This is my first ever post so I should probably start by telling a little bit about myself or you could read my about me...
As a youngster I was pushed into many sporting activities by my parents, many though were unsuccessful attempts at finding me a sport to love. The first activity they pushed me towards was swimming. I believe my coach nicknamed me ‘the fish’ for my love of swimming deep underwater whilst she attempted to teach me various strokes. Lets just say her patience and my interest didn’t last very long. Next I tried gymnastics. Looking back now I wish I had continued to do this as it would have given me a great base for some of the moves in crossfit and I might be a more flexible 30 year old! However, my 8-year-old self wanted to get straight to ‘flips’ and the fun stuff and so gymnastics went by the wayside very quickly too. Up next was Karate and Football. I enjoyed Karate and slowly moved up through the different coloured belts. However, I was a bit of a wimp and a karate battle that led to another boys fist brushing very close to my nose ended with me in tears claiming he just lamped me full on in the face. Football was the sport I chose! the sport that since the age of 8 I have always turned to and has remained part of my life
As a footballer I experienced lots; success (trials for England schoolboys, signing youth forms for QPR FC), failures (my initial goalkeeper experiences, being released on my 16th Birthday!), highs and lows (snapping my ACL). The two things that kept me in the sport have been 1) the ‘banter’,playing with a group of mates, having a laugh and 2) the competition; competing to get into the team and competing with your mates to win things.
However, just over a year and a half ago I turned 30. Having already had to have ACL reconstruction in my mid 20’s, noticing a quick deterioration in my speed, lack of flexibility and endurance I realised I needed to do something else to maintain my health and fitness. The football team I was playing for started to fall apart and distinctly lacking that ‘team’ ethos and fun I was looking for, and weight training didn’t really fill the void. It was then, a year ago at the end of 2015, my wife recommended I try crossfit with her. It was an attempt to spend more time with me and workout together; so I did it. I tried a session and saw all these massive guys and incredibly strong women throwing barbells above their head, swinging on high bars. I was impressed and a little intimidated. In my first session I was told I couldn’t do some of the exercises and had to practice with a PVC pipe. What?!? This frustrated the hell out of me. Much like when I started gymnastics as a kid I just wanted to do the cool stuff and do it straight away! So that first taster session was just that and it was another 6 months later before I even considered going back…
6 months later (7/8 months ago, April 2016). I went back, I stomached my pride, and I realised these moves (Olympic lifts like the clean and snatch) were incredibly complex and it was important my technique was sound before throwing heavy weights around. What I also realised is that this is the kind of place for me! Crossfit is physically challenging; not only are the workouts tough but I am always learning and improving my skills. I get that feeling of success; I can now do a strict ring muscle up. BUT I also get that challenge, that feeling of failure that pushes me to try harder/do more; my double unders are ridiculous and continue to frustrate the hell out of me!
Crossfit has developed my strength, power, endurance and even mobility no end. It has that team element; I have met loads of new people and it has that group dynamic I crave. There is also that aspect of competition, whether it is against myself (setting a new PR – personal record) or pitting myself against others in the WOD (workout of the day) at the end of the workout. It has pushed me physically and mentally more than any other form of activity I have encountered. Daily I am learning new skills and striving to improve. Only the other day I watched the over 60 crossfit games (if you have never seen this, you have to watch it – YouTube it) and I know this is something that I can and probably will keep coming back to for the rest of my life now.
**Now I am not saying crossfit is the be all and end all and the only form of physical. As long as your doing something that’s a good thing – Recent studies have shown physical activity to improve brain function and can even have as much impact as extra lessons – so I guess the phrase healthy body, healthy mind is quite accurate! Either way I am great advocate for exercise, no matter what form.**