I started doing Crossfit exercise at Crossfit FX on Tuesday December 13, 2011. The journey to where I am now is a long one but a story worth telling.
You see, I had reached a point in my life where my body was rebelling...seriously rebelling. I was back up to 120kg, my blood pressure was 160/115 and I felt awful. My Eczema was playing up badly, my food intolerances were getting worse, I had chronic headaches and for the first time in my life, I felt like I could die early. Not a good situation to be in.
Where I had been...
My weight is a funny thing. I left school at about 85-90kg, have been as low as 81.7kg in 2005 and as high as 121.7kg in Oct 2010. I have been a State level swimmer, played lots of difference sports and probably classifed as a mesomorph body type.
The problem was that as a swimmer, I could eat whatever I wanted without worry. Have you ever met a swimmer that didn't put on weight after they stopped swimming - Looking at Geoff Huegill was like looking at my own life - we even look a little bit similar!
I had lost 32kg in 2005 by doing the Weight Watchers points system on my own and training hard at the gym - lots of cardio-style classes - Body Pump, Body Balance, Body Attack, Body Combat, Step Classes, treadmill etc. I did very little in the way of weights. I was very fit and had lots of endurance but I was pretty weak.
Then I started my Masters Degree and exercise gave way to study...by the time I made it to my On-Campus time in Perth 2007, I was 95kg - it had taken probably 18 months to put that weight back on.
I teamed up with my mate David Berg (www.movehappy.com.au) who is a physio from Canberra - I met Dave on a course in Sydney and convinced him to come with me to Perth to do our Masters together. He and I are the type of friends that pick up where we left off, no matter how much time has passed 🙂
Anyway, Dave had me at the gym doing weights 6 days per week. I was pretty buffed by the end of my 12 weeks in Perth. I had increased my bench press over 400% - from a measly 20kg to 90kg. I had tremendous gains in other areas as well.
The trouble was that I had been staying at St Thomas More College on campus - where there was LOTS of food. And I ate lots too. So I reckon some of my 10kg in 12 weeks was from fat but a lot was muscle. I left Perth at 105kg.
Over the next 3 years I got to 121.7kg. It just kinda crept onto me. I was busy in my practice working stupid hours, managing staff, building my business, trying to provide for, care for and be with my family etc. My muscled body turned into a soft cushion.
I then started at Vision Personal Training Blakehurst - this was good for me because the main prize was $300 in vouchers and other associated gear...and I won! I lost 15kg in 9 weeks. Their eating plan was structured and nutritionally correct and the recommended exercise was about right as well...there was only one trouble - I didn't like following what I had to do.
You see, I like to eat what I wanted when I wanted - this was from my bad habits as a swimmer! I wasn't ready to do what I needed to do - as soon as the challenge was over, I had no incentive despite the great attempts that Shane and his team made at Vision.
For the Challenge, I also had visited a friend - Sharon Hespe - who is a Naturopath. She used a blood test to identify foods that I was intolerant to. You should see the list - I reckon I have more intolerances than foods that I can eat. The problem was now that I wasn't supposed to have gluten, rice, milk, eggs, my favourite vegies and most nuts...what else is there left to eat!!??
So I spent basically 2011 in denial - "nah, it can't be that bad", "I have always eaten pasta and rice", etc etc. This went on ALL YEAR and I felt awful for it.
The Tipping Point
In December, Dave (the physio from Canberra) and his family were coming up to stay at our place. They stayed for 4 nights and it was great to catch up with him.
Now I am happy to listen to most people but I really do respect what Dave has to stay - He beat me in our Masters course, he was healthy and fit and he referenced his beliefs and why he did things.
Dave introduced me to the Paleo Diet and Crossfit. I could see that he was ripped - he was even more healthy than when we were in Perth! He told me about how Crossfit had changed his eating and his exercise and he was much better for it. He too was skeptical about a lot of things to do with changing his diet but the changes in his life have been great.
We went out to Sizzler on their last night up with us. I had my usual entree of Spag Bol - and of course, I had a reaction to the pasta - by now, my antihistamines were beginning to become less effective - something I had dreaded would occur.
Dave just said "A-Lo. You gotta do the Paleo thing. This isn't right. Get onto it". That was pretty much all he said about my lifestyle. He didn't need to say anything else. I knew.
One last thing bugged me though - because I am a stubborn idiot sometimes...I said to Dave "Remember how you couldn't control your lumbar spine into dissociated flexion and extension? Can you now?" - sorry about the physio speak but Dave had been unable to do a simple (well, not so simple if you can't do it!) control exercise in his back. He said "yep", dropped down on the ground and showed me. I was astounded...and SOLD!
So I read up on Crossfit, the Paleo Diet and "Sweet Poison" (a book about the evils of Fructose) and decided right then and there to change. I had nearly given myself a heart attack by measuring my blood pressure (160/115 at rest!!!).
I turned up to Crossfit FX on the Monday without an appointment, booked an appointment and watched a class - I was impressed.
I completed my 9 fundamental movements in the one hour class (being a physio is useful sometimes!) and started in the next class...and I haven't looked back since.
Why I Love Crossfit
Crossfit is as close to what I believed in terms of exercise and fitness as you could get...and I didn't know it existed!! I love the explanation of Crossfit in 100 words:
Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.
This encompasses exactly what I believe - God made us to do lots of things. I hate limiting myself and my patients because of injuries so I try to progress them to the highest quality function they can achieve. I hate routine. I love playing sports and learning ones I haven't played before. I am competitive and Crossfit encourages that.
The cardio classes I had done in the past were ok but cardio alone is not good. I needed to be stronger.
The Vision Personal Training way was fine. It is structured and it includes weights but it lacked a bit of variety for me. I couldn't get to the boxing, I couldn't do run club because I would spend 6 hours recovering from a migraine headache from my neck and the cross training at the park was ok but not quite hard enough to excite me...plus, I had such low energy that I couldn't get up for them anyway!
I still recommend people go to the gym and to Vision because it might be the right thing for them...it just wasn't the right thing for me.
Crossfit? I have been very happy these last 6 weeks. Even one of my staff noticed the difference - she noticed I was having fun and enjoying my exercise.
I have lost 8 kg since starting and I am already stronger. I look forward to doing Handstand Push Ups, Butterfly Pull ups, Olympic Lifting, etc. I can't wait for the day when I can compete against some of the other guys and girls in the gym there...until then, I compete against myself - to get better, healthier, stronger and to beat my times and weights.
Crossfit seems like a perfect match for me...check it out 🙂
Thank you for reading my story. I would love to hear your success stories, your struggles, your experiences with exercise or any other comments you have. Just post below!
Wanna look like a weapon? Get Inspired with this video!
I thought this video was good - it shows that real people do Crossfit too!!