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.