As I said in my last blog post, last week I made the decision to cancel my gym membership and move across to Crossfit full time. This means that from now on my training will focus solely on running and Crossift. It was a tough decision to make as I’ve been a member of gyms for a long time and I love the traditional gym environment and how good personal trainers work really hard to motivate and encourage gym goers.
So why have I made this decision?
In truth there were a number of reasons for this decision. The first and most important is that I’m really loving Crossfit.
When I first started going to Crossfit it was simply out of curiosity. A few friends were talking about it and saying how good it was, so I decided to give it a go. Unlike many people who are hooked after just one class, I actually didn’t take to Crossfit the first time I went and I didn’t see what all the fuss was about.
I didn’t like the jargon used, I didn’t like that it was orientated around weightlifting and I didn’t feel it would improve my fitness (I actually thought it would have a negative impact on my fitness levels). I did go back though because there were some things about it that I liked from the beginning. I liked that there were no mirrors there, which I found completely refreshing from traditional gyms that seem to have mirrors everywhere you turn. I liked that the complete focus was on the training and workout, no one cared how sweaty you were or whether or not you were wearing the latest fitness fashion trends. I liked the fact that time was spent getting the technique of different lifts and moves right before jumping into the intense part of the workout. I liked the fact that the coaches were really supportive, friendly and non-judgemental no matter how bad you were.
So while I wasn’t an immediate full blown fan of Crossfit, I didn’t dislike it either and I kept going back once a week – Crossfit became a little added extra to my normal training.
While I enjoyed my once a week sessions there were still doubts that prevented me from doing more. The main one was concern over fitness. I am a cardio fan and as a runner always on the lookout for a PB keeping my fitness levels as high as possible is important to me. Another big reasons why I was reluctant to embrace Crossfit fully was fear of injury, as I had read a lot online about how Crossfit can lead to injuries.
Earlier this year I decided to commit to it more and started attending more classes. I started doing gymnastics and Barbell. This helped me to see Crossfit more as a sport that required skills to be learnt than just simply another form of working out. This was especially true with Barbell. I’ve never been interested in weightlifting as a sport, and always dismissed it as people lifting really heavy things! I didn’t think there was any skill involved or any major technique required. When I started going to Barbell though, which is a class dedicated to learning key weightlifting lifts like the clean and snatch, I began to realise that there is a lot of technical skill involved. To lift weights safely and to be able to lift heavy, you need to have your body in the right position, move the bar the right way and breath at the right times. You also need to make sure everything is done in one smooth move. Like most sports, professionals make it look easy when it’s not!
So slowly I was becoming more interested in Crossfit. I appreciated and wanted to learn more about the skills involved and I enjoyed going. The only real obstacle keeping me from committing full time was the worry of losing fitness and injury still.
Doing the Suffolk Games last month helped me to appreciate how strong and fit you must be to be competitive at Crossfit. The teams that made the top 10 were not only really strong, but also had the fitness needed to excel at the workouts that required high levels of stamina. I also realised that to move the bar repeatedly and quickly with some moves, such as a hang clean, a good level of fitness is needed just to keep going.
So it has taken some time (over a year!) of convincing me to move over to Crossfit but finally I’ve made the decision. I’ve seen that Crossfit does require a high level of fitness to be competitive at it, plus I’ve also realised that continuing with my running anyway will ensure I stay fit.
The other major concern was getting injured. But I’ve now been doing Crossfit for well over a year and have not got injured during that time. There is a risk of injury, but there is that same risk with any sport. And as a runner, I think I’m just as likely to get injured running as I am doing Crossfit!