I moved to Cambridge in January 2015 and started rowing as soon as I managed to weasel my way into a club.
Cue three sports injuries.
By autumn my pain-enforced breaks from rowing had me on the couch reading e-mails about how everyone else was getting fit and strong. I was mildly frustrated, and I’m using “mildly” wrongly here. In January, with Bumps only six months away, it was obvious I would have to do something crazy to be able to jump back in the boat in the spring.
One of the other rowers was a CFC member and talked me into trying it. I’d heard of CrossFit Cambridgeshire before but always thought it wasn’t for me. I still didn’t think it was for me when I signed up; I actually only signed up for six months – till exactly a week after Bumps. I was sure I’d hate it and promised myself all sorts of rewards if I dragged myself to the gym for three classes a week.
Six months later, Lee had to improvise an intervention and set a limit on how often I could work out. So I’m not saying CrossFit Cambridgeshire is addictive; I’m just saying it’s the most fun I’ve ever had in any sport (and I’ve tried quite a few of them), and fun is addictive.
There are two things that make it fun. First, you make friends very quickly and there’s no getting away from them at that point. You will always have someone to laugh with, and someone to push you through the things you don’t like (how is running still a sport?) and through the hard bits in the things you do love.
Second, the variety of movements means everyone will find something they love. For me it’s strength work – but I’m especially fascinated by the Olympic lifts. They’re complicated and hard to learn; it’s like a puzzle, and with every session you get slightly closer to solving it. Very slightly, in my case, because I’m a slow learner – Oly lifting has the potential to remain satisfyingly mystifying for years to come (and I’ll be the first to admit that I had to learn a bit of patience before I reached this state of satisfaction).
Have I sold CrossFit to you yet? Good. But don’t just go to any ol’ gym; come to CFC.
Let’s face it – you’re an adult. You’ve got your imbalances, your preexisting injuries, a history of marathoning on Netflix and struggling to lift your shopping onto the kitchen counter. Someone needs to know how to make the transition from that to badass CFitter safely. That someone is not you – and it’s not every coach out there, either.
I’ve done a lot of organized sport in my life, and I’ve been collecting injuries since about the age of 11. Every coach before CFC has made things worse. I spent most of my life convinced that once you get an injury you should just learn to ignore the pain because it’s not ever going away. Either that, or retreat to your couch.
CFC is the first place that made it a priority to fix my injuries. The first step was convincing me it’s possible – I haven’t been pain-free in almost 25 years and on bad days I still don’t quite accept that anything can change that. On good days, I notice that my knees have never felt better, and that the nagging pain in my shoulder’s been gone for weeks.
Through all these (unbelievable) improvements, I kept working out. I have not had to retreat to my couch – and have not *wanted* to, either. I can join any workout and know that whoever is coaching it will know exactly what I can or can’t do.
That’s not always fun – it drives me crazy that I can’t squat, or work out as often as I want to – but it’s worth it for the feeling I get when I manage to do something that’s been painful for years. And I don’t think I would have gotten here without the CFC coaches (and InjuryActive’s Craig).
Best of all, I can now open pickle jars.
See you at CrossFit Cambridgeshire