This weekend saw the Discount Supplements Team at the Copper Box Arena in Stratford as we watched 2 grueling days of athletes competing to be the best at what they do. CrossFit is one of the largest and biggest upcoming sports in the world which is having more and more people take part in it by the day. The whole community of the sport are there to support, encourage and help one another to be the best and not quit in any exercise even though you feel as if you have nothing left to give. I want to share with you the experience I had and what it meant to me as someone who has not taken part in CrossFit 'yet' ;)
Having spent years of my life in and out of the gym, going to an event like this was a learning experience for myself as I got an insight into training which I haven't seen. CrossFit was founded in 2000 and is hugely popular in the United States but is generating more and more interest in the UK and with a sold out crowd both days at the Copper Box arena, I can see why! The sport is basically a combination of different exercises performed with a set amount of time to do it in. Do not be mistaken for it being easy or joyful however as these exercises put you through your paces!!
Each workout is called a WOD and each wod is named after a girl's name. A WOD means 'workout of the day' and each one contains various different exercises that need to be completed in the fastest time. For us gym goers we will often be asked what is your bench? Or how much can you curl? If you are ever asked '' What is your Fran time?'' you will know that you have stumbled across some CrossFit athletes and not your average gym users! But who the heck is Fran and what does this sentence mean? Well Fran is just another name for the type of Wod and is the bench mark for all CrossFit gyms across the world.
This Wod contains the following exercises and was performed in the Battle Of London....
Complete 3 rounds of 21-15-9 reps of 95 pound (43kg) barbell thrusters and pull ups all done for time! Yeah I know, I am breaking into a sweat just writing about this!! There are other wods like helen, linda and other girls names. Are you wondering why they are all called girl's names?? I will explain this quirky fact in another post in the week :)
CrossFit gets quite a lot of stick from people who maybe don't like the sport or who have simply never tried it. I like to stay open minded and when I saw the athletes competing this weekend, I could only look at them in awe and with complete admiration for what they do! The aesthetics were off the charts in both male and female athletes as they brought their best package to the arena and gave everything they got. What surprised me more than anything was the fact that the guys with a lot of muscle, looked the part and came into the competition looking like they were going to be awesome didn't always do so well. On the other hand, athletes who didn't have a lot of muscle mass, or who were perhaps leaner and shorter were superb!!
The Community Spirit
The greatest aspect of the whole sport is the community spirit of everyone that took part in the competition. For me this showed just how much EVERYONE supported and appreciated one another for what they did. The crowd and the athletes were so supportive of everyone participating which is something I haven't seen before. In some cases, there was one male or female athlete yet to finish and literally athletes, the crowd and the staff were supporting the flagging athletes to finish the workout. Even though the athletes had completed their exercises and were fatigued, they didn't turn their back on the last person and instead they were up on their feet, clapping and shouting words of encouragement for that final person to finish. It was simply amazing to see and gave me the feeling that this sport is more than just that, it is a loving family!!
I saw many athletes sipping on carb drinks and using branched chains while they were competing, it was a great sight to see! Proteins and other supplements would have been widely used in order for them to stay ready and focused for the workouts to come. I spoke to different people who represented different clubs across the country and they spoke of how important it is to use the likes of a good protein and carbohydrate drink before, during and after competing so that we don't burn out. A big supplement in the CrossFit world is one which holds off the build up of lactic acid and muscle burn out. Ingredients like Beta Alanine and L Arginine are perfect sources which will help prevent the onset of fatigue. Since all wods are time-based it is essential you can keep going and give yourself every possible chance of completing each exercise without feeling exhausted! Supplements like the above are a MUST and could be the difference of a quicker, more effective time!!
Will I Give It A Go?
Personally this is something I believe everyone should give a try and see if you like it. Just because CrossFit is one of the most talked about sports it doesn't mean you have to solely depend on it but it could be something you use as a sideline to other activities. A big fitness model in the fitness industry, Steve Cook from the United States who is an Optimum Nutrition athlete often dedicates the month of December to Crossfit in order to build a better physique. I believe it is a sport where you could increase strength, muscle mass, tone, lean up, lose weight, increase fitness, endurance and many more aspects of physical appearance. I will certainly be having a look at my local Chelmsford CrossFit gyms which incidentally has two of which one has the likes of Rob Manlove as an avid goer. If you haven't heard the name, check him out as he finished 5th overall in the games at the weekend and looked fantastic!! If you haven't heard of CrossFit before I hope this has given you a little insight into what it is about and what you can expect from it. Like most things though guys, what you put in and what you want to achieve is the outcome you will get :)