Tamara is coming up on her 4th year of being a consistent CrossFit London member. Her physically demanding career has her hauling around hundreds of pounds each day, and CrossFit London coaches her on achieving and maintaining the strength to do so.
Tell me a bit about your CrossFit London journey
I have always loved being physically active, competitive, and never turned away from physical work or play. But when I was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation (which finally gave reason for my muscle pain, headaches, dizziness, and imbalance) I was told I had to give up a lot of activities and contact sports.
This was extremely difficult for me to accept and took an emotional and physical toll. I had posterior fossa decompression surgery which left me with limited mobility in my upper body, which I didn’t know how to deal with… The more I worked out, the more pain I was in. I seemed to be in a steady decline where mobility and strength took the biggest hit. Just going to a regular gym, or doing exercises on my own didn’t seem to make me happy. When a friend mentioned doing a CrossFit London Boot Camp class, I was excited. This was something very different, and I embraced it.
My daily life for the last 23+ years has consisted of moving heavy items! Pianos, specifically. Moving them in the shop, the store, and delivering them. It’s all part of the business. But without having been introduced to CrossFit London I would not be able to continue doing what I do in this business.
What do you love about CrossFit London?
I love everything about CrossFit London. From walking into the gym and not knowing what the workout is going to be, to my fellow CrossFit family and coaches who I have built friendships with. I have learned to embrace the suck. Because many days I do suck, but I don’t think I have ever walked out of the gym without a smile on my face. I push my limitations which are many, and have learned to work through them, instead of against them. I only wish I had started years earlier. The saying “Youth is wasted on the Youth” is true.
What’s a fitness goal that you’ve been working on?
I want to run well! Not just because it’s part of a workout. I use to enjoy running, but it’s hard getting back into something that seems to tax every fibre of my being. It’s getting over the mental part of it – if I can succeed there, than the body will hopefully follow. I have been reading Shut up and Run, which is a very motivational book.
Do you feel yourself getting bored and losing motivation to work out on your own? Do you have mobility issues, or pain when exercising that has led you to a complete stop in your exercise regime? Or, are you looking to better yourself physically, mentally, and socially?
Come see the CrossFit London difference. Our group classes are full of the most energized, positive, and like-minded people that will keep you pushing towards your goals and always excited for your next workout. Plus, our top-notch coaches are there to support you every step of the way, and guide you through modifications to ensure each movement and lift is suitable to your own fitness levels and abilities.
Click HERE to book your free No Sweat Intro. Meet a coach, check out the gym, and see how we can help you meet your health and fitness goals. See you soon!
Stephen is one of our everyday heroes – responding to emergencies, fighting fires, and absolutely killing it in the gym. He approaches each workout with a positive mindset, and uses the physical and mental training of CrossFit to excel both at his job and in his day-to-day life.
Here’s Stephen’s CrossFit London story:
I’ve always been very active and played sports my whole life. Soccer was my number one game, sparking that competitive spirit by nature that drove me to work and play my hardest at whatever I’m doing.
It was early this past year that I had to make a difficult decision to step down and finally give up competitive soccer for good. With all the wear and tear, and numerous injuries over the decades (yes decades LOL), I had developed an ongoing overuse injury in the Bursa sac. This led to bursitis in my left heel (which I’ve had for a couple years now), causing extreme pressure and pain on the Achilles, preventing me to run like you are required in a game of soccer. It still affects me to this day even in our WOD, depending on the exercises we are required to do. It can be very discouraging and depressing at times… So, I had to find something that would fill that competitive spirit and drive I was missing from my soccer!
I decided to try CrossFit London and see how it would work out for me. It didn’t take long for me to get the CrossFit bug. After a couple of private sessions with Dave, plus a couple of the classes I was hooked and had the missing drug to fill the void for me not being able to play soccer.
I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous and timid at first. Even though I felt I was in fairly good shape for my age, I wasn’t sure how my body would respond to any of the workouts. Would I die??!! LOL – And yes I did… Which was totally ok, because it drove me to work harder and always try to be better than I was yesterday!! That’s what I love about CrossFit – it’s a you-vs-you competition every single day. I just turned one year shy of 50 and I’m learning it’s just a number… Anything is possible at any age, if you want it bad enough.
How does your training at CrossFit London translate to the demands of your career?
