Apologies if you only follow my blog for my photography, but every now and then I do like to post more about my other hobbies or what’s happening in my life.
About 5 months ago, I stopped actively training in Karate. I achieved my 2nd Dan Black Belt in June, and after training for over 7 years, I needed a new goal. I could’ve set ‘3rd Dan’ as my goal, but I also wanted to try something new and put myself out of my comfort zone.
I’d heard about CrossFit from a few friends (also ex-Karate or Kickboxing) who were into CrossFit and they absolutely loved it, so I decided I was going to try it as my new hobby and way of getting fit and keeping fit.
I’ve been doing it at BTS CrossFit for 4 months now, and I can safely say I’m absolutely loving it! It’s different to “going to the gym” – the community aspect is amazing, the constantly varied workouts, the functional movements, the intensity and continuous improvement is just what I wanted.
If you have 9 minutes, this video is worth watching. It shows in action a lot of what CrossFit is.
I’d heard all the stories – about how intense it is etc, but I gave it a go anyway and I can now say I had nothing to worry about. Yes it’s hard work, but it gets results – and it’s universally scalable to your fitness level and your intensity level. It suits my personality – pushing me out of my comfort zone, pushing myself harder every time, and trying to be the best I can be.
I look at fitness different now. CrossFit isn’t about being the fastest runner, or lifting the heaviest weights. You could say a CrossFitter will run faster than a lifter, and lift more than a runner. It’s bodyweight movements, olympic weightlifting and gymnastics all combined.
A lot of CrossFitters have a strict diet, mostly Paleo. I hadn’t even heard of it and didn’t know what it was, so I searched. This article was a great intro to it. I have to say, I’m not a follower of it – but I’m certainly more conscious of my diet now and I’m eating less sugar, less junk food, and more protein.
In 4 months, I’m feeling fitter and stronger than I have since I don’t know when – I can see improvements in my body, my physique. I haven’t lost any weight in kg (still around 74kg), but I’ve trimmed fat and put on muscle. I’m more conscious of my body and trying to ensure it stays functional. I’m working on my mobility – especially in my shoulders and hips. I don’t want my performance held back by stiff joints or inflexible shoulders.
I’m now Rx’ing (doing the recommended weights/movements) most workouts, but still have more work to do on the Olympic Weightlifting part of it- both in strength and technique. I’ve found I’m great at some movements (like Double Unders) and even top the board on some days. I just got my name on the BTS hall of fame board for the ‘Annie‘ WOD, completing it in 6:42.
One of the great things about it, is that you’re competing against yourself . Trying to beat your previous personal records (PR’s). You don’t *have* to go full-on competitive or as intense as what you see on YouTube. But most people find themselves training harder because they want to get better and beat their times.
It is hard work, because I want to push myself. I was surprised that there’s so much mental toughness required – not just physical strength. When you’re in the middle of a workout and everything is hurting and you just want to give up, or rest a little bit longer, it takes a lot of mental strength to keep going – to pick up the bar again, to grab the kettlebell again. My Karate training certainly helps me in this. Whenever it gets hard, I think back to my 1st and 2nd Dan black belt gradings, and I say to myself – I’ve done harder than this. I’ve pushed through pain and wanting to give up, and I’ve come out the other side.
I really do miss Karate – the people, the training, the sparring – but I’m loving CrossFit at BTS. It’s definitely started me on a new journey and I’m excited to see where it takes me. I’m entering my first CrossFit competition on the 1st December – not because I expect to win, but because it’s just who I am – pushing myself out of my comfort zone, putting into practise what I’ve learned and constantly striving for personal improvement. At almost 39, there’s always going to be younger, fitter, stronger guys than me – but I know that as long as I keep improving myself and my times, then I’m satisfied with how my journey is going.
I’m also so proud of my wife, Kate, who has just attended her first intro session of CrossFit at BTS. She’s completely out of her comfort zone, but she can see how much I love it and is going to give it a go. She was very scared, about the intensity, about not being strong enough – but I explained to her about the scaling – how every workout can be scaled to suit the individual. You aren’t expected to be as strong or lift as much as everyone else. Use less weights, use bands etc. If you’re working hard at your level then it’s going to be good for you.
I’ll probably try and post a bit more about my CrossFit journey every so often, if there’s any interest.
Thanks for reading.