Fitter at 40 than at 20
Do you Crossfit? Tell us your story
CrossFit is the reason I can carry multiple grocery bags with ease. It's the reason I'm confident of ageing while maintaining my health and fitness, and, as I stare down 40, I'm sure my fitness journey isn't over and there are many more goals to achieve.
CrossFit is considered controversial by some. Many experts warn its programming will lead to death, injury and personal disaster. In a world where obesity is the next epidemic on our doorstep, shouldn't we be celebrating the fact people are doing exercise at all and let them choose what works for them?
If people are choosing fitness over fatness then that is a good choice in my mind.
Many people take up running with no experience, no guidance and very little in the way of equipment and see fantastic results. Running can be quite bad for you, it can damage knees, hips, and ego when a kid half your age laps you. But if you're out there enjoying your exercise and getting fit, that's great and if you have a couple of trips to the physio as a result, you won't be the first to get some technique correction on your path to fitness.
For me, CrossFit is the training programme that gets me out of bed in the morning and happy to go to the gym. I do it purely and simply because it offers me the challenges I need and the expert coaching to achieve new goals.
It's not for everyone and that's OK too.
Imagine an exercise programme where you hardly ever do the same work out twice. Imagine working out with a group of people who are encouraging you to do your very best and who celebrate with you when you achieve a new goal. Imagine working with coaches who use their experience and expertise to build a fitter, faster you.
I started CrossFit about four years ago. CrossFit offered me something different, new challenges, it introduced me to new sports like weightlifting and reconnected me with the gymnastics I had enjoyed as a child.
I'm still waiting to get bored with it. I'm starting to suspect that won't happen.
CrossFit is the only exercise programme I never had to force myself to attend, and has encouraged me to set goals while providing the help I need to achieve them. When I first started training in this program I was confident a chin up was beyond my abilities. Full stop. Then I started seeing more and more women easily pulling themselves up on the bars, my ideas changed and so did my goals. I spoke to the coaches and they set up a programme to build my strength over time.
I have never once been pushed beyond what I was capable of, but I have been pushed.
I have never had a serious injury from CrossFit, but like when I was running regularly, I get the occasional niggle. Unlike when I was running I can still participate in exercise by asking the coaches to modify the class workout with my injury in mind- I don't have to miss out.
My CrossFit gym is attached to a physiotherapy centre where most staff are CrossFitters and advocates for CrossFit. They see all our potential members before they join classes so any issues or potential problems with completing the exercises are identified and explained to coaches who modify the exercises in classes accordingly.
There is a distinct difference between CrossFit the exercise program and CrossFit the sport. The lean mean bodies of the Aaron James', Mahdi Te Heu Heu and Kara Webb are all at home in the world of elite sportspeople - it's just they choose CrossFit as their sport.
When elite athletes suffer significant injury like Quade Cooper's AC joint on the weekend, few people raise an eyebrow, such is life in the competitive arena. CrossFit the sport is no different. People are performing in the sport they love, being the best at it means pushing their physical abilities.
The presentation of CrossFit as a crazy sport for super fit people all aiming to hit a personal record every few days doesn't fit with my experience of a gym filled with a wide range of ages, men and women in their 50s and 60s who are inspiring those in their 20s to think of exercise as a lifelong endeavour and not just to attain a ripped body to impress the opposite sex.
It's also brought people into the gym environment where they never felt comfortable before. It's not for everyone and it isn't meant to be, just like yoga and running aren't for everyone, but if you're moving, getting fitter and having fun that can only be a good thing for the health and happiness of any individual.
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