Even though CrossFit training is very physically demanding, I approach it as more of a mental challenge. You have to learn to fight through the pain of a workout and mentally push yourself past the wall and out of your comfort zone. It’s the only way I feel you will improve.
The mental challenge starts at the beginning of a WOD. If you show up and see the WOD on the board and immediately have negative thoughts about it, you have already defeated yourself even before the workout even begins… It’s a challenge some days, but I always try to have a positive mindset coming into the gym, for each and every WOD.
This is how CrossFit is similar to my job – they’re both so physically and mentally demanding at times. You need to teach yourself how to overcome any difficulties or weaknesses you might have. As a firefighter, I’m always faced with very physically and/or mentally demanding situations – but you need to learn to ignore it and stay focused on the task at hand. You need to overcome these difficulties to complete the task properly, professionally, and get the job done. Coming into the box or going into work are the same in so many ways. You show up every day never knowing what is going to happen, only knowing you’ll have to be ready to deal with it then and there!
Plus, the community atmosphere we have at CrossFit London is incredible. It helps you so much as an individual… Everyone is there to help support you, cheer you on and encourage you when you’re having a hard day. Even the little things like helping each other put the equipment away and cleaning up after a WOD. This totally flows over into my job because as a firefighter we depend on each other 100%. We are a team, and a family. Whether it’s at the firehouse doing cleaning chores, out at a call, or inspecting and cleaning equipment, we always do it together as a team and family!
Would you recommend CrossFit to other people in similar jobs, or looking to get into similar positions?
I would most definitely recommend CrossFit London to any individual who is involved in my job field, or looking to get into it. There are so many aspects of CrossFit that translate over into my career. CrossFit uses functional body movements that we use in everyday life, meaning the workouts are translatable to whatever your lifestyle looks like. I use these movements every single day as a firefighter.
I feel so much stronger and overall healthier not only at work, but also in my day-to-day life. I’m at a totally different level since getting involved with CrossFit London and its philosophy. I’m stronger physically, but more importantly mentally – not only in my job, but in my everyday life.
CrossFit is an excellent addition to any lifestyle, especially if you are in a physically and/or mentally demanding career. The challenges you face in a WOD will make you stronger physically and mentally, allowing you excel in other areas of your life.
Come check us out to see how we can help you achieve a stronger, healthier, happier version of yourself. Click this link to book your No Sweat Intro today. We’ll can’t wait to see you in the gym!
The famous La Sierra Highschool was probably the fittest school in the world in the late 60’s this was a variation of their calisthenics circuit done every day (school days)
Each 55 min PE class started with this (aprox 12 min cuircut)
This circuit would be a great substitute for not making it to the gym, to make it easier slow down the pace or take brief rests between movements, to increase the intensity take no rest. If form is failing, the pace should be slowed down until it can be done perfectly.
This was the base of their program and would have been done on combination with Gymnastics strength training like pullups, peg boards, parallel bars, rope climbs. Although there is work being done it does have a restorative nature to it, if done perfectly.
Run 400m (easy) then
20 Jumping Jacks
10 Full Bends
50 straddle hops
50 stride hops
50 toe hops
10 squat thrusts (plank burpees)
40 mountain climbers
5 sets of :
run in place 5-10 steps, rapid stop and drop to plank repeat 3 times then,
run in place, rapid stop and drop to seated face up plank, roll to plank x 1
Myth breaking time – You don’t have to be a professional athlete to do CrossFit. People come to us from all different athletic backgrounds, which is what makes our community so unique.
Take Jane, for example. Never an athlete growing up, but now she is one of our stars. She has been through SO much (injuries, cancer), yet only uses her set backs as motivation to keep pushing and reaching for her fitness goals. Here’s her story:
What got you started at CrossFit London in the first place?
I was never athletic growing up – I didn’t play any sports, and quit Phys. Ed. after grade 9. When I was over 50, in both age and extra weight, I started going to yoga, then joined Weight Watchers, then a women’s recreational soccer team, then my girlfriend talked me into a beginner triathlon so I had to start running … and then I heard about CrossFit. I like to challenge myself, so I signed up for a beginner boot camp. The last day we did Murph. I had to keep stopping because I thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest… But I did it, and I wasn’t last. It was so empowering.
Tell me a little bit about your journey since joining.
So many things have changed – there have been many ups (deadlifting 200 lb, doing my first pull up!) but also a couple of big downs: first a frozen shoulder, which took two painful long years to recover from, then last year, breast cancer.
