I’m super competitive and love lifting heaving things so when Gymbox announced that they would be including a CrossFit ‘box’ in their new Old Street gym I couldn’t wait to give it a go. But before I did I had a few hesitations and, after a quick tweet out, it turned out so did you. We put your questions, and ours, to Tom McAdam Founder of CrossFit City Road (he’s the beardless one on the right below).
Q. What is Crossfit?
A. CrossFit is a strength and conditioning programme, improving everything from strength to power, endurance, stamina, mobility and skill.
A normal session includes a general warm up (to get your heart rate up), a specific warm up (to make sure you have the mobility and skills for the next bit), a strength component (to do what it says on the tin), and a progressive ‘metcon’ component (metabolic conditioning to us non-CrossFitters – a high intensity workout that gets you burning calories).
Q. I’ve had a nosey about CrossFit on the web but I find it all a bit intimidating. What advice would you give to people like me who are too scared to give it a try?
A. Looking into classes, or watching videos on YouTube can give the impression that CrossFit is for the elite, for guys and girls with shredded six packs and otherworldly athleticism. This isn’t the case.
Do we have some super fit members? Naturally – that is the eventual goal, after all! But we also have members with very limited experience of training in the gym, let alone CrossFit. So if you feel like you’re going to be left behind by the class or embarrass yourself, I promise you’re not.
We have a very supportive community – there’s no judgement here! Come and try us for free! Hand on heart, I promise we’re not that scary.
Q. I’ve no idea of the difference between a snatch and a jerk. Is CrossFit for me?
A. All you need for CrossFit is to be willing to learn, work hard and dig deep. Every workout is coached and is scalable to any ability – whether you’re a total novice or an Olympic athlete.
Q. What sort of personalities make for typical ‘CrossFitters’?
A. CrossFit attracts all sorts! Perhaps I am biased here, but I say most CrossFitters are driven, friendly and humble. Humble because you have to be in CrossFit – there is always a workout round the corner that will show you who’s really boss!
Q. How will CrossFit change my body shape?
A. CrossFit burns fat. If you’re looking to get leaner, CrossFit will give you almost unparalleled results. It will also help you develop lean muscle.
A lot of women worry that CrossFit will make them bulky. I can’t emphasise enough how far from the truth this is. Will CrossFit help you develop some muscle? Absolutely. But you won’t turn into a Russian shot putter overnight!
You may have seen some of the top CrossFit women who are sometimes (although not always) large and muscular. Just remember these are professional athletes who have put every ounce of their being into that pursuit, who train 10 times a week and eat twice what I do. Jogging doesn’t give you Mo Farah’s physique and CrossFitting doesn’t give you Annie Thorisdottir’s!
Q. How common are ‘CrossFit’ induced injuries?
A. CrossFit injuries are not nearly as common as some would have you believe. Most occur with people training on their own, without instruction, or with poor coaching. We are incredibly particular about making sure our members move safely and efficiently.
Even during ‘metcons’ we will shut you down before you cause yourself injury. Sure, if you push yourself really hard, you may come across the odd niggle, but we limit this as far as possible.
Q. Why is it so pricey?
A. Prices per class start at just over £5 and most of our members pay less than £10 per class. You should view CrossFit as closer to personal training than to normal classes. For what you get, I think it’s great value for money.
Q. Who’s your favourite female ‘CrossFitter’?
A. I have a few! Camille Leblanc-Bazinet (below) will feature in most guys’ lists, she’s last year’s fittest women on the planet and a bit of a hottie! I also really like Julie Foucher. One of the smaller women at the highest level and a great mover.
Closer to home, Laura Faulkner is probably my favourite UK CrossFitter. A perfect example of how weightlifting and CrossFit, even at a very high level, does not mean huge bulk. You can see the way CrossFit transformed her body here.
Tom is Founder and Head Coach at Crossfit City Road. He is a qualified personal trainer, a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, a CrossFit Movement and Mobility Trainer and a BWLA accredited Weightlifting Coach.
CrossFit City Road is based within Gymbox Old Street. To sign up for a FREE trial class email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more details and some sweaty pictures of us during our CrossFit debut check out: crossfitcityroad.com