Crossfit and me!
A little while back Jayne asked me to be a guest blogger on Kettlebelle . She had read my first blog and wanted me to share more about my experience of doing CrossFit with my arthritis and hip replacement. I was delighted to be approached so here it is.
Firstly I need to explain my relationship with Crossfit. It was introduced to me back in July 2012, just before my hip replacement by my boyfriend ( who is a personal trainer). Back then there was no Crossfit gym in Galway and he and some of his friends were huge fans of the crossfit ethos and it’s benefits and would train on the beach with kettlebells, free weights and their own body weight. At this stage, I was permanently on crutches and would laugh at him when he would mention working out with them.
During my post op I attended a kettlebell competition of his and was inspired by the girls there and the simple and yet somewhat complex movement of the kettlebell. I had never even held one before.
Roll on a few months and himself was working in the newly opened CrossFit Galway and I was to hear more and more about it and it benefits. Even though I was getting stronger, I still didn’t feel confident enough to join but I was persuaded to buy my first 8kg kettlebell and did some simple moves in the house.
During the 2013 open and regionals I watched a lot on YouTube and was in awe of what the athletics could do. However when a new fundamentals course started in the gym, I would politely refuse to join and laugh that he could be the crossfitter in the family and that I was very happy being able to walk limp free.
It wasn’t until 11 months after my surgery and at a another CrossFit Galway members BBQ that one of the girls sold it to me. (At this stage I had visited the gym a few times and met the people and i could see the bonds they had made there and the positive effects being part of a crossfit community was having on the members both physically and mentally.) This girl asked me to join and I gave my line ‘No I’m ok.. I wouldn’t be able for that…i just got my hip replaced… I enjoy walking’. She said that she always thought that she wouldn’t like it either and that she only joined it to do something with her husband. But that she had measured herself at the start and within 3 months she had lost inches of all her measurements. She pulled out her little black book and proudly showed me them. I couldn’t believe it . I seriously needed to think about this as I had put on a few kg’s in my post recovery.
So I did more research and after another great chat with himself i signed up for the fundamentals course in August 2013. I’m not going to lie. I was a year post recovery and was scared of falling and hurting myself. But the coaches were so understanding from the start. They knew the difference between what I wouldn’t do and what I couldn’t do it. ( the difference being I was unfit and my body wouldn’t go any further as opposed to i couldn’t squat below 90 degrees because my hip isn’t mechanically able to).
The month of fundamentals were tough but we were taught the basics of crossfit- the techniques. The proper way to move so that we are not putting our bodies in danger. I realised that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t want to hurt myself. Greg Glassman ( CrossFit founder) didn’t want us to either. Crossfit isn’t about that. It’s about constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement. Those functional movements are movements all humans are built for. Movements that are natural and safe. Movements we use in everyday life, like squatting, dead lifting, jumping, pulling yourself up. These in turn lead to better health, stronger core, stability, agility and flexibility.
I suppose the question then is why wouldn’t someone want to do this???
Because it’s hard!
Crossfit can be scaled to any body,any age and for any level of fitness. I realised this once I joined the class in September 2013. No two bodies are ever the same and everyone has some sort of issue eg. flexibility or mobility etc.. At least I know what mine is 🙂
Yes, I scale every day in the gym, at the start, I was scared to do box jumps and was petrified jumping on an aerobic step but slowly my confidence grew and i went to the 16 inch box and then the 18 inch box and now I do the WODs (work outs) on the 20 inch box nice and steady.
My squatting wasn’t great but it’s improved a lot through plenty of strength sessions and accessory work like lunges and band work. Each week I could feel my bum and legs and hips getting stronger. I went from squatting with a broom to a one rep max of 70 kg!! (Go hip!)
But honestly for me it’s not about the numbers, it all about been able to move again.
Ok my depth isn’t as good as others and ‘my arse definitely isn’t hitting the grass’ but the improvement is there, the technique is good.
Probably the biggest adapted exercise for me is in a running work out, ( I was recommended to not run on hard surfaces) so I don’t and I take to the rower instead and still get a great burn.
But I’m not stupid, I always listen to my body and my hip. If it’s sore or tired, I make sure I tell the coaches that I’m not able to do that movement today and ask can I adapt it in someway. Through this open communication and their understanding I then can continue to move and not just sit at home and wrap myself up in cotton wool.
One of my proudest movements in the gym, was completing 100 Burpees in 10 minutes, I couldn’t even do one the day I joined.
So I’ve been at CrossFit 2 years now and I can honestly say it been the best move for me. I work out 3-4 times a week and it’s changed my body in so many ways. Yes, I’ve lost a few inches here and there , my fitness levels have improved, my diet is better and as it’s a great endorphin release my head is clearer for other areas in my life. I also sleep like a lamb after a good work out.
But most importantly my hip is the best it’s ever been. The muscles, ligaments and tendons are strong and ready for what life throws at it.
Last but not least CrossFit is a community and that’s not a bad thing.
‘A community is a group of people in a place or having a particular characteristic in common’ and if that characteristic is loving your body and improving your health and wanting to mind and protect it through good movement. Well then that’s not a bad thing, is it?!?! 🙂
So that’s me and my journey so far with CrossFit.. Thanks for asking me Jayne and I would be delighted if you continue to follow me on where this journey takes me on The Holistic Toolkit
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