Ahead of the London Turf Games in July, we spoke with Fred Ray to get his pre-event feelings and to better understand what it takes to compete in the Elite Category of this competition. The event itself consisted of 5 separate workout sessions spread out across Friday and Saturday. Every team was awarded points based on their performance during each workout session and the team with the fewest points at the end was named the winner.
Fred and his team were proudly representing Gym+Coffee throughout the weekend and they made sure to put the gear to work!! Remarkably, Fred + his crew finished 8th overall in the Elite Category which was an outstanding performance and one that the guys were very pleased with. We chatted to Fred to get his full download on how it went.
So Fred, how did you feel about finishing up in 8th place in the Elite Category?
Overall, it was really good to finish up in 8th place. The competition was really tough but the guys on our team were epic and it was a really nice balance of enjoying the event and giving it everything that we had!
What did you have to complete over the 2 days?
A lot! It started off really well on Friday night when we finished 3rd out of 26 teams in the first workout which really tested endurance with a combination of biking, rowing and running. Saturday morning kicked off with the worm, a 140kg sandbag lifted as a team, as part of the first workout session. Next, we had a session which included the Ski ERG machine and some dumbbell movements (snatches, hang squat cleans and thrusters). The 2nd last session was the one we struggled on a little bit. We had to build up to a 1 Rep Max ground to overhead with a barbell. It also included an 80kg sandbag carry for 8 minutes which was pretty rough! Finally, the last session involved an assault bike, burpee-box jump overs, heavy slam ball and a sled!!
Sounds exhausting just hearing that!! Did you get many chances to recover within the workout?
Not really!! I mean each exercise set lasted between 12 - 15 minutes. Friday was more a challenge of endurance of course but Saturday really was heavy, intense but a lot of fun competing alongside your mates! You very rarely get any more than 20-30 seconds rest in a session. You’ll never have a scenario where one person is working and the other four are resting!
Besides your obvious elite fitness levels, what helped you guys succeed?
We definitely relied on our team chemistry throughout. It was a case of leaving any egos at the door and knowing how best to play to our strengths. If someone is really good at something, then let them go for it as you might need to do the same later on in a different exercise!
What do you think was the most challenging exercise for teams?
I think in general, the Worm is one that teams find tricky. I love it though as it really differentiates teams that genuinely work well together versus teams that perhaps don’t communicate as well as they could. It makes or breaks teams!
Which session did you enjoy the most?
I’d say Friday night as we could focus 100% on that session and know that we could chill for the evening afterwards. We had some proper time to really put together a clear strategy of who was doing what and for how long. And it resulted in 3rd place which was a bonus. I think all of us could just go into the “pain cave” and enjoy it for what it is. We’re generally quite good when it comes to that engine work!!
Why would you recommend events like The Turf Games to others?
Well, I was competing alongside people I would consider close mates. You feel as though you’re doing it for them so it’s not just about any individual. It’s such an awesome feeling too when you have teammates spurring you on throughout the times when you need it the most. No matter where you end up on the leaderboard, there is no better feeling than going “full send” with your teammates and knowing that you couldn’t have done anything else!
Amazing, we love that attitude! After the highs of an event like this, how do you cope in the days after?
There is definitely a “come down” period after an event like that! You wake up the next day and you are just “fried” but I actually went to support my sister who was competing in a different event and that was awesome. But Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I definitely felt a bit lost! There’s very little said about “what next” and I definitely experienced those “post-comp blues” after the fitness festival atmosphere. I’m someone who really enjoys having something to work towards to guide my training and I guess that’s why I was delighted to sign up for Fittest in the City in September.
So, the fun doesn’t stop there! Fred has signed up to compete in a 2-person team event Fittest in the City London alongside fellow fitness fanatic, Faisal Abdalla. They decided to team up as they finished tied 11th in a previous competition in 2019 and always had that bit of a connection – so why not team up?!
A smaller team, less opportunities to train together and not knowing the event exercises in advance add elements of complexity to this challenge but we’re sure the guys are going to make themselves proud. We’ll catch up with the guys on the other side to see how they got on and hear about what they have lined up next!