Monday, 15 May 2017


Maggie's Story.
Not everyone has a dramatic story to tell.  Most of us are just normal people discovering things about ourselves and trying to live a fitter, healthier life.  Maggie's story will resonate with many of us as she found a way to feel better with a few small steps for some very great results!

I started this whole journey when I was still living in Dubai at the beginning of 2012.  My daughter was turning 1 and I was so aware that I was overweight and unfit.  I was overweight before having children but pregnancy really had not helped the situation.  I tried walking but could never motivate myself to go regularly enough.  I thought about doing exercise apps or dvds but never actually did anything.  Meanwhile, I was eating everything!  Looking back, I thought I was eating healthily and making informed decisions.  I was not!  
Then up popped Krish’s blog, explaining how she and her husband, Russ, had lost some weight and got a lot fitter.  Now I had always trusted their opinions and knew that if they did something like this they would do it as scientifically and logically as possible and avoid all fads and trends unless they could be proven to be effective.  So I was interested and I read and researched a bit myself.  I found that Krish said a lot of things that resonated with me…  
The most significant thing was the basic paleo philosophy – keep it simple.  Eat clean, move more, sleep well.  It made so much sense to me.  
However, there were a few times I would read her latest post and not be happy...I remember reading Krish’s blog about going paleo and swearing at the screen, “I have just got my head around fucking oatcakes and no bread and now you do this to me!”  I was not convinced and it took a lot of research and thinking through it all to realise she was right.
I started doing some bootcamp classes and a bit of netball and tweaking my diet but it wasn’t until I moved back to Sussex in 2014 when the really big changes occurred.

Almost as soon as we moved back to Uckfield I started going to the little gym in Krish's garage; only twice a week to start but it was just lovely.  My CrossFit buddy, Helen, started at the same time and was in same state as I was so it was helpful and motivating to go through this together.  Krish got us hooked on lifting weights -  you can’t beat a really heavy deadlift to make you feel awesome!  I slowly started eating a more paleo style diet and began to feel the benefits.  
I changed shape, lost inches and lost weight and I began to feel fit and strong.  I stopped weighing myself; t didn’t matter anymore;
the only time I wanted to know was to discover what percentage of my body weight could I lift.
It stopped being about the kilos on the scale and became all about the kilos on the bar!
My reason for doing this was and still is, to stay out of hospital.  I want to be able to move independently when I am in my 70s or 80s.  I want to avoid all the modern diseases that seem to inflict so many of us now like diabetes and heart disease.  If I do get something like cancer, I want to give myself a fighting chance by being as fit and strong as I can be.  
My game changer WOD
There is one particular WOD (workout of the day) that transformed the way I think and feel about my body – Nancy.  This was the first benchmark WOD I was able to do Rxd (as prescribed) which is a significant step in any CrossFitter’s journey.  15 x 30kg OH squats and a 400m run – five times. It took me over 30 minutes. I was the only one in that morning; it was incredibly hot and it felt like it was never going to end but I completed it. I had never felt so strong and fit and that feeling stayed with me for days. For the first time in my life, every time I looked in the mirror I was no longer ashamed of my body; I was proud of it.
That had NEVER happened before!  
It didn’t last forever.  A few months later I was getting changed to go out with friends and everything I tried on seemed a disaster.  I felt like I looked like a middle-aged, frumpy mum, which is hard to take when you still feel 16.  However, it suddenly struck me that I didn’t look any different from when I did Nancy.  My body hadn’t changed at all so if I felt good about myself then, what was stopping me from feeling the same way about myself right now?  So I threw on the first top I had tried and chucked on a pair of jeans and went out…and had a great time!
CrossFit has completely transformed the way I feel about my body.  I am no longer ashamed of it.  Yes, I have wobbly, flabby parts but it just doesn’t matter.  
I feel strong, healthy and fit.  
I could never have imagined in those Dubai days where I would end up with all this.
Since returning to the UK and discovering CrossFit, I have competed in CrossFit competitions and taken my Level 1 CrossFit Trainer's Certificate and I'm now a coach at CrossFit Uckfield, helping others discover what I did!

Monday, 8 May 2017


Oly’s CrossFit Story
I had never even heard of CrossFit when I found somehow I had entered a competition.  

Not being one to shy away from trying new things, I wasn’t fazed by this.  It was while I was scrolling through Facebook (probably while on the loo, like you do) that I came across this competition.  A fellow double amputee, whose aim is to enable more disabled people to get into fitness by adapting and overcoming any boundaries, was organizing it.  
I turned up at Crossfit Connect gym in Portslade on a Saturday morning having done zero training; I was completely unprepared.  I met Barnaby and Holly, the owners, who were really nice people and very welcoming.  

I looked at the WOD sheet and it was like looking at another language.  After receiving our t-shirts and a quick warm up, we got underway.  

First off was a sled pull - 4 lengths of the astro strip - 80kg if I remember correctly.  What I was most surprised about, was the fact that so many strangers were there cheering me on (my own family were  there too) Next came wall balls, a 10 calorie row and ball slams.  The first round was fine but I’m not proud of what happened next...I threw up!  Luckily I managed to get outside, not like another person who decorated the floor.  
After finishing this competition and making some new friends, I was bitten by the crossfit bug!

The next leg of my journey if you’ll pardon the pun was entering the crossfit open.  Some may call me mad, that after just one crossfit experience I was entering a worldwide competition with some of the fittest people in the world.  

