A NEW outdoor ‘killer’ fitness craze is sweeping west Leeds.
Hundreds of people are taking part in stair running in a park, under the watchful eye of fitness coach and thai boxer Antony Newby.
They tackle the ‘Armley Park 161 killer stairs’ in droves and now the results are astonishing.
Weight loss success stories are being linked with the activity, which sees participants running up and down the ancient steps, which were built in 1893.
Antony, 43, who runs the Trailblazer Boot Camps at outdoor venues across the city, offers the stair training for free each Sunday afternoon, in a bid to promote fitness.
He said: “Keeping fit and losing weight are the main reasons people are queueing up to take the 161 killer stair challenge.
“At a recent charity event we had 250 people taking part. And the great thing is each person can take it at their own pace. I try to do five steps at a time, or some people just increase and work on what they have done the week before.”
Parks are fast becoming a preferred choice to keep fit in. Outdoor gym equipment, Park Runs and fitness training are now commonplace.
“It is suitable for all ages and fitness levels, it is an all over body workout and also a cardio workout. Some of the huge weight loss success stories we see are amazing.”
Antony, from Leeds, who also runs fitness boot camps, is registered with Leeds City Council, to instruct the outdoor class.
He also runs fitness sessions at Mike Tobins Gym near the park, where people can meet at 1.45pm on a Sunday if they wish to take part, before walking to take the challenge in nearby Armley Park,
Antony, who has been running the training sessions for 19 months, and who once managed 50 sets in one go, added: “It’s an awesome way to get fit and have fun. This includes children. Parents bring children along and they can have fun outdoors while working out together.”
One woman who says the stair running challenge has changed her life is business administrator Lindsey Telfer.
Lindsey, 43, of Wortley, said: “I run the 161 stairs regularly. I had lost three stone and then needed to get some exercise, so I thought I would try it. A friend mentioned the Armley steps challenge, so I thought I would try it.
I really like it. it is just walking or running up steps but it is good exercise.
My first week I did it five times, but each week you try, you better yourself with a new target. I can now manage about 12 or 14 times depending on how much chatter I do.
It is great for your body, mind and soul and I love it. It is also good socially and you meet lots of new friends.
“There is a link up to Facebook and people are always commenting on my status.
“Trainer Antony is a good motivator and a positive role model.”
Stair running factbox:
When you stair run for exercise, you burn twice the fat in half the time than if you run and three times more than walking.
An intense stair-running exercise session will produce more aerobic benefits in a shorter amount of time than running or walking. One hour of stair running will burn approximately 1000 calories.
Stair running is an awesome all over body workout but especially on the lower body - bum, calves, thighs and tummy.
It leverages gravity and the heavier we are, the harder we’re forced to work and the more calories we burn.
It can be done by almost anyone, regardless of fitness level.
Antony, a personal trainer, runs his Trailblazer Boot camps in Bramley Park, Hanover Square Park and other venues.
More details at the Facebook page Armley Park 161 Killer Stairs.