I had a bilateral preventative mastectomy in Dec 2016, and learned the next month, that I was too late. I already had cancer and needed chemotherapy. So, Feb-June 2017, I had 6 rounds of chemotherapy. The first few weren’t so bad, I still participated in the Open, but as the months went on and the side effects got worse, I got slower. Still, CrossFit was my happy place. I couldn’t work, but I could lift! There are so many different parameters of fitness. Even as my aerobic fitness declined from being able to run 10K to being unable to run 100m, I could still lift heavy. This was rewarding on days when I felt like a bloated, bald, breast-less bag of barf! Dave, the other trainers, other members, everyone was so supportive of me. I was and am very grateful.
Now my fitness is improving again, and I am close to hitting my PR’s for the third time. I just try to keep doing it. I wanted to quit when I had the frozen shoulder. This past year I have been so thankful I didn’t.
What is your motivation/drive to keep coming day after day, year after year?
My motivation primarily comes from seeing the results, so I try harder. In another gym, I know I would quit halfway through the equivalent work of a typical WOD. It helps that I have made CrossFit a part of my routine and it is convenient – I usually come to the box on my way home from work. And it helps my mental health. I can become very depressed, especially in the winter, if I don’t exercise.
How does CrossFit influence other areas of your life?
I am a GP psychotherapist, and exercise can be as good as antidepressants for mild to moderate depression. I understand it is difficult for people to exercise when they are depressed, but this is often a chicken ‘n egg problem. MOTION CHANGES EMOTION. So I try to talk people into walking appointments.
Athlete or not, adding exercise into your daily routine is life-changing. Mentally, physically, and emotionally. The extensive and continuously growing list of benefits far outweighs any risks, insecurities or excuses.
Come check us out to see how we can change your life. Click HERE to schedule your free No Sweat Intro, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After years of wear and tear on her body from professional ballroom dancing, Cheryl needed a switch. She needed something that would continue to challenge her, would make her stronger, and that still had a competitive edge. So, she found CrossFit – a balance of mobility, gymnastics, strength training, and endurance… the complete package!
How has your training regime changed since joining CrossFit London?
I was a professional ballroom dancer for 12 years, teaching and training for 10-12 hours, 5-6 days a week. I stopped dancing about 6 years ago because of the physical strain I’d put on my body, but I didn’t want to stop being active completely. So, I joined a gym with the goal of building strength. I had a trainer and definitely saw changes in my strength, but after being a competitive athlete for so many years, I felt like working out just to be fit wasn’t good enough. I’ve always loved competing, and the challenge of learning and accomplishing new skills. CrossFit has been amazing for me. It’s something I look forward to every day. I like that there are competitions and events both within and outside the box to give me something to push towards and I’m also really excited about learning and mastering the gymnastics skills that I’ve been doing in my head for years.
What has changed over the past year and half, since joining?
My physical strength has definitely improved! When I was working out before, I put limitations on what I thought I could and couldn’t lift. Lifting heavy has never been the goal for me, but I’ve found that being in this environment has helped me ignore self-doubt and at least try things that I may have talked myself out of before. My body is feeling a lot more balanced and I’m in a healthier overall physical state than I think I’ve ever been.
What fitness goals have you been working on lately, and hope to soon accomplish?
I’m dead set on getting my first muscle up and I’ve had my eye on group 2 since I’ve started!
Would you recommend CrossFit to other athletes who are transitioning out of their sport, or looking for a switch?
I absolutely would. CrossFit is the complete package in my opinion. There is a focus on mobility, which I’m finding I need more and more as time goes on. There is always a strength component, and the finisher is always challenging. I always feel proud of myself at the end of each class and even though I have felt dips in my progress over the time that I’ve been coming, overall, it’s been an upward curve since I started. It’s also a fun place to be and everyone is truly amazing. The community feel is real, the amazing people and encouraging environment is something that can’t be beat. It’s an amazing feeling when you’re so tired at the end of a workout, to be able to smile with the people you’ve been busting your butt with and fight through the struggle to raise your tired arm for a high 5.
If you’re an athlete transitioning out of your sport and looking for something to keep you active, or someone looking to build a new healthy lifestyle, come check us out. Click this link HERE to book a free Meet & Greet appointment. We can’t wait to meet you!