June 30, 2010 in Uncategorized
Being the Fitness Editor on Health24 I am lucky enough to get to try out a lot of different fitness regimes and exercises that I would ordinarily not be able to do. I am not the only one at Health24 who has written up adventures in the fitness arena; check out some of our other reviews in our How we get fit section.
This time my latest fitness escapade is CrossFit and when I was approached by the guys from the Cape CrossFit gym here in Cape Town I jumped at the chance. It sounded like fun, something completely different to my usual gym routine and they say change is as good a holiday right? Or is that a haircut?
Either way, it’s good.
I went to meet the CrossFit guys on Friday for my fitness assessment and to get a taste of what lay in store for me.
The gym itself is totally different to mainstream gyms in that there is hardly any equipment so the floor space is quite big.
There are of course some Kettle bells, barbells and a few rowing machines, but nothing like the bigger gyms where there are generally more machines than people on the floor at any given time.
Once there I met Jobst Olschewski, who, according to their website, is a CrossFit Level 2 Instructor and with specialty certifications in Olympic Weightlifting, Basic Barbell Training, Nutrition, Gymnastics, Running/Endurance as well as in CrossFit Kids and CrossFit Football.
So if anyone knew about CrossFit it was going to be him!
After he explained everything to me about CrossFit and how the gym works and we’d established that I would need about 8 weeks to fully get the concept and see if it works, he made me do a fitness test so he could gauge how fit or unfit I was before my first class.
It was a fitness test unlike any other – almost like a full hour gym class on steroids and done in only a few minutes!
But it was fun. Really!
The fitness test
We started out with a 500m row on the rowing machine, followed by 40 squats, 30 push-up’s (my LEAST FAVOURITE exercise ever) , 20 sit-ups and 10 pull-ups (with a thera band because I’m sure we all realised by then that there wasn’t ANY way I was going to make 2, let alone 10 pull ups on my own!).
It. Was. Exhausting.
I started out full of gusto but could feel my legs starting to tremble a bit after the first 30 squats. And the fact that my chest was still a bit tender from the previous day’s gym class, my push-ups were rather lame too.
The fact that you don’t really get a rest between any of the exercises is also quite hectic – I mean you can rest if you want to obviously, but since you’re being timed it’s best to keep the rests quite short.
I did it in just over 7 minutes if i remember correctly. Which isn’t bad, but it’s not awesome. Definitely room for improvement there. But, as Jobst said, that’s why I’m there!
The first class
However, nothing could have prepared me for my first class on Tuesday morning. I had thought that my regular gymming and running would have made me quite fit. But it turns out CrossFit-fitness is a whole other type of fitness.
If fitness was an animal, CrossFit would be the king of the jungle!
The class started out with some basic squats and stretching but no sooner had the fate-tempting thought “this isn’t so bad” crossed my mind than we were given some strange and heart-pumping exercises to do. I’m not even sure how to describe them…
Ok, the first one we had to stand and then bend over and put our hands on the floor, then walk our hands forward, lower ourselves into a sort of press-up cross yoga-inspired cobra position and then push our bums up to the yoga-inspired downward facing dog position, then walk our feet towards our hands – and then repeat that until you reached the other side of the gym. I KNOW, right?
And just as I was getting the hang of that (ok, not really…) we stopped and changed to something else.
The whole class was like that, just as something started getting ‘easier’ you moved onto something else. Which is nice cause it stops you getting bored and it stops you getting into too much of a rhythm – which is good if you’re getting it right, not so much if you’re doing it wrong.
So from there we did some box squats and then moved onto walking lunges with a kettlebell. Sounds simple enough, but when you have to do dozens of them and then every minute stop to do something ominously named “Sumo deadlift high pulls” every minute for 10 seconds, it becomes exhausting.
My poor little heart was more than a little a-flutter after that. It was crazy. If I had been wearing my heart-rate monitor i think it might have exploded.
But again, it was fun. REALLY!
And man, did I sleep like the dead last night!
Today – well, today every time I go to sit down I can almost hear my ass screaming “NOOOOO……NOT ANOTHER SQUAT”. And although no-one at work has said anything, I do believe I’m walking a bit like a duck…
So this is definitely going to be a challenge. I will definitely blog about it though so watch this space. I go again on Friday morning so will let you know how that one goes too.
Has anyone tried CrossFit? There are studios in Joburg and Pretoria too so if anyone up there has tried it let me know!
Check out this YouTubevideo of a challenge that recently took place at the gym. It gives you a good idea of what the gym looks like – chekc out that amazing view! One of the best parts abotu training that early in the morning is that in between screaming muscles and sweaty faces you get to watch the most amazing sunrises!