Sat | Feb 4, 2023

Fit 4 Life | Training to become Tuff Enuff

Published:Wednesday | June 6, 2018 | 12:00 AMMarvin Gordon
Obstacle races or circuits are one of the most demanding physical activities.

Obstacle races or circuits are one of the most demanding physical activities. They require holistic fitness. Anyone who competes in these events will be required to demonstrate aerobic capacity as well as strength and strength endurance – aerobic as well as anaerobic.

A training programme designed to prepare you for The Gleaner's Fit 4 Life Tuff Enuff Challenge in 12 weeks will require that you: 


Goal: Use resistance training to build strength.  

Recommended Tests: Upper body strength test (bench press)

Lower body strength test (leg press)

Training: Focus on compound movements, especially the Big Three (squat, deadlift, bench press). Pay attention, however, to the development of weak or lagging areas. 

Rep range: six to 12

Period: weeks one to six


Goal: Use resistance training to build strength endurance.  

Recommended Tests: Upper body strength endurance test (push-up)

Overall strength endurance test (sit up)

Training: Developing endurance requires working a muscle to fatigue. This demands more reps. There are two basic types of strength endurance aerobic and anaerobic. Each requires a different type of work for development. Anaerobic strength endurance demands training in the medium rep range while aerobic adaptations require high rep training.

Rep range: 13 to 16 for anaerobic capacity and 20 to 40 for aerobic training

Period: weeks one to 10


Goal: Use aerobic training to improve cardiovascular health and performance.  

Recommended Test: 12-minute run/walk

Training: Cardiovascular training improves the performance of the circulatory system (heart, blood vessels, lungs) and the aerobic energy systems. Training within the recommend target heart-rate will guarantee improvements. Consistency is key. 

Rep range: At least 20 minutes three times a week. May require more as your fitness improves.

Period: weeks one to 12


Working within the seven (granddaddy) laws of fitness as defined by The International Sports Science Association (ISSA) will ensure that your training puts you in the best shape possible for the Tuff Enuff Challenge or any competition.

The seven laws which guarantee training success, express simply, are:

1. The principle of Individual Differences: Everyone will respond differently to training; adjust training to fit your body.

2. Overcompensation Principle: Your body makes improvements when it is pushed harder than normal.

3. Overload Principle: You must push yourself hard enough with training to see an increase in performance; simply 'exercising' is not enough.

4. SAID Principle: Speaks to the specificity of improvements in fitness as it relates to training; for example, aerobic training will only improve aerobic performance. 

5. Use/Disuse Principle: Use it or lose it. When you stop training you start to lose fitness.

6. Specificity Principle: Develop general fitness such as basic strength and aerobic capacity before doing specialised training.

7. GAS Principle: Periods of high-intensity training must be followed by low-intensity training (rest) to avoid overtraining.

- Marvin Gordon is a fitness coach; email:;