My First year of Crossfit

I’m sure you’ve heard of people making jokes about Crossfit, bad-mouthing all of the movements being done etc. Well I have listened to these comments for the past 2 years! 

Yes, 2 years ago I wanted to try out the Crossfit regime but was stopped by conflicting opinions from people who have never done Crossfit. Yes, I know, Crossfit may have more injuries than other sports, but I will share with you a few pointers that will help you survive your Crossfit experience if you ever decide to try it out! 

What is Crossfit? Crossfit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intestity. All Crossfit workouts are based on functional movements, and these movements reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more.

What to expect

Before I did my first class, I first went onto Youtube to find out more about Crossfit, and OH MY WORD, was that a mistake. There are so many Crossfit fails videos out there, it is enough to make anybody scared lol!
But I sticked to my plan, my mind was made up, I’m going to DO THIS!

Upon entering the box, I felt some excitement and was nervous at the same time. Being in the gym for 21 years and suddenly walking into a Crossfit box where there is NO machines, is enough to make one scared…
 

THERE WILL BE DAYS WHERE YOU’RE NOT MOTIVATED.
THE MOTIVATION COMES AFTER YOU SHOW UP

I knew I’m in for something and could not wait to get started. The coach welcomed me, and said I must get a PVC pipe. So stretching started, and OH WOW, I realized I’m not flexible at all!!
But still I waited for anticipation to start the WOD (or as they call it ‘Workout of the Day’). 

So this was my 1st ever Crossfit workout.. half of the terms I did not understand:
We started of with a 5 rep Max on Back squats, BUT I had to squat below parallel! First time for me but I managed 35kg. Then we went on doing Wall balls, Box Jumps, Power cleans, Bar over burpees, Pistol squats and Pull ups! 

It was brutal! I never felt so tired in my life!! I realised I am really not that fit as I expected, BUT It was so awesome, I wanted to come back for more!! 

A tip I can give, is to stick to the program the first month…It DOES get better…ENJOY the process! There will be days where you’re not motivated. The motivation comes after you show up

 

Listen to your Coach

Always listen to your coach and leave your ego at the door. This will prevent most injuries.

When I did my first trial week, I saw girls smaller than me lifting twice as much as I do. This can be tempting for anybody to add more weight to the bar, but it can be a ticket for injury. Proper technique and form is primarily important above any heavy weight. Your coach will know when you are ready for a heavier load.

I always listen to my coach. I only add more weights when she says I’m ready. In one workout I doubted whether I could do the specified weight or not, so I added less weights, she turned around and said I can RX (specified weight) it and so I did. My was perfect throughout the whole workout.

My injuries where zero to none (except for the occasional DOMS and torn hands)

Always remember ‘Quality over Quantity’

Focus on your own Progress

Never compare yourself to someone else in the box. You are there to become a better YOU! Always remember that YOU are the project you are working on.

This really took a few months to accept myself and my progress. I would always become frustrated if I couldn’t do any skill as better as the person next to me. This can make you unhappy with yourself. Always remember where your started!

I will give you an example. When I started, I could barely do an overhead squat with a PVC pipe. My mobility and flexibility were zero to none so I had to work harder than the person next to me that could do it perfect with 40kg’s.
At a competition 8 months later, I hit my PB on Overhead squats…on 40kg’s!! I was super stoked and this nearly draw me to tears. So if you feel frustrated with your lifts or pull ups or whatever it may be you are struggling with, just remember to KEEP going. Log your progress in a journal, this will make you appreciate your own progress even more.   

JUST BECAUSE YOU TOOK LONGER THAN OTHERS
DOESN’T MEAN YOU FAILED!

Competitions

Throughout the first year I’ve learned a lot about competing in a Crossfit environment. I signed up for almost all the major competitions from individual to team events. What so amazing is that you learn alot about yourself..your strengths and weaknesses, how you perform in a team, how you perform under pressure.
I remember doing Crossfit for only 4 weeks and decided to sign up for the ‘Opens’ (which is and online competition with 5 workouts being done over 5 weeks). This is also the stepping stone to qualify for ‘Regionals’. It was an amazing experience! Some workouts I could do ALL the prescribed weights and movements and others only a few, but this helped me to see where I am stronger and  where I need to focus on.

I went on doing 4 team events and 1 individual. The individual was for me a real mental game. When you couldn’t go further, there was NO one to back you up, but the support was AMAZING and I learned how to follow my own pace.

The most awesome part for me competing is the Personal Bests you will set for yourself! Imagine this, I struggled for how many months with Overhead squats. My max was 35kg before our last competition. On competition day we had to do a 3 rep max on Overhead squats and to my surprise I could get 40kg!!

The last thing to really focus on is ‘Post competition recovery’. Yes, I hate to take off from workouts and I learned the hard way. I would only recover 1 day and be at it again at the box, but this is not enough. With all the competition training I realised I need to take off for at least a week to fully recover. LESSON LEARNED!

Chantelle Lyons (FusionFitMom) l chantelle@fusion24.co.za