You know how the saying goes: couples who sweat together, stay together.
Don’t get me wrong – solo workouts definitely have their place but for me, nothing beats sharing the joy and pride of a workout with my boyfriend, James.
James and I run together for the majority of our runs, which are the majority of our workouts (I do pilates and he plays football once a week or so).
And while I love running with James, I’m always aware that my legs are shorter and I have asthma. He assures me it isn’t the case but I often feel I’m holding him back.
So that’s why watching James in his own rhythm, in his own time and ability, complete a CrossFit workout, was such a brilliant moment for me.
Especially as I pushed myself big time to make sure we finished at the same number of reps ;)
Rewinding a year, I first tried CrossFit in January 2013 and loved it. I signed up for two months of sessions and went as often as I could, which was a couple of times a week.
I didn’t renew my subscription after those eight weeks because I was training for a half marathon and wanted to focus on running and I couldn’t fit it in (the sessions including travelling ended up being close to two and a half hours) with that, as well as life in general.
But CrossFit never kept my mind, I kept getting an urge to lift something, to hear the cheer of people in the class urging me on, to proudly write my time on the board.
The problem was that James wasn’t fussed and I had even less time after changing jobs. I kept an eye out for new CrossFit boxes nearer me and did online no-equipment workouts.
A few months ago, James casually mentioned – in the same way that he mentioned he would be up for a half marathon with me – that he’d be prepared to give it a go.
I think I jumped for joy! We’d be doing pull ups on those elastic bands, perfecting clean and jerks and squatting like demons in no time, I thought.
It was in this uber excited state that we headed for a free taster session at CrossFit 605, Bristol’s newest box and less than two miles from our home.
We nervously made our way into the box and met with our fellow tasters, who clearly liked lifting heavy things by the look of their muscles!
The instructor, Paul, talked us through the principles of CrossFit, what to expect and how his sessions worked before handing us a skipping rope and getting us to warm up.
It was so hot and sticky and skipping isn’t easy, especially as the ropes were quite long (I’m 5ft3ins tall) so I was quickly a sweaty mess.
Paul then had us do lengths of the box, walking to one end and back while performing duck walks, burpees and walking lunges. I managed to forget what a burpee was in the excitement and had to ask for a demo, so embarrassing…
After the ‘warm up’, it was time for kettlebells. I picked up an 8kg (the prescription was 16kg for women and 32kg for men!), which I was glad for later.
We learned how to use the kettlebells, swinging them up over our heads and using our hips to push them through. Then we had a lesson in air squats, my favourite!
The WOD, or workout of the day, was an AMRAP, as many rounds as possible, in 12 minutes.
- Run 100m
- 20 air squats
- 15 kettlebell swings
The music blasted and the clock began to count down – I felt my body remember that surge of adrenaline from when I did it last.
I was so pleased when I saw James sprint off without me, without worrying about my asthma. It was great to see him liberated and doing a workout focused on him.
The WOD was hard! It was hot, my legs were sore from all that leg and form work. I was so glad I’d used a light kettlebell as I don’t think I’d have been able to cope with heavier.
Paul was brilliant, he was constantly monitoring our form and making sure it was bang on.
By the end of the time, I’d finished six rounds and 100m, just the same as James (okay, seeing him blasting ahead of me definitely gave me a burst of determination!).
Everyone in the class was spent, it was a great lesson in how a workout doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated to be effective.
Paul then took us through stretches and some killer ab work, my body pretty much gave up at this point though.
We left feeling exhilarated, motivated and chuffed to bits.
But after discussing it at length with Paul, then James as we walked home, I realise I simply can’t be. Not at the moment anyway.
I have so much on my plate with work, fitting in two-three runs a week is already proving extremely tough – I can’t commit to another after-hours activity.
This isn’t my last encounter with CrossFit, I am determined to make it work in the future – I just have to put it on hold until I (and hopefully we!) can do it justice.
* Do you CrossFit?
* Are there activities you’d like to do if you had time?