FREE TRAINING : How I super charged my life
I wanted to supercharge my life and tried different things. Then a friend introduced me to CrossFit.
Why CrossFit? Well, I’d heard a lot about this fast-growing fitness craze with a cult-like following. I had heard both good things and bad things and I wanted to see for myself how it really measured up as a fitness scheme.
I signed up for a four-week trial with CrossFit Zest for Life, located in Queenswood, Pretoria, to experience it first-hand and see if it lived up to all the hype. After four weeks of training 3 days a week I did see results. Not just in the way I looked but also how I felt.
Here’s 5 surprising things I learned during my month of CrossFit training…
You don’t have to look like this to do Crossfit and enjoy it!
- It’s not actually THAT hardcore
The most common misconception about Crossfit is that everyone that does it is a fitness fanatic. That everyone is buff, bulging with muscle and runs marathons in their lunch break. Whenever I told anyone I was trying out Crossfit most people had pretty much the same reaction. Something along the lines of: ‘Oh my God, are you mad?’ and ‘Don’t you have to be really, really fit to do it?’
The honest answer is that it isn’t that hardcore, especially when you first sign up. For the first week and a half of my trial I did special ‘beginners classes with newbies like myself. And no, they weren’t all super-toned, super-fit Victoria Secret model-like specimens. They were normal, like me. There was an even split of men and women and a few them had never lifted a weight before, ever.
Week 1 at Crossfit…
The beginners classes are all about getting the technique right. All Crossfit classes are with a professional trainer who watches you and corrects your form. In these classes you use little or no weight.
I’ve been going to the gym for several years but I hadn’t realised my squat position was slightly off and putting added pressure on my back. I also hadn’t realised my burpee technique was also flawed, meaning I made the awful exercise even harder for myself by using my arms too much! My Zest for Life coaches spotted these errors and helped me fix them.
After each beginner class there was a ‘WOD’, which is short for ‘workout of the day’. Generally, this is a 15-20 minute or so workout where you do a series of exercises designed to get your heart rate up. All the exercises that are part of the WOD are adaptable to your individual level of fitness or ability. While some experienced Crossfitters would do 20 wall-push ups (upside down push-ups in a handstand position against a wall), us beginners would do 20 push-ups on our knees. Crossfit, as I learned, is about pushing yourself to your very own limit. If 20 knee-pushups leave you panting, then that’s what you do.
Everyone does what they can manage and everything is scaled to your own abilities.
- It’s not this massive, take-over-your-whole-life commitment
You decide how many days you train, how much you push yourself and how big a part it plays in your lifestyle. Crossfit Zest for Life was great in that it had scheduled classes every hour from 5.00 am until 07.00 am before work, a lunchtime session at 1.30 and every hour from 4.00 pm to 7.00 pm. This meant no excuses, there was always a time of day you could fit a workout in.
On Saturdays meanwhile, there is a community class so everyone trains together in a big group. These days some people bring their small children who play alongside their parents as they work out.
I never got the impression people at the gym were ‘obsessed with their training. They obviously took it seriously while they were there but they also had other things going on in their lives! Which brings me to my next point…
- Crossfitters are actually nice!
I have to admit, I did half expect everyone to be a little full of themselves. You know when you go to the gym and there’s a bunch of guys who are so into it and so into themselves that they are practically making love to their own reflection as they do their 56th bicep curl? I thought Crossfit would have a lot of those type. I was wrong.
There is a real sense of community. People help you put your weights away, strangers shout encouragement when you’re on the last minute of your assault bike round and there’s always a sweaty palm ready to high-five you at the end of the routine. It sounds cheesy, but the support and camaraderie is really motivating.
Perhaps it is the way the workouts are often partner or group based or whether it is just because the trainers at CrossFit Zest for Life are so sound that it filters through to everyone else. Whatever it is, even in the short time I was there, you feel a real sense of family.
The workouts are usually done to pumping music and the aforementioned trainers don’t take themselves too seriously. One Saturday morning when I arrived a little blurry eyed for community workout class, they surprised us with a very different warm-up. A half choreography, half workout routine timed to MANIAC to wake us up, complete with sexy leg kicks sans leg warmers.
And if bringing the nightclub to the gym wasn’t enough, sometimes everyone at the gym goes out together. Far from them all being clean eating, green drinking fitness freaks all the time, they actually like to, you know, have fun.
- You don’t have to spend hours at the gym for results
When I look back at my training at Crossfit Zest for Life, I never spent more than an hour at the gym for any one session. Each session was split into two parts; a strength part where you focused on conditioning and a cardio part or where you did a faster-paced, high repetition workout. The WOD (workout of the day) generally took between 10-20 minutes but was high intensity so you were dead afterwards, but could actually get home in time to cook dinner and binge on Netflix.
Before and after pics of me.
Also, I noticed results almost immediately. At first I noticed how much fitter I felt after just a few days. After a few weeks, I noticed I was stronger and could lift heavier weights. After a month I noticed my body had in fact changed. My stomach area in particular looked and felt firmer and more toned. My arms also had a little more definition.
Considering I spent the first week and a half learning the basics and not doing the proper, fully-fledged Crossfit sessions, the results I achieved were after just 2-3 weeks of active training!
Crossfit is something I’d definitely recommend for anyone who is looking to get fit fast.
You don’t need basic level of fitness to start. You just need to be willing to push yourself and give things a go. In my opinion, Crossfit is especially beneficial for those who find it hard to find the motivation to exercise. The team work/group element of the sessions makes you feel accountable to others and that, added with the social element, means you are more likely to get your ass to the gym and get fit.
What does it cost? Think of what it would cost to have your personal trainer 3-5 times per week. This could cost anything from R1000 to R2000 per week.
CrossFit is like having your own personal trainer but from R200 per week. The results you will get include nutritional coaching, training , support and a real sense of continuous improvement and achievement.
Email email@example.com or whatsap 0717287835 to join today.
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CrossFit zest for Life 1180 Wesley str, Queenswood, Pretoria 0717287835