Fitness Camp Australia
Ian Lloyd Neubauer
Both women and men take up the challenge at Five Star Fitness. Photo: Gary Friedland
Right now, one of the biggest television shows ever produced in Australia is being filmed at Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour.
The latest in a string of international spin-offs of Susuke – a Japanese obstacle course game show with a cult worldwide following – will see 250 contestants attempt to complete a physics-defying obstacle course when the show airs on the Nine Network in mid-2017.
Only the country's fittest men and women – personal trainers, Tough Mudder champions, Olympians, ex-special forces troops, etc. – were invited to test their mettle against rope climbs, curved walls, inverted rock climbs, spinning bridges and other obstacles at Cockatoo Island that according to Nine's head of content Adrian Swift comprise "the biggest and most impossible course in the world."
Five Star Fitness owner, Mike McAndrew. Photo: Gary Friedland
But an hour's drive south of Sydney Harbour in the working-class suburb of Ramsgate Beach, ordinary men and women, including a postpartum mum, are using similar obstacles as part of a new ninja-inspired exercise method that takes the best of many different disciplines and combines them to create the ultimate workout – the Five Star training method.
"Instead of only doing yoga or pilates or triathlon or weight or obstacle training, we've used the best of each discipline to create a new style of training, " says founder Mike McAndrew.
You can copy Jamie Oliver's recipes out of his books, but that won't make you Jamie Oliver.
The Jamie Oliver of gyms
Five Star Fitness is one of the oldest gyms in Australia. It was opened in 1971 by Paul Graham, the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness's Australian president. An old-school muscleman who pumped iron and shared an apartment with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Los Angles in the 1960s, Graham also brought Arnie to Sydney several times during the seventies and eighties to promote bodybuilding as a sport in Australia.
The gym changed hand various times over the years until McAndrew, who has a background in pilates and boxing, took over in 2005. He's spent the past decade outfitting the gym with the most ostentatious high-tech exercise equipment found just about anywhere on the planet: kick-boxing avatars with multiple strike pads and monitors that yell 'ouch' when you hit it, grinding machines that have helped make American Cup sailors the most powerful upper-body athletes in the world, gymnastic vault bars, cardio equipment, pilates machines, power wheels, cargo nets, Austrian hex bars and wood-chopping machines. Weaving throughout the gym's many rooms, nooks and crannies is an obstacle course cut straight out of a ninja university.
"There's no other gym in Australia I know of that's like this, " McAndrew says. "There are some emerging gyms around the country doing similar things, but this old warship is the pioneer. CrossFit? We were doing that 10 years ago. But in the last few years, obstacle training has really come to the forefront with the Tough Mudder and Spartan Races endurance events and now the Australian Ninja Warrior television show. I suspect a few of my clients are involved with the show, though I can't say for sure because I heard they all had to sign confidentially agreements and aren't allowed to talk about it."
McAndrew says a lot of his clients, up to 30 or 40 per cent, are trainers who've reached a certain level of fitness and want to take things to the next level with exercises that are more challenging. "Do I worry about them copying my ideas? No, " he says. "You can copy Jamie Oliver's recipes out of his books, but that won't make you Jamie Oliver."
At 7pm, a group of lithe, uber-fit men and women with ripped torsos, chiselled chests and rock-hard thighs. None of them will confirm nor deny they're competing in Australian Ninja Warrior, though by the way they work their way around the obstacle course it looks like could hold their own among Australia's stealthiest ninjas.
"The first thing everyone says when they see these obstacles is 'Oh my God! I can't do that!" McAndrew says, before running onto a mini-trampoline and leaping into the air while trying to grab a rope dangling from the ceiling. He doesn't succeed the first time nor the second, though nails it on the third. "We call this one the Leap of Faith because like so many obstacle exercises, it requires participants to leave the fears and doubts at the door and just go for it."
