Why CrossFit?

I’ve had more than a few people ask me why I do CrossFit. I’m not sure if they mean in general, or because I’m a coach with my own fitness brand that isn’t CrossFit. But anyway, I thought I would give the question my full attention and explain why CrossFit. 

I grew with the Portsmouth Joggers running club as my mum and dad were very active members and as such many a weekend was spent at this race or that event. There was invariably a kids race at many of these and I would participate in every one that I could. I also spent my summers at Squash Camp, did Rhythmic Gymnastics, played tennis and was a very sporty kid. It faded during my late teens and twenties as I discovered gigs, clubs, music festivals and it’s safe to say that although I was healthy during this time I wasn’t “into” fitness, unless it was dancing from 10pm to 6am! I had various gym memberships but it wasn’t an important factor in my life.

I met Carl, my husband in 2008 just after I turned 30 and quickly moved in with him in Havant. One of the first things we did was join a gym together. It was just a local globo gym but we made it a regular thing and ventured to some classes together and enjoyed it. It often solved the question… “what do you want to do?”

I started running again in 2012 after our first trip to the Gambia as I wanted to do some fundraising for a local project out there. I was competing in a 10k/10mile or half marathon race at least once a month and starting to enjoy it but I wasn’t really improving. I then got the dreaded ITB injury and that was me out until 2014. 

In 2014 I was reading an article in Runners World about a guy who was stuck at a marathon time and just couldn’t improve. He was asked to do CrossFit for 6 months to see if it could help. In that 6 months he did CrossFit and ran less than half the amount of miles he would normally run while marathon training and bam! new marathon PB was achieved. 

After reading this, myself and another running friend of mine rocked up to CrossFit Fareham to see what all the fuss was about. At the time I only managed 2 months as I couldn’t afford to keep it up but I could already see that there was something in it so followed Crossfit main site and adapted my gym workouts to be a little more in line with the CrossFit methodology. 

In 2017, after avidly watching the Crossfit Open, Regionals and Games together for 4 years, I managed to finally convince Carl to give it a go with me. I nervously called CrossFit Iron Duke to book our taster session and neither of us have looked back. Yes, we have had to re-evaluate our finances slightly and make a couple of sacrifices but that’s ok because this is a priority for us. People pay more to go to David Lloyd than we do to go to CrossFit and no blinks an eye about that! 

The combination of Cardio, Olympic Lifting, Weights and Gymnastics means not even once have I been bored in a Crossfit class, not once in 2 years. We are coached more directly and held to a higher standard than you will find in any regular gym. We can never get away with a less than below parallel squat (unless you have a genuine mobility issue), full overhead lockout with the bar or chest and thighs to floor for both burpees and push ups.

I am fitter, faster and stronger than I have ever been. I smashed over 4 minutes off my parkrun PB in 6 months without actual run training. My mobility and posture are much improved and besides all that, you have no idea how supportive, fun and amazing the CrossFit community is. It isn’t like a normal gym in any way shape or form and until you are part of it you just can’t understand it. Anyone that tells you it is a glorified and over priced circuits class either likely never stepped foot inside a CrossFit Gym.

The other big plus for me is that it is where I go to grow, learn and be held accountable. I have blended the methodology behind CrossFit into my own training and the way I train my clients and trust me, it works. Having a coach help to develop me means I am more able to develop and help my clients.

Lastly, I spend most of time programming workouts, writing training plans and planning classes for other people. The last thing I want to do is do that for myself. Don’t get this confused though… of course I can do it but I don’t want to. All this however, is touching on another future blog post so I will leave this for now! 

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    * I am not including the classes I coach in this training log (apart from my indoor cycle classes) but for reference I also coach 2 Insanity, 2 Boxercise, 1 LBT, 1 Core Strength and 1 Tabata class a week between Tuesday and Friday.

    This week saw the return of the 6 hour Hell Session. I knew that doing this only 8 days after my marathon plus meant that the rest of the week might be a little bit light, and probably wasn’t the best planning but as my favourite, David Goggins, says you have to get after it, don’t procrastinate. Do the hard stuff and learn shit along the way. So, no excuses made.. let’s do this!

    Mon: 12:30pm 6 Hour Hell Session

    I have written about this in detail so if you want to know about it, check it out here: https://forzafitness.online/fitness-blog/return-of-the-6-hour-hell-session-chose-your-own-adventure/

    Tue: Rest Day

    I had actually planned to train today but the admin was stacking up so I decided to put that first and give my body a rest at the same time.

    Wed: 6:45am Indoor Cycle

    Week 8 this week and that brings us Jacob’s Ladder. A mirror pyramid session that includes speed endurance, intervals, sprints, climbing and a mountain in the middle. A beautifully crafted beast of a session if I say so myself 🙂

    Thu: 9:30am Indoor Cycle (with MyZone)

    Another crack at Jacob’s Ladder, using the MyZone heart rate monitoring to ensure my output is where it should be. I prefer to use power but HR is a good replacment when it’s not available.

