Most people that CrossFit will know about this annual event. If you don’t yet you are about to learn all about it in the next 4 weeks! Come to the end of February the crossfitting community will be consumed by leaderboards and athletes such as Tia Toomey, Kara Webb, Alethea Boon, any of the Dottirs and not to mention Matt Fraser.

It wasn’t the Crossfit Open that started my journey but the next stage; Regionals that started it for me.

One evening my partner (let’s call him Kev) comes home raving on about something called CrossFit. He tells me he’s signed up for an introductory course at the local CrossFit gym every Monday for 4 weeks. He’s going to learn about “CrossFit” and be taught the basics to the sport. I remember he excitedly jumped on the computer and began to show me these crazy videos. I saw men and women running, lifting, hanging, swinging, upside down and round and round. I actually wanted to laugh because they literally looked ridiculous. However, I was completely intrigued by it. I really couldn’t tell you what I was witnessing, I had never seen or heard of anything like this before and I had absolutely no idea how Kev came about it. The way I would have described it back then would have been something like “captivating chaos”. I did have a little chuckle at the thought of Kev trying to learn what they were doing. It looked ridiculous and it also looked impossible.

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At this time I was at a local gym receiving personal training sessions. I had only just started and I was determined to lose some baby weight I had gained from my first son. The equipment was old, the gym was cruddy and my personal trainer gave me a boring monotonous workout. The same old 3 sets of 8 reps of nearly every equipment I was using. I had to do my programming x-amount of times a week and after maybe 12 weeks my programme would change to reflect my “improvements”. True to his word Kev signed up to the introductory course and he raved about it. He looked forward to every Monday and soon enough he had completed it and had joined the CrossFit gym. Well if anyone knows me if Kev does something I have to do it too…just to prove a point that I can do what he can do… I asked my PT about CrossFit and I remember his exact words were “you are not ready for that”. So with that, I signed up for the next on-ramp class and the rest is history. I cancelled my membership at the gym and have been crossfitting ever since. I was hooked, it was exciting, fresh, challenging and I loved it. I had never picked up a barbell in my life. I thought that only bodybuilders used them. How wrong was I?!

I embraced the feeling of being strong. I loved that I could lift heavy weights! I struggled with skipping though, I mean when was the last time you picked up a skipping rope? I bet it was in primary school when we all had to compulsory fundraise for “Jump Rope for Heart”. Teaching us to keep a healthy heart but lowering our intake of cholesterol and decreasing the risk of heart attacks. Yep, that is when I last picked up a skipping rope.

Best thing I ever did was cancel that globo gym membership and ignore the advice that the PT gave me. I couldn’t have been more ready to join CrossFit because contrary to what CrossFit may look like to the general population every movement is do-able. The point of CrossFit as an exercise regime is to mimic everyday lifting, pushing, pulling by way of functional movements. It’s varied because no day is the same! We are constantly moving, changing and adapting and CrossFit gives you the energy to do that. I learnt fairly quickly that CrossFit is not just a gym it is a community which is why I keep going back for more.

And this takes me back to the CrossFit open The annual worldwide online competition that takes place over 5 weeks in your very own Crossfit gym. Now we don’t call CrossFit gyms. No, they are called boxes. Yes a CrossFit box, now how cool is that? This competition of participation brings about thousands of athletes from all over the world doing the exact same workout over the exact same weekend. For professional CrossFit athletes, this is the beginning of their season, for the rest of us…..this is a time of achievement, of personal bests, of pushing beyond what we thought capable of ourselves. It is the most challenging yet rewarding part of the CrossFit year. The open sets us up for our own personal goals for the upcoming year. Whether that be to get our first double under, pullup, handstand. It suddenly feels like all things are capable through CrossFit. What you thought was impossible before the open suddenly becomes achievable.

This year for myself I am competing for me. My personal goals for this year is to set a baseline for next year. By the time the open starts my body will be 13 weeks postpartum and I do not feel that I need to prove anything to anyone. I want to do the open for me so that I can feel a part of the community and so that I can feel functional and strong again, whatever that may look like. It might be just finishing a workout within the time cap, it might look like lifting a weight that I could prior to pregnancy or it could just look like participating and getting a score up. This time next year I want to marvel at my achievements and how far I have come.

I saw my physio for my follow up the appointment of my diastasis rectus that I was telling you about last time. The gap between my abdominals has closed significantly which is great news for me. It hasn’t closed entirely so there is still more work to be done, more transverse abdominal strengthening to continue with. This is going to take time and I am happy with that. In the meantime, I should still be avoiding situps and other core-focused movements for at least another 6 weeks. She was able to test my pelvic floor muscles and strength and I got the thumbs up there. I feel stronger every week but I know there is still a long way to go. For now, I am content with what I can and can’t do – the coaches know that some movements I still need to modify and it gives me a chance to work on other weaknesses such as running!

So come the weekend of February the 23rd CrossFit boxes around the world are going to be buzzing with life and WOF will be no different. People from all walks of life big, small, tall, short, elderly, young, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and kids, and of course even pregnant and post-partum women will appear in this 5-week event. Crossfit isn’t about winning and coming first it’s about pushing you to be the best that you can be and even at the CrossFit games it’s not the athletes that come first in their workouts that win the race. It’s those that stay true to themselves and remain consistent that achieve their end goal.

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