Note to Self: Exercise!

It’s been a month since I ran and probably longer since I went to Crossfit, although I have been for walks. I always forget how good it makes me feel when I exercise and how bad I feel when I don’t.

The truth is, though, I haven’t felt up to it. I’m not sure if this ‘feel’ is a physical or mental issue (why do we even differentiate?), but I suspect it’s due to me being in a transitional period. I’ve finished conducting and teaching and am yet to start a new life in Cornwall, which is bound to have a strong emotional effect. I decided not to give myself a hard time about it.

However, Continue reading

Stop Being the Weakest Person at Crossfit

My blog post with the most views and comments is ‘Be the Weakest Person at Crossfit.’ It was a joy to write and something I still believe in, but I’ve realised that my own ‘athletic identity’ needs to change now.

Being an exercise ‘noob’ has given me scope for humorous writing! It’s been fun to turn my athletic ‘failings’ into a joke. I have been able to fully emphasise with new Crossfitters, encouraging them to keep going, sharing my experiences in vivid detail.

So, why does this need to change? Because Continue reading

Is Crossfit Unfeminine?

‘I would lift weights, but I don’t want to get big.’

‘I want to be strong…as long as I don’t “look” strong, if you know what I mean.’

‘Aren’t you worried that you might become…ya know…bulky?’

The last question always makes me laugh. I usually joke that becoming bulky takes a lot of hard work and I’m far too lazy! I’m not bulky (and neither are my Crossfit friends), but if I was, I’d wear my muscles as if they were medals.

Women want to be respected for their Continue reading

The Psychology Thread

I have a broad range of interests. It used to bother me that I didn’t have time for them all and that I couldn’t settle on one for long. I discussed this in ‘Too Many Interests’. However, I’ve recently noticed that the ones I’ve stuck with have something in common: they have a strong psychological element.

At Crossfit, I often reflect on the thoughts behind a workout, the things we tell ourselves, the way we interact with each other, and the inextricable link between the physical and psychological parts of our being.

The musical side of band-conducting and one-to-one teaching is key (pun not intended!), and yet I’m probably more drawn-in by the Continue reading

Life is Risky: Crossfit or Couch?

Should we take the risk of exercising, or the risk of not exercising?

You can’t avoid danger. Not completely. You might be the most careful person in the world, but there’s still a chance you’ll be walking down a path one day and not see a little step…BAM! There we go, a badly-sprained ankle. Life is risky.

Crossfit is labelled as ‘dangerous’ by some, as if the athletes are let loose with ‘all the gear and no idea’, damaging their bodies with movements they don’t understand. This is the total opposite of my experience. I have never been injured. My coaches are knowledgeable, experienced, understanding, and wise in their dealings with athletes of a wide range of age and ability.

But still, training your body at high-intensity is not risk free. In fact, no exercise is risk free. Even the most careful and competent athletes get injuries, whether it be general wear-and-tear or a specific incident. Is it more sensible not to exercise? Continue reading

You Know It Has Been a Good Workout When…

  1. You finish last, but nobody notices because everyone is on the floor. Dead.
  1. By the time you know where you are, a resurrected person is kindly stripping your barbell.
  1. Coach looks at you as if he’s deciding whether to say, ‘well done’, or just to call an ambulance.
  1. You vaguely remember your own name, but only because everyone around you is saying it, preceded by, ‘Are you sure you’re okay?’
  1. If you’re able to speak, you say the stupidest stuff, like, ‘“Squat” on earth was that?’

Continue reading

Crossfit: Should You Practise What You’re Good At?

People often gravitate towards the familiar; we like what we’re able to do. We all have our favourite movements at Crossfit, and playing to strengths is often a good idea. But can it go too far? Are we missing out?

When I was younger, and learning to play the piano, I always had a favourite exam piece (usually the fun jazzy one). I would play it over and over, getting faster and faster, until I knew it from memory and could probably play it backwards. It became annoying to my family, and rhythmically all-over-the-place, but that’s beside the point! The joy I had playing those pieces fluently is not to be dismissed, but I know that I was choosing the easy option. Learning my scales properly would have been a far bigger achievement, and I would have become a better player.

It’s the same with Crossfit. There is great joy in a workout that consists of movements which are within your comfort zone. But Crossfit is about ‘constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement’ – it is designed to train the whole person, not just to repeat the things we find easy. Continue reading

Be the Weakest Person at Crossfit

‘I’m always last,’ the new Crossfitter mutters, at the end of a short run.

I know the feeling! I’m usually last, or second to last. It isn’t fun to slog away for ten minutes after everyone else has finished.

Some people find it more difficult than others to be ‘bottom of the class’ – it doesn’t bother me much anymore. I can’t get to Crossfit more than a couple of times a week (because I have other things I love to do, or must do) and recently I haven’t even been managing that! It’s not easy to admit this particular ‘weakness’, but beating myself up about it won’t help. I go when I can, which is better than not at all. It’s still not the easy option. Continue reading

I’m Ready for the Olympics 2016

2004: I watched the Olympics and determined to visit Greece one day. I was blown away by the skill of the athletes; but my dreams to be a world-class runner were quickly dashed by my reluctance to leave the house.

2008: I watched the Beijing Olympics in bed and marvelled at the opening ceremony. I was blown away by the skill of the athletes; but my dreams of achieving a long-jump record were thwarted by laziness and migraines.

2012: I watched the London Olympics and was proud of our country. I was so impressed with what I saw, and jealous of the people who made their dreams a reality; but I knew what commitment it took and that it could never be my highest priority.

2016: I’m ready! Continue reading

A Tribute to The CrossFit Place

I’ve become ‘one of those people’ who won’t stop talking about Crossfit – I would have rolled my eyes at the idea in the past!

About a year ago I wrote an article called, ‘Why I Need Crossfit in My Life.’ Everything I said then is true still. I’m two years into the experience now and loving it more than ever. I could ramble on about the physical and mental benefits of ‘constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement’, but that’s not the only thing that keeps me going back for more. Continue reading