Written by Gary Story (CFHE Member; March 2016 onwards)
Working shifts, my life had developed into sleep, eat, work repeat. Unfit, unhealthy and always tired I’d always looked on and envied those with the ‘gym bug’, who’d became passionate and fallen in love with training. I could never find this. I’d always searched for an easy option, that miracle diet, that 90 day detox, that 5 minute ab workout – which never had longevity nor produced results. I’d tried jogging, tried the conventional gym memberships, but it was always a short-lived experience.
On the wrong side of thirty and at twenty stone and climbing, I was miserably unhappy, getting heavier and in fear I’d never see my pension. It was no secret that I wanted change and I recognised a lifestyle overhaul was in need, but couldn’t do it on my own.
In January 2016, a close friend and fellow Hawkeye member Mark Christie (to whom I’m eternally grateful), suggested I consider CrossFit. I’d had little knowledge of the term, although knew Mark had turned his life around with CrossFit a number of years before.
On considering it, I liked the sound of the definition which suggested variation incorporating; strength, endurance and gymnastic activity, and on watching videos of competitions I was in awe of the athletes and their abilities.
Could this be for me???
I didn’t have to go far to find recommendations for CrossFit Hawk Eye, who seemed to be highly regarded by their members.
It was March 2016 before I attended for my first taster session.
Saturday 5th March 2016
My appointment was mid-morning and little did I know it was just after the second WOD of the CrossFit Open had been released. I remember driving up to find the car park heaving.
Given past experiences with conventional gyms memberships and the money I had wasted on them, I convinced myself that I was going to complete the trial and give it some time and thought before committing to a membership – although I was interested, I still wasn’t sold that I could commit myself to it.
I had goose bumps walking inside as there were dozens of athletes taking part or preparing to take part in the WOD. I was a little apprehensive given I was relatively new to this form of activity and worried that I was going to be judged by all the current members. I couldn’t have been further from the truth. My walking in hadn’t turned heads, people continued, focused on their own workout or preparation. People I didn’t know greeted me and smiled, I strangely had a sense of belonging and certainly didn’t feel the outsider I’d built myself up to be.
The Coach, Andrew Carigiet, greeted me and explained the fundamentals of CrossFit before taking me through my taster WOD:
Work through the movements;
30 seconds Box Jumps
-30 seconds rest-
30 seconds Kettlebell Swings
-30 seconds rest-
30 seconds Burpees
-1 minutes rest-
I was really surprised, it felt good, despite how busy it was, I wasn’t being stared at, I wasn’t being laughed at and people I didn’t even know were actively encouraging me, they spurred me to keep going.
On regaining my breath, I signed up, going against my plan of approaching the decision with caution. CrossFit Hawke Eye had surpassed my expectations so much so that I felt this was something I could do – this could be for me!
Over the course of the coming months, my worries of CrossFit becoming just another fad faded as I became a frequent visitor getting better at the techniques, feeling fitter during the workouts and completing things I never dreamed I’d be doing.
I was completing classes then practicing the technicalities of the movements in open gym. Before I knew it I was attending over 5 classes a week between the CrossFit classes and open gym. I had the bug.
Movements became more natural, Olympic lifts became stronger and on a month to month basis I could both see and feel the difference in my performance. Lifting was my strong point, running and endurance not so much. Given the chance, my sole focus would have been to concentrate on my strengths, literally, however CrossFit by its very design causes you to have multi focus and workouts are programmed to push you out with your comfort zone. Being a big guy, running has always been a nemesis, but before I knew it I’d completed my first 5k run in years.
Throughout the year, with expertly programmed strength cycles, test weeks as well as speciality classes, I’ve hit a 200kg deadlift, a 110kg clean, an 85kg snatch, got double unders, linked 5 kipping pull-ups, managed to get my toes up to the bar and got rope climbs; things which were far beyond my grasp a year before.
I get an air of excitement each time I arrive at the gym and walk over to the white board to see what challenge lies ahead.
It’s easy to see those behind CrossFit Hawk Eye work tirelessly to make it what it is; Andrew, Emma, Joe, Rick and Jamie are amazing at what they do, they’re not only passionate about CrossFit, they are passionate about their members, their members’ results and their members wellbeing.
Looking back, I wanted to change my lifestyle so badly for so long although I fell into the deeper depression of the monotony of life. After nearly a year of training with CrossFit Hawk Eye, I know I have worked hard, although it has seemed so easy with the support of the training team at CrossFit Hawk Eye and the fellow members who I now call my good friends.
In December 2016 I brought the year to the close being declared the most improved member of CrossFit Hawk Eye by the coaching team, a decision which seemed to be backed up by many members and led to an emotional acceptance.
Over the course of last year, I lost two and a half stone, lost several inches from my waist, grew happier, stronger, fitter and most of all gained loads of new friends in the Hawk Eye community.
My life no longer consists of work, eat, sleep repeat – there is so much more to life, there’s CrossFit!
If you’re thinking about trying CrossFit and you were to ask me for one bit of advice, I’d say don’t overthink it and just go for it. CrossFit is scalable to everyone’s abilities, you will surprise yourself at what you can do.
I am eternally thankful to the Hawk Eye crew and community for making me feel part of something great – ‘Be Just and Fear Not’.