Enduring the endurance

After I had completed a couple of CrossFit classes, I decided to sign up for the ‘CrossFit Endurance’ class. Because why wouldn’t I do something so crazy…? It sounded like it was going to be tough, enduring, almost? I wasn’t wrong.

After a quick warm up, everyone was asked to find a partner. My brain immediately went into a mad panic as I regressed back to school PE lessons. No one wants to be picked last! Luckily another woman walked up to me with a smile on her face and asked to partner up (poor woman… she didn’t know what she had let herself in for….!)

For this workout, we had to complete as many reps as possible in 30 seconds followed by your partner doing 30 seconds, for an entire 50 minutes.

The workout consisted of the following:

  • Burpees
  • Wall balls
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Squat to press
  • Assault bike
  • Ski erg
  • Press ups
  • Thrusters

What did I learn?

  • I’m very unfit, but so are other people! Having the ability to lift heavy things requires very different skills to being able to push yourself aerobically for a full fifty minutes. Everyone is different, and everyone is going to be good at different things
  • Partner workouts are the best. Having a second person there to push you through it is invaluable for someone like me
  • Exercise is fun! The atmosphere in this class was incredible; everyone was determined to give it a go and just get the work done
  • Fifty minutes goes faster than you think when you’re working out
  • Wall balls are still insanely difficult but I managed to do actually hit the target a few times on this workout
  • Assault bikes ARE as tough as they look
  • My squats are still terrible

 

I left this class feeling completely different to the previous workouts. It was so exhausting, and I looked like I had been thrown into a swamp, dragged around by a crocodile and spat back out again. (i.e. it wasn’t a pretty sight) But as much as I felt like I had failed as I perhaps hadn’t completed as much as some of the other people in the class, I still walked away feeling proud of myself.

If I told myself two months ago that I would have just completed a 50 minute high intensity workout, I sure as hell wouldn’t have believed myself.

Advertisements

My First Rodeo…

As I sat in the car on the way to my first CrossFit Class, I felt sick. I was terrified that I would be the most unfit person, I would embarrass myself in some way and everyone would laugh at me. It took less than ten minutes for this anxiety to disappear. (This was possibly helped by the fact that I spectacularly broke the ice by falling backwards onto the floor when the instructor told us all to stand back up….I told you I was clumsy…!)

When everyone came together to do a quick warm up, I stayed close to my boyfriend for moral support and glanced around the room at everyone else. There were people of various ages, shapes and sizes, and it was a complete mix of men and women. The deer-in-the-headlights look on many other people’s faces helped me to relax a little… it was their first rodeo too.

The first part of the class was back squats, which is something I have always swayed away from in the gym. The barbells are reserved for males, and more specifically, big groups of them, right? Whilst there is nothing or no one to blame but my own insecurities, I have always felt a little intimidated by the squat racks.

So how was I going to tackle something I hadn’t done properly before?

After watching a demonstration, I learnt (and am still learning) that the best thing to do is to, just do it! (No, Nike didn’t pay me to say this!) I kept the weight light, and completed five reps of five at 25kg. Whilst this is something many people could do with their eyes closed, hands tied together and their hair on fire; it was a huge achievement for me. I walked into that room having done very few back squats before, so anything I walked out with would be an improvement. Whilst my squatting technique is far from perfect (I will leave this for another post….) I was still able to complete the first part of the workout, which I never expected.

The second half of the workout was a 15 minute Metcon. (Metabolic Conditioning = i.e. something tiring that usually hurts and leaves you out of breath!)

This part consisted of the following:

20 jumping lunges

15 wall balls

10 pull ups

5 clean and jerks

The aim was to complete as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) in the allocated time. I couldn’t do the wall balls (it was a lot harder that it looks…) so these were swapped for squats and my pull ups were scaled down to press ups so I could work on my upper body strength. I had to leave the workout halfway through for a minute as I thought I was going to be sick… but apart from that, I managed to complete it all! As the timer went off, everyone dropped to the floor in unison.

After we put our equipment away, did a few stretches and cooled down, it was time to reflect. I had just completed my first ever CrossFit workout, I hadn’t been sick (almost!) I hadn’t burst into tears and I somehow had a grin from ear to ear on my face?

I think I had made a great decision….

How it all began…

I’m 24 and a self-confessed gym-a-phobe. A netball lover at school but a sports day hater- anything that wasn’t in a team setting made me feel uneasy. I didn’t want people looking at me, and I didn’t want people laughing at me when I fell over (a regular occurrence.) It’s safe to say that falling over on the 1000m race in front of the whole school aged 11, scarred me for life.

Over the past few months I have been a member of my local gym. The entire premise of a gym makes me feel queasy; people rarely make eye contact, let alone talk to one another, yet you always get the feeling that you’re being watched (even though no one really cares!) For me, the gym was quite a lonely place despite it being busy, and one that I feared and tried to avoid with as many excuses as possible (Note to self: don’t say your dog is sick when you don’t have a dog…)

To put it simply, I was bored. Months had gone by where I had wandered around aimlessly with a pathetic cycle here and a lousy leg press there, whilst I wistfully glanced at the clock as though the school bell would ring out to symbolise ‘hometime.’

So it was time for a change! I knew what CrossFit was; I had seen videos on YouTube and documentaries on Netflix. I had been watching these programs on my TV from my shabby little sofa; CrossFit has always been admired from afar and I have always seen it as something from another world. I was amazed at the strength of the athletes and I idolised their courage; I wanted to pull myself up a rope, and I wanted to learn how to do double-unders and somehow maintain a poised look on my face. How did they do it all?

A new CrossFit box had opened up in my area and it appeared on my Facebook news-feed. Did I want to join? Surely a great time to join a CrossFit Gym is when there are lots of other newbies? So I told my boyfriend I wanted to sign up. Knowing what I am like, he took what I said and refused to let me back out. It was decided. We were going to join CrossFit. I felt dizzy with excitement yet sick to my stomach; would this be the best or worst decision that I had ever made?