    Thu: 6:30pm Coach By Colour Indoor Cycle

    Being a week behind my other classes, due to the FTP test week, this was Speed Week. Managed a better overall output than last week, although last week Speed Week was done in the two morning classes. One of the things I really want to track next year is the difference in my performance at the different times of day and thanks to Coach by Colour and MyZone I will be able to do this quite accurately.

    Fri: 12:30pm Week 3 Row Prep

    As you probably know by now, on 18th January 2020 CrossFit Iron Duke are hosting their second charity row event. This time it’s The 2 Million Meter Row… teams of 4 people per rower, each team has to row 100,000 split into 25k per person. This weeks prep was 5 x 1000m, still with 3 minutes rest. I’d arranged to meet India so that we weren’t alone. There wasn’t a huge amount of chat happening during the intervals, even though the effort level was at a level where you can hold a conversation, but it did help having someone next to me, keeping me honest.

    Sat: Rest Day

    Sun: Rest Day

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    * I am not including the classes I coach in this training log (apart from my indoor cycle classes) but for reference I also coach 2 Insanity, 2 Boxercise, 1 LBT, 1 Core Strength and 1 Tabata class a week between Tuesday and Friday.

    This week was a planned light week post marathon on Sunday and pre 6 Hour Hell Session next Monday. After the big run I was pleased to find I felt pretty ok. My glutes felt tight, my calves felt tight but nothing terrible and nothing that would stop me training this week. I have booked a physio appt for Monday 9th Dec so that anything still lingering from the two big days can be sorted before becoming an issue.

    Mon: 12:15 Total Body Conditioning

    You know the drill as well as I do by now. Monday = Row, Bike, Ski and today is was just that 30 sec on, 30 sec off for 36 minutes. Nothing fast, nothing frantic. A classic “just moving” day to flush the legs after the 28.2 miles yesterday. I spent about 30 minutes after the session stretching, rolling and running a few mobility drills and walked away feeling great.

    Tue: Rest Day

    I would never normally rest on a Tuesday but I coached Insanity and decided that that was enough for today. Its called a light week for a reason after all 🙂

    Wed: 6:45am Indoor Cycle Class

    Week 7 in my programme brings my least favourite week… Speed Week. Give me hill climbs any day. But, I know that a lot (read most) of my participants feel this way too which is why I designed a specialist week devoted to improving our speed work.

    Wed: 1pm PT with my Coach

    After missing two weeks due to the back spasm it was good to get back to some one on one time with Kerry. We started with Deadlifts and there were nerly tears and tantrums, until Kerry reminded me we were using the Hex Bar, which weighs 30kg on it’s own so I was lifting more than I thought! After deadlifts I got to play with some sled drags and the GHD Sit Up machine. My fear of falling still kicks in on the GHD but hopefully with more practice and regular use this will disappear. It makes no sense to me that I can drop backwards out of an elevated tunnel at Tough Mudder and this is one of my favourite obstacles and yet I cannot let myself drop backwards of the GHD, when I know I can’t fall off. This fear of falling is ridiculous and if I could have one superpower I would just wish to rid of it as it holds me back in so many ways!

    Thu: 9:30am Indoor Cycle Class (with MyZone)

    Another crack at speed week but it’s much harder to gauge in this class as the bikes don’t have RPM meters or levels, just the turning dial. Luckily the MyZone shows your HR and effort on the big screen so there is some accountability but it’s not the same as being able to see your pace etc.

    Thu: 6:30pm Coach By Colour Indoor Cycle Class

    From my least favourite week to my most as, being a week behind my other 2 classes, it’s climbing week. There’s nowhere to hide when the colour is on and I love how committed and motivated the guys in this class are.

    Thu: 7:30pm RPM Cycle Class (as a participant, not a coach)

    I’d made a deal with my friend, PT Client and fellow IronMan hopeful Rich to do the double tonight so as soon as I was done with coaching my class as I was off the instructor bike and set myself up on the floor next to Rich. It was good fun being back on the floor and in a class, especially being next to someone hat constantly pushes me that little bit more. 3 cycle classes in one day.. done 🙂

    Fri: 12:15pm Total Body Conditioning

    Three 10 minute workouts, separated by 2 minutes of rest.
    1: 10 min Assault Bike; every 2 minutes complete 20 Jump Lunges…. hello quads!
    2: 10 min EMOM 40 secs on, 20 secs off; Med Ball Box Step Up and Down Ups (chest to floor burpees without a jump!)
    3: 10 min EOMOM; Max Effort Ski Erg for Calories.

