After a beginner’s CrossFit workshop I was eager to get started. Ready to throw myself into whatever workouts GFP had planned, I signed up for a membership and then to my first class immediately afterwards.
Nervous but excited, I knew I had to forget everything I thought I knew about CrossFit when I entered my first class. I was starting as a beginner again and I was excited to learn a new training concept.
One of the first things we were told in the workshop was to leave our egos at the door. Now I dont exactly have an ego when it comes to what I can lift, but I decided to do as was suggested and opt against stacking up my barbell’s weight to what I would have liked to have been able to lift. Trying not to look like an amateur by piling on heavier weights was only going to backfire when I got into the workout. And the result of that? Really looking like an amateur. After my first individual WOD, I knew that listening to the instructor’s advice on where to start was the best decision I could have made.
After one session on Wednesday of week two, I went home and booked my next for the following evening. I was hooked already. I can only imagine the feeling of both satisfaction and relief that overcomes you when you finish a WOD is on par, if not ahead, of that of giving birth to your first child. (Mums – it’s pretty similar, right?)
Each session so far I’ve pushed myself more than I would have in the gym alone. And with exercises I’d never consider doing solo too – somehow I can’t see myself finding the room to do handstand push ups in a packed Fitness First at 6pm.
By week three I had another couple of classes under my belt and was really starting to feel like I was reaping the benefits of training using multiple training methods. Despite the fact I was bruising like a peach and it was a look I was very much getting used to, I felt stronger than ever.
RX weight (read: recommended/prescribed weight) for females in CrossFit are a lot heavier than I’d normally attempt to use, but with each weight as a benchmark, I was determined to at least try.
And to my surprise, some of them weren’t as long of a shot as I anticipated. Three weeks in and I’d added 50% extra weight to the kettlebell I’d normally pick up, was ‘clean and press’-ing and benching 10kg+ more than I had previously.
As stated, CrossFit training covers multiple training methods – cardio, weight training, gymnastics – and I was delving into the world of all of them. Again, not something I’d be likely to attempt on a normal gym floor.
As each week passed, I squeezed in more and more classes at GFP into my routine. My original plan of adding two a week into my usual gym routine soon doubled to four gruelling classes a week. (It’s probably a good job I don’t live around the corner or I’d have been likely to have been spotted in there even more!)
SO WHAT HAVE I LEARNT?
The first thing that CrossFit has taught me is that the team atmosphere created cannot be beaten. From my very first class I instantly knew it would be more encouraging than anything I had experienced before. In the gym, you’re on your own. In a class, you’re with others, but still on your own. Working out as a team, cheering each other on and completing the hard work together, is the best type of motivation.
By my second class I learnt that at no point would I be competing with everyone else in the room, I was only competing with myself. It wasn’t important if someone else finished a workout quicker than me or did it with heavier weights. It was only important that I was giving it 110% and that the next time I gave it a go, that I did exactly same… and more!
At the end of six weeks, the most important thing I discovered was that my body was capable of a hell of a lot more than I thought it was. It could do more and be pushed further than it has ever been given credit for. And I have GFP to thank for that – I may never have realised it solo.
And what comes hand in hand with pushing yourself harder? A change in aesthetics. To me it’s in no way the most important reason to exercise, but it’s definitely an added bonus. (Yes it’s completely subjective, but after six weeks of hard training I not only feel stronger and fitter, I feel leaner too).