Training Routines & Challenges

Dairy Abstinence April

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That title sounds a bit crook, doesn’t it…

A few years ago I attended a job interview and was predictably asked to list a couple of my weaknesses. I said “ice cream” and “pizza” and we laughed. The interviewer then asked, “No really, what are some of your weaknesses?” I started crying and again said “ice cream” and “pizza”…

Whilst that anecdote is not completely accurate, there are elements of truth to it. And given that it has been a few months since we have rolled out one of our world-famous challenges, we thought, “Let’s start a dairy free challenge …

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CrossFit: a newwies guide

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Is there anything more misunderstood than CrossFit (emo kids maybe)? At Project UNITED, we don’t care what you do for fitness, just so long as you do something. But for the newwies who don’t know much about CrossFit besides YouTube fails, here are our top five moments of clarity:

1. “WoD”

“WoD” simply stands for “Workout of the Day”. Yes, it absolutely should be “WotD”, but it isn’t. Most CrossFit affiliates will assign set workouts each day depending on their programming schedule. Some days will feature more than one “WoD”, which further reinforces the inaccuracy of the acronym. We prefer …

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A raw vegan experience


A few weeks ago, Team UNITED (so, just me) took up a raw vegan challenge – basically five days of eating in line with a raw vegan lifestyle. According to the internet, “raw veganism” is also sometimes referred to as “absolutely awful”, which we found to be more accurate.

The back-story is that when it comes to food and nutrition, about the only things I am confident in are broccoli and water. Everything else seems to be the most amazing thing ever, and dangerous, at the same time depending on who is telling the story. With this in mind, for …

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A ban on barcodes

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Hi team, welcome to October.

Having watched our fair share of food/health/industry related documentaries, the most recent being Food Choices, the common thread is that a plant-based whole-foods diet is favoured as the most environmentally sustainable, and best for ideal human health. Aggressive debates aside, it seemed to us that the logical progression from being an observer was to become a participant. Whilst the Project UNITED household has been a vegetarian household for about five years, we (well, me. I’m pretty sure Mrs UNITED will shake her head and leave the room) have decided to accept the challenge …

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Mobility for your mind

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We often talk about working on specific muscle groups in order to keep the body limber and calm. Today we look at mobility for the mind.

Less chaos, more meditation

Meditation is one of the most commonly misunderstood “therapies” on the planet. When we think of “meditation” there are no doubt a heap of cliché’s which pass through our thoughts and instantly disconnect ourselves from what could be a truly calming experience. But if we can get beyond these stereotypes, meditation can become an essential relaxation tool in our kit-bag that we will never leave home without.

Who uses meditation?

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Zombies, Run!

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A few weeks ago we posted a running challenge which entailed running everyday for 100 days. There was no prerequisite on distances or speed, just running some distance everyday for 100 days.

For a lot of people, running is fairly boring. It doesn’t come with the excitement and prestige of, say, motor-cross or alpine skiing, but is certainly an asset for health, fitness, and mobility. We have all tried running to music and perhaps running to podcasts, but sometimes that’s not enough. Well, thank goodness for Zombies, Run!.

Zombies, Run! is an app for iPhone and Android which basically …

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The triple mayhem

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If you are ever at home and feel like doing some exercise but don’t know what to do or aren’t sure how long to do it for, here is a really neat routine that only lasts for 11 minutes but will seriously get the heart racing. It requires nothing but your body, and preferably a flat space. The idea is to blitz yourself over a three-minute period, take a quick break, and do it again, and again.

The triple mayhem

The triple mayhem works like this (movements standards at the bottom of this post):

Start a running clock

  1. In the
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100 days of running

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No, we’re not being chased by the cartels. The 100 days of running challenge is part of a genius program to turn reluctant runners into reluctant runners who can now tolerate running and perhaps enjoy it to some degree. Powerful.

The 100 days of running challenge

Your first thought may be, “What? Are you mad? Have you been drinking, UNITED? Have you bumped your head? WT triple F?” Well settle down reader, just settle down, hear us out.

Running is one of those things that some people seem to do well and enjoy, naturally, and others struggle with and make …

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12 days of Fitmas

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There is no doubt that Christmas can be a tricky time of year to maintain good health and regular exercise. There are many reasons to stop everything that you’ve been doing and load up on all things unhealthy. But there is one central reason why this happens: mothers. It is universally acknowledged that mothers are the best cooks in the world. Typically speaking, Christmas time is spent with family which includes the company of mothers, and regardless of how many times we tell our mothers to relax and not worry about cooking and preparing meals for Christmas, they go …

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No barcode November

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The Discomfort Zone Challenges have been one of the great initiatives of 2015 (according to us, and our mums). Having just finished up with October (30 Day Burpee Challenge), here is November’s Discomfort Zone Challenge:

No barcode November

Far less physically irritating than last months burpee madness, November is about World class food choices.

What’s the point?

Two points, and thanks for asking:

  1. Health: The more a food is handled, the less control and knowledge we have of what has been added to or removed from the item. This makes healthy decision making more complex and sometimes counterintuitive. For example,
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30 day burpee challenge

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The Project UNITED 30 day burpee challenge comes to a close on Friday. So what did we learn?

