I have always (well since I was about 16) loved sport and training, covering 10+ years of both Thai and Kick boxing, multiple half marathons then cycling to work most days for about 8 years. This included completing the trans wales mountain bike challenge and several road sportives of ~100 miles. Throughout all this time reasonably regular gym visits remained constant.
As any of you who have been following my more technical blog will know I have recently, 7 months ago, started a new job in London. This means I now have a joyous commute by train, rather than being able to cycle into work.
As someone who has always followed the classic lift weights to get stronger and do a silly amount of cardio to stay lean mantra I was hugely concerned about staying in shape and improving myself physically while also having less time to train and much less cardio each week!
In terms of the weights side of my training this had been going reasonably well over the last few years in terms of maintaining, and staying in pretty good shape for my age. There had however been a lack of forwards progress and strength gains. In addition I had continued to rely to heavily on things like leg press rather than squats / front squats / dead lifts due to in part to historial back injuries, but mostly just habit.
So, what have I done? Found Crossfit, that is what. Initially this was just a general interest and following some of the training ideas and WODs (Work Out of the Day) as best I could in my local globo gym and at home in the garage. As someone who has never wanted to spend all their time doing a single sport and loves the variety of training for multiple disciplines it turns out Crossfit is right up my street!
Crossfit is a ‘sport’ where the aim is to be ready for anything. Exponents of this sport will not win a powerlifting competition, a gymnastics competition, a marathon, nor an iron man triathlon. However they will likely be very good at pretty much any sport, and likely much better at a wide range of sports than any ‘specialist sports person. Crossfit is defined as;
“constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity”
This incorporates most of the olympic lifts (front squat, back squat, clean, snatch etc. and variations of these), chin ups, dips, muscle ups, hand stand press ups, wall ball throws, skipping, running, tyre flips, rowing, kettle bell swings, box jumps and pretty much anything else you can think of. The key focus is on functional movements. In order to be successful at Crossfit you have to have a combination of strength, aerobic and anaerobic fitness, flexibility / mobility, and skill / technique in a wide variety of movements. On top of this you need to be ready and able to take on workouts of the judges choosing with little or no prior knowledge of what the workout will entail – this is the ‘ready for anything’ ethos.
http://www.crossfit.com for the full low down around what it actually is and to check out today’s WOD!
Having been getting increasingly into the whole Crossfit thing I decided it was time to join an actual Crossfit Box (what Crossfit gyms are called). Having looked around we found one in Hitchen called Crossfit Antaeus;
This turned out to be a lucky find, Matt the owner and coach is absolutely excellent, he has extremely good knowledge of proper exercise form and Crossfit in general. He has also managed to balance training a reasonably fit, relatively experienced (but still with loads to learn) gym goer like myself, and Hillary my partner who is very eager to learn and improve, but also very new to gyms and working out.
If you are in the Hitchin area I recommend you check Crossfit Antaeus out.
I have also recently discovered that Crossfit has a Masters series for the over 40s. Being frighteningly close to this age (I’ll be 39 this summer), I have decided I want to throw my hat in the ring and see if I can become competitive by the spring qualifiers after my 40th birthday. This is a big challnege, but I have never actually focused with dedication on a single sport. Although, I am not sure if Crossfit could ever be called a single sport!
Where am I now – about 154-158lbs and around 10-11% body fat, with reasonable fitness and strength, but with a lot of work required on technique and the olympic lifts. I also need to get a fair bit stronger for some of the heavier workouts.
What is my aim – to gain likely a stone to 20lbs lean mass, add about 50% to my squat and dead lift, learn the various techniques such as kipping and double unders. This is with the goal of at least placing fairly highly in the masters open, but ideally actually getting to the games within the next 2-3 years.
I’ll be using this page of my blog to roughly chart my progress and provide insight and thoughts into Crossfit, my training and also diet. I’m currently working on eating pretty clean and primally at the same time as trying to gain lean weight.
To close this first Training / Crossfit post I’d like to say a massive thanks to Hillary for getting involved, her support and for putting up with my hair brained ideas and diet, along with the fairly constant training and eating! Without your support I’d definitely not get anywhere near as far.