What does a 27-year-old tattoo designer and aspiring yoga teacher from New York have in common with a 34-year-old Wealth Management COO and powerlifter from Florida? They both are battling for $10,000 in the latest extreme competition reality show, Broken Skull Challenge, airing on Sunday, Aug. 10.
In Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge, eight elite athletes go head-to-head with everyday men and women each week until there is only one left standing. The winner tackles Hall of Fame pro wrestler Steve Austin’s personal obstacle course, the Skullbuster, for a chance at $10,000.
“Unlike other extreme competitions, people are not racing against the clock; they are racing against themselves,” said competitor Briana Penzarella, of New York, NY.
While the aspiring yoga teacher has competed in both the Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder, the Broken Skull Challenge is, by far, the most challenging competition she’s entered.
“I love obstacle courses,” Briana said. “The most difficult thing [about Broken Skull] was I wasn’t aware that I would go head-to-head with other athletes. It was pretty difficult to settle into.”
At 5-feet-5, weighing 118-pounds, she adds, “There were pretty strong and athletic ladies to deal with that day—much bigger than me.”
Briana, who also cares for kids with special needs, admits the challenge was completely outside her “peaceful realm” of yoga. “During the competition, pretty much everyone was pretty scary,” she said. “Everyone had their guards up.”
Briana built up her endurance and strength for the challenge with trainer Maurice Christovale, of fitness club Equinox. She did a lot of work with kettlebells, ropes and weightlifting. “I had to drag Maurice around the entire gym with extra weight,” said Briana.
She also credits her yoga practice for helping her prepare for the competition. “Breathing is really the key. When you stop breathing, everything stops around you,” she said. “Yoga really teaches you to center yourself, focus and balance.”
Compared to the more strength-focused girls on the show, Briana felt her buoyancy and flexibility were big assets in the competition.
“It happened so quickly,” she said. “I can’t wait to do it again!”
For a preview of Sunday night’s show on CMT at 8 p.m. EST, click here.