Wondering about all the hype (and horror stories) surrounding CrossFit? With their sights set on getting trim, two of our readers spent a Saturday morning training at CrossFit Bukit Timah – and lived to tell the tale.
Name: Jake Riggir
Fitness Level: Intermediate
Goal: Budge uni-student flab
Trainer: Dylan Goddard
After my first year of university, my body had taken a hit. Exercise had been firmly at the bottom of my priority list, with my time taken up instead by, ahem, “studying”. With that in mind, it was fairly safe for me to assume that my Saturday morning session of CrossFit was going to be an uphill battle.
Despite this, I arrived in a generally positive mood, thinking that I’ve always been a fairly athletic type of person. (Boy, was I wrong.) I looked around and saw people with ranging fitness levels, all of them ready to give it a go, as too were the committed instructors. Their casual way of describing our upcoming session had all of us feeling a bit better, until suddenly we were launched into things.
First was a “light warm-up” of jogging, burpees and “mountain climbers”; needless to say I was well and truly warmed up at the end of it. There was no time for a break, however, as we got straight into groups, which involved one of us using the rowing machines, while the other four did squats – tough! Next we were rushed over to the kettlebell stations, where we did an extensive kettlebell session, followed by squats with weighted balls for about 30 minutes. We then finished with ten minutes of push-ups under the sun, followed by a warm-down run around the car park.
While it was all a bit of a blur, I would rank this as among the toughest hours of my life. What got everyone through the session, however, was the endless encouragement, not only from the instructors, but also from fellow group-members. Since we were all in the same situation, we willed each other on to finish together. Without this reinforcement, I don’t think this particular Saturday morning would have ended well for me. However, I got through it, and I felt good about myself for doing so. (Now for the even harder part: continuing to exercise regularly!)
What I realised from this experience was that you do not need a whole lot of expensive gym equipment to get into shape. CrossFit utilises some basic essentials to deliver the results you want – and they’re always pushing you to better yourself. The instructors are highly qualified and have years of background experience to help you get to where you want to be and help you get through the sessions too.
Name: Beatrice Taylor
Fitness Level: Beginner
Goal: Lose pregnancy weight
Trainer: Gemma Staveley
With two kids at home (including a 12-week-old), I barely have time for a minute of peace let alone regular exercise. After a caesarean surgery and the strains of pregnancy, my body was worse for wear and that persistent flabby ring around my middle was getting a little too friendly. I needed to kick-start my fitness routine.
So, did I go for a few gentle jogs and ease my way into the gym slowly? Or did I launch straight into a CrossFit trial, which calls for strength, stamina, coordination and at the very least the ability to keep up with the pack racing across the field on a sunny sweaty Saturday morning. Yes, you guessed it.
During the week, there are CrossFit sessions dedicated to perfecting the techniques for all the exercises, focusing on skills and one-on-one training. But for my trial session, it was more about working in teams and having fun. There was a mix of people – mostly men but a fair few women too – with a range of different fitness levels.
It was intimidating at first as I grappled with short demos of each exercise, which were to be done in quick succession as a team, with multiple repetitions, and following a schedule written on a board. For a second I wondered if I could make an unnoticed escape. But then it was all systems go and we were charging up and down the field, doing push-ups, getting into teams, swinging kettlebells, doing squats and rowing.
Halfway through the hour my mentality shifted and I found myself enjoying the workout. It was hot as hell but we were out in the open air, and the workouts were varied to keep things interesting (and to ensure our bodies didn’t get used to one particular exercise).
The overall sense of camaraderie really made this a positive feel-good experience. I can definitely see how you could get addicted. I was possibly the slowest in my team with the puniest muscles, but they were all rooting for me when it was my turn, helping you train, pushing you further.