Michelle Walmsley – My Journey To Survival Of The Fittest

I signed up for MHSOTF after last years event. The Paramount Fitness team were gushing with pride, which encouraged me to make it my goal to do the same. I had only been at PF for a few months, but knew I had a year to train.

Then at the end of January I had an accident. I fell off a table which resulted in a fractured wrist. It was a set back, but I decided to continue with my training and returned to boot camp after two weeks. Then a week after that I woke with a pain in my shoulder, which became unbearable. I was put on strong pain killers, and after a week of it becoming worse, to the point of being unable to get up even to use the toilet, the emergency doctor transferred me to the hospital. It was the worst time in my life, I felt like a prisoner in my own body, unable to do anything for myself. I have always been independent, and private. I work in care, but it was so difficult being the patient and not the carer, I now realise how vulnerable and helpless people on the other side feel.

At the hospital I had various tests which concluded I had extensive muscle oedema/infection, and a diagnosis of acute brachial plexus neuritis was eventually reached. I was put on loads of drugs, and antibiotics. After nine days I was able to sit up for short periods, and I was allowed home. Recovery was slow, and I returned to work gradually after 4 months off whilst having physiotherapy. After 6 months the physio was happy with my progress and I was allowed to train again.


When I first went back to boot camp it was quite daunting, but Lee, Corey and Chelsi were great, they adapted the exercises so that I wasn’t putting pressure on my wrist/shoulder. This was the same time that the 12 week SOTF preparation started. At that time I never dreamed I would actually be taking part, but as time went on I started to incorporate some of it into my training routine. Then I started to believe I may actually be able to attempt the course!

I had a lot of encouragement form the staff and members of Paramount fitness, but I never dare discuss it with my friends and family outside of training. Most of them didn’t know I was doing it until they saw the video online after.

The days leading up to the event I was so nervous, to the point where on the day I was sick! I started to feel better when I saw all the familiar faces from Paramount Fitness, with all their words of encouragement. I had been concerned that my upper body strength was not back to what it was, and that I still cannot fully weight bear on my wrist, but Lee put my mind at rest saying that there were plenty of people who would help along the way. He was so right! Lots of people helped me, some I knew, others strangers, who helped push me, pull me, up, down, and through the course! The only obstacles I didn’t complete were the monkey bars, and the climbing wall where you had to weight bear one hand at a time. I even managed to pull myself up the ramp with the rope, which I’m very proud of!


I found the running very hard, particularly at the beginning, but I knew it would be, as I hadn’t prepared enough due to the circumstances, but once I got to the obstacles I loved it! I even got excited about sliding into the River Trent! It was freezing cold, but strangely refreshing!

Survival of the Fittest was a massive challenge for me, and now that I have done it I know that anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it. It is a great feeling, and I am so glad I didn’t give in. It just shows how, with the right advice, nutrition, and effort our bodies can recover, and then be pushed to the limit within a short space of time. I would never have done this before joining Paramount Fitness, and without the dedicated staff and members of the #TeamPF family!