I’ve been going to CrossFit for five months now and lots of people still wonder what on earth it is. Here’s my little round up of things I’ve learned in my time there.
1| There’s a lot to it | AMRAPS, EMOMS, TTB, HSPU, 1RMs, 5RMs, Percentages of your whatever-RMs… The acronyms are blooming endless. I won’t go into all of them here, but there is so much more to CrossFit than what meets the eye. It’s a complete, well-thought-out process of programming that aims to get you stronger and fitter in a tough, yet practical way.
2 | It’s not all burpees | I thought I’d be walking into CrossFit doing burpees and running until I was blue in the face. For some reason, I expected lots of cardio and little else. Wrong. So wrong. There is so much strength and conditioning involved; The likes of working up to a heavy 3 rep-max or super-setting some ring rows with weighted push-ups. Barbells will become your best friend.
3 | It’s never the same | I can safely say that I have never done the same workout (bar benchmark workouts) twice. Every time I step foot in the box, I’m greeted by something different. Yes, the movements may be the same or similar sometimes, but the volume and capacity at which they are performed changes. Also, the fact that we now don’t know the workout until we get there makes it all the more exciting!
4 | Everything is scaleable | I remember watching a few CrossFit classes from the sidelines when I started the Middlesbrough Weightlifting Club and thinking I could never do some of the things the guys in there were doing. But there are various scaled variations of movements for everything to work the same muscles and/or have the same effect. Don’t let some dude swinging from rings put you off.
5 | It’s not as intimidating as it may seem | Starting something new can be nervewracking. I’m the first to put my hand up in saying that stepping out of my comfort zone petrifies me to my core. But, the coaches talk through everything you need to know. Most boxes will offer some kind of ‘onramp’, which is essentially a fundamentals course to ease you in and show you everything that you’ll be doing!
6 | It really is a family | My Mam jokes and says that CrossFit is a cult and well, I guess it kinda is! But it’s the best possible cult that’s full of so much love! It only took me a few weeks to settle into my box and start making friends. Everybody is so supportive of one another and will cheer each other on throughout workouts.
7 | It can hurt like hell | Oh boy, can it burnnnnn. Both during workouts, after workouts and even a few days after can you feel the pain of a spicy WOD (workout of the day). But pushing through makes for a happier self once the workout is over. I always tell people that when I’m doing the workout, I’m thinking ‘WHY ON EARTH DO I DO THIS?’, then straight after it’s changed into ‘WHEN CAN I DO THAT AGAIN?’.
8 | You’re not going to love every workout | I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t had a bad workout, it happens and it’s totally normal. My first bad workout seemed to happen quite early on but I’m so glad that I persisted and decided to keep it up. Sometimes your head isn’t in it, your body may not want to co-operate or you may just be having one of those days, but remember that the next workout can only get better. Unless it includes an air bike. Soz kids.
9 | You’re stronger than you think | This. A million times over. I think CrossFit is absolutely brilliant when it comes to unlocking both mental and physical strength and realising just how strong you actually are. Both myself and others around me are constantly surprising themselves. Every time I pop a little bit more weight on my barbell, or decide to pick up that heavier kettlebell it feels like a mini achievement.