I saw a photo of Hywel Davies and he actually looks pretty good. He doesn't look like a long distance runner. He has good muscle tone. You won't confuse him for Dave Tate...but he looks like an athlete.
"Ultrafittest in the world
BRITAIN'S fittest man Hywel Davies has beaten off competition from around the world to win yet another top title.
And his training partner Paul Fisher was third - allowing Rugby to boast two of the world's fittest men!
Harris High School teacher Hywel, 29, and Paul, 24, who is soon to join the Marines, were taking part in the Ultrafit Challenge in Bahrain.
Hywel and other fitness title winners were invited to compete in the 'world championship' organised by Ultrafit magazine, with a first prize of short-break holidays in Ritz Carlton luxury hotels in Bahrain, Kuala Lumpur and Bali.
Held outdoors, the 90-degree afternoon heat seemed to hamper everyone except Hywel, who clocked 14-03 for the ten disciplines, the fastest it has ever been done.
Hywel's main rival, Australian Adam Horder was second in 15-16. He pushed Hywel all the way but slowed as he suffered in the heat on the treadmill. Paul, who has only been training for a year under Hywel's guidance, clocked 17-35.
Hywel was the only competitor whose time was as good as it would have been in an air-conditioned gym and he puts this down to strong mental preparation - and "what you say to yourself when the pain is escalating".
He explained: "The heat wasn't pleasant, but I knew how difficult it was going to be."
"This win was something I needed. I was thinking about giving up because there are so few competitions and all those in the last couple of years have been small scale and nothing big in terms of prizes and press coverage. I just wish there were more competitions.
"That's why it's been so good training Paul. He's going into the Marines next year and I've been trying to give him as much fitness advice as possible. There are also a lot of tricks and techniques.
"He's better at rowing and the stationary bike, which helps me train harder. Our main difference is running and we'll work on that."
Since his first competition in June, Paul has earned two third places and a fifth, even qualifying for the 'best of the best' event in December where he was seventh.
Hywel has not been beaten in any fitness competition in the last six years so the pressure is always on.
"BBC 3 came out with us to Bahrain as part of a documentary and having filmed me in the gym and at school the expectation was for me to win," he said. "I don't know what they would have done if I didn't!"
Hywel is very grateful to his school for allowing him the time to compete and hopes his success will inspire more youngsters to get fit.
With the school becoming a sports college, he would love Rugby to become a centre for cross training.
"Once we have the sports hall and all the equipment we could run fitness classes and mini competitions," he said. "The big problem with the lack of competitions is that there's nowhere to hold them."
The Ultrafit course involves ten aspects: cycling 1.5km, rowing 500m, 50 pull downs of 40kg, 60 hip flexors, 50 push-ups, 100 box step-ups holding 10kg in each hand, 60 abdominal crunches, 40 shoulder presses of 25kg, running 800m at 10% include and 40 bench presses of 40kg.
Hywel plans to go to America and have a look at their fitness tests, which are more military style, involving three minutes each at six gym stations, accumulating as high a score as possible, followed by a three minute run.
Over the winter Hywel and Paul have also been competing in the British Indoor Rowing Championships. With only the final Nottingham round to go, Hywel looks set to win the lightweight class and Paul has an outside chance of bronze in the tougher open category.
And over the summer Hywel will be turning to his other passion, cycling, where he hopes to break 20 minutes for the ten mile time trial."