Turf Talk with Miles Canning

The Turf Games partnership with performance equipment manufacturer BLK BOX has been one of our most significant and valuable to date. The company has supplied the equipment for all of our UK competitions and created some unique and fun pieces specifically for Turf Games designed workouts.

We chatted to BLK BOX team member Miles Canning, who competed in and won the MIXED ELITE team category at the Under Armour Turf Games Summer Festival, and took part in FITC 2019, on all things fitness.

Tell us what you do?

As head of Product and Brand at BLK BOX, I’m fortunate enough to spend my days working with athletes, coaches and like-minded individuals who eat, sleep and breath fitness. If we’re not training our time is spent working on creating the training environment.

Can you give us some background on BLK BOX and what they do?

In a nutshell; BLK BOX is equipment built by athletes, for athletes. We’re proud to be one of the few fitness brands in the UK with our own manufacturing facility. Based in Belfast, most of our products are produced right here in the Titanic shipyard.

What actually makes us different though is that we understand training, gyms and coaching. We know that one great product doesn’t make a great facility. That’s why we focus on offering end-to-end performance solutions. Everything from the lights, flooring, acoustics to general flow and training principles of the facility need to be considered.

Why did BLK BOX decide to partner with the Under Armour Turf Games?

Under Armour Turf Games and BLK BOX hold similar values regarding athletes and training philosophies, therefore we felt it was a natural partnership. While the Under Armour Turf Games undoubtedly attracts some of the fittest athletes and teams to their events, it was the community of the ‘everyday athletes’ that instantly made the partnership a no brainer. We believe everyone is an athlete in their own right and partnering with the Under Armour Turf Games has allowed us to give over 1000+ people the platform to prove this.

What does functional fitness mean to you?

For me, I see that there are two sides to functional fitness. One is a training methodology for people who get bored with mundane gym environments and want to build a more well-rounded degree of fitness. The other is the sport functional fitness. Competing in functional fitness I feel, is the ideal platform for those who have grown up competing in or playing sport at some level. It brings a completely new set of tests and challenges for those of who still get that competitive itch, but it’s not easy.

What does a typical week’s training look like?

In a good week, training usually consists of an early start in the gym at BLK BOX HQ for some stretching and accessory work. Then in the afternoon I would try to stick to a fairly short and sharp 45-60-minute session around 5pm. Generally, this would just be some sort of metcon with a mix of gymnastics and weightlifting. If I’m traveling though, this all goes out the window and I just jump in the nearest CrossFit class.

Where do you normally train?

BLK BOX HQ and CrossFit Berserk.

You recently competed in the Under Armour Turf Games Fittest in the City competition… where did you come on the leaderboard?

I placed in 6th FITC.

How did you find the workouts and the standard of competitors on the day?

Aside from the soul-destroying run/row as the first workout, I enjoyed the programming at Fittest in the City. It's impossible to test everything in a couple of hours but FITC was well balanced with plenty of opportunities to empty the tank. The high standard of competitors brought together from around the UK made for some epic battles, sprint finishes and saw a seriously fit handful of athletes push each other into some dark places.


You also competed in last summer’s Under Armour Turf Games Festival and your team won. Do you prefer the team comps or individual and why?

I love team competitions. When competing as part of a team I often find that I push a little harder so as not to let the guys down, whereas in individual competition you’re only really accountable to yourself.

I like also the fact that good teams aren’t always made up of the best or elite athletes. Teams that move well together, understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses and like to go for a beer together and have the craic often do pretty well.

Why is it important to have competitions in your diary throughout the year to motivate and structure your training?

Having your eye on a competition (or any sort of milestone) is always going to provide a little extra training motivation for sure. I think it’s a good thing as long as people aren’t stressing themselves out so much about the competition that they forget to actually enjoy the experience on the day.

How do the Under Armour Turf Games competitions compare to other fitness comps you’ve previously competed in?

The Under Armour Turf Games Summer Festival is 100% outdoors which in the UK, is pretty rare to see. Then as the festival name suggests, there’s definitely more of a social vibe throughout the day and into the evening. I remember in the locker room after Fittest in the City, one of the guys commented; “Was anyone else’s judge their biggest fan today? She was screaming my name louder than anyone else and I’d never met her in my life” – I thought that was pretty cool.

What is your favourite piece of equipment?

Just a barbell and some weights.

What is your go to exercise that you love doing?

I’d never say no to a squat.

Go to post workout snack?

I don’t think I have a ‘go to’ but a spoonful of peanut butter and some dark chocolate is always good.

If you could compete in any of the International Turf Games which would it be? (Sydney, LA or Dubai)


Should we put a Turf Games Ireland on the calendar?


Recommendations on places to workout if you’re in Ireland?

If you are in the north: BLK BOX HQ or CrossFit Berserk; and in the south: CrossFit Perpetua or 353.

Will we be seeing you on Team BLK BOX in 2020?

We’ll have to wait and see;-).