I decided to try Crossfit. I’ve always viewed Crossfit as a bit of a scary unknown – a bit like joining the SAS I imagined. But in the spirit of getting fitter than ever before, I thought – what have I got to lose?
From my extensive Google research, and extremely un-robust info-gathering exercises, I had heard dodgy stuff about Crossfit. Along the lines of it being really bad for you in a ‘bungee jump can detach your retina‘ kind of way. I’d seen YouTube videos showing ‘terrible‘ technique, and had heard how you can injure yourself easily.
Why did I want to try this? Well, I get a bit pissed off with the media these days forcing one sided opinions on me, and I like to make my mind up for myself. Tons of people are doing this Crossfit thing, there’s a thing called the ‘Crossfit Games’ so everyone can’t be injuring themselves, surely? And let’s face it, anything to get us fitter and healthier can’t be that bad? Better than sitting on the sofa stuffing my face with Bourbon biscuits (yes, terribly English I know, and you can’t get the blasted things in Australia so mine are shipped in specially).
So with a hint of fear and a slightly sceptical hat on, I took the plunge and enrolled in a beginner course. So far so good. Turned up day one and first up was introductions. Now I’m pretty au fait with the old introduction game. Years of corporate training courses and 1,000 ‘icebreakers’ later, I generally feel reasonably confident about introducing myself. Except this wasn’t a corporate training course. So the guy turns to me first, and I share my name, a bit about me – an interesting fact, if you will (the small age gap of my children – it used to be having completed a marathon, how times have changed) and my reasons for doing the course. I’m friendly, affable I think, slightly humourous (well that’s debatable) – but I meet dead faces.
Not even an encouraging nod.
Next person up, simply says their name and a couple of words like ‘I’m here to get fit‘. I must have missed the brevity/no personality here thanks memo. Yikes. So we’re not off to a blazing start.
Then the coach starts telling us about some techniques and stuff, and he’s talking about washing baskets and learning to lift correctly. I spot that good old corporate training technique of ‘making it relevant‘ and drift back into my previous life. Anyway, back to it and somehow we have got into a conversation of who does the washing in his household-turns out it’s him. He revealed earlier that he has 2 small kids, and I find my mouth opening and the words ‘well I think that’s fair‘ spilling out after his washing God status has been revealed. This does not seem to sit well either.
So to sum up, if I was in an interview situation, I think I’d be plonked in the ‘bad personality fit‘ bucket right now.
We have a go at a few things and it seems ok. I love the interval training/high intensity nature of it all. Being time poor for exercise these days, anything that gives fast results gets an almighty thumbs up. I’d also secretly quite like to be able to do a pull up one day.
The introductory course was actually pretty good. There was a lot of focus on technique – especially in the weight lifting department – and that was helpful and reassuring. The coaches all seemed very passionate about what they do, and were keen to pass on their knowledge. I liked the variety, the gymnastic elements, and trying out new things.
Now here’s one thing I don’t like. The jargon! Acronym city. It’s like a secret language. AMRAP, WOD, EMOM… Blah blah blah -this aspect is not newbie friendly and is very off-putting. Why bother? Just SAY THE WORDS! Given they can’t assume at any session that there aren’t any newbies there, they have to say it all anyway! Ok rant over.
So having graduated from my beginner course and being armed with one learned acronym (WOD-workout of the day) I thought I’d better give this a shot. So I did, and turned up the following Monday for a session which had a crèche for my babies. Except my babies (well baby, one is fine, the other high maintenance) didn’t like the crèche. This made it tricky to say the least and I couldn’t concentrate. But I soldiered on-as it’s very much a ‘just get on with it’ environment. Black marks on your knees anyone? Callouses/blisters on your hands? No one cares! Anyway I digress. I kept trying the crèche with the babies and they did get better. I think we even had one session with no screaming.
However. I’m not going to continue with Crossfit. Here’s why:
Weightlifting is not my bag. My pathetic excuse is that I’m tall and I’m all leg and no body, and them Olympic weightlifters aren’t short arses for no reason. But really I just don’t like it very much. If you don’t mind callouses and bruises (on your collarbone and shoulders?!) then maybe you’ll enjoy it more. I have come out of it with ENORMOUS respect for people who do weightlift though-it’s MUCH harder than it looks.
Also, I look to pro’s in a particular sport/exercise regime to see what I could potentially be heading towards body wise if I really stuck to something. A Crossfit body is not my personal goal (not saying it isn’t someone else’s-each to their own) it’s just a bit too muscly for me. If only I was good at dancing…
I did take some real positives from it though, and I can see why some people love it and become addicted to it. You can see real progression from when you start and results are pretty quick. It’s hard, but you can scale everything down to where you’re currently at fitness/strengthwise. If you get in with a good group/club, I can see there would be great camaraderie and fun to be had. There’s huge variety, so you don’t feel like you’re just repeating the same exercise every week. It was very supportive and pretty friendly where I went-I just think I stick out as the ‘weird pommy chick’ (translation: strange English girl) and clearly I have way too much to say (hence why I blog…). I can get over feeling slightly awkward and novice if I mostly enjoy what I’m doing, but as I said, weightlifting ain’t for me.