CrossFit has been in my cross hairs for a while now which is why it made the hitlist. My sister is an avid CrossFit junkie and I have come across many people who love it and keep telling me to try it. It can also get quite a bad rap at times and as an accredited Exercise Physiologist I can see the potential for things to go wrong. In saying that, I can see that potential for injury across a lot of different sports and I can’t really comment if I haven’t actually tried it. CrossFit interests me because I love the thought of being coached again, of having a goal for a training session, and digging deep to get the job done. There is also something to be said for the special kind of camaraderie that comes when you train with people who did the same tough session and who know exactly what pain you went through to get it done! I did have concerns about whether my 32yr old body that had carried four kids would be up to the task but I wanted to give it a go. Between Google and Facebook I was able to check out a few CrossFit boxes (look at me go, using the lingo and everything) close to me and decided on Hillside Crossfit. They were quick to respond to my query and before I knew it I was booked in for a free trial session.
From what I can gather, most boxes kit themselves out in a warehouse/industrial space of some sort so it may not look like much from the outside, but as I walked through the doors I got the feeling that this was a place of work and I’m sure it has seen its fair share of blood, sweat, and tears. What had I got myself into??
The instructor was friendly and we had a chat about my exercise history and any health concerns. Just a word of warning, if you do go to an exercise session, gym, or class and they don’t ask you these questions and/or get you to complete a health questionnaire then I would be looking elsewhere. Here’s the catch though people, you must actually tell them about any problems so that they can modify the workout as necessary. Yes ladies, that means having that awkward conversation about any pelvic floor issues. Modifications can be made, but I have to say that CrossFit won’t be kind on the pelvic floor and core stability can be compromised if you have any weaknesses in this area.
I learnt that each session usually lasts an hour, with a workout of the day (WOD) planned out on the whiteboard. The session consists of a warm up, a skills/technique session, before moving on to the main event. I was then kindly informed that I would be trialling one round of the WOD which involved rowing, squats, push ups, sit ups, and pull ups…..eeeek pull ups?? Say whaat? But don’t stress, turns out they have lots of cool toys that can be used to modify and assist each exercise. Just quietly, I needed quite a few of the stretchy bands to help me do a pull up! During the warm up, the instructor gave me direction on technique as we worked our way through each exercise I would be doing. Crunch time. Timer went on and I had to complete the required reps as quick as I could. In this trial session I only completed one round, usually you would keep going but I am sure they were just trying to play nice. If you haven’t done this kind of training before prepare to be sore, very sore.
CrossFit can be a little expensive when compared to a gym but I believe it has to be put alongside personal training and coaching fees. In that respect I believe it is worth your money. Although it does cop some criticism, I think if the CrossFit instructor is tough on technique, each individual puts in the time to develop a good baseline strength and endurance before gradually increasing resistance, then the risks can be minimised. At the end of the day, everyone should walk in with their eyes wide open to the fact that it is a high intensity workout, under load, with a competitive edge. I dig that, cause I am that kind of crazy, but I understand that it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. By the way, I totally think I could beat my time……