Guest Blog: A Spotlight on CrossFit

Since being founded in 2000, CrossFit is booming, and every year countless fitness enthusiasts head to their local CrossFit box to see what all the fuss is about. So, what is all the fuss about? We chat to CrossFit enthusiast, Lois Dean, to get her perspective on why it’s such a revolutionary form of exercise…

How did you get into CrossFit?

I spent far too much time worrying about how my body looked instead of seeing what it was capable off. I began ‘toning up’ in the gym, which turned into a love for weightlifting and powerlifting, and whilst looking online for tips and inspiration I discovered CrossFit. I ended up watching every year of the CrossFit games to date, and any interviews and WODs (that’s CrossFit-speak for “workout of the day”) that I could find. I was so inspired by the athletes. It was the sport I had been looking for! I was incredibly nervous to join because I didn’t think I would be good enough, but during my taster session I saw how everything is scaled to your ability, how friendly and motivational the environment was, and how passionate the coaches were – and so I knew it was for me!

How long have you been doing it for?

In March, I will have been doing CrossFit for one year.

Where do you go to train, and how often do you train?

I train at CrossFit Milton Keynes, and when I’m at University, I train at Reebok CrossFit Spectrum Preston. I train five to six times per week, but it all depends on how my body is feeling.

What do you love about it?

It’s hard to describe, but it’s the frustration of not being able to do something and knowing that if you work hard enough, eventually you will be able to. I love Olympic lifting and pushing myself to improve on technique and the amount I can lift, but most of all, I love that there has not been one day since I started that I haven’t wanted to get up and go to the box. I always feel awesome afterwards and it’s such a change to how bored I used to feel going to the gym.

How do you eat to fuel your body for training?

My diet is far from perfect, but I follow a Paleo eating style which avoids eating anything that is processed, with the exception of protein shakes. I try to eat close to a gram of protein for every pound of body weight to make sure that I am repairing and building my muscles, as they come under a lot of stress during the week. I also drink at least three liters of water a day, plus whatever I drink during training, and cycle creatine to help with muscle endurance and repair. I have a day of relaxed eating with treats once a week, and I have found that despite being incredibly strict with my diet when I was younger, I now never shy away from meals out. Sometimes I’ll go out and make a healthy choice, and sometimes I won’t.

What are your CrossFit goals going forward?

To improve on my gymnastic skill and upper body strength, and also to compete in the open, which is something I will do next year once I finish university.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve encountered so far during training?

It’s hard to accept that some days training will be terrible. The WOD and lifting will sometimes defeat me, but I won’t let it get me down, and instead use it as motivation to be better and recognise that even if I’m not the best, I’ve seen massive improvement since I started.

What achievement in your training are you most proud of?

Mostly, getting over my fear of the Olympic snatch. After about two months of CrossFit I injured myself pretty badly doing a snatch, so after about eight months and three different coaches, I finally feel confident again. On the 30th January, I achieved a 40kg snatch PB!

What type of person would you recommend CrossFit to?

CrossFit is for anyone that is interested in weightlifting, gymnastic skill training, running, competing, rowing, high-intensity workouts, team workouts, weight loss or body conditioning. That said, it’s also great for someone who is just generally looking to improve their cardiovascular fitness, so that in their day-to-day lives, activities like climbing stairs and carrying shopping become easier tasks.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to try CrossFit?

Don’t be discouraged by your age, weight or fitness level. Everyone has to start somewhere, and you’ll be amazed at what you can really do.

Who inspires you?

Brooke Wells, Lauren Fisher, Matthew Fraser and Noah Olsen are all Athletes that inspire me.

Are there any websites or videos you’d recommend for those who’re interested in CrossFit?

This video introduction to CrossFit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlVrkiCoKkg

This CrossFit documentary: www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eGgWEr-Vv8

This website for tips and inspiration: http://boxlifemagazine.com

Lois and the CrossFit Milton Keynes team

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