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BACK IN YOUR BOX
Don’t expect wall-to-wall mirrors, televisions and a pile of magazines waiting for your
jog on the treadmill: the CrossFit Box isn’t the glamour girl of the fitness world. The
only thing adorning the walls is the massive whiteboard awaiting your WOD scores and
Benchmark PRs. There are no treadmills (you run outside), but stationary bikes
and rowing machines are regularly pulled out for cardio components. The weights
are rustic-looking kettle bells and plates the size of pizza boxes. The music is loud and
central (no iPods allowed – it’s about achieving the workout together), and you can
expect plenty of encouragement to be shouted out from fellow athletes and coaches.
As to decor... there’s the occasional drop of blood from excessive pull-ups and, at Cooee,
an eerie-looking chalk handprint just before the exit. Word is that it was left by someone
crawling out after a particularly gruelling WOD...
These Benchmark sessions are regularly
held throughout the year and aim to provide
repeatable and measurable results to gauge your
improvement in specific areas. Each Benchmark
is labelled with a short and well-known female
name, such as Chelsea, Barbara, Diane and Fran
(apparently it’s common to be asked, “What’s
your Fran time?” by fellow CrossFitters, for
a quick assessment of your fitness level).
Who you might meet at CrossFit is anybody’s
guess – Cooee has seen teenagers up to 70-year-
olds, and everyone from triathletes to couch
potatoes work out at its Box. Kirsten says the
program attracts anyone who wants to make
a difference to their health and fitness but, she
admits, there is a ‘type’ that tends to gravitate to it.
“They’re pretty much Type A go-getters,”
says Kirsten. “We have a lot of people in their
late twenties to mid thirties who used to play
a lot of competitive sport and are now into
their careers and have families, so they just
don’t have time available to spend all day
Saturday and commit to multiple training
sessions a week for their sport.
“They tend to really love CrossFit as it gives
them that sense of team and competition again,
but it’s only 45 minutes so you can easily juggle
it around your work and family commitments.”
After completing my Fundamentals program,
I’m keen to get out into the real CrossFit world.
I manage to score one of the last places in
a popular time slot and, just as Match predicted,
I’m approached in the warm up by a couple
of chatty ladies and enjoy swapping exercise
backgrounds with them. Once the WOD begins
(it kicks off with a 10-second countdown and is
especially cool when shouted out by some of the
athletes’ children watching from the sidelines),
the energy changes: everyone is focused on the
challenge at hand and rips through the exercises
while the coaches mill around offering technique
advice and encouragement. Once the workout
is over, it’s high fives all round and a chorus of
positive feedback, before the whiteboard marker
is out and everyone notes their score for all to see.
My first session leaves me with legs of
quivering jelly, after a selection of weighted
squats, V-shaped sit-ups and burpees with
a jump. For days after, I remember this session
every time I trot down a set of stairs or attempt
to sit down. Yet despite the pain, I’ve booked in
for more sessions and I’m itching to start on the
Benchmark sets so I can start collecting PRs.
CrossFit offered way more than I expected:
pink isn’t frowned on, you aren’t yelled at for
being social... and I think I’m hooked. S
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