"And that one, " he says, pointing at a rectangular-shaped military peg wall also hanging from the ceiling, "was invented for training cadets in the British Special Forces. The idea is you put in the pegs and make your way around, but it's so hard only about one in 3000 people can do it. And that one is a new kind of rock wall with no leg work at all. Even experienced climbers come in here and get freaked out when they see it."
A common theme in the obstacle course is to swing across from one hold to another. Photo: Gary Friedland
Literal and figurative obstacles
The ninjas, meanwhile, are all over the place. One scampers up a set of Unstable Rings – unstable in that they are suspended on chains from the ceiling and thus move around a lot and require double the grip and balance. Another ninja runs up a 6m high curved wall, while another uses short explosive bursts of strength to clean and jerk a pull-up bar up different notches on a ladder. Then there's the Spider Wall, a long perspex tunnel where you put your arms and legs out and leap forwards like a spider without touching the ground.
"You know, all of this is very new and the sport still has a long way to go, " McAndrew says. "But I've been in the fitness industry for nearly 30 years, and if there's one thing I know, it's that there always has to be something new coming along to attract clients. Next year, I feel obstacle training will be it."How teach old frog new tricks? What is the meaning of true friendship quotes? What are cannellini beans? How to do scooter tricks on a razor? what is adobe flash player helper tool how to configure ip helper address on cisco router Which instrument derives its name from the italian word meaning "loud-soft"? How to tell how bad a flea infestation is? what is helper class in c# for php how to make easy cheese burger helper How to make a reel on instagram? Art tips for people who can't draw? How to mew? How much do casual dining servers get in tips? Tips procedure who does it? What does baka mean in anime? Why do i feel like my life has no meaning? Why tips curling dreadlocks? What does non partisan mean? What does crack smell like? What the heck meaning? What are enzymes? What are the safest cities in florida? how to make sure private helper function c++ What does it mean to finger someone? How to organize bits tips and blades and sandpaper? How to calculate mass percent? What is the meaning of rotten tomatoes? What does prominence mean? What does molt mean? What is amazon prime now tips? How to make sky in little alchemy? What is the meaning of sewing? What does intersect mean in math? What is ciprofloxacin? What tips of dogs are there? How to buy a townhouse tips? What is the meaning of haphazard? What is simone biles net worth? I always tell the truth even when i lie meaning? How to block someone? Sonic all stars racing transformed how to do tricks? Tips on how to memorize script? How to cook swordfish steaks? How to treat mange in dogs? How to find the domain of a function? What are the most common side effects of atorvastatin? What does no loitering mean? How much should you set aside in the wedding budget for tips? What causes the tips of plants to turn brown? Tricks when playing french domino? What does taylor's version mean? How to use bag of tricks pathfinder? How to draw a bird easy? What are two important tips for succesful underhand serving? wii u usb helper how to get loadiine ready What the upside down emoji meaning? What does intertwined mean? What is the meaning of thine? What does superior mean? What day is columbus day? What does it mean if your favorite color is red? What does israel mean in the bible? How to become an astronaut? How to make composter minecraft? How to become a trader rdr2? What is tricks of the trade? 31 security tips : how to protect your new home? How to power off iphone 12? What is the meaning of tattoo? Tips experts how arrive? How to unlock iphone with apple watch? What is the meaning of filibuster in politics? What does entice mean? What is a cover letter for a job? What does mean in math stand for? What does quotient mean? Rc helicopter tricks how to? How do you remove gel tips? Control what you can control meaning? How to change your spotify username? What does commend mean? What is the meaning of for granted? how deactivate google chrome helper Susan wolf meaning in life and why it matters summary? What does the dark web look like? How to get rid of maggots? How to play jingle bells on the piano? What is a dangerous level of bilirubin in adults? How long does it take for a tattoo to heal? What is the meaning of the fool card in tarot? Why is my lsat not going up after hours of studying? tips? How to peel a peach? What is meaning of criteria? How to be popular? What do red shoes mean? What are fallacies? What does push ups target? What is interface meaning? How to paint ceiling? How to cook steak on cast iron? Why does mitosis occur in root tips?