Firstly, the numbers

Across the thirty day challenge, here are the numbers that mattered:

  • Rest days: 4
  • Days spent burpeeing: 26
  • Total burpees, beginner: 835
  • Total burpees, intermediate: 1815
  • Total burpees, advanced: 3555
  • Total burpees, elite: 3830
  • Days spent cursing the damn challenge: 29

What did we achieve?

Apart from the discipline of sticking with a 30 day fitness challenge, burpees provide a raft of health benefits across the entire body. From strength, mobility, cardio conditioning, and power, burpees are a …

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Up the creek

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No idea what the actual name of this challenge is called, but the North Queensland Cowboys use it and it’s pretty brutal stuff…

It’s a rowing thing…

The objective is to cover 1500m on a rowing machine in 7 1/2 minutes, but it is somewhat more complicated then that, and significantly more taxing:

  • Complete 15 rounds of rowing on a cycle of 20 seconds of effort, and 10 seconds of rest for each round.
  • During each “effort” cycle, your aim is to row 100m.
  • If you fail to row 100m, that round does not count.
  • If you achieve the 100m
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The 30 day burpee challenge

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Here’s one for the lovers of punishment. It’s the official 30 day burpee challenge, and here’s how it works:

The procedure

  • Each day for 30 days, a participant performs a set number of burpees based on the calendar below.
  • There are various levels of difficulty from beginner to weapon (the official term is “elite”).
  • Each consecutive day, the burpee quota increases.
  • Every 7th day is a rest day.
  • There is no need to start on the first of the month (i.e. starting any time is fine so long as you can string together 30 days in a row), though
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Four-point agility blitz (with a friend)

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This probably has another name, but let’s stick with the four-point agility blitz…

In 2010, Forbes magazine listed squash as the healthiest sport on Earth based on several criteria relating to general fitness. There was a documentary doing the rounds back in 2008 of current World #2 Nick Matthew undergoing rehab and training after shoulder surgery which had him sidelined for 12 months. His training regime was so intense and brutal, most sessions ended in vomit. 12 months later, he won the British Open, the premier Squash event in the World. The four-point agility blitz was born on the squash …

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3000m sprint pyramid

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The 3000m sprint pyramid is a beauty for measuring maintained running speed over multiple increasing distances. It’s easy to perform, requires minimal equipment, and can be done almost anywhere.

The objective

The 3000m sprint pyramid requires the participant to record their running times over a distance of 3000m broken up into one interval each of 200m, 400m, 600m, 800m, and 1000m. In-between each interval is a rest of, in order, 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 45 seconds, and 60 seconds. The overall time will be calculated as total time minus rest intervals (two minutes and 30 seconds). In other words:

  1. With
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Death by burpees

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Burpees are the most exciting, pleasant, enjoyable exercise of all time…

Death by burpees

The death by burpees challenge may only take 20 odd minutes or so but it will certainly get the body temperature up and you will certainly be ready for a spell afterwards. You will require a timer or clock of some description:

  1. Upon starting the timer, complete a single burpee in the first minute. For the remaining time, relax.
  2. Once the second minute begins, complete two burpees. For the remaining time, relax.
  3. Once the third minute begins, complete three burpees…
  4. Continue completing the same number of
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What is Tabata?

Tabata training is a form of high intensity interval training (HIIT) consisting of eight rounds of “flat-out” exercise in a 20-seconds-on, 10-seconds-off interval protocol. A complete Tabata round may only take four minutes to complete, but if done to capacity, four minutes is all you will need. Tabata can be done anywhere and does not require the use of equipment (though it can utilise equipment if required).

Tabata history

The Tabata method was discovered by and named after Japanese scientist Dr Izumi Tabata from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. Dr Tabata and his …

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100 hand-release push-ups for time

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Push-ups: Easy, right?

What are hand-release push-ups?

Hand-release push-ups are regular ol’ push-ups with a slight variation. Instead of “touching-and-going” at the bottom of the push-up, the hand-release variation is to lift your hands a cm or two off the ground at the bottom of the push-up (refer to the video at the bottom of the page). This ensures two things:

  1. Your chest hits the ground; and
  2. Your shoulders work through the full range of motion

The hand-release push-up challenge

With a running clock, begin performing hand-release push-ups until you have reached 100. It may be beneficial to have something …

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Bring Sally Up push-up challenge

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When American singer songwriter Moby brought us Flower, we doubt he could foresee that it would become an anthem for various fitness challenges the World over. From squat challenges to plank challenges to strict handstand push-up challenges, it has become the basis for three and a half minutes of movement madness. In this post we are going to look at the push-up variation of the Bring Sally Up challenge.

How the Bring Sally Up push-up challenge works

The only aid required for this challenge is a copy of Moby’s Flower song. Fire it up and follow these steps:…

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A mile of lunges

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Yep, exactly what it sounds like.

What you will need:

  • An area of space that you can measure out 1600 metres (a 400m track can be covered four times, a 100m football field can be covered 16 times etc.) Alternatively a GPS watch will count your distance for you if you have one.
  • A stop watch or timer (so that you can record your time and do it again later in the week 😉 )
  • Knee protection may be useful but not essential.

How a mile of lunges works:

Basically, walking-lunge your way across a 1600m distance. It might sound …

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