It’s funny because the response I usually get when asking people whether or not they’ve tried CrossFit is: Cross what? I find that hilarious because ‘fit’ is not that difficult a word to remember! LOL
I’ve been training at St Stithians for the last 6 months and since completing my fitness challenge it’s been difficult to re adapt to a mainstream gym environment. Many of the routines that Carol and I did centred on functional fitness as well as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Carol’s husband, Rodney, is also a South African Olympic Weightlifting coach and we incorporated some of those elements into our training. There are so many concepts in fitness and initially it can be hard to get your head around them all, this is what causes many to give up but I urge you not to do so—education is the key to sustainability, the more you get clued up the better your decision-making processes. Once your head is in it you’re more than halfway there! You have to find what works for YOU but a word of caution: don’t be complacent and play it safe! Stretch yourself, challenge yourself, try something new. Don’t knock a workout until you’ve tried it! And the same goes with eating plans.
I find functional training and HIIT so much fun and really enjoyable, the workouts just make sense to me. Our bodies were created to lift, push, pull and pivot. Not in isolated movements but along more than one plane, much like playing sports and for this reason my body responds to this type of training….Check out this blurb on functional training:
What is functional fitness training?
Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability. For example, a squat to bicep curl is a functional exercise because it trains the muscles used when you pick up an object from the floor or a table. By training your muscles to work the way they do in everyday tasks, you prepare your body to perform well in a variety of common situations.
Functional fitness exercises can be done at home or at the gym. Gyms may offer functional fitness classes or incorporate functional fitness into boot camps or other types of classes. Exercise tools, such as fitness balls, kettle bells and weights, are often used in functional fitness workouts.
What are the benefits of functional fitness training?
Functional exercises tend to be multijoint, multimuscle exercises. Instead of only moving the elbows, for example, a functional exercise might involve the elbows, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles. This type of training, properly applied, can make everyday activities easier, reduce your risk of injury and improve your quality of life.
Now I’m not criticising conventional weight training, in fact I really enjoy a good weight training workout but let’s be honest, many people find it boring. Especially if you haven’t been training for a very long time. You also struggle with the normal gym experience if you are naturally sporty person. Warren (my husband) loathes a normal weight training workout. He is a pro golfer, former provincial footballer and plays a number of sports. To him, it is the most mind-numbing thing to go to a gym and do 4 sets of 15 reps of up and down. Squat. Lift. Press. Push. Routine = Boredom.
In fact gone are the days where you have 2hours to slog away at the gym. We are living in times of instant gratification. We want to do less with better results and although many people prefer not to take short cuts, the reality is that time is more precious now than ever before! Even those of us that will gladly sacrifice activities, willingly make the time to go to gym and put in the necessary effort, are looking to maximise our efforts.
It’s been amazing to witness the developments and changes in my career and personal life, since completing my transformation challenge. Had I known the benefits and the resultant outcomes I wouldn’t have waited that long, however, that being said, I do believe in the concept of the right timing so I do think that everything is happening the way it was meant to.
Early last month I was asked to be a member of a celebrity CrossFit team, which would compete in an exhibition WOD (Workout of the Day) at the United We Stand Reebok CrossFit Games in Durban. Lisa Raleigh invited to me to be a part of her team alongside Sias Du Plessis & Roxy Burger. Reebok has taken ownership of CrossFit from a branding perspective, a really smart move in my opinion. The sport is one of the fastest-growing worldwide and the brand adds a huge amount of credibility to the sport but the reciprocity is seen in the ‘cool factor’ CrossFit adds to Reebok. In other words CrossFit has made Reebok cool again.
I cannot describe my excitement upon receiving my package of Reebok CrossFit gear! The quality of the clothing is of the utmost excellence and you can see that much thought has gone into the design of the CrossFit range: it was perfectly designed for functional movement. I practically live in my CrossFit Nanos, they feel as if they were made for my the movement of my feet (see pics below).
I had heard of CrossFit prior to this through a CrossFit competitor, Cindy Ellis. She is a professional photographer and we did a shoot together for the FedHealth magazine earlier this year. I noticed how buff she was and told her about my fitness challenge. She used to compete as a fitness model but once she tried CrossFit she was hooked!
I had never gone to a CrossFit class and so upon accepting the celeb challenge I popped in for a class with the guys at CrossFit Platinum in Linden in order to prepare.
The first thing I noticed when walking into the gym was that there really is a family environment associated to this sport. You immediately feel intimidated and challenged yet welcome, this before even lifting up a weight! You are told, without any spoken communication, that your gym routine will never be the same again and the natural assumption then is that your physique should never be the same again!
This is fitness on steroids! LOL maybe not the best description and association but let’s just say that to me, in the world of “Marvel Fitness”, CrossFit is like a super combination of the strength of The Incredible Hulk, the agility and flexibility of Spider-Man, the versatility of Wolverine and the endurance & conditioning of Captain America!
Ha ha ha ok so back to reality!
The CrossFit philosophy was developed in 2000 but the idea or concept has been in existence for many years and as you will see it was developed as an extension of the concept of functional fitness training. The CrossFit Programme was created and established in the USA and the sport boasts it’s own CrossFit Games as well.
So what is CrossFit?
CrossFit is many things. Primarily, it’s a fitness regimen developed by Coach Greg Glassman over several decades. He was the first person in history to define fitness in a meaningful, measurable way (increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains). CrossFit itself is defined as that which optimizes fitness (constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity). CrossFit is also the community that spontaneously arises when people do these workouts together. In fact, the communal aspect of CrossFit is a key component of why it’s so effective.
The games in Durban were awesome. The family atmosphere I told you about earlier was way more intensified and I couldn’t help feeling like I really, really wanted to be a part of this new world I had discovered. CrossFit encourages you to up the ante, to never accept complacency and routine but to always embrace discipline and focus. You are charged to compete but always against your personal best…CrossFit is about improvement of self!
Now I could go on and on about the benefits, the workouts and so forth but that pales in comparison to actually trying out a class. There are a number of gyms across South Africa, a quick google search will help. In future posts I’ll post a glossary of CrossFit terms as I’m still learning!
Here are the website addresses of the gyms I have been to or heard about from friends:
CrossFit pics courtesy of: Jane Kilian
Marvel Pics: www.marvel.com