Personal trainer and nutrition coach Adrian Betts and his wife, Amanda, are heading to Finland to represent Australia at the Wife Carrying World Championships. FOCUS finds out what Wife Carrying actually is and how they got this far.
What is your connection to the Coffs Coast?
Amanda and I moved to Bellingen from Sydney almost two years ago. We decided to get out of the city to raise our little girl and have a more country style life. You know, veggie garden, chooks, small town where you know most people, great supportive community …
What in the world is wife carrying?
The wife carrying competition is something that started in Finland from some old stories about a robber or thief. The idea is to carry your partner on your back through a
250 m course with at least three obstacles, an under ‘n’ over and a pool of water. The fastest person wins. One original story was that the thief recruited his gang members this way.
How did you get involved?
Initially, we entered for some fun and we kind of like this sort of physical challenge.
We competed in the Bellingen show wife carry, where we won and then went to Singleton for the Australian title. We won there too and now get to go to Finland for the World Titles.
What does your wife, Amanda, think about it?
She loves it and thinks it’s a bit of fun, with a bit of a serious side to it as well. I think this sums up the competition really – serious, with a bit of tongue in cheek.
What makes a good wife carrying team?
I think the weight ratio is very important. The lighter the “wife” is compared to the person doing the carrying makes it easier to run. The wife also has to hold on very tight in order for the carrier to run properly.
What are you expecting the competition to be like? Can you describe the obstacle course?
The competition should be a mix – some very serious and some not so serious competitors. Finland, Romania, and Russia have been the only countries to win it, so we are hoping to be the first Southern Hemisphere couple to win. The course is 252 m with a log to go under, as well as a pool to wade through with the wife still on your back.
Is there anything special you need to do to train for wife carrying?
I guess carrying your “wife” is a good start. I work a lot on leg strength and anaerobic power, as the course is only short. Keeping generally fit and strong obviously helps too.
You are also a personal trainer and nutrition coach. How have you used your knowledge and skills in this area to prepare?
My knowledge in sports, fitness and nutrition help, as I can understand what is required of my body during the race. This means that I can train accordingly by working on the elements that I mentioned: leg strength and power, and anaerobic conditioning.
Nutrition plays a large part, as the leaner I stay while keeping lean muscle mass, the faster I can move. Keeping Amanda lean and siting bang on 50 kg (minimum weight required) also helps, as I don’t have to carry more than necessary.
What is the importance of nutrition in fitness?
Nutrition is probably the number one method used to recover after training. It’s also essential for vitality, a healthy mind, a strong immune system, and a working body. Nutrition and fitness go hand in hand; you need both working together.
Good nutrition not only helps you to perform during exercise but also in life and our daily routines. It’s probably in our daily routines that it is most important. The better we eat, the better we feel about ourselves, the more in shape we are, the healthier our organs are, the less stress we perceive, and the better our mental health becomes.
What is your favourite healthy snack?
In Bellingen, you’ll often see me eating freshly baked pumpkin from the IGA with my daughter.
Other snacks I love are nuts, and rice cakes with peanut butter and banana.
Are you planning on taking part in any other competitions or events in the near future?
At the moment I’m looking at an ultra-marathon (100 km) and I’ll definitely do “Survival Run Australia” (SRA) again. Last year I missed finishing SRA by about 8 km, as I hit the 24-hour time limit. Maybe I’ll get it this year.
If you would like to see or have a go at wife carrying for yourself, check out the competition at this year’s Bellingen Show, May 20 and 21.