pretty much all that was on offer. I entered the huge trampoline park and felt like a tiny ant in the cavernous hall. It became obvious they weren’t expecting me as I checked in and one of the girls behind reception said “oh, I’d better call someone down”… I was given a pair of grippy gloves and told to have a seat in the cafe and move through to a briefing room when I was allocated to start my session. The cafe overlooks the huge trampoline network, and there were three people bouncing away. If you want to have a trampoline park to yourself: go on a Wednesday morning!

I watched a safety video on loop in the briefing room until a friendly girl arrived to show me to the Bear Grylls section. In a corner next to the trampolines was a two-storey structure with about a dozen obstacles. My instructor gave me a quick rundown and then let me loose.

Beside each obstacle was a picture showing how it should be approached and a workout idea if you wanted to incorporate a fitness sesh. There was a big red digital clock on the wall, which is presumably used if people want to follow the sessions (which were basically interval repeats).

I had an hour and decided I’d go through each of the obstacles, starting on the ground floor. It was a bit like an easy ninja warrior – there were some stepping stones, balance beams and a scramble net over an A-frame. As I clambered over the top I got a lurch of the heebie-jeebies and recalled the last time I was on one of these was in the middle of the Spartan race where I broke my foot last year. On that occasion, I’d been carried around the entire obstacle course by three hardy teammates, but they couldn’t carry me over the A-frame so I had to do that myself. Looking back on it, I think the pain in my foot was probably a good thing, as I’m terrified of heights and that one was a hell of a lot higher than this one. To get up to the second floor, where the tougher obstacles were, you could use steps, a ladder or a rope. I chose the rope!

The second floor had some harder scramble nets, hanging rings, scaffold bars and a plank rope – where you traversed sideways with hands and feet on parallel ropes holding a plank position.

I moved steadily through all the obstacles in about 15 minutes and returned to the ground floor via death slide!

Next to the obstacle rig was a matted area where they sometimes run HIIT classes incorporating bodyweight and kettlebell movements with obstacles.

Although I just sauntered through, you could create a pretty good workout if you did intervals or raced through the obstacles – there were two lanes throughout so you could easily set up a bit of competition.

In Summary:
Not quite as big or challenging as I was expecting, but this could be a fun place to come with a group and race.

The trampoline park is a bit soulless, but it’s massive and you can add on a jumping session for a few quid extra.

Cost: £14 (includes mandatory grip gloves)

How to book: http://www.oxygenfreejumping.co.uk

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