    Fri: 1pm Week 2 Row Programme

    As mentioned last week on 18th January 2020 CrossFit Iron Duke are hosting their second charity row event. This time it’s The 2 Million Meter Row… teams of 4 people per rower, each team has to row 100,000 split into 25k per person. This weeks prep programming was 4 x 1000m, with 3 minutes rest. Luckily I wasn’t on my own this week as India and Raquel who were with me in the Conditioning class also needed to do it so we set up together for a bit of camaraderie. I was a bit faster than last week (although I couldn’t have been much slower to be fair) and still very consistent. Good times!

    Sat and Sun: Rest Day

    Yes, it’s a lot of rest this week but again, a light week is meant to be light. I was going to train with the girls on Sunday but decided to be smart and give myself a little more of a break before the return of the 6 hour Hell Session tomorrow!

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  • Recovery Training???
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  • 75Hard… This is what discipline looks like
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    * I am not including the classes I coach in this training log but for reference I coach 3 indoor cycle, 2 Insanity, 2 Boxercise, 1 LBT and 1 Tabata class a week between Tuesday and Friday.

    This week the focus on low heart rate training, in relation to running and cycling and also back to back sessions to improve endurance.

    Mon: 12:15pm Total Body Conditioning Class

    Very simple but effective cardio conditioning circuit cycling through 2 mins on, 1 min off between the assault bike, rower and ski erg for just over 35 minutes.

    Mon: 1pm 5k Run

    First attempt at zone training. 5k run working to keep my heart rate in the aerobic zone and below 142. It was a very slow 5k!

    Tue: 1pm CrossFit Class

    A lot of time spent working on pull ups during the skill/strength portion of the class. I am definitely seeing some progress with regards to my broken/cracked rib and things involving me hanging off a bar are getting easier again 🙂 The WOD was a grim 15 min AMRAP of 5 x Jumping Chest to Bar Pull up, 10 x 45kg Deadlift, 16 12.5kg Alt DB Snatch and a 200m row. Usually I love DB Snatch but today it just sucked a little less than everything else sucked!

    Tue: 2:15pm 5k run

    Second attempt at zone training. Again working to keep my heart rate in the aerobic zone and below 142. Went slightly better than yesterday 🙂

    Wed: 12:15 Total Body Conditioning Class

    First order of the day, a 10 minute assault bike effort. This started to remind me of the horrors of last weeks 30 min max effort threshold heart rate test but luckily I had my girl Claire on the bike next to me and she, without saying a word, pushed me to get it done and get it done well. 1 minutes rest and then it was on to 2 10 min EMOM’s involving Rowing & 10kg Plate Cleans and Ski Erg & DB Down Ups.

    Wed: 1pm Crossfit Class

    No run today as I really wanted to do this class. A 10k partner row. The rules being you can split the meters however you want but both partners must row 5k each and the time cap is 40 minutes. I bagged the awesome Olly as my partner at the beginning of the TBC class… and then started to question my sanity as that boy is seriously fast and I realised I would be getting very little rest! We always make a good team though and despite it being a workout that really, really hurt, we managed to have a lot of fun and smash the time cap!

    Thu: 12:00pm 5k Run

    Third run of the week and the first mile was great, I didn’t need to walk to keep my heart rate were I wanted it and I thought I was starting to get the hang of it. Then the second mile was, shall we say, a little less smooth and the third mile was complete crap. Every time I pushed into a run my heart rate instantly pinged into the threshold zone and it was possibly the slowest mile I’ve run for the longest time. Still, I preserved and got it done.

    Thu: 1pm CrossFit Class

    Skill/ Strength focus was on Toes To Bar and Handstand Push Ups. Two movements I suck at and two movements severely hampered by, yes, you guessed it, my bloody cracked/broken rib! However, more proof that it is definitely healing.. I landed my first toes to bar 🙂 No, I couldn’t get another one but small victories right. I now know that I can do it! The WOD was two 6 minute AMRAP’s, separated by 2 minutes rest, of 1; Toes to Bar (so in my case knees to chest!) & Burpee Box Jump Overs and 2; DB Push Press and Double Unders. I do love a bit of skipping but I’m now using my super heavy RX Gear Zeus rope and man does it burn.

    Fri: 12:15pm Total Body Conditioning Class

    I had planned for today to be a rest day but originally my lovely friend Amy was signed in on her own and she is not one for doing solo classes so I thought I’d do the decent thing and come keep her company. What a mistake! Welcome to Burpee Frikkin Friday! Yep, you can tell The Open is coming up… shame I’n not entering this year though. We 30 minutes of rowing, over row burpees, DB Row Clusters (Head Coach Toby’s latest tortute creation!) Over DB Burpees, Ski Erg and Plate Jumps. It was gross but awesome and more than enough for what should be a rest day.

