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9 Sep

CrossFit: What is it really about?

Six weeks before my two-week holiday with family and friends, who hadn’t seen me in a bikini for about a decade – I realised I needed to sort my body out, fast. 

After years of eating whatever I wanted with minimal consequences, I suddenly realised I was 27 and this was no longer an option, I wasn’t happy with the way I looked. I was by no means overweight, but I had a few too many rolls on my stomach and my arms and legs wobbled a little more than I would have liked. 

Following my sudden realisation, I was having a little moan in the work kitchen, when a friend of mine – who has the best body EVER – told me about what she does, CrossFit. 

Telling me all about the cardio and strength work they do, I was super impressed but also really intimidated to even consider going somewhere like that, I’d never even lifted a weight. My friend told me they offered two free trial classes and managed to convince me to go along. 

I arrived at Reebok CrossFit 3D in Manchester (Old Trafford to be exact) and the warehouse style space was pretty cool – filled with weights, rigs and some pretty muscly looking people. My initial thought was I’m going to get eaten alive, but such a lovely, smiley bunch greeted me, I did relax fairly quickly.  

The coaches were SO great, chatting me through my fitness level and getting an idea of what I was comfortable with. They talked me through all of the individual exercises and introduced me to scaled versions where necessary – it made me realise how unfit I was, but also how fun fitness could be. 

Instantly hooked, my partner and I signed up and attended 4 or 5 classes a week, slowly getting stronger and building our stamina. We felt great and noticed a pretty big difference in our physique. It’s not easy – the workouts are super challenging and sometimes a real struggle, but when you start to see such fantastic results, why would you ever stop?! 

 

So, how do you get started? I’ve listed some simple steps for beginners below: 

  • Find a Box – Every CrossFit gym, or shall we say box, is different; find one local to you with a good community and good coaches. Most have social media, giving you an insight into what to expect, they also use groups for support and arranging social events outside of training! Look out for trial offers too, allowing you to get a good feel for it before signing up and committing yourself 
  • Be honest – It’s tempting to keep quiet and just give everything a go, but some of the movements are really advanced. Be up front with your coach, tell them where your fitness is at and trust that your capable of the workout they give you. No matter how fit you are, this is high-intensity training and you shouldn’t feel pressured to keep up with the other members.  
  • Understand the WOD – Workout of the Day, daunting when you’re new but exciting eventually, I promise! CrossFit combines movements from all kind of sports, including weight lighting, gymnastics and even cardio activities like running and rowing. This can be daunting, but it’s a great way to build fitness and work every muscle.  
  • Teach yourself the terms – Rx, scale, AMRAP and EMOM are just a few examples of CrossFit lingo. I still often find myself Googling certain words before attending a session, but you do start to pick it up. 
  • Watch that form – Technique is everything in CrossFit, you push your body to all kinds of new limits and if you’re not careful, you can cause some damage. As a beginner, keep your weights low and ask your coach to keep an eye on your form. Always warm up ahead of training and usually, your coach will take you through a number of mobility exercises to help prepare you for the WOD ahead.  
Jess MacDonald
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