Fandom Fitness Friday: The Legend of King Arthur

I love making themed workouts. Almost as much as I adore doing themed workouts. Last month, I started coaching online Zoom workouts for my old CrossFit box, South Island CrossFit during the coronavirus shutdown. And I decided if I’m going to lead workouts, I might as well have some fun. So I implemented Fandom Fitness Fridays. And today, my first and probably most dear to my heart fandom- The Legend of King Arthur.

What’s that you say? You thought Harry Potter was my closest and dearest fandom? Well, there would be no Harry Potter if there had been no Arthurian Legend. In fact, there wouldn’t be half the fandoms out there without King Arthur.

Hero’s Journey

The Legend of King Arthur is the first and most repeated hero tropes in fantasy. Joseph Campbell uses nearly the entirety of the Arthurian Legend to demonstrate major tropes in a hero’s journey. And they can be found in all sorts of popular fantasy stories- Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and dozens of other fantasy stories.

Basic gist of the story, see if you can find some similarities- A young man, an orphan, is found by a wise mentor, a wizard and taken on a journey to reclaim his rightful place as king of Britain. He comes across a magic special sword and is joined in his journey by a best friend, Lancelot and the beautiful Guinevere. While in the legend, Arthur marries Guinevere, he doesn’t end up with her, as her heart belongs to Lancelot.

Does any of that sound familiar?

Origin Story for my love of Fantasy

I fell in love with the Arthurian Legend way before Harry Potter was even an inkling in J.K. Rowling’s eye. The first book I ever read on the topic was called The Road to Avalon by Joan Wolf. It’s out of print now, but it was my favorite book for ages. Up until I read The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

And since then I’ve never read a Legend of King Arthur book that I didn’t like. I wish I could say the same thing for King Arthur movies. SMH. But I did enjoy the BBC television series, Merlin, even if they made Morgan Le Fay the main “bad guy”.

Okay, Monty Python and the Holy Grail was a good movie…

Morgan Le Fay is my all-time favorite literary character. Ever. Snape is a fair second, but it’s always been Morgan Le Fay for me. And I hate the trope where Morgan Le Fay is the main “baddie”. This idea was just the Middle Ages and Christian agenda that a woman in power was evil. It’s why Guinevere is “evil” for falling in love with Lancelot (but he’s not evil for falling in love with his best friend’s wife?), and why they call Morgan Le Fay a witch. But read Mists of Avalon, or Road to Avalon (if you can find a copy), and I feel you’ll agree with me. Morgan of the Fairies was not the evil temptress legend makes her out to be.

Favorite Place on Earth

The Arthurian Legend also influenced me to visit Tintagel on my very first visit to Wales. Tintagel is a beautiful castle ruins on a gorgeous cliff in a quaint little village in Cornwall, and the legendary birthplace of King Arthur. There is even a cave dubbed Merlin’s Cave.

Visiting Tintagel was a dream come true for me, gave me and my family a hilarious family-travel story we will never forget, and an urge to come back. If there was ever a “sacred space” for me outside the ocean, it would be Tintagel.

So, the legend of King Arthur holds a special place in my heart. It gave me my favorite literary character. It paved the way for Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. And it provided my favorite place on earth. Of course, when I designed Fandom Fitness, I had to create a special workout for such a special genre.

Heroic Fandom Workout

My all-time favorite game to play for a workout is Deck of Cards. Because nearly everyone on the planet has easy access to a regular deck of playing cards, and you can create a super custom-tailored workout from a deck of cards. Make each suit a different exercise (I usually make Hearts the cardio exercise, Diamonds the core exercise, Clubs the arms movement, and Spades the leg movement). Go through the deck and wallah! You have an awesome workout.

Combine my favorite workout game with my favorite and original fandom, and you have an absolutely legendary workout for a legendary literary character.

Each suit is a different exercise. If you do not have access to weights, like dumbbells or a kettlebell, you can use whatever you have available to you- I’ve even used two cans of beans. Don’t stress if you don’t have tons of workout equipment. The beauty about Fandom Fitness is we make it fun, empowering, and accessible.

Legend (wait for it)-ary Workout

  • Hearts: Knights of the Round Table Quests (shuttle sprints): Set up 2 distance markers (it can be two trees, or your workout area to down your hall). Run/jog/sprint from one distance marker to the next.
  • Diamonds: Morgan Le Fay Flutterkicks (doing both sides is 1 rep): Lie on your back with legs slightly in the air and alternate kicking up and down.
  • Clubs: Holy Grail Goblet Squats: Hold a weight in both hands at your chest like a chalice. Squat down with weight at your chest and stand back up.
  • Spades: Sword in the Stone Upright Rows: Like you are pulling the sword from the stone, bring your weights up to your chin (be careful not to hit your chin).

Joker card can be a rest card (30 seconds to get some water and catch your breath) or a bonus exercise (Camelot Cardio (50 Jumping Jacks or Jump Rope, up and down a flight of stairs, running/rowing 400 meters, or 20 burpees) or Merlin’s Man-Makers (5-10 repetitions).

The number cards will tell you how many repetitions to complete. Face cards (Jack, King, Queen) are 10. I like to make the Ace a rep count of 15.

Try to go through the entire deck as quickly as you can. Turn one card over at a time, do the exercise, and continue until you finish the deck. If you are short on time, set a timer and see how far you can go through the deck in the allotted time.

Your Heroic Journey

As always, make your workout your own. Modify the exercises as necessary or switch movements out to make it more challenging, or suit your needs more. Have fun. But be heroic. Take up your sword, and go on your own epic journey- to be the protector, with strength for two. Today, tomorrow, and forever.

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