I do like a challenge!

The next part of my journey involves CrossFit Uckfield.  I’m a big social media user and the aforementioned gym popped up on Instagram.  So after some deliberating about whether I wanted to continue with this crazy exercise regime that makes you vomit, I e-mailed Krish.

I explained that I had just entered the Open and would it be possible to join them for the workouts.  I received a reply just a few hours later saying that it would be fine and I should come for a chat and a look around.  So I did.  I visited the gym on a Saturday morning and chatted to Krish and booked straight onto the intro course so we could go through the movements and work on any adaptations necessary.  

I joined their Facebook group and was immediately welcomed by all members; some of them even fighting over me to join their team!  At this point I thought: I’m going to like this Crossfit thing!

The Open was only two weeks away so I booked into a class.  My first ever proper Crossfit WOD was ‘filthy fifty’.  It bloody well nearly killed me! I ached for days after but I’m one of those weird people that enjoy the pain.

So the Open came and went and I really enjoyed it. I managed all the workouts with a few adaptations here and there and I even did workout 17.3 legless!  =)

One thing I really love about Crossfit is the family feeling of it all; you just don’t get that in other gyms.  Everyone cheers you on when you’re doing workouts and there is even beer after (sometimes…)

For anyone who is stuck in a rut at their current gym, I urge you to try Crossfit; you might find that you love it just as I do!

Thursday, 4 May 2017

You could totally get to Regionals!

I will start this post by saying I am a firm believer that
if you want something badly enough, you will find a way to make it happen.
I also believe that each and every one of you has the potential to do great things with CrossFit, if you approach it the right way.  

The thing with CrossFit is that it seduces you. With the right programming, coaching and attitude, you get such quick, amazing result with CrossFit that your self-esteem rockets.  Which, don’t get me wrong, is a very, very good thing. Low self esteem is a ruiner of lives.  So thank you CrossFit for enabling us to feel so much better about ourselves in a genuinely healthy, positive and fun way.

But it seduces you.  

It’s like falling in love, reluctantly, with a charming rogue.  It starts by knocking you for 6 and confuses you.  How can something that beats you up so bad be so addictive?  How can something that, some days, makes you want to cry keep you coming back for more?  

Because it seduces you.

But just as you can’t see the lovable rogue beyond the charming smile and sweet nothings, you stop being able to see CrossFit with any perspective.  If you want to be good at CrossFit, you need a coach who will tell you the truth.  Not a coach who will fluff your ego and tell you what you want to hear.  

What we want to hear is: ‘You could be a really good competitor.  You could get to regionals.’

When we are told this, it makes us feel warm and fuzzy and spikes our self-esteem.  

But we are being seduced.

This is what it takes to go to the CrossFit Games: minimum 4-5 hours training a day, 6 days a week, every week, including daily mobility and weekly sports massage.  Constant coaching and personalised programming to ensure perfect form across the board. Perfect genetics.  Perfect nutrition, no deviations. No major muscle imbalances or mobility issues. Incredible mental fortitude and the ability to keep going when it sucks the biggest, fattest, hairy balls ever. Luck.

This is what it takes to get to Regionals: minimum 2-3 hours training a day, 6 days a week, every week, including daily mobility and regular sports massage.  Constant coaching and some personalised programming to ensure perfect form across the board. Very good genetics. Perfect nutrition, few deviations.  No major muscle imbalances or mobility issues. Mental fortitude. Luck.

This is what it takes to be a good competitor in UK and European comps: minimum 1-2 hours training a day, 6 days a week, every week. Constant coaching and great programming to ensure perfect form across the board. Great genetics. Excellent nutrition, few deviations. No major muscle imbalances or mobility issues. Mental fortitude. Luck.

If you want to compete, you need to get real.  
I believe in every single one of you and I truly believe that if you want something badly enough then you will find a way to make it happen.  But, and this is a fuck-off massive but, you need to get real.

If you have a family and a job or any sort of life, you are going to have to make sacrifices in order to do what needs to be done.  If you have any deficiencies in movement, skill or mobility, you need to leave your ego at the door, forget the numbers on the board and address them.  If you cannot do a pullup, stop trying to do muscleups. If you cannot do a pressup, you need to sort that shit out!  If your kipping pullups resemble a floundering fish, stop it!  Just stop it! Get your coach to show you how to do it right, work like a bastard and do it right!

The reason we have the targeted warm ups in our gym is to help you address your gaps.  For most of you, this will be enough.  If you are serious about competing, it probably won’t touch the sides.

As your coach, I have a million resources at my disposal to help you achieve your goals, I know your movement, I know your imbalances and your deficiencies, but the case may be that you either need to come in more often, find a way to get to open gym every day or invest in a course of personal coaching to address particular issues.  

Let me end with this: CrossFit is addictive and it is effective but it can mess with your head.  Try not to get lured into the, ‘If I just worked a bit harder I could get to Regionals’ trap.  You could, of course you could but don’t for one second underestimate the amount of work, dedication and sacrifices this would take.  The training will not always be fun.  Sometimes you will hate it.  If you want to love CrossFit, think hard about where you want to go with it.  Think seriously about why you are doing it.  

And don’t let anyone flatter or beguile you into thinking you are Regionals ready, if only you had the right mix.  If you are serious about competing, then you need to get serious and that starts with a brutally honest dialogue with your coach.

If you want to talk about competing seriously, then book an appointment to chat with me and we will come up with a plan.