“…they’d been telling me how good it was and the changes they had seen”
I didn’t really know much about CrossFit – I had a couple of friends who were members of CrossFit XI:XI already, they’d been telling me how good it was and the changes they’d seen. At first I didn’t think it could be much different to what I was doing on my own in the gym. Then they started talking in acronyms, talking about something called an EMOM WOD doing GTOH, I didn’t get it. They kept telling me I’d love it, that it was tough but really worthwhile, but I was still happy going to the local gym, I still didn’t think it could be that different.
In truth, I probably didn’t think I was fit or strong enough to do this kind of training; that you had to be a real athlete and that I was better off just carrying on as normal. I don’t know what changed my mind, but eventually I caved in and went for a taster session and I’ve never looked back!
“It got rid of the apprehensions I had and put a couple of misconceptions of CrossFit to rest.”
That first taster session was a real eye opener. In the taster session we went through a few foundation movements including a proper squat position – that was a revelation! Then we did a short burpee (proper ones!) and goblet squat workout. A friend recorded some of it for us, I’ve still got the video and it’s quite funny to watch now! The taster session was great, it got rid of the apprehensions I had and put a couple of the CrossFit misconceptions to rest; myself and my friend Chris P signed up for our foundations that same day.
The Foundations sessions were great, Coach Ray took us through everything we would need to know to join in and get the most out of our classes. The attention to detail was great, going through all the foundation movements and getting good form for future classes (I still hate overhead squat though). Then we were in, I hit my first class the day after finishing the foundations and I was hooked!
I can honestly say, I still look forward to getting to the box (we call it box instead of gym as it’s not really a conventional gym) for every session, even when I’ve secretly found out what the workout is and there’s overhead squats in it, there’s only one way to get better at it! (As you can tell, I really struggle with over head squat).
I can’t imagine going back to a “normal” gym. I used to go to the gym because I felt like I had to or like I should, now I train because I enjoy it. I was talking to a friend and fellow XI:XI member, Angela, we both agreed that people talk about having time to themselves, for some people that’s time in front of the TV or reading a book, for us it’s at the box, that’s our “me time”, amongst like-minded people, looking to improve their health and fitness and having fun doing it.
“I’d only ever deadlifted 100kg. That’s now up to 155kg – the progress never stops.”
Plenty of progress and achievements too! The great thing about this set up, is it’s quantifiable, you can see it working in the numbers and for me that’s one of CrossFit’s biggest draws. I saw my first big progression during foundations – previously I’d only ever deadlifted 100kg and struggled at that, with the correct form I hit 120kg straight away. That’s now up to 155kg (double my bodyweight) and only going up. The PB’s (personal best) came thick and fast especially early on and even though they’ve slowed down a bit, they’re still coming. During the Olympic lifting cycle we did in September/October I hit a new front squat 1RM then there’s improved rowing , linked kipping pull ups, rings dips, progressing to hand stand push ups, even some improvement on overhead squat – the progress never stops.
“After training with CFXIXI, I finished 279 places higher in the Great Manchester Cycle. The numbers speak for themselves!”
But it’s not just in the box that I’ve seen improvements – I do a bit of cycling now and then; I’ve done the Great Manchester Cycle a couple of times. In 2013 I placed 626th overall for the 26mile distance and 192nd for my age/gender, I didn’t enter in 2014 but I did the same distance in 2015, 4-5 months after starting at Crossfit XI:XI; I placed 345th overall and 77th for my age/gender. That’s 279 places higher overall and 115 for my age/gender, I think those numbers speak for themselves really! Then there was the Manchester-Blackpool Cycle, I entered this in 2014 and took approximately 5½ hours, in July 2015 I covered the 60.1 mile distance in 4hr 10min, not a world breaking time, but I was amazed by the difference! And I put it all down to XI:XI, It’s made me fitter, stronger and more determined.
If you’re reading this blog now and you’re interested…Just go for it! I know it’s a cliché but, really, what have you got to lose? Come for a taster session, there’s no pressure at the end of it, if it’s for you great, if not then at least you tried it. I’d say come down early before your taster, maybe catch the end of one of the regular sessions. You’ll see all sorts of people, all sorts of shapes and sizes, from different backgrounds and walks of life working hard for themselves and each other. When they’ve finished they might look tired, but talk to them 5 minutes later and I’ll bet they’ll tell you how good it was!
The big difference here for me is the coaching & the attention to detail. We don’t have instructors, we have coaches. They’re here to help you get better at things that will improve your technique, your health and by extension, your life. I think the only time I saw someone official in my previous gym was during my induction which lasted all of 30 minutes, nothing against normal “conventional” gyms, they serve a purpose, but I just think this is so much better.
I could carry on about how great the last 9 months has been but finally, I’ve gone through all of this without really mentioning the best part: the people. When you join you immediately feel part of something. There’s always someone to workout with, to talk to, there’s jokes on the facebook page and even group outings for food and drinks if you want. I didn’t believe the hype at first, but my friends were right, it’s more than just a gym.
Get involved and contact us today for your free taster session. Like Rory did in his taster, you can try and see the value in what we offer!