Day 41: CrossFit

Breakfast: 2 pork chops
Lunch: BP Coffee (before Crossfit)
Post Workout: Bananas, blueberries, nuts, 400g sweet potatoes
Dinner: Mozzarella salad, steak and potatoes, red onion salad, chocolate fondant, ice creams, mini eggs

Exercise: CrossFit

I joined a CrossFit gym today.

CrossFit takes Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics, and general conditioning exercises, and puts them together into short interval/circuit workouts (workout of the day, or “WOD”) usually of less than 20 mins. It’s a lot like HIIT. CrossFit trains for strength and power endurance, so it’s great conditioning for a sport like rugby. We used to do fitness training that looked a lot like CrossFit when I played rugby. Since the focus is on strength and power, you’ll seldom run more than 800m in a WOD, although there are some monster workouts out there.

The most common movements, and variations thereof, are cleans, squats, deadlifts, pull ups, burpees, skipping, and kettlebell swings. A sample workout would be barbell thrusters supersetted with pull-ups for 21-15-9 reps. All the official workouts have names, and that one is called Fran. Longer workouts could include scores of kettlebell swings, sit-ups, double-unders, and some rowing and running.

I think there are a couple of advantages that CrossFit has over going to the gym.

Firstly it’s social. Each class will have 10-15 other people in it, and you’ll be sharing equipment with them, so you’ll always be interacting with others. Unlike in a sterile gym. Moreover, CrossFit boxes tend to have somewhere between 50 and a few hundred members, so you’ll see the same faces regularly. The group setting also encourages you to work harder.

The second attraction is that you learn new things. You’ll learn how to squat, deadlift, do a handstand. Learning, like socialising, is one of those things that we have to do in order to be happy IMHO. Personally I feel like I’m stagnating if I’m not learning something new. And I’m unlikely to learn anything new on a treadmill.

I think we are hard-wired to want to exercise, socialise and learn, and when you combine them together, as CrossFit does, you get a powerful buzz. It’s not surprising that it creates a tight community and that people can be so evangelical about it.

That said, you don’t need to go to CrossFit to get these things. Maybe rock climbing, surfing, or salsa dancing work better for you. Right now, I’m curious about CrossFit and I’d like to see what it can do for me.

Anyway, the first session was a beginners class that lasted 5 hours. Mum was in town so we went for dinner. This conveniently overlapped with my cheat day so I had I had bought a load of dark chocolate covered nuts to gorge on, but by the time I was finished dinner I could barely move so they’ll have to wait until next week. It’s going to be quite a test of character not to eat them in the meantime.

It’ll be interesting to see how my weight changes over the next couple of days. The CrossFit was demanding, but I ate a load of food at dinner. I was 74kg this morning. Hopefully I’m not back to 75kg.