One of the reasons I moved to Form Leeds was to make new contacts in the CrossFit sphere. One of Form Leeds’ many friends is Kitbox – a functional fitness store which sells clothing, footwear, supplements, and accessories. When the opportunity came up to test out some of their up and coming kit at a Ninja Warrior course, and within a brand new CrossFit facility I couldn’t turn it down…
Kitbox contacted one of Form Leeds’ owners Stu and asked if him and I were free to go through and take part in a photo shoot at Total Ninja Manchester followed by M-Squared Fitness. The photoshoot was for their newest up and coming products. The plan was to meet and have fun at Total Ninja and then throwdown at M-Squared Fitness to test and feedback about the kit.
We arrived at Total Ninja a little bit early and were pretty much the first to arrive along with the bearded legend Rich Hill. I hadn’t looked at the facility before arriving and thought it would just be a gym with a few Ninja obstacles within it. I was wrong. It is a state of the art facility which is the UK’s first, and the World’s largest Ninja Park – 40,000 Square feet. It is huge! I could not believe my eyes and immediately became like a kid. I was so excited to try out the Spider Wall, Ring sliders, Warped Wall, Jump Tower, Sea of Swings, Tilting Beams, Rolling Logs, Scramble Net, Quad Steps, Sea of Doors, Floating Bridge and Foam Pits.
The facility was separated into two parts. A children’s and training area and then a more advanced adults area. We went upstairs on the mezzanine to meet the Kitbox team. The mezzanine separated the two sides and provided a Japanese café which seated around 150 people. Stu introduced me to Paul and the rest of the Kitbox team, and we grabbed a coffee while we waited for everyone else to turn up. Eventually, everyone turned up including Rhi Pearson, Fran Calvert, John (The Lean Machines) and Victoria Spence. Who’d have thought that I’d be throwing down with people who have 10’s of thousands of followers and someone who’s on the latest Lucozade advert?
The Kitbox briefing about the kit and expectations throughout the day got underway, and before we knew it we were passed a huge paper bag with our name on. It was full of Kitbox’s latest goodies! We had two full outfits included along with added gym equipment. For the Ninja Course, I chose to go all Hurley. I wore the Hurley Alpha Training shorts, and Hurley plain t-shirt with Inov8 Flite 235 v2 and of course Stance socks. I had previously worn the Inov8 Flite 235 and stance socks before and knew these were more than capable of taking on the ninja course, but I was interested in seeing how the Hurley clothing performed. I had seen a few CrossFitters wearing it and I’m not usually a fan of board type shorts and prefer the elasticated waistband. But I put those thoughts to the back of my head and went to test myself on the ninja course.
To my surprise although the Hurley shorts were a shortened leg and tight to my quads they weren’t at all restrictive and had a little give. These are legit training shorts. The t-shirt was super soft and hardwearing. The t-shirt also allowed my body to breath well in the sweaty circumstances. The stance socks were as expected super comfy and the Inov8’s tore up the Ninja wall run, floating bridge and sea of doors for grip and durability. The only thing which let Kitbox down was my ninja skills. I always struggle with grip, whether it’s pull-ups or farmers carries and this transfers onto the grippy ninja obstacles. My favourite piece of kit was the bits which required no handgrip, like the running wall and the running rollers. After a barrel of laughs and plenty of ninja fails it was lunchtime in the Japanese Café. Everyone had a different kit and reflected on what they had been wearing. I couldn’t complain at any bits of my Hurley, Stance or Inov8 kit. The Japanese mixed meat noodles went down a treat and prepped us for what was to be a tough gym session at M-Squared Manchester.
M Squared Fitness
No-one wanted to leave the ninja course, but I was looking forward to being in a more comfortable environment – a CrossFit gym. After a 10 minute drive down the road, we arrived at M-Squared Fitness, Manchester. It was nestled in an old industrial estate and didn’t look like anything from the outside. But when we walked I walked through the door it was a total hidden gem of a gym. It was a lot bigger than it looked and had was well furnished. The kitchen and bathroom areas were impressive and had a nice finish to them. Em Saville owns M-Squared Fitness and had an amazing session ready for us to complete.
It was in teams of four complete one each for a team max:
– 1RM deadlift
– 1RM back squat
– 1RM clean
– 1RM snatch
After this it was a 24-minute EMOM style workout teams of four for total reps:
– 20 Wall Balls
– 200m row
– 15 burpees
– 1-minute rest
This was good programming as it allowed the Ninja Warrior athletes to get a taste of CrossFit style workouts without much complexity.
I decided to change into my ICANIWILL camo shorts and red Inov8 t-shirt, with matching stance socks. I kept my Inov8 Flite 235 v2 on for the lifting and the workout to give them a lifting road test. I knew they were awesome in workouts from previous uses, but had never lifted heavy in them.
Before I knew it, me and Stu were at 90kg snatches and both hadn’t missed a lift yet. We then hit 95kg and then 100kg. I then loaded on 105kg for a PB snatch. I hit it first time. What a feeling. It felt awesome to hit a +2.5kg snatch PB. Stu then went onto hit 105kg as well. We loaded up 110kg. I managed to get under the bar after a huge pull, but tried to bounce out of the lift and lost the bar forwards. After this, I didn’t get under the bar again on two more attempts. Next time I’ll set myself in the catch before standing it up.
I was happy with 105kg snatch. The other boys in my team (Joe Cowen and Josh Saville) went on to a massive 170kg and 140kg cleans respectively. They both wanted to clean and so they did. Joe’s 170kg clean is the most I have seen anyone clean with my own eyes. It was epic. I wouldn’t have even back squatted that weight.
We only had three guys in our team due to someone in the group sitting out for the workout, so Kitbox’s Simon Davidson jumped in for the 24-minute EMOM.
This was as sweaty as it sounds and we did our best to keep up the tempo. We held onto a good pace and all got a good sweat on showcasing what all of the Kitbox products can do. It was such a fun session and day with everyone.
The ICANIWILL camo shorts were durable and stretchy enough to manage all the heavy lifts and a rancid EMOM. The inov8 red tri-blend t-shirt didn’t stay on long for the sweaty workout, but coped well with the lifts superbly and didn’t restrict any movement.
Thanks to Kitbox for inviting me to a fun-filled day of kit testing and allowing me to meet a lot of new people with similar mindsets in fitness. I learned a lot from the Ninja Warrior guys about grip and movement and got to see a 170kg clean, which was mega.
Bring on the next one.