Fit­ness with Chris Jones


One of my New Year’s res­o­lu­tions this year was to try new and in­ter­est­ing ways to ex­er­cise; to try weird and won­der­ful work­outs. It’s April now, and so far, I’ve been hyp­no­tised to feel like a strong beast in the gym, strapped to an elec­tro­mus­cle stim­u­la­tor ma­chine while lis­ten­ing to the bark­ing or­ders of a scary per­sonal trainer, and last month I tried… rock climb­ing.

OK, it’s not that weird and won­der­ful. But to me, it was new and ter­ri­fy­ing.

My friend and I ‘rocked’ up to The Cas­tle in Stoke New­ing­ton, Lon­don – which is a mas­sive cas­tle on the edge of Clis­sold Park – and in­side is a huge com­plex of rock climb­ing walls and equip­ment. Once there, we ex­pected a long, dull in­duc­tion be­fore the climb­ing ses­sion, but we were di­rected to sev­eral iPads on a wall, where we watched a short three minute video, and then we were set to climb! It was a bit daunt­ing, not hav­ing an in­struc­tor to go through any­thing with us, but we were there to ‘boul­der’. What’s ‘boul­der­ing’, you ask? It’s essen­tially rock climb­ing with­out any of the ropes or har­ness, and you’re no more time. But it’s hard work.

We wan­dered around the place, ad­mir­ing some of the men there – as you do – and I looked at some of the guys They had pecs that did that over­hang thing and tight waists. And they were strong. If this was the body that rock climb­ing could pro­duce, I was in.

With­out look­ing like to­tal novices, we looked for a quiet area to start. I looked at the wall, looked at my friend, shrugged and just launched my­self at the out­wardly fac­ing jagged wall. I’m not sure if I was ex­pect­ing some dor­mant mu­tant power to kick in where I stick to the wall and be­come amaz­ing, and defy grav­ity, but bump then and there. One thing the demo video did say is ‘you will get hurt,’ so TICK, I’d done that!

jagged ‘bits’ that come out of the wall. Each colour di­rects a route. Each route has a level ‘throw­ing your­self at it’ is not a bad way to go about it. Get­ting stuck in and not fear­ing ‘the wall’ was what led me up the var­i­ous routes. I felt my legs, back and hands take all the brunt and they It was a fan­tas­tic way to work the body, and the mind as well, as you’re al­ways think­ing about where your next hand or foot should go. It was a men­tal ex­er­cise, as well as a phys­i­cal one. And it’s one I’ll be try­ing again.

….un­til my mu­tant pow­ers man­i­fest, of course.

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