Keeping fit or going to a gym isn’t always as easy as you’d like it to be. You have work and other commitments, so getting in your daily dosage of exercise can sometimes be put on the backburner. But what if you could commit 30 days of exercise, and more specifically, CrossFit.
That’s exactly what YouTuber Laurie Shaw did, with his friend Axel – who he describes as having “the body of an Egyptian God” being his inspiration – taking him to his CrossFit studio to see how much his physique and fitness levels could be changed.
But first, what exactly is CrossFit? Well, it’s a branded fitness regime that was founded in 2000 by Greg Glassman. Since then, over 13,000 CrossFit affiliated gyms have popped up around the world, although over half of those are in the United States. It combines aspects of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, callisthenics, as well as other exercises. When you head into it for your first time – like our wannabe workout warrior Laurie – make sure you have an idea of what to expect.
Before he started his challenge, Laurie gave the camera a glimpse of his body before he put it through
hell the rigorous workout programme. We’d say he already had a decent rig on him to start with, but he felt there was room for improvement. Based on his 30-day challenge, here’s what you need to know if you want to start a new fitness journey yourself.
Warm Up Is The Most Important Thing To Remember
Each time you start a CrossFit session you should complete a full warmup routine. Warming up before exercise shouldn’t come as news to you, but with CrossFit sessions being as tough as they are, it’s important to make sure your muscles are primed and ready to go, to prevent any injuries.
Don’t Go Full Beast Mode At The Start
Despite his enthusiasm to get the challenge underway, Laurie was warned by his friend Axel to not go full beans in the first few days. CrossFit is a strenuous form of exercise and so to be able to complete 30 consecutive days, Laurie didn’t want to be waking up feeling too sore to move. The solution, put 100 per cent effort into the conditioning side because “you can recover relatively easily from conditioning training”, and 90 per cent into strength movements because you don’t want to feel “achy breaky”
It can be pretty common for gym bros to want to lift the heaviest weights possible, because that’s the ultimate sign of masculinity, right? Not so with CrossFit. You won’t be able to lift anything if you’re injured. Rather than focus on how much you’re lifting, focus instead on the form you’re using to lift it. Once you get the technique nailed down, your body will be able to better manage the increased load you put on it.
“When I was more confident in my technique, adding more weight would be far more effective for me, as my body would respond in the right way and give me the best chance of building my strength and fitness”
It Doesn’t Get Any Easier…
Only a week or so into his challenge, Laurie found himself joining the trainer-run classes to improve his knowledge of CrossFit and to introduce some new exercises. But what he found – and perhaps what surprised him – was that training never got any easier.
“In fact, if anything I’d say the sessions got harder and more intense.”
…But Experience Prevails
However, the more he trained, the more comfortable and familiar Laurie became with the movements and techniques, the more confident he felt to push himself that little bit further: lifting more, taking shorter rest periods and becoming faster in the conditioning exercises.
It Can Be Easy To Lose Focus
Just over two weeks into his challenge, Laurie found himself making training a second thought. He would still go to classes, but he was aware he wasn’t as focused on his challenge as he was, to begin with because the excitement wore off. His solution was to commit to early morning sessions every day, despite not liking the idea of “destroying” his body first thing.
“I began feeling comfortable, with being uncomfortable.”
Don’t Train On A Full Stomach
“You don’t eat food before a CrossFit session.”
Set Aside Enough Time
Most of us would probably consider an hour to an hour and a half at the gym to be a good amount of time to get fit. Laurie’s classes are two and a half hours long, so make sure you don’t make too many plans during the day!
It Will Always Be Tough
“CrossFit really fucks you.”
If You Want Big Muscles, Look Elsewhere
At the end of the 30-day challenge, Laurie felt like he hadn’t put on much muscle mass – and his before and after body looks very similar – but he admitted he felt “much fitter”.
You Don’t Need To Go Everyday
Laurie went every day for 30 days purely as a challenge, but once it was over, he said he wanted to continue going, but admitted it’s important to give yourself a break every now and then.