The Turf Games

Over the past few months we’ve been seeing a load of social media posts and pictures cropping up about something called the Turf Games. Frankly, we thought it looked amazing. Some of the fittest athletes from around London taking part in what looks like the most gruelling and competitive workout sessions we’ve seen for a hell of a long time some time. We needed to know more. Who are these people? How fit do you need to be? Where do we get hold of those awesome T-shirts?

We got hold of co-creator Andrew Manteit to find out more about the events and what he has planned for the Turf Games in the future.

You set up the Turf Games in September last year (2017). What were your main aims behind the event?

Initially the events started as a way to connect with the London male fitness community, create content and get the Active Man name out to the world through Instagram. I didn’t set out with a clear goal or plan of what may be the outcome. All I knew is whatever I did, I needed to provide value to the guys attending and make sure we were different from the standard workouts people could get elsewhere. I knew that competition was something that was lacking in the fitness scene – while there are loads of ‘group’ classes, in many of them you are still training by yourself – I wanted to make whatever we did about being part of a team and building a community that way.

What kind of people have you had compete in the event?

The Turf Games has predominately been targeted towards ‘elite’ athletes – we have had ex England 7’s players, ex international rowers, amateur athletes and some of London’s top Personal Trainer’s. Most, if not all of the guys, have come from a team sporting background and thrive on the challenge and comradery that the Turf Games gives them. We will be doing our first Turf Games for the girls on April 14th.

Who can take part in future Turf Games and what level of fitness do people need to be?

We are going to make the Turf Games this summer a lot more accessible. We will still maintain the elite level competition which will be the showcase, but will open it up to ‘everyday athletes’. As we don’t do gymnastic or weightlifting styles of workouts, anyone who has been to a gym or enjoys to work out will be able to take part. We will scale the workouts accordingly in terms of weight etc, so the stronger you are the more reps or quicker the time you can complete the movement, but everyone will be able to complete and compete in some capacity. The goal is to unite the fitness community through inclusive team based competition, scaled for various levels. This is definitely not CrossFit. I guess you could call the Turf Games a fusion of ‘strong man’ and functional movement training.

What kind of exercises can teams expect to find in the Turf Games?

All workouts have a measureable output. Favourites of the Turf Games, in terms of machines are rowing machines, assault bikes and ski ergs. These are easily used to measure distance or calories a team can achieve in a set period of time. We usually include one of these machines on a station which may also have a static hold with a bar, or something more functional like wall balls/prowler pushes. Other movements we have done to date include, running, tyre flips, deadlifts, dumbbell snatches, sand bag carries, burpees, box jumps, bench press, push ups, sit ups – pretty much movements anyone can do – we just scale the weight/time accordingly. Exercises are grouped together on particular stations to really challenge people and get them working as a team. Strategy has a big part to play in winning the workouts and we tend to find those who have done a few of sessions know how get the team working more efficiently

What are your hopes for the event in the future?

The plans for the event in the future is to make them a lot bigger and cater to a wider audience. We are doing our first international Turf Games in New York on March 25th this year. 15 Active Man Athletes, split into 3 teams of 5, will compete against 15 guys from New York. The goal of this is to generate some (friendly) inter-city rivalry and continue to do these events more often. We are planning a large style ‘Turf Games Festival’ in June this year (see below). The goal is to make the Turf Games a go to fitness competition and seen as a great platform for everyday and elite level athletes to test themselves and open up new ways of training.

How can people get involved?

We have just announced our summer Turf Games Festival which will be held at Rosslyn Park on the 8th and 9th of June. The Friday night will be a Corporate event – The City’s Fittest’ with companies from London and beyond submitting teams. This will be a charity event with all prize money going to a great cause. The Saturday will have ‘everyday athlete’ and ‘elite athletes’ battling it out in 6 arenas. We are working with some of London’s top studios to bring this concept to life in the summer. We will also have some food and drinks brands there, as well as other some other wellness/fitness brands exhibiting. If you follow our socials @theactiveman @teamathleticlife and @activeinstyle, you will be able to hear about all that is going on.

Would you say the Turf Games are focused on a particular type of athlete?

The Turf Games isn’t necessarily focused on any particular type of athlete as such, as the people competing now all come from varied backgrounds. The early adopters have really been those that love being part of a team and also the adrenaline competition gives you. The body shape of those competing is the traditional athletic build, we aren’t trying to attract ex body builders or weightlifters, rather those that have a well-rounded athletic build and have a mix of cardio fitness and strength.

Any advice on training for the event?

Training for a Turf Games event needs to be quite varied, but really needs to involve pushing your ‘engine’ to the limit, as well as strength. Most blocks, or structures we run are anywhere between 5-10 minutes, then few minutes rest and go again. While this doesn’t sounds like much, when you are pushing your body both with weight and aerobically, and trying to get your best score, you will be pretty gassed, no matter how fit you are. Doing little mini circuits when you are training, incorporating the full body – say 500m row, kettle bell swings and push press, for say 3 rounds are a great way to test yourself. But to be honest – no one will push yourself as hard as someone else will push you. To really step the training up, schedule in a fortnightly/monthly workout with a few mates, maybe 15 minute AMRAP or three or four 8 minute stations, measure each output and make it a mini competition.

What’s your favourite training track?

Big fan of Linkin Park – In The End. Has been one of my go to tracks for over a decade now.

For more information on the 2018 Turf Games events, head over to the website here. You can see what previous Turf Games events were like in these handy videos as well.

Picture credits: Active Man, Turf Games