“I often get asked what gave me the inspiration to start my event over 20 years ago (The Hampshire XTC known as the best around), well, for that I have to go back to the late eighties – I had not long left the armed forces and was of course very much into keeping active and healthy, whilst also looking for different types of challenges to enter. It was at this time that I discovered the Ultra-FIT cross training competitions, which were gaining in popularity and were attended by many of the fittest male and female athletes across the country.
I joined the fire service in 1991 and started to run small challenges on the station every few months. This progressed into a 5/6 discipline course consisting of mainly bodyweight exercises and Concept Rowers which were attended by a handful of Fire-Fighters in the local area. This created a friendly rivalry whilst also improving the fitness levels of those involved and was the main driver behind the challenges.
It became clear that I needed to make the event a little more challenging, introduce new exercises and move to a larger floor space area, as now, friends, family and local gym members wanted to become involved. I introduced bikes, treadmills, step-ups and barbell exercises to add both variety and a greater challenge to all. The event moved around the county of Hampshire for a few years with me trialling different combinations of 10 discipline courses annually. I wanted to make the events open to all ages and fitness levels, so began to introduce age categories and different levels, which included Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced courses.
These changes have seen the competition move from a handful of Fire-fighters to 167 competitors from across Britain and Europe with ages between 13 – 71 years. I have now seen past entrants introduce their sons and daughters to the events, which in turn has led to an increase in the health and fitness of these families as the friendly rivalry continues.
I am fortunate in the fact that I have found a permanent home for the event (Virgin Active – Hedge End, Southampton) with access to all of their equipment, which were two of the main obstacles I found when starting on this Journey. Also teaching a class there has allowed me to introduce Cross Training to a wider audience which in turn has lead to the club benefiting from the sense of excitement, morale and ownership this brings.
In preparing for the event you need to put the competitors at the heart of everything. All individuals want consistency when competing, so I place a great deal of importance on ensuring the judging is both fair and supportive. The evening after party is always popular for both the competitors, supporters, volunteers and gym members and provides them with an opportunity to share experiences, exchange training routines and of course bragging rights.
Over the years the event has supported many local and national charities including the Fire-Fighters charity and ‘Help for Heroes’ with an estimated £200,000 being raised through the generosity of gym goers and their families.
We have been fortunate to see many of the best gym athletes come from Virgin Active Southampton many of whom I have personally developed through my classes and training plans. I am passionate in developing talent through unlocking potential, encouraging confidence and making training both tough and enjoyable” Ty Whitlock May 2013
Ty Whitlock is the Hampshire XTC. His passion and commitment for Cross Training, exceptional competition and the development of Gym Athletes is matched by very few. People that have been able to share and be part of Ty’s passion, unquestionably feel very fortunate. His passion and commitment will continue to attract, inspire, challenge and develop both current and future Gym Athletes.