First impressions at a chance meeting.
I first met Ray at Bolton RUFC. Ray had been coaching a number of our 1st XV players during our previous playing seasons. I am the Senior Chairman at Bolton RUFC and had introduced the need for strength and conditioning coaching.
Stood on the sidelines watching a game, I was introduced to Ray by our 1st XV Captain Chris Cockton and I was immediately impressed by his friendly approach and easy going manner. Never having been a gym goer in my earlier years, I was surprised to find Ray was not a huge bloke with rippling muscles as I expected, rather he was what I would class as a “normal bloke”.
My partner is a chartered physiotherapist and again she was impressed with Ray’s knowledge of anatomy, injury and his understanding of sports psychology in amateur athletes who are trying to bridge the gap against professional athletes yet still have to temper against full time jobs and family commitments.
Everything you desire is outside of that comfort zone.
At that time, I was fairly content with myself – I had accepted that I was fat but I had convinced myself that it was okay to be fat as I still played some sport during the week and ate reasonably well or at least I thought I did. I was not the largest amongst my friends so again, that meant in my mind, I was not at that bad (despite being nearly 20 stone / 127kg).
I had accepted that I would not achieve anything like the fitness levels I once had, prior to gaining the weight and to be honest, it felt like it was a too long a haul back to fitness for me.
M weight was starting to affect my everyday life including work, hobbies, sports and other pursuits. Despite of this, I was most likely displaying all the classic Ostrich signs of sticking my head in the sand.
Mindset is everything. Negativity breeds procrastination and nothingness. Positivity breeds action and change.
A lot of my friends and colleagues knew of my past attempts to lose weight, to stop drinking and get fit. They supported me in many cases – as had my long suffering girlfriend, but at every attempt there was always one more night out, one more dinner to attend, a more reason to miss training at the Rugby club – I could always justify a way to stop working towards losing that weight. So every attempt, meant I saw myself as even more of a failure until I probably stopped trying.
My mindset held me back. I had drilled it into myself that gyms were lonely, soulless places where tougher minded people than me went to work out on their own, to sculpt the ultimate body. I was not that type of guy. I did not really want abs that a tank would struggle to break through, biceps to crush walnuts nor definition in my quads to make a bodybuilding judge so excited that they would spontaneously combust!
I am sure that there are hundreds, if not thousands of people like me in the locality of CrossFIt XI XI – all it takes is to meet the training team and it is immediately evident that CrossFit is not that sort of gym. In fact it is the complete opposite of this. There is no one posing in a mirror, no need to invest in minuscule amounts of lycra. Only hard work.
In fact my main reason for joining, was to lose some body weight along with my mates in the self-named Big Lads Club! You can meet us anytime down there and we will be happy to tell you our story in more detail.
Achieving things you once thought were impossible.
I have acquired an endless list of new skills thanks to CrossFit XI XI – I had given up hope of ever doing a Burpee again after a knee operation and can now do plenty of proper burpees, we are working on my mobility every week as I lose weight and reduce the strain on my knee.
To be honest, free weights had always scared and baffled me to some extent and I now find myself relishing the chance to work out with the Olympic Bar even hitting a PB the other week of 180kg on the single rep deadlift. I am much more confident attempting the new skills thanks to the core section of my body which CrossFit has encouraged me to improve.
I have also found as a benefit to losing my body weight, improving my core strength and stability and changing my mind set – I have not been injured on the rugby pitch as my body is more conditioned to withstand impact so I am approaching the start of the 2014 / 2015 a lot fitter and much more confident than I have done since I was 23 (13 years ago).
Some achievements gained since starting at CrossFit XI XI
– Lost approx 2.5 stone in around 14 weeks
– Gone down two waist sizes (42 – 38 inch in 14 weeks)
– Better change in physique
– Raised my personal bests week on week in almost every aspect
– Raised my performance back on the Rugby pitch
– Received numerous compliments on how healthy I look
– Bettered my understanding of performance and contact sport
– Learnt numerous new skills
– Learnt more about diet and food types than I thought possible
– Recently called up to represent the Bolton RUFC 1st team!
The question anyone should ask when they start at CrossFit XI:XI is not, “can I afford to do it”, but rather, “can I afford NOT to do it?”
Although most people will ask a coach / gym / fitness plan to help them lose weight, it still remains the largest reason why people join a gym, it is worth emphasising that CrossFit XI XI is all about what you will gain! I gained fitness, knowledge, understanding, education but most of all I gained a great group of friends who support me in many more ways than just simply being people I see at the gym or nod to across the water fountain at certain global gyms…
I teamed up with Ray and then Sean with my buddies in the Big Lads Club, everyone of us wanted to lose weight but were struggling to find a way. Not ever really being a serious gym goer it was a venture into the unknown for me and it has proved a venture into the unknown every week thereafter but with consistent support from the chaps and my “Box Buddies” I have started to achieve work outs that I would have previously thought impossible. The weight has come off in a structured and methodical manner coupled with a better nutritional plan and I am being told it has taken 10 years off my looks but more importantly over 3 1/2 stone off my figure since May 2014.
From a personal point of view it is great to feel part of a team in the gym, always having someone to work with and to have a chat too. Gym’s are often seen as unsociable places but at CrossFit XI XI the concept calls for you to interact with other people such as the team WOD (Workout of The Day or Weapons of Destruction dependent on your viewpoint) so it becomes more of a family atmosphere and people are encouraged to actively welcome others into the classes.
It is not easy to join CrossFit XI XI – or rather it is very easy to join but not easy to keep attending time after time facing up to your own mental demons such as burpees etc BUT it will produce your desired results. With the help of a fantastic coaching team you can achieve goals that you thought were impossible – if you have patience, the drive and the determination then CrossFit XI XI is definitely the starting block for a better quality of life both inside and outside the box.
If you want to CHANGE then the make it HAPPEN. Take ACTION today NOW.
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