[from the blog volt 2013]
I feel exhausted, my shoulders are burning and my legs are on fire, no I’m not 30 minutes into a grueling workout session.. but, I am watching, with sympathetic muscle fatigue from my seat, athletes battling it out at the Reebok Regional Crossfit Games in Wollongong.
This is where the fittest and strongest in Australia come to compete for a place in the Crossfit Games which run in California each year.
I’m surrounded by the competing athletes, friends, family and fans, most people have traveled from their local box to show their support (if you’re not down with the lingo a box is what a Crossfit gym is called), and the community feeling that Crossfit is famous for, is well on display.
You’d have to be hiding under a Zumba covered rock not to have heard about Crossfit. Founded by Greg Glassman in 2000, Crossfit workouts (also known as WODS) are varied strength and conditioning workouts where functional movements are performed at a high intensity, and typically short in duration (ranging from 5-30 minutes). They also kick your ass.
Crossfit will make you stronger, fitter, faster, and more mobile than ever before, all while assisting the body to lose body fat and gain lean muscle mass… but it isn’t popular within tactical operations teams and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide for no reason – you have to work hard for it!
Reebok sponsored athlete Kara Webb knows hard work – she was crowned #1 female at the Australian Regional Crossfit Games, and for the second year in a row she will compete at The Games for the title of ‘fitness athlete on earth’.
As with most crossfitters, it was boredom which lead 23 year old Webb to crossfit. ‘I just wanted to be challenged. It can get so tedious doing the same thing over and over in the gym. It’s definitely easier to be productive if you’ve got something that you are constantly working on, if you have goals to work towards rather than doing something endlessly for something nonspecific – like when people go to the gym and they are just working on general health and they just want to look good… I think you need to have lots of goals to keep you interested in what you are doing and that is different all the time. You need to have somebody who is educated and qualified to write you a good structured program so your body is always interested and always guessing. I guess I was just always looking for something more, to make me feel like I was achieving something and I am able to constantly find that still with crossfit two years later.’
How does one get to elite status? Webb gives us her number #1 tip.
‘Whatever you do, make sure you avoid over training!! I only train once a day… people tend to think more is better but it’s the quality of your training which is most important. As long as you can honestly feel like you have nothing left, and your concentrating and listening to the advice you have been given (by your trainer) soak it up and I give Brain (my coach) my absolute 100% attention and energy to what I am doing at the time, and forget about everything else so I can bring it all to the workout. If you come into it half assed you are never going to push the boundaries and you are never going to get any better beyond that – so full commitment is important. It doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are committed and have your energy going into it – even if you are just doing air squats put your all into it. You could be doing them for half an hour but in a bad position and you won’t be getting anything out of it, so it about doing the properly, listening and committing to it!’
As with all athletes, diet plays an important factor and Webb is no different. ‘I have a rule that my main meal which is my important base of my day has to be really good food. I tend to avoid dairy and grains anyway just because I don’t react well to them and they make me feeling sluggish. So my basic meals are always fruit, vegetables, meats always, with little bits of yogurts which seems to be ok and then I base little treats around that I find that it just depends on what they are. I’m a huge dark chocolate fan so I find a really good quality never affects me or my training so it is something I can sit down with my husband and have while we are watching a movie and it just keeps you like a normal person and I definitely promote that – you still have to have a life, go out for dinner and have something really nice, but I’m certainly not stupid with my food, I just stick to those basic guideline. I shop at markets I get all my food there and just stick to the basics – fruit, veggies, meat – that is my base all the time.’
Want to try your hand at Crossfit to take your fitness to the next level? First, get in the know…
Crossfit speak is a little different and as a beginner you may want to learn the language and some new terminology before your first session. Here are a few that you’re likely to hear regularly:
BOX – this is the name for a Crossfit premise and where the sessions take place (don’t call it a gym!)
WOD – workout of the day
AMRAP – as many rounds (sometimes reps) as possible
EMOM – every minute on the minute
METCON – Metabolic Conditioning workout
Rep: Repetition. One performance of an exercise.
RM: Repetition maximum. Your 1RM is your max lift for one rep. Your 10 RM is the most you can lift 10 times
Webb gives us the ultimate 15 minute workout:
This is a simple workout using your body weight only that can be done with no equipment and in 15 minutes.
As many rounds as possible in 15 minutes (AMRAP in 15 minutes):
10 Push ups (scale back to push ups on your knees if you require)
20 Sit up
What to wear
Crossfit will have you flipping tires, climbing ropes, slamming balls or perhaps doing a few sprints – having the correct workout gear is a must. So what does Webb wear to cover all basis?
‘I am really loving long compression tops they really help keep everything warm before you train – especially as its getting cold now, and for movements like muscle ups, the top helps prevent grazes on your arm so I’m not walking around with scratches everywhere.. I love them, I actually wear them all the time! I’m actually also really liking, and its going back a bit old school but.. sweat bands! I have been wearing them heaps, they are so simple but it saves that little bit of time it would take to dry your hands to get a bit of extra chalk, the sweat band just stops you from getting wet hands, you can just go straight to work. It’s such a simple thing but they do a lot. They are probably my favourite.’
Crossfit Run Feather Jacket RRP: $149.95
CrossFit Performance Board Shorts RRP: $74.99
CrossFit CF74 Tee RRP: $44.99
If you need motivation to get fit (and add a few kilos of pure muscle) then look no further than Crossfit. Me? I’m finding a box to sign up to for a session first thing Monday.
To learn more about Crossfit or to find your local affiliate head to www.crossfit.com
Image credits: Reebok Australia/ Yavomo Photography