19-year-old British Military Fitness member, Caine Johnson from Horley in Surrey, had always been keen to pursue a career in the military. And when the opportunity arose to try out Channel 4’s SAS Who Dares Wins, Caine saw it as a chance to see where his limits were and if a military career was really for him. The programme, which was filmed over eight days in Wales, saw five ex Special Forces personnel pushing 30 men to their physical and mental limits by completing a condensed version of the selection process used for the SAS.
With just 30 recruits chosen out of the 6,000 that applied, the selection process was rigorous and involved physical and psychological tests, as well as interviews and medical checks. The physical challenges involved with SAS Who Dares Wins were nothing short of extreme, with participants being made to perform endurance tasks such as intense “relentless” runs, as well as push ups between train tracks and extreme obstacle courses. In addition, those taking part had to face sleep deprivation, food deprivation and several mental challenges such as memorizing and being tested on half of the JCB user manual!
A member of British Military Fitness for three years, Caine increased his training sessions with BMF in Priory Park in Reigate to give him the much needed experience in training outdoors to build his endurance and strength. Working in teams at BMF sessions also helped Caine to prepare for the show, as opposed to those who were used to training independently, since working within a unit was a major part of the challenge.
Caine commented: “Two weeks prior to the show I was sent my boots along with a compass. I began eating much more frequently to put on some additional weight to help me deal with the endurance side of the challenge, as well as developing some additional strength. I even went to Pen Y Fan to practice my map reading skills as I had a hunch they would take us there! I also went on regular runs with my boots and a weighted burgeon through rivers and up hills.
“I trained six days per week, three of which were with BMF, which is a regime I still stick to now. BMF classes allowed me to not only build my endurance, but improve my strength and speed too, all the while having a great time with other like-minded people. Being used to training outside with BMF rather than being stuck in a gym also helped, as I was already accustomed to this aspect of the SAS challenge by the time I tried out for the show.
“During the show we would take part in challenges such as carrying burgeons weighing 35-40 pounds across long distances and even across Pen Y Fan (my hunch was correct)!
“One of the most challenging parts was, without a doubt, “The Sickener” on days three and four. We were taken out at first light for an extremely intense PT session, then told we could go and eat, only to be told 20 seconds later to go and repeat the PT session. This happened three times consecutively until we were told “this will not stop until the weak members drop out”, which forced a lot of tension in the group. After seven long hours of this, a few recruits had dropped out and we were then asked to do the same routine but now with 45 pounds on our backs – all in the blistering summer heat!
Caine, who is now currently partway through the process of becoming a Royal Marine, added: “All of this said, I would absolutely do the whole thing again given the chance! There are so many incredible memories from the experience, but those moments of sheer pride after completing each task are the moments that really stand out. Training with others and keeping each other motivated was one of the most rewarding aspects of the entire experience.”
Fantastic work Caine, and we wish you the very best of luck with your Royal Marine training programme.
To find out more about British Military Fitness, please visit: www.britishmilitaryfitness.com or simply join us for a free trial class.