Evan Burgess went down to the gym at the Royal Agricultural University to try out Cross Fit in a group with trainer David Long...
When you’re training, why be good at just one thing? Your body has many limbs and many modes of moving. That is just the philosophy of cross fit, a training method that is inspiring those who have hit ruts to change their patterns of exercise, whilst indoctrinating newcomers of all ages into a powerful workout that can be 100% personalised to each person’s abilities.
The goal is improvement, no one is looked down upon for not being able to do a particular activity. An alternative “bridge” exercise to help you get to what the others are doing can be thought up and in a few sessions you may well have be up to speed. If you have improved your abilities by the end of a month’s training, success! It doesn’t matter if you still aren’t lifting as much as the average, given more time and practice guided by coach David Long, you will get where you want to go.
In my case, I was quite good at lifting heavy weights, but I had a real problem with conditioning. “Burpees” an exercise where you jump down to a press up, get back up again and jump to reach a bar, was a tough body weight exercise which most find challenging on its own. However, this gym’s take on it offered many different permutations of how one finished the routine. Some clambered sideways on a horizontal bar, dropped down and repeated the move back to starting for as many repetitions within a 60 second period. I lacked grip strength to do this (or carried too much fat) so my routine was adapted to the core exercise, then jumping just to touch the bar. It looks a lot easier than it is! But it sure gets your heart racing.
I found lifting a 50kg (7stone 12 lbs) medicine ball over a chest height bar or ‘yoke’ relatively easy compared to the body weight exercises. My shoulder strength however was quite weak in comparison to being able to lift off the ground. Whilst I would be inclined to stick with what I am good at, Cross Fit wouldn’t let me rest! I was forced to do shoulder presses in the circuit because frankly, people were looking, so I needed to at least try!
I couldn’t believe it, we were done in 18 minutes but I hadn´t worked out so intensely in a long time. I like to exercise the things I enjoy doing, but you can't get the exhilaration or spontaneity if you are always the boss. To push yourself and constantly meet your challenges, try cross fit at the RAU!