Already on SAS Australia, we've seen the recruits go through some extremely gruelling mental and physical challenges. Most of which those of us sitting on our couch at home watching could never even begin to imagine undertaking (jumping out of a helicopter into a freezing-cold lake, anyone?!).
It got us thinking, how does one prepare for going on such a wild reality TV show? To find out more, we chatted to 98 Riley Street's, Kev Toonen who trained Candice Warner in preparation for the series, and all we'll say is ooft, we're sweating just reading it.
PS: How did Candice's training change in the lead up to SAS Australia?
Kev: Her training had to increase and we needed to up the volume, intensity and load of her weekly sessions. We had to progressively over months adapt her body so that she had the ability to handle the conditions on the show, I really focused on increasing her strength.
PS: The challenges on the show are unlike anything the average trainer/person would usually do. How did you know what kind of training she would need?
Kev: My background allowed me a unique insight into what she was undertaking, I spent just under 20 years within the Army, and for the last few years of my service I was involved in selection and training for Units that the show tries to emulate. I knew she would need a large increase in lower and upper body strength to be able to cope, as well as increasing her muscular endurance.
PS: How did you ensure her body could withstand the physical strain of the show?
Kev: The strain of the show is best described as a culminating stress. Each day on its own isn't that hard but the relentless physical stress/strain that it places on the body day after day is the issue. So, I worked hard on making sure she was ready for that stress; progressively overloading her body over months, letting her adapt to the training and then upping the tempo volume again and again until she was comfortable with large amounts of stress on her body. Here I am talking about stronger bones, ligaments, tendons and her bodies ability to recover…bullet proofing her before she went on.
PS: Is that kind of training realistic to maintain?
Kev: It's important to remember that we built this type of training up over 6 months, it didn't just happen overnight. The show itself placed even more stress on her than the training, which means her body adapted again and she's now even more comfortable with it all. For her it's realistic, but we don't just go 100 percent every session, rest and recovery is a major part of performance.
PS: What was your main goal when you were training Candice, did you have a benchmark of what you guys wanted to achieve with her training?
Kev: I tested her the first day in, we looked at where she was physically and then from there I reverse engineered a training program that would see her improve. Each person is different and Candice came in at a decent standard, its also very important to note she has a mindset that can't be overlooked, she's driven and will happily do the work. That what makes the difference. In the end, I wanted her strong, strong so she could walk long distances with a pack and then do more, I wanted her to be able to confident that she could physically take on any task and come out still strong and healthy. I wanted her standing at the end.
PS: Do you think that this kind of training also helped prepare Candice with the mental endurance she needs on SAS?
Kev: Candice is one of the strongest people I know, she is resilient, determined, empathic and has a drive that not many others do. She was a professional Ironwoman at 14 years old . . . we just made sure she was firing all the time.
PS: Can you talk us through Candice's training regime?
Kev: We did 3x days of Strength training, squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, push-ups, bench press etc. Then 2x longer distance running sessions plus 1-2 loaded walks (heavy pack walks up and down hills for 90 mins plus). We also made sure we did some sessions fatigue, and in the rain, you need to have already been stress inoculated to those things, so you have the ability to push past it all when it arrives again.
PS: What did a day on a plate look like for Candice during training?
Kev: We enlisted the help of our 98 Training Dietician, but the simplest way to look at is, to get stronger, fitter and faster you need to eat, you need to eat more calories than you are using. You can't sustain the training if you haven't got the fuel to use when you need it. Simple is best, a balanced day making sure she was hydrated and fuelled according to the sessions we had planned for that day.
Scroll to see pics of Candice training for SAS Australia.