Written by Barbara Pinguey (CFHE Member; August 2015 onwards)

Back in April 2017 I competed in my first even CrossFit Competition, this is something I can’t believe I managed to do, so I thought I would tell you about why it was such an achievement for me;

As a child, I have never been athletic or even good at sports and could never manage a handstand, cart-wheel or crab. Nothing. I have always loved helping people and the amazing things a human body can do which is why I was driven towards my career as a Physio thirteen years ago. Despite having to tell others to do this exercise / go to the gym more/ be more physically active I have always struggled to practice what I preach. I have spent years and hundreds, probably thousands of pounds on un-used gym memberships. At best, I may have gone and faffed about on the gym equipment and before even breaking a sweat, I would have decided that a swim and sauna would do the trick. I lacked motivation, I lacked direction and I lacked the determination to stick it out. No wonder so many of my patients couldn’t do the exercises I was asking them to do. I wouldn’t have either.

However, things changed for me after turning thirty, I was starting to put on weight, I felt my body was weak and I was embarrassed that many of my patients were fitter than I was. I had signed up for the Great North Run half marathon and I currently struggled to get around the block, with the run fast approaching I felt I needed to buck my ideas up.

Barbara Piguey 10

It was my Fiancé Mark who badgered me to first come to CrossFit for a free trial. He had heard all about it from Jamie Bell (Physio & Coach) and had already been to a trial. He was buzzing about it so had signed up. I was intrigued as I had heard about CrossFit but had visions of tyre flipping and hauling my tubby-self up a rope with my weedy arms. As already mentioned my lack of athletic ability made me nervous at the prospect but I knew I needed to get fitter, I knew I needed to practice what I preach for my patients, so I booked in for my trial and dug out my gym gear.

My Trial was in August 2015 not long after Hawk Eye opened its doors and I’m sure Rick was trying to put me off as I struggled to walk for the next two days. The session itself did not disappoint, lots of different movements to stop me getting bored, Rick telling me to give myself a shake (in the nicest possible way) as well as to keep going, and I definitely broke a sweat. This was also the first chance I had to see the amazing support a CrossFit family gives by cheering each other on when you need it the most. I now had the motivation and the determination, I was hooked.

Over the next couple of roots sessions, I think Andrew struggled to keep a straight face with my rubbish co-ordination and feeble mind-set. Thankfully things have improved and over the last two years I have slowly got more confident in all aspects of my fitness and I have become part of a family of people striving to better themselves. And although this post is about my first completion I see every session as a competition, not to compete against others but as a fight against ourselves, not just our physical strength but the mind-set to let yourself go, as Joe would say ‘into the dark place’. Although the gymnastic ability is sadly still lacking I have even managed a very brief handstand (the first in my life!) and a pull or two. Surprisingly I can now haul myself up a rope, even though my eyes are closed at the top as too scared to look down. Despite my initial reluctance to get weight onto the barbell the coaches have literally coaxed me to up the Kilos. Last year I went to see my first ever CrossFit competition, The Rainhill Trials in Manchester. I was amazed by all the support the athletes gave and that the last to finish definitely got the loudest cheers. But I must admit that it was seeing Emma Nicholson’s determination, drive and focus that really made me think I wanted to challenge myself to do that, for a least one competition.

Barbara Piguey 3 (2)

I had seen a Ladies Only Barbell competition come up on Facebook and it was gathering interest with Hawk Eye members. I wanted to take on the challenge but I was terrified! After chatting to a few members, we agreed we would do it together. Before I knew it, I had signed up for the scaled division and there was no turning back!

It was Saturday the 30th April 2017 and getting to Tyneside meant an early start. The bag of snacks purchased and our support crew in tow. I had heard that Sharon’s Hubby Alan was making his famous chocolate covered cookies as a prize for Hawk Eye finishers so I couldn’t very well miss out!

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It was at the team briefing where things started to get real! However, the scariest thing for me was the fact that the scaled competitors had to judge the RX category and this included double-unders. If you had told me two years ago that I would be more afraid of counting someone skipping than being watched by a hundred-people doing a workout I would have fallen over laughing. Thankfully I was given some helpful tips by our support crew to calm my nerves!

Other Hawk Eye members competing included Sharon, Lynne, Rachael, Lauren and Mel. For most of us it was our first comp and I felt physically sick. Lynne may have taken that to the extreme but I think that may have been too much wine the night before!

The day consisted of 3 workouts which were scaled to your ability. My personal achievements were not crying during the day as well as a PB in my Shoulder to Overhead at 43kg. This photo is me trying desperately to get 45kg over my head without success! I managed to come 15th overall out of 24 in our category and I was so pleased with this but I could see where I needed to work on in the future. It was an enjoyable day and I was proud to see Rachael and Mel make it to the podium. I’m sure with the support of my CrossFit family I may even have the confidence to do another comp in the future!

Thanks for all the Coaches and members for all your support.

Barbara Piguey 9.