CrossFit. Founded by a guy called Greg Gassman (no I hadn’t heard of him either). It’s relatively new way of exercising compared to the ‘norm’ although it has managed to garner itself a bit of a following. Pretty much anyone who has heard of CrossFit has an opinion on it, and they’re not all positive ones. Perceptions I’ve heard range from ‘oh it’s just a cult’ to ‘they just lift far too heavy’ to ‘hahahaha CrossFit, why would you want to do that’.
If you look on their website – https://www.crossfit.com – you discover that it’s based around varied functional movements that everyone uses in every day life. The only difference is, you perform them at high intensity. The idea of doing it together is meant to bring this intensity out, if people are watching you’ll perform harder right? All sounds pretty practical if you ask me.
I was roped into going by a couple of guys I study with. I say roped, I was already pretty keen, I have been curious about the CrossFit thing for a little while. So off I trotted to the brand new box that’s just popped up in Musselburgh, ‘CrossFit JXL‘. Run by a guy called Gary it is very much in it’s fledgling stages of opening. But the set up is great, lots of space to burpee around in, a sprinkling of cardio equipment, loads of kettlebells lying (neatly stacked) around, and racks upon racks. Exactly what you want from a gym space.
There were 4 of us at the 12noon class today – myself, my two buddies and another guy (who was wearing CrossFit trainers so I assume he’s not a novice). Now, I’m pretty fit so I wasn’t overly worried about what was coming. Nor was I remotely concerned or put off by the fact I was the only female, even if I hadn’t known anyone, there was a real sense of ‘we’re in this together’ camaraderie that you just don’t get in normal gyms. The ‘this will be fine’ attitude lasted until we got half way through the warm up. Which by the way consisted of 3 rounds of;
- 250m rows
- 10 Air Squats
- 10m Crab Walk
Shit. Can we stop now? No? Ok. On to the ‘strength’ part of the workout. Today it was Front Squats. Every minute on the minute (E.M.O.M) we had to do 5 reps at 70% of our maximum. My main concern going into this was that I would be pushed to ‘lift heavy’, something I’m not keen to do, I like to lift what I want when I want but thankfully it was a ‘lift what you think’ approach which suited me fine. Although, being surrounded by 3 not so small men I did feel a little weak. So we did that for 10 mins, so 50 squats in total.
Then it was onto the WOD. Yup, not idea what that meant either. Turns out it means ‘Workout of the Day’, obviously. Todays offering was nothing short of bloody awful. Consisting of;
- 6 Burpees (chest to the floor if you’ll please)
- 8 Box Jumps (that’ll be a 24″ box yeah)
- 10 Wall Balls (either 9kg or 6kg)
So that seems ok right? Yeah do it for 12 minutes continuously. Who’s laughing now? I had no idea how to gauge how I was doing, so I just decided I’d try and keep up with Jordan. Turns out he was trying to keep up with me but between us we managed to get through it all 5 times in the 12 minutes. He slightly pipped me by getting through another set of burpees and one box jump in the time (I only managed an extra 3 burpees) but still, not too shabby an effort I don’t think. 12 minutes of hell. Sweaty, heart pounding, utterly exhilarating hell. This is the sort of exercise that I live for. But I was done and my legs were done. Surely it was time for a cool down?
Nope. On we went to WOD 2. Yeah, that’s exactly what I thought too. In comparison it was slightly better than the first WOD. ‘Just’ a 500m Row. The kicker? Maximum effort please guys, times need to be under 2 mins. I managed 1m 54secs. Nearly puked. All the boys (sorry boys) collapsed into a heap next to their rowers. Slightly more lady like, and trying to maintain some dignity I died quietly, unable to stand up off my seat.
And then, just when we thought it was all over, there was the ‘finisher’. Which actually was fine. A 2 min Squat hold. Excellent for flexibility and actually the lower you can get your ass to the floor the better. So we sat there, for 2 mins, bewildered, sweaty, but accomplished.
All in all ? I bloody loved it. It won’t be for everyone, and that’s ok. CrossFit isn’t trying to be ‘for everyone’. But for me, it was perfect. I am not just into cardio, nor am I just into weights. I hate training alone. So to be in a small group of people, doing exercise I love, there is nothing better for me. I will definitely be back, where do I sign up for the next one?
Crossfit JXL is located in Newhails Business Park in Musselburgh and is open 6am to 7.30pm Mon-Fri, with slightly varied times over the weekends. Your first class is free and further information is available on their website or Facebook page.