My Journey into Crossfit
Friday, 25 May 2018
Brookes CrossFit Session in action
[This article was written in May 2018 - following comments made by the CrossFit CEO In June 2020, Brookes Sport ended all association with CrossFit and it no longer features as part of our fitness offering]
Hi everyone! My name is Shravan Chinta and I am an International student from India, currently in my final-year of Business & Management. After graduation my goal is to work within the financial services sector, hopefully in London. During the summer I play cricket at regional and university level. In addititon I am currently pursuing CrossFit as a second sport. Now, onto my first piece!
Before we start, what is CrossFit?
CrossFit is a competitive fitness sport that is considered as a ‘hybrid’, drawing on elements of Olympic weightlifting, Gymnastics, Powerlifting, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Calisthenics (body weight exercises). CrossFit aims to develop men and women that are equal parts gymnast, sprinter and Olympic weightlifter. Unsurprisingly, this is where the term, being “CrossFit”, comes from. Combining these elements will make any individual fitter than they could ever imagine. In addition CrossFit training improves physical capabilities in the 10 most important fitness domains; respiratory endurance, cardiovascular, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy.
How did I begin crossfit?
Just a year ago I used to be a gym freak, aiming to build muscle mass and strength. Cricket has always been my sport so I assumed lifting heavy weights and gaining bigger muscles would aid my performance. Well, this is where everything backfired, as I ended up with a back injury and it put me off from doing any sort of physical activity for a whole month.
After my recovery, I hired a personal trainer and he introduced me to CrossFit. As a beginner I was completely clueless about all the weightlifting, kettlebell and barbell movements. I had no idea how it was going to benefit me and my sport, cricket. To describe a CrossFit session in one sentence… they are literally from hell! The workouts are intense and of course painful too. After a few sessions I realized that this sort of high Intensity training was best for me as a Cricketer and it certainly applied to many different kinds of athletes. Overtime I was getting fitter and stronger, enhancing all the key elements of the above-mentioned fitness domains.
After conducting extensive research and gaining some invaluable insights from my personal trainer, I realized that this type of training strategy was far better than just lifting weights in the gym. For an athlete or even just individuals who wants to get fit this works. I know you must be wondering how CrossFit advances you to become a better athlete and make you even fitter than regular gym users out there.
Here's an explanation!
The main difference between regular lifting with machines/dumbbells and weightlifting is that CrossFit utilizes Olympic lifting which develops speed and power like no other training modality. It develops strength in the core and hips which is a critical facet for any athlete. Ultimately Olympic lifting aids the movement amount of weight with speed, producing more power in his/her muscles by maximizing an athlete’s strength at a specific weight. In contrast body builders train to grow their muscles to their genetic potential with the help of high-protein diet and supplements.
Due to this reason training solely for the building of muscle mass may not the best training style for an athlete. As my Personal Trainer once said ‘It’s about the quality not the quantity of muscle!’ Thus, increase in muscle size doesn’t necessarily lead to more strength and power.
CrossFit workouts and movements can be customized to train for your sport with range of functional exercises and traditional lifts that make use of kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls and what not. These movements help build strength and power as a base from which performance at a particular sport is enhanced. In my case I saw a lot of benefits. Two particular areas are in my bowling and running speed.
But what is the link though? The ideal athlete starts with nutrition and moves up to metabolic conditioning, gymnastics, weightlifting and finally sport. Just imagine this is in a pyramid diagram. With sport at the top of the pyramid and nutrition at the bottom (the base!). Metabolic conditioning helps you to stay fit and increases your stamina and lung capacity while gymnastics improves your flexibility and muscular strength. Weightlifting improves agility and power production by utilizing your whole body. If there are deficiencies in any of these components, it will affect the aspects that sit above it. As an example imagine your nutrition is bad… basically you have been consuming a lot of crap. It would affect the performance of rest of the aspects that lie above nutrition; metabolic conditioning, gymnastics, weightlifting and sport. CrossFit ultimately helps to spot shortcomings in any of these elements. It helps to transform the individual into a perfect athlete.
Why did I choose Brookes Sport?
Brookes Sport has high-quality equipment to suit various training needs; Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting or bodybuilding. Joining Brookes Sport gave me the opportunity to train alongside other weightlifters and Cross Fitters. It was a great opportunity to watch and learn from them. Besides the obvious benefits Brookes Sport also has highly qualified in-house training staff to answer any sort queries.
He is a competitive Cross Fitter himself with 5 years of experience. Stevie competed in the 2018 CrossFit open and managed to make it to into the top 120 within the Central Europe region. He is ranked the 50th fittest man in the UK
Brookes sport also conducts beginner and Intermediate CrossFit sessions every Tuesday and Friday. I found these sessions very useful as they have equipped me with the right technique and foundation. This has helped to advance my weightlifting and improve the efficiency of my workouts. Certified professional trainer Stephen Davis leads these sessions. He is a competitive Cross Fitter himself with 5 years of experience. Stevie competed in the 2018 CrossFit open and managed to make it to into the top 120 within the Central Europe region. He is ranked the 50th fittest man in the UK. While training at Brookes I seek help from Stevie when I am struggling with a specific movement or learning a new technique. With qualified staff like Stevie at Brookes Sport rest assured that you’re in capable hands.
This piece was written by Shravan Chinta, Brookes Sport Ambassador. You can find Shravan on Instagram
If you would like to try your hand at weightlifting or CrossFit, visit us here for our specialist courses!
Want to get into CrossFit? Sessions are being run multiple times a week at Brookes Sport Headington and starting next week will also be run even more frequently by our head CrossFit trainer Stephen Davis. You can find him here!