Former Olympic runner Nick Symmonds recently went on a body transformation, leaning down, losing fat and building muscle during quarantine — but found that the repetitive exercise and same surroundings sapped his motivation. So, when his gym reopened as lockdown restrictions began to lift, Nick decided to celebrate by working out with former heptathlete and Instagram influencer (oh, and one of the strongest people in the world), Claire P. Thomas.
Nick challenged Claire to a game of H.O.R.S.E.: Claire sets an exercise, and then Nick has to try and beat her. Whomever does the worst in an exercise gets a letter, and the first person to get five letters loses the entire game.
Claire suggests they start off with a two-lap rope-climbing race (Nick's least favorite exercise); and to make things interesting, she decides that neither of them is allowed to use their legs. "That was a good warmup," says Claire, cool as a cucumber, after winning the race.
For the second round, Nick suggests that they each max out on a set of strict pullups, which just so happen to be one of his preferred go-to moves in the gym. A strict pullup requires you to get your chin above the bar at the upper end of each rep, and full extension of the arms at the lower end. Nick manages 15 reps, but Claire beats him for a second time, performing 20 reps with perfect form.
Third, they both tackle the assault bike, which both of them admit to hating. " 30 seconds at maximum effort," says Claire. "Whoever gets the most calories wins." For the first time, Nick wins this round, with 22 calories to an incredulous Claire's 12. "I may pay the price for it in later rounds," he pants, "but I at least won one!"
For the fourth round, Nick suggests a move which is more in Claire's wheelhouse than his; the suitcase carry, using 70-pound kettlebells. He grabs his second win in this round, bringing him and Claire neck and neck with two letters each.
To try and claw back her advantage, Claire proposes they do max L-sit holds on the kettlebells for their next exercise — a staple move on her Instagram. Claire lasts 40 seconds at a perfect 90-degree angle in her hold, while Nick tries to make it to 20 seconds, but maxes out at 18.
Next up are the box jumps, with the height going up on each rep — they both make it all the way up to a 40-inch jump, and decide to quit while they're ahead rather than get too competitive and risk injury.
Nick and Claire follow this with handstand walks, an all-out sprint on the assault runner, and finish with a 100-meter hurdle race. While running is Nick's specialty (as his Olympic medal can attest), hurdling is not his event, and Claire ends up winning this final round, making him the official HORSE of the day.
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