Like many British kids, I grew up wanting to be a football (soccer) player; this never reached fruition, but I ended up being pretty good at rugby and cricket, playing competitively at school and university (college). By my early-20s, I’d long dismissed the rugby bro scene and was far more interested in being a hipster, so focused on more artistic, creative and academic pursuits. Competitive sports became a distant memory, and at some point I developed a certain disdain of fitness as an ideal.
While living in Vancouver six years ago I started running again for practical reasons – I couldn’t drive and it seemed like the best way of exploring the natural beauty of British Columbia – and developed an ongoing appetite for distance running and marathons. Despite playing lots of sport and running, I’d never been interested in going to a normal gym and zero experience of strength training.
When I started CrossFit 18 months ago, I was running distance regularly and playing basketball sporadically but not much else. I’d also just done a trial month at Brickell LA Fitness – a soulless fucking place in many ways – and, in retrospect, I was unconsciously searching for something new. I heard about 305 via some people at Miami Rugby Club and the next thing I knew I was being taken through 8 minutes of a scaled version of Cindy, with a dude called Chad, in a beautiful atmospheric warehouse by the train-tracks on a humid Tuesday morning.
Talk about your experience at 305.
The first few months were humbling in the best possible way; the effortless glide of everyday life was suddenly punctuated by the difficulty of confronting something different and highly challenging. Lots of things were completely new – Olympic lifts, kettle-bells, rope-climbs and even pull-ups; I’d never tried gymnastics movements before; my mobility and flexibility is poor and I didn’t really know heavy barbell squatting was even a thing. Despite this strangeness there was something in the intensity and variety that I found compelling; WODs could almost be emotional and the body-mechanics of Olympic lifts just looked and felt really cool. I didn’t necessarily look forward to it, but I knew I had to keep on turning up – it felt like an avenue to something new and I liked the hybrid feeling of learning, discipline and humility.
I remember a hero WOD (“White”) was programmed for September 11th 2012, which was also the day I turned 31, and it felt like a breakthrough. I could complete all the movements and loved the feeling of having given everything. I started to really appreciate the supportive community and more than anything being around people who are serious, motivated and committed. Turning up regularly at 7.30pm has become a cherished part of my routine and I’ve become better a person – emotionally, mentally and physically. More than anything though, CrossFit is just so much fun…doing a WOD feels closer to the childlike glee of playing soccer in the streets when a kid, rather than any kind of self-prescribed obligation.
Like anyone else who has been at 305 for a while, I’m grateful for the coaches who do an incredible job. Each one of them has helped me individually in ways ranging from precise technical instruction and mobility advice to just being friendly, patient and supportive. The continual exposure to a breadth of coaches, all with positive things to offer and each involved in their own fitness journey, is pretty amazing really.
What are your goals?
I want to be able to perform all movements, do every WOD at RX and maintain a steady trajectory of positive improvement; more specifically, the following would be nice before the end of 2014:
* Good kipping pull-ups, hand-stand push-ups, double unders et al
* Sub 5-minute 30 mile, sub 40-minute 10k
* Double body-weight squat and be able to do Olympic lifts with strong technique and form
* Continuously improving mobility and flexibility
Specific aims are just tangential though and not my central motivation. I’ve started to consider fitness and health similar to knowledge; it’s not about reaching an end-goal but the continual pursuit and everything that is learnt along the way. I’m hoping to do an ultra-marathon this year and want to start playing competitive sports again, and the experience at CrossFit 305 is intrinsic to all this. This feels like the start of a life-long thing and I’m excited for the future.
Big up the 7.30pm crew past, present and future – particularly Willie, Coinncy, Bink and Karloz; all the coaches; Eva and Fabiana; and everyone else for making CrossFit 305 a place I love coming to every day.