Crossfit! – I’m not fit enough for that, am I? Isn’t it too extreme? - CFTT Member Kris Riley
Being unfit, how I got started and where I am now
My Crossfit journey (yes, I said journey) began while on a stag do in 2018 of all things. One of these adventures type weekends where there’s lots of climbing, canoeing and nowhere near enough alcohol for my liking!
Nevertheless, there was a ‘Crossfitter’ on the stag do and didn’t we all know about it! It’s true what people say about Crossfitters, myself included (these days). If you’re not doing it then you’re talking about it to anyone who’ll listen and let’s be honest, you’ll talk about it even if they aren’t listening.
Anyway, the Crossfit games was on and whenever we had a spare few minutes he’d have his phone on. He was gripped to the screen and rightly so when he showed us some of the things these people could do. I’d heard of the Crossfit name as many people have but like lots of people I’d heard the stigma that came with it. Not safe, bad technique, dangerous, only for the super fit, the extreme, the top 1% of ‘fitness fanatics’ and all that other misguided stuff.
Turns out none of that is true - at all! After the stag do was over I said I was interested and would maybe… possibly… one day, think about giving Crossfit a go (may or may not have happened). The choice was pretty much taken out of my hands as the lad from the stag do dropped Crossfit TT a message and passed on my details. By this time I felt obliged (thankfully).
The other thing I realised on the stag do was mentally I still thought I was in my 20’s and fighting fit from the Army, whereas although I gave it my all, I was clearly overweight and delusional.
So fast forward 4 weeks or so and here I am walking into Crossfit TT for the first time to do an ‘onramp’ basically an introduction to Crossfit, the principles, methodology, box rules (the Box - it’s what Crossfitters call their gym) and basic movement patterns you’ll become proficient in. Met the coaches face to face and realised immediately this wasn’t like any other gym I’d ever set in foot in, which was as nerve-racking as it was exciting. So, the onramp went well-ish! I could squat half decent if nothing else and was itching to give everything a go all at the same time.
First key piece of advice – "Leave your ego at the door" and don’t try to keep up with people who’ve been doing this a while, it won’t happen and you’ll look like a….. well tit quite frankly. The beauty of Crossfit which outsiders don’t necessarily see is how one of its key principles is infinite scalability. In other words, there is always a version you can do regardless of how fit or unfit, physically or mentally you are.
The gym is founded by lifelong fitness and sports coaches who have spent their careers working with the local councils, communities, NHS and all manner of people within specialist groups to address and promote health, wellbeing and recovery from severe illnesses. Over the next few months I steadily built confidence in the movements; gymnastics at 17st 7lbs aren’t easy I assure you! But they are achievable eventually with the right training program and coaching, and the coaching really is outstanding.
"I wasn’t only learning in the most inclusive fitness environment I’d ever been in but also realising how bad my technique had been in all my previous years of on-off training."
I found a new love for Barbells and Olympic lifting but by far the biggest thing in Crossfit even compared to team sports is the community. The sense of everyone rallying behind you with every lift or rep you do is incredible.
Whilst I’m talking about community - Friday night lights, part of the Crossfit Open (annual qualifying event for the Crossfit Games) – every Friday night for 5 weeks we would gather at the box and compete in the prescribed workout for that week whilst being officiated by another member of the gym. The atmosphere and buzz was fantastic, right there in those moments I realised how much Crossfit means to the members, the coaches and to me.
Since then there’s been F.A.S.T weekenders for the Stroke Association (4 half marathons in a team of 4, and more recently a 5 million metre challenge between 100 members over 4 disciplines), more Opens, many many more workouts, lockdowns, outdoor training, back to indoor training and a fair few pounds (lbs) lost along the way. Currently, I sit around 13st 7lbs, that’s 4st off in the last two years. I’m fitter and stronger now than I’ve been in years. I’ve lifted weights I never imagined I could in ways I never thought I would.
"So for anyone considering Crossfit, give it a go! You won’t regret it, you’ll meet great people, get great coaching and most of all you’ll enjoy getting fit."