Erin Holland's Fitness Routine to Prepare for SAS Was Seriously Intense

Probably the most popular TV show on right now, Channel 7’s SAS Australia takes a number of celebrities from all walks of life and thrusts them into scenarios few would ever experience, in order to mimic the selection course used by the actual Special Air Service Regiment of The Australian Defence Force.

While you might catch yourself thinking, “I could do that” in some scenes, it doesn’t take long before you realise that some of the tasks are so daunting, you can only watch with a hand covering one or both eyeballs. Add that to the extra pressure of ex-special forces agents spitting insults directly into your face, while simultaneously tearing your character to shreds, and your appreciation for these celebs suddenly increases tenfold! One of those celebs, being Aussie singer, TV Host, model, dancer and ex Miss World Australia 2013, Erin Holland.

Erin, who left the show last night after being unable to complete a ‘punishment’ that asked her to carry actor Dan Ewing on her back, jumped onto Instagram this morning to show the physical toll that taking part in the show had on her body, posting an image covered head-to-toe in bruises. “A raw look at what a few days of selection looked like (plus a sore back from 90+ kilos on it 🤣) @sasaustralia is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It’s 24/7 – so many tasks that can’t possibly all make it to air! SO much respect for my fellow recruits still toughing it out in there – it only gets wilder from here,” she wrote in the caption.

But while bruises will fade, as she explained to, the 32-year-old had no regrets as she knew that what she learnt during the process was worth it. “This course really taught me that your mind is so powerful and so much more capable of things then you expect,” Erin said. “Our bodies have so much more in them than we give them credit for.”

The prep

Nine weeks out from appearing on the show Erin was due to marry her longtime partner, cricketer Ben Cutting. “I do like to keep fit, but the kind of fit you have to be for this show is just on a whole other level,” she said. “I waited until after the wedding because I didn’t want to injure myself or bulk up too much and not fit my wedding dress.”

Instead of just enjoying her newlywed bliss after the February wedding it was when Erin kicked her exercise regime into overdrive.

Trainer Ben Lucas from Sydney fitness studio Flow Athletic putting her through some “really intense”workouts to prepare for SAS Australia.

“It was all a lot of strength stuff, a lot of carrying awkward weights, pushing and pulling movements, because you have no idea what you’re going to be doing in there but you know it’s going to be really physical on your body,” Erin said. “I was getting a 20 kilo weights vest and trekking around all the hills of Coogee and trails of Maroubra.”


While prepping for the show, Erin did four runs per week, three two-hour walks with a 20kg backpack on, and four personal training sessions comprising everything from cycling to major strength work.

“I struggle with running, I’m not a runner, it’s not something I enjoy doing,” she said. “That level of cardio fitness was difficult.”

“I upped my training to run 3-4 days a week, and then I’d walk with a 20kg backpack on for a couple of hours on the other day, and undertake 3-4 PT sessions each week with specified strength training,” Erin told Daily Mail Australia.  

Her training also included exercises like chin ups, bodyweight hangs, holding weights above her head for an extended period of time, pushups and 60kg sled pushes.

I work in sport and am married to a sportsman, but as a non-athlete, I certainly have a newfound appreciation for the kind of effort and fitness that is required for something like this,” Erin said.

SAS is truly next level. What they do, operating on so little food or sleep, is absolutely mind-blowing.”

Bulking up

Holland had a slim but naturally athletic figure before appearing on SAS, so had a goal to put on more muscle, and ultimately bulk up in order to have more stamina for the challenges.

“I put on about three-ish kilos before I went on,” she said. “That was a mix of muscle and weight, just tried to bulk up as much as I could. I definitely noticed a huge improvement in my stamina and the weight that I was able to lift which was great.”

To help her workouts Erin had to snack “all day round” to keep her fuelled and support muscle gain.

“With my diet it was basically a matter of get as much in as possible because I needed to try and bulk up my frame as much as I could. I’m a slight frame and that doesn’t bode too well when you’ve got a 20 kilo burden on your back,” she said.

Mental health

Alongside the rigorous workouts, the Aussie model worked extensively on trying to increase her mental stamina.

“I learned from all of this that the body can do so much more than the mind allows us to believe,” she said.

“Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable was one of the biggest challenges for me, having never pushed myself to this kind of extent before.”

Erin’s complete plan

Here’s an overview of how the model prepped for SAS.

  • Weight training to increase the general strength and muscle of the lean model.
  • She needed to tweak her diet hugely to incorporate plenty of protein and carbohydrates
  • Four one-hour runs per week.
  • Three weighted walks with a 20kg backpack on for two hours each week.
  • 30-40kg ‘Farmer’s Carry’ moves, whereby you carry 30-40kg across 200m at a time to simulate carting things around on the show.
  • Regular chin ups and bodyweight hangs where the aim is to hold your own body weight for as long as possible (aiming for over wo minutes each time).
  • Exercises that worked on Erin’s grip strength to simulate tasks that required hanging, pulling heavy items.
  • Holding weights above her head for prolonged periods of time in a wall sit.
  • Daily sleds and pushing 60kg one way, then turning around to pull it back, for around 15 -20 minutes at a time.
  • Plenty of carbs and protein, daily protein shakes and ‘good fats’ like extra Virgin olive oil, avocado and peanut butter with every meal.
  • No alcohol. 

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