RSS Feed

Luke vs Heron Tower (video)


Are you a Red Bull zombie in the morning?

ZOMBIES LOVE SMOOTHIES by davecobb (via flickr)

On my commute to work yesterday morning, I looked around at the sleepy commuters and spotted no less than three cans of Red Bull being consumed.

I wonder if they were reading the same article as me in the Metro about young people and their use of energy drinks?

According to research by Mintel:

  • Young people rely on energy drinks to keep them going or improve their mood with three in four now drinking them.
  • Two thirds of 16-24 year olds say they use energy drinks to enhance performance at work or while studying.
  • Energy drinks highlight a generation difference with fewer than a third of the 55-and over age group consuming them, according to research.
  • Almost 6 in 10 users admit drinking them to get through a tiring day, while about half use them to wake up or to ‘pick-up’ their mood.

While it’s tempting to look for the quick fix when under pressure or tired, there are healthier and more sustainable alternatives than pricey ‘energy’ drinks.

Here are my five steps to injecting more pep into your step:

  1. Sleep: Get 8 hours of good quality sleep every night.
  2. Eat:  5-6 small healthy nutritious meals every day at regular times.
  3. Exercise: Every day for a minimum of 40 minutes
  4. Drink: Don’t get excited-we’re talking water here! Drink little and often. There is no exact amount per person as everyone’s different. However, if your mouth and lips are dry you’re already showing signs of dehydration. Also, we all wake in a state of dehydration so to combat this drink a glass of warm lemon water first thing every morning. The lemon juice will help to cleanse, detoxify and alkalise your system, while the water will rehydrate you and quench your thirst.
  5. Rest: Schedule “down time” to relax, play with the family or simply sit and “be”. We should all take (at the very least) one day off work every week. This practice alone will help improve your mood/energy levels and keep your mind focused and alert.
Simple, eh? I have no doubt that if we followed those five steps, the world would be a far happier, healthier and responsible place.
Luke Grainger is a fitness consultant and author. Contact Luke at info[at]

Becoming a stair climbing machine before Saturday

Keep Calm posterLess than one week to go before the Faas Climb!

To tackle these 888 steps I’m going to have to become a stair climbing machine.

I’ve got less than a week to do it in and a nagging ankle injury that will (no doubt) give me some grief along the way. I decided to consult with some of the fitness professionals I work with for any useful advice they could offer.

I explained many stairs needed to be climbed, my target finish time, how the event will be staged (we go in waves instead of all at once, dependent on our “predicted” finish time), etc – I then asked each one the following question:

What should I focus on in order to get the best possible time on this climb?

Here, next to the names of the trainers, are their (helpful?) answers:

  • “Bench press. Do loads of it. The bigger you are the better..” – Dave
  • “Do something that involves your legs!” – Chrissie
  • “Eat”  – Tim
  • “I find that playing games on my iPad helps”  – Lawrence
  • “A couple of pints laced with shots will get you up those stairs, mate” – Ryan

As you can see, my colleagues are fountains of knowledge, so I decided to train for the climb as follows:

  • Single leg work: Squats, deadlifts, step-ups
  • Stair climb: Either Angel or Mansion house tube station’s as they have pretty huge staircases
  • Back and arm work: I will be putting as much work through my back and arms as possible on the climb. The more stress I can take from my legs the better. I will do this by pulling myself up and along with the bannister as much as possible.
  • Treadmill hill climbs – Mostly for my cardiovascular fitness and endurance. The incline will be ramped-up as much as possible over extended periods of time.
Have any of you ever done a challenge like this? How dd you prepare? What was it like? I’d love to know what worked (or didn’t) for you.
(I’ve also reached almost half of my target for Cancer Research UK, so do help me get the rest of the way by making a small donation. Thank you!)

Lunch at the top of the Heron Tower anyone?

Tall, isn't it?

Spotted this earlier. Crazy.

The photo – modelled on Charles C Ebbets’s famous 1932 original, Lunch atop a Skyscraper – was taken by Michael Crompton, 61, as he worked on Heron Tower in central London last year. The 46-floor building is the third tallest in the capital.

Luckily, I’ll be on the inside of the Heron Tower when I do the Faas Climb challenge.

Source: Daily Mail


Sidestepping security was the least of my problems

Sadly, my visit to Heron Tower did nothing to distil my fears. If anything, it compounded them!

First I had to get past the rather impressive gauntlet of security; a rather large and inquisitive porter called Peter, a well-dressed security guard on the inside of the revolving doors and a complex three-tiered receptionist system.

After managing to get past all of these by saying that I was here to ‘take a look at the layout of the stairwell’ and ‘take some pictures too’, a rather serious looking man appeared. I came clean and he very kindly showed me towards the starting point of the run, deep in the basement of the tower.

While dazzling the maintenance manager (he looked a bit bored really) with my graceful ‘trial strides’ up the stairs and around the corners, I managed to take some pictures.

Wrecked already!

The stairs looked eerie. Tall and menacing with 9 steps on the straights and 4 steps on the turns between landing areas, they sat, both mocking and silent. In short, the stairwell is glass and stainless steel throughout.

If the 29/10/11 is even a mildly warm day, then I pity everyone taking part. Just walking up two flights I could really feel the heat.

You can sponsor me over at JustGiving or if you’re in the UK,  text MDAV83 £5 to 70070

At the top!

The Gherkin

“How are you planning on climbing Heron Tower?”

I entered the Faas Climb a short while ago and have been rather blasé about the whole thing. Now that I have begun to write this blog I now am afraid.

You see, while completing the application form, you get asked a simple question:

 “How are you planning on climbing Heron Tower?”

Underneath there’s a drop-down box with three options:

  • Elite Run – Under 6 minutes
  • Run – 7 – 20 minutes
  • Walk – More than 21 minutes

Being a competitive sod, I naturally clicked the first tab without a moments hesitation or thought…


Then I received the following email:

Hi Luke,

It’s 37 floors and quite hard to put a time on it as it’s the first time it’s ever been done at Heron Tower. We walked the route in 25minutes and that was with stops. From other runs it seems to be about 15 mins – I would imagine you could do it in that time if you are extremely fit.

Faas Climb team

15 minutes!! If I’m ‘extremely fit’!  To pacify myself I have decided to visit Heron Tower in person – to know thy enemy – in the hope that I will feel slightly better having seen the staircase, gauged the size of the tower in person and generally gotten a feel for the place.

I’ll keep you posted

I’m going to take this challenge for Cancer Research UK. I lost my gran, Daisy Betty, to cancer so I’ll do this in her honour.

You can sponsor me any amount (however small) to help me reach my target of £200.

You can also sponsor me by texting MDAV83 £5 to 70070.

Climbing the tallest building in the City of London in 6 minutes? Easy*

*Well, it’s easy if you take the lift.

Heron Tower, City of London

The Heron Tower, all 46 floors, 888 steps of it.

I’ve just signed up for the Faas Climb which involves joining 799 other people as we attempt to run/walk/crawl all 888 steps or 37 of the 46 floors of Heron Tower.

It’s the tallest building in the City of London!

Over the next month I will do everything in my power to get up Heron Tower as quickly as possible. I will keep you posted once or twice a week via this blog. You can keep a closer eye on my progress (or lack there of) by following me on twitter – @ybny_luke – where I will keep you intimately updated on all the little annoyances/personal victories and heartache that I encounter along the way.