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Athletic chick look? Or borderline beastly?

I asked this question on my Instagram.

Most people commented they dig the muscle gains I’ve got from CrossFit. But some friends worried after my Instagram post I might be heading towards muscle mania.

I’m about 3kg heavier than when I was purely a runner. But that’s because muscle weighs more than fat. So, stuff the scales. It’s the first time I’ve had some actual muscles.

I also know as a qualified personal trainer it’s good to be lifting weights for the sake of increasing bone density. This goes on a rapid decline after age 30 by the way. So being strong is not about trying to be strong. It’s actually vital.

It was a year ago that I nervously walked into CrossFit. It’s a place full of weights, bars, row machines, bikes and various gym and gymnastics equipment.

Owner Jason Sawyer of Cross Fit Newmarket described the place as a kind of “bat-like-cave”. He tells clients they can escape here to sweat and forget about any worries and the rest of the world for a bit. I love that description. I like the bat-cave escape.

I think feeling strong feels kinda good too. I can deadlift more than my body weight. I can climb ropes now monkey-like. And I can hold a handstand for a minute. There are still lots of CrossFit skills to master yet. So the learning keeps it fun. I’m a beginner still at this sport, really. So I’m pretty nervous about entering the 2019 Reebok CrossFit Games Open.

This is a global competition to find the fittest on the planet. Thousands of Kiwis enter this.

About 350,000 people globally took part last year and the numbers are set to be big again this year. There are 15,000 CrossFit affiliates that participate. The competition runs for five weeks from February 22.

People of all ages and abilities participate — including newbies like me. Some do it seriously. Others like me do it to take part in a sport and community they feel part of.

How it works is everyone does a set workout each week (scaled to their level). Your workout score tells you how your fitness compares with others at your gym — and around the world. Challenges can include: running, rowing, lifting weights, to handstand walks, and gymnastics … I’ll be scaling my weights low, while watching the talented members of my gym lift heavy and chase times hard. I look forward to cheering them on.
Good luck to everyone taking part.

Tips for CrossFit from Luke McGruer, owner of Mount CrossFit.
1. Do a proper warm up. Get mobile and stretch and do something that simulates the upcoming workout.
2. Focus on movement quality — over speed. A “no rep” can be detrimental to your score. “It can be the difference between 10th place and 100th place.”
3. Stretch, mobilise and rest on the days in-between workouts.

Article originally published in The New Zealand Herald