    Sat: Tough Mudder 5k Urban

    Saturday is usually my rest day but we (being my husband and I) were off to play on Clapham Common at at Tough Mudder event with no mud and no water. Different and a brilliant little event and the last UK event of 2019. Totally different to anything else Tough Mudder offer and it showed as pretty much everyone on course was new to Tough Mudder and obstacle racing in general. This meant we were able to hang out at obstacles and help a huge amount of people. It was all over by 4pm and that was it, TM done for another year. Now, it’s a waiting game to see if we are chosen as ambassadors for a 4th year in 2020.

    Sun: 9:30am Forza Fitness Squad Strong Girl Sunday Funday

    5 of us this week playing around in my studio this week and it was all about boxing and core work. Lots of combination work and laughs, just as a Sunday Funday should be… especially when one of the squad creates a very confusing combination that foxes everyone!

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  • Recovery Training???
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  • 75Hard… This is what discipline looks like
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    *I am not going to include the classes that I coach in my training log but for reference per week between Tuesday and Friday I coach 3 indoor cycle , 2 Insanity, 2 Boxercise, 1 LBT and 1 Tabata class .

    Mon: Rest Day

    As a rule Saturday is my one rest day but given that I did 8 days on the bounce due to the weekend being the last Tough Mudder Classic weekend of the year Monday was my well earned rest day. I had PT clients and other than that I took Cracker Dog for a long 2 hour-ish walk and that, as they say, was that.

    Tues: 1pm CrossFit class

    Now, I want to make one thing clear. As soon as I booked my IM, after my husband and my parents, the next person I contacted was my coach. I asked if we could have a chat the next day and we sat down and discussed how I could adapt my time and the workouts at CrossFit Iron Duke to make it viable to continue to train there. So yes, get used to it, my training is going to still involve a lot of CrossFit.

    This class involved a deceiving brutal partner workout containing Wall Balls, Push Ups, Double Unders and Pull Ups. My triceps were shot after two days at Tough Mudder pulling people up Everest and the like so my poor partner, Ben, had to deal with me being shockingly slow on the push ups – sorry again Ben!

    Weds: 1pm PT Session

    I have been working with my coach, Kerry for almost two years now and I get a lot of surprise from people who wonder why a coach needs a coach. I find this really shocking but am saving this subject for a future blog.

    This week was another strength week, focussed on building lower body strength and power. We are both still very mindful that my cracked/broken rib(s) are healing so there are a few things we are staying away from but there was definite progress this week when throwing the 50kg D Ball on and off the jerk blocks so obviously things aren’t as bad as they were. Other activities included a lot of DB Romanian Deadlifts and DB Walking Lunges.

    Thurs: 11:15am Barbell Club

    Work has conspired against me for a lot of this year and that, teamed with “the rib” has meant that I haven’t been able to make Barbell Club so now that I am free for a while I am going to go. Again, this may seem like an odd choice for someone training for an IM but I have already explained that I refuse to just run, bike, swim and there is more than one way to skin a cat! Barbell Club focusses only on the two Olympic lifts, Snatch and Clean & Jerk and this week was all about maxing out your Snatch. Having been away for a while and losing a lot of confidence, I maxed out at a not so impressive 25kg.. But, I got to throw a barbell around and I got a thumbs up from Harry on two occasions (if you know him, you’ll know!) so I’ll take it.

    Thurs: 12:15pm Threshold Heart Rate Test

    To help build my endurance I am currently focussing on working out while keeping my heart rate low. I mainly use my indoor cycle classes for this work. The one thing I haven’t done for a long time is do a test to figure out actually what my threshold heart rate is. As I sold my turbo trainer a couple of years ago I decided that it would be a good idea to do this test on the most disgusting piece of equipment I love to hate, the assault bike! It is now Sunday and the memory of this 30 minute max effort test is still haunting me but I did it and now I just have to figure out how to change the heart rate zones on my Garmin to most effectively use the data.

    Fri: 12:15pm Total Body Conditioning Class

    I was actually feeling more than a little beaten up while coaching so in between my three classes in the morning I messaged Kerry to ask if the TBC class was featuring all the burpees again (last Friday had been burpee frikkin central with a different type of burpee in every section of the class). I really didn’t think I would be able to cope with more of the same and luckily, no burpees were programmed and no Liza’s were harmed for asking such a question ( still not sure how I got away with it!) However there were 10kg Plate Clusters, 200m Sprints, Assault Bike and Ski Erg efforts, Single Arm DB Clean and Jerk (now they take some concentration!) and Box Steps. We (being me and the two other girls in my section) managed to put a smile on everyone’s faces with our synchro box step skills so yay for making people happy while training our asses off!

    Sat: Rest Day

    Rest Day activities included a long dog walk and watching Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet Ballet because, you know, balance! I did find it amusing how surprised people were, that don’t know me well, that I was going to the ballet. Tough Mudