Lungs burning, muscles quivering, every fibre in your body telling you that this rep will be the last one, and then you do 3 more. If you’ve been there, you know how it feels. It hurts, but you just want more. I have been told by more than one person that Crossfit is the best medium for attaining this high. Coming from marathon and triathlon, I’m not so sure. However, I was more than willing to investigate.
All Shapes And Sizes
Exercise comes in all forms. One individual can have many different motivations for wanting to exercise. These can include sport specific training, improvement of health or weight loss for aesthetic reasons to name just a few. Some people can run for 26.2 miles but have the upper body strength of a five year old. Others have washboard abs but couldn’t run for a bus. My own fitness journey has seen me compete in bodybuilding, marathon running, sprinting, rugby, tae kwon do, horse riding, open water swimming, water skiing, cycling and ultimately, triathlon. Current health issues aside, I’m fitter than your typical Irish person, perhaps a little leaner and my diet (this I can definitely stand over) is more balanced and nutritionally dense than the typical Irish diet. So, its no wonder I became curious about cross fit.
Constantly Varied Functional Fitness
Cross Fit is a brand. If you want to have the term over the door, you must become an affiliate – in other words, pay a fee to call yourself a Cross Fit gym. However, many gyms all over the world operate out of a ‘box’ and do this style of training but don’t affiliate with the brand due to the very significant costs.
Howling Heart Fitness in Clonakilty. Howling Heart are not a Cross Fit gym – but their strategy is to provide constantly varied functional fitness. What does this actually mean? Well, lets look at it a little more closely. I called up to watch an intro session up McCurtain Hill last week and my review may leave you wanting more….or not.
I know it is ‘constantly varied’, but my first thought as I watched the group was that it was constant. The ‘advanced’ or ‘initiated’ (my own terms) group were moving constantly. How does that work, you might ask, when it comes to rest periods and recovery doing lifts? Well, this was a conditioning session so intensity is high and the aim is to provide a circuit type workout that covers leg strength endurance, upper body strength endurance, anaerobic fitness (watt bike) and I’m fairly sure that the rowers were verging into anaerobic territory too because they were going pretty hell for leather. Each station lasted 50 seconds and was followed by a 10 second rest (Im sure those involved wouldn’t agree on the term rest) and then back into the next exercise.
Within the session, the exercises are varied. But what impressed me most was during my chat with Kieran Howlin (as in Howling….as in, the big boss) was his attention to detail and his passion in describing the periodisation that they bring each client through. This caught my attention. I’ve trained in many many gyms and its (believe it or not) few who have mentioned that gem of a word to me. You see, when you are training hard, you can’t do it all the time. Well, you can, but eventually you break down. You get injured, you get sick, your training plateaus and you get frustrated. So, periodisation is the magic word that to me means ‘gains’. Ok, so now I can feel that little lust for a session start to burn quietly in the background. Lets move on to the next thing.
If I got anything wrong, please feel free to educate me on the matter and if you have anything to add about your own experience, please feel free to post it below.