Anna-Lisa Paul and Bobie-Lee Dixon
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Go hard or go home!
Team Guardian Media Ltd (GML), is at it again. But this year members say they are more confident and more equipped to take on the anticipated Hardcore Caribbean 2014 event, where they hope to defy an intricate obstacle course that will test their strength, endurance, fitness but most of all, their bond as a team. As one member put it, either you go hard or go home.
As they gear up, the public can see behind the scenes of the team’s preparation for the August 10 challenge in a series of five minute programmes that will be aired on CNC 3’s Morning Brew every Friday until the last week before Hardcore.
In an interview with the T&T Guardian, series producer and team member Akeisha Francis said the series was much more than publicity for the network. She said the intention of the reality series was to show the team’s growth over the weeks, but more importantly to showcase the evolution and progress that individual members are making.
“The team is so much bigger this time around since we opened it up to all GML employees, we moved from having 13 members from CNC3 last year to 25—a significant increase. With the addition we have gained such an interesting group of personalities,” she said.
“Extending the team has also created a sense of familiarity among staff. Awkwardly enough, even though we all work in the same building, everybody does not know everybody. So this was a great opportunity to put names to faces,” said Francis.
She added the training which is done three days a week has also allowed workers to bond more in the work place and even beyond the office.
“People who never hung out with each other before are doing it now. They organise limes outside the office and that too helps with building team spirit. This is what we absolutely need to be successful at the challenge this year.”
Francis said there are times when personalities have clashed and tempers have flared, but it’s never enough to break up the team.
“This is really what we wanted to project to the viewing audience through the series. Maybe viewing our series have in some way has been a form of encouragement to other teams. It certainly has been encouraging to our members.”
Getting to know the team
The series has been a very interesting watch for viewers who have seen Team GML members passing tough fitness tests, doing a yoga class, sitting through nutrition workshops and venturing on a difficult hike to Saut D’Eau, the CNC3 reality series covers the GML Hardcore Caribbean team’s preparation from start to finish.
The public saw the less graceful team members who may have had to tighten their co-ordination skills, the drama queens, the group clown, the team player and the highly self-motivated who are the team’s inspiration.
One of those inspirational team members is Sherwin Arthur who entered the challenge in 2013, but had to drop out after his doctor advised him to discontinue to prevent serious injury to his bad knee.
Arthur, a marketing executive who has been battling with weight problems for some time, said after having to quit last year, he was certain that he wanted to have a go again this year. He says the challenge is more than just about the competition, it is about achieving a personal goal.
“There is a place I want to reach in my personal and physical life and I felt now was the right time to join the team. I felt that commitment was necessary not just to be a part of the team but to make that change in my personal life.”
He said he was also doing it to destroy the stigma attached to overweight people.
“Whether it is walking into a store and being told right away they don’t have what you are looking for in your size, without even giving you a fitting, or you are told you have to pay for the next seat when you're travelling, these are the kinds of issues people like me face everyday,” he said. “I am hoping that through this challenge people can see we are very much normal people like everyone else and we can do it all once we put our minds to it," said Arthur.
Since taking on the Hardcore challenge this year, Arthur has lost a significant amount of weight. He is also on a special diet with his meals prepared by Jody White, director of fitness solutions company, Slim Down 360. White is also the team's trainer and one of its sponsors. The GML team is also sponsored by Carib Light and CNC3.
When the T&T Guardian spoke with White he said Arthur's commitment to his goal is proving itself in the changes his body has already begun to make and the determination he exhibits in his quest.
"Sherwin is a fella who rises to the occasion all the time. I have seen Sherwin injure his knee on a run that we did, but he found a stick and limped out the rest of his challenge, and that tells me he has sheer determination and the ability to do anything he sets his mind to," said White.
"My mantra is to go hard or go home!" Arthur said.
Meet the Trainer
White is not a lenient trainer. Three things matter to him— obedience, team work and results.
Some of the team often think he pushes them too hard and they say this on the series. But the hands-on White, insists excellent results require excellent preparation.
The 27-year-old personal fitness trainer and nutrition coach walks the team carefully through their required diet. He ensures members get a full range of workouts during their three days of training. From indoor to outdoor exercises, White also exposed Team GML to practice sessions with Central FC football club and the Special Olympics athletes as part of their training. They are also going to do a few sessions with the Tribe Aquaholics Dragon Boat racing team on July 27.
In a telephone interview, White said it was important that the members followed the specific dietary guidelines to be successful at their workouts.
He said all participants had been advised to keep their caloric intake high enough to sustain their workouts. They were also taught about balancing meals and understanding when and what to eat.
"Before they work out they must ensure they eat carbohydrates, that helps with endurance and after workouts they must eat protein to help in repairing the muscles," explained White.
He added, the members have also been taught to eat several small meals throughout the day; every three to four hours. This is to ensure they have enough energy to go through an entire workout and the recovery period. He also advised that alcohol consumption should be minimal or not at all.
"If they fail to follow these guidelines it will hamper their overall performance. You simply won't get the best out of your training."
White said, however, he was happy to say that the majority of the team was doing extremely well, even some of the new members who were inexperienced have managed to impress him.
"I was really worried when we started training three months ago that some of the team members from last year might not have been keeping up their fitness levels, but I was really impressed that they actually were, because they fell right back into the training quite easily. We even had a few members who dropped out last year, returned this time and have gone all the way. So overall I would say we have a pretty good team."
According to their website, Hardcore Caribbean is the region’s “biggest and baddest adventure challenge.”
It started in 2012, and the Trinidad leg is featured on the ESPN sports network.
Participants face over 20 water and land-based military-style obstacles over a course that’s five miles long.
This year the event’s organisers have decided to keep the challenge open, making it more of a personal challenge than a competition.
There is a Jamaica leg which takes place on October 4 in Jamaica.
For more information, visit the site at www.hardcorecaribbean.com.
GML Hardcore Team
Jody White -Trainer