What you are about to read has been written by hands that are trembling with pain. The entire body of this writer is aching from the intense exercise that took place earlier in the week at the hands of Terroll “Boost” Lewis.
The British trainer is a master of calisthenics, a discipline that is perfected by mastering resistance training and using ordinary objects. Boost is a sensei at the workouts and shooting for the second season of Trace Sports Stars SA Star Block Workout, so I was invited to take part last Tuesday.
What follows is an account of how I awoke pain-free in the morning and crawled back into my bed in the evening feeling like a zombie.
• 9.35am: I drive out of The Star building. I am wearing training gear, including my army pants (to intimidate the enemy) and am playing some hip hop to get in the “zone”. It’s a long drive to the Soweto Theatre as I am driving a route I am unfamiliar with.
• 11.02am: I arrive and Boost and his team are happy to see me. I haven’t seen him since last year when he was here to shoot the first season of SA Star Block Workout. We walk around the premises of the theatre, chatting about this and that. I notice that he is not giving me his full attention as he keeps looking around and taking pictures. Upon asking him why, he reveals that he is looking for places for us to do his brutal workout.
• 12.30pm: Slikour loudly announces his arrival. We have this joke where he thinks I wear too many vests at events to show off my thick arms and I defend that by saying he could wear the same if only he would beef up a little. Today he raises the subject again, only this time taunting me that we shall see if all that muscle counts for something in Boost’s workout.
• 1.30pm: The unexpected happens. Linda Moeketsi, who is a celebrity publicist, arrives on the scene. Now here is the backstory: I saw Linda at another event two weekends ago and he was in a vest looking too chiselled up for my liking. (Yes, despite what you think, guys do look at each other and rate.) This is a dude who was once toothpick thin and now has all the right muscle groups popping, in turn reminding me further of how lazy I had become since last winter. What is he doing? Well, at least there is Rhode Marshall to beat.
• 1.55pm: Still no Rhode Marshall. From nowhere comes a petite figure who is more animated than Speedy Gonzalez. Turns out it’s Hlubi Mboya. What’s she doing here? Where is Rhode? Where is Nandi? Did I come on the wrong day? All these questions register in my mind and I can’t take it any more so I ask Trace’s Allegro who tells me Nandi has an audition and Rhode is ill so Linda and Hlubi are taking over. My world comes crashing down.
• 2pm: Boost summons us and shows us the first exercise. We are now in the Soweto amphitheatre which is like a small stadium. In a squat position we have to climb up the aisles and back as fast as possible. The one with the most laps in a minute wins. Linda starts strong, but I do better, although my insides are detaching. Hlubi beats my time, but Slikour is like Spider-man and is the winner. The guy obviously does squats at Sweat 1000.
• 2.30pm: Boost kills our Spartan spirit by revealing that the gruesome exercise was just a warm-up. He sits us on the amphitheatre seats and demonstrates the next challenge, push-ups. Holding onto the bar in front of us, we are all forced to do about 50 push-ups while one of the cameramen fixed his machine.
When he was done they started filming as if nothing happened – but we were still panting so Boost ordered us to do the push-ups again! I pulled the Leonidas in me, but somewhere around 15, all that came out was the Fat Albert.
• 3pm: Still in the amphitheatre of death, Boost’s next challenge was pull-ups off the bars that are located behind the seats. Linda and Slikour did really well. Hlubi was not too bad with her waif-life self. I, on the other hand, was glad when the timekeeper said I could stop.
• 3.30pm: We are far from being done and all I can think of is my PS3. Now we are at the new Soweto theatre. There are some low bars and Boost figures we should do dips. Linda excels with no problem. Fat Munya struggles once again, but marvels at Hlubi failing dismally on this one. Slikour does okay, nothing memorable. We obviously don’t like this exercise.
• 4.05pm: With his golden-tooth smile Boost doesn’t waste time announcing that the next challenge is the crab crawl. You lie on the ground in a press up position and move 3m to the side and back doing push-ups at each end. It’s not as easy as it sounds and the only one who does remotely well is, again, Hlubi.
• 4.30pm: The final exercise comes as music to my ears. All we have to do is suspend our bodies on two benches in a push-up position and see who holds that position the longest.
Of course, I can’t tell you who won, you will have to catch the show for that. The biggest lesson on the day for this writer, though, was simple: Being buff does not necessarily translate to being fit.
• Star Block Workout SA will air on a date to be confirmed, but catch Star Block Workout Brazil on Trace Sports Stars, Saturdays at 10am (DStv channel 188).