NEW YORK — Having to acknowledge your own weaknesses — in this particular case, a very literal, physical one — isn't exactly how a girl hopes to end a First Date. So imagine my embarrassment when a boot-camp course turned out to be more ... challenging than expected. Luckily, my companion was Olly Murs, an incredibly gentlemanly partner who quickly accepted my shortcomings.
Murs and I decided on Warrior Fitness Boot Camp in midtown Manhattan, set up with basic-training staples like monkey bars, a rope-climb and hurdles — as a nod to the title of his infectious latest single, "Army of Two." The pop/funk-inspired track, from the U.K. singer's brand-new album, Right Place Right Time, is about the companionship he feels with each of his fans.
But shortly after arriving at the studio, Murs glanced at me and joked that he and I would be more of "an army of one and a half." (Full disclosure: I'm not what some would describe as tall and a co-worker once referred to my biceps as "veal.") Still, as an MTV News producer who regularly hauls heavy camera equipment, a rope climb seemed like no big deal. It soon became increasingly evident, however, that I was not army strong: My arms buckled when I attempted the parallel bars and I had a brush with death on the balance beam, among other mishaps.
Mr. Murs on the other hand, most certainly was built for this course (you've got to watch the embedded video!). Between effortlessly jumping hurdles, climbing over walls and having a medicine ball thrown at him as he did an endless amount of crunches, the soulful Brit talked me into swinging across four whole monkey bars. Reaching each rung was a small victory — a good metaphor for how Murs views his career trajectory.
"I think you reach a certain level," he mused while discussing his five-year-plan, "I thought I reached a certain level, and then it kind of went to another level. ... You know, I never expected to be here in the States or in different countries, so if I keep building on that, staying happy and enjoying myself, then that's all that matters to me." Sounds like good marching orders to us.