It’s been another month at CrossFit – and one where things have really ramped up. I’ve lost my L plates. I’m now a CrossFitter.
My time in Fundamentals – the pre-CrossFit programme that gets you up to speed with the rigours and technique of the workouts – ended without ceremony (to read my previous diary entry in the series click here).
- Try it out: The best Crossfit workouts (WODS)
In my ninth class I was the only person to attend – and had the undivided attentions of Coach Nik at CrossFit London. Instead of doing a structured session he put me through most of the movements – and deemed me fit to step up to real CrossFit.
It’s a bit daunting – like going up to big school.
Actually, the sessions at CrossFit London are structured in much the same way between CrossFit and Fundamentals. You start with a warm up, some accessory work that generally has a skill to practice. Then a WOD which has some progression of the skill in.
The difference is the load. The accessory work is pretty full on and the skill learning segment can be as little as five minutes before it’s put into practice. In Fundamentals this can last 20 mins until you get the movement right.
The WOD is a lung-busting 20 mins flat out – while Fundamentals was normally just 10.
The classes themselves have huge variety, and this month I’ve barely done the same thing twice.
WODs vary hugely – and some memorable ones have been structured HIIT sessions on the bike/rower, super sets of box jumps and press ups – and even pull-ups and single leg squats.
Everything has a progression, and there’s almost no stigma to doing an easier version of something. No-one is looking at the weight (or lack of) on your bar – although it can be a little disheartening if you’re so far behind the class you’re seemingly doing something completely different.
Ups and downs
And there’s been ups and downs.
The first four or five full CrossFit sessions were a real buzz – and I felt I was progressing so quickly. Then two “off days”, where I didn’t feel my strongest and struggled in busy classes. I partnered up with people who took a lot more weight than me – so there was constant admin changing the plates. The speed of the sessions can be a little bewildering.
There’s also my own personal issues – I don’t like being the slowest/weakest person. And that’s quite often the case at CrossFit. It demotivates me. There’s been some moments when I’ve wondered what I’m doing in this class – longing to get back out for a long solo run with some music on. Going at my own pace. But that’s literally the opposite to what CrossFit is about. It’s constantly changing and challenging. It’s relentlessly hard.
And I won’t kid you – some of the CrossFit stereotypes are true. There can be big guys with their tops off banging out 10 perfect toes to bar. That can be a little intense when you can barely hold your bodyweight up on the bar without your hands raging with pain.
Trust the process
But, generally, there’s an atmosphere of ‘go at your own speed’ – and quality over quantity (of weight) that means that even rank amateurs like myself can leave feeling positive. At least – that’s how things play out at CrossFit London.
There's a sign in the changing rooms that says "trust the process". Sometimes just being there is enough. Even if you don't feel strong, that you didn't perform your best.
I have often wondered whether an improvers level class would be beneficial. But while I’m often out of my comfort zone – I wouldn’t have it any other way now.