Refuge Fitness Challenge—Tournament Details Posted

After some offline discussion with folks, I’ve decided to organize a bit of a hybrid golf tournament/reality gameshow/workout accountability group. A golf-less version of this was a staple on an old forum, and since actual gyms/workout groups are probably going to take a hit over the winter I figure now is as good a time as any to try this out.

From January to May, participants will have the opportunity to improve their overall health and perform various feats of fitness in preparation for the 1st Annual Refuge Biggest Loser Tournament. The more you improve your health and/or the more feats you perform, the better equipped you’ll be on tournament day.

Let’s chat the basics:

  1. Each player starts with 3 clubs in their bag (driver, 7iron, putter). To unlock each of your remaining clubs, you must hit certain benchmarks to improve your overall health and record those improvements during the final month of the challenge. These benchmarks involve bodyweight, waist circumference, lifting PRs, and run times. It will be easy to fill out some of your bag with regular diet and exercise, but should be fairly difficult to get all 14 (or potentially more if you’re a monster).
  2. The benchmarks will be based on measurements, times, and PRs taken in the month leading up to the official “start” of the contest. Documentation is highly encouraged, but like golf the Biggest Loser is a Game of Honor. Do your best on these baseline stats so that come tournament day, we really will know who the Biggest Loser is.
  3. The individual feats will range from difficult to dastardly, and result in rewards or bonuses that can be used during the tournament—these will be difficult for anyone but solid athletes to pick up and hit without some dedicated preparation. These should be a bit of a balancing mechanic since some of the proportional goals will be difficult for the more athletic members of the board to get, but will still be attainable for almost everyone involved. You can only hit each feat once to unlock the bonus, but you can do it at any point in the contest’s active timespan (TBD).

I’m still figuring out exactly what percentage benchmarks are going to unlock clubs, and making a full list of individual feats for unlocking the bonuses. If you have ideas for individual feats let me know, but I’m working with a sports clinic PT friend on healthy and realistic goals for the benchmarks themselves so we’ll just go with whatever the expert says on that front.

Examples of feats we’ve already got on the bonus list: sub-5:45 mile, 3x bodyweight deadlift for men/2x bodyweight deadlift for women, full marathon, century bike ride. I’ve got some experts from the Peloton thread working on feats incorporating those machines. Obviously it’s going to be tough for some folks in colder areas with shutdowns to get a solid place for a mile run or 5k, so treadmill times are always allowed. Like I said, feel free to post some suggestions.

Location/dates of the tournament TBD (if there is one, it may be virtual this year with some fun tee gifts like the Oil-Hardened Classic).

All of that being said, vote here to register your interest (non-binding, but this particular venture is going to be free.99 for the time being, so what’s the harm?)

  • Yes
  • No
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On an optimistic timeline, we’ll be looking to lock in weights and measurements on December 31, so no rush at all. I’ll be posting more information about the benchmarks and feats as they get finalized, and if we come up with some more ideas along the way then that’s great, too!


As with all Refuge events, we need to do this for a good cause. My first thought was the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or the National MS Society—both health-focused organizations that I’ve participated in fundraising for in the past because of friends who benefit from the research—but I’m open to suggestions for other charities we could work with.


The Anti-Bryson Invitational.


Need Bryson to #GetInvolved in this tournament so that he either slims up trying to make weight, or blows up trying to improve his deadlift by 40%


this is amazing, and i can lose a few pounds


I dig it, I might actually need to find a treadmill.

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Few ideas where weather isn’t a concern

  1. make 50 (100?) 5’ putts in a row
  2. read 25 (?) pages of a book a day for a month straight

I imagine between COVID cabin fever life and the onset of winter bulking season, there are more than a few of us in that boat

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Number of hours locked into my office chair?


To the esteemed ChariGuis.

I can’t run, because I’m old and my knees hate me. Instead, I could record lap times on my bike around the local trail system?

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We can for sure figure out some kind of accommodation for folks who, for whatever reason, can’t participate in aspects of the default setup.


Cool. Much appreciated.

I have already received multiple questions about Whoop bands. I still don’t understand exactly what those are, but perhaps one of the Five Fathers could figure out a good, Whoop-based feat (I think @Tron or @Soly talked about them a lot?). Maybe like a month in a row of a good sleep score or some kind of resting heart rate improvement.

I tend to think activity trackers do little to improve your health. I have yet to see any data that shows owning/using one over a long amount of time improves your health or weight.

Isn’t WHOOP just a fancier fitbit. How did those turn out?

I am firm believer in goal based improvement therefore I am so in.

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access to that data is another $39.99 per month.


Will there be bourbon drinking related challenges?


Can’t wait for winter rides in a hoodie and sweatpants


maybe we could have some kind of beer mile event at the equivalent of an All-Star Break


some of the best rides I’ve ever been on were during the winter.

Of course, whisky and beers were usually substantial components as well.

For the cyclists among us Functional Threshold Power improvements would be a useful metric by which to gauge ourselves.

I know there’s a pretty active Peloton community on here, too; not sure what the score they use to measure ride performance is actually called, but that might be one to consider, as well.

JDRF is actually very closely allied with cycling from a fundraising perspective so would be a natural fit.


Peloton also uses FTP - will definitely need to recalc mine before we start going off of it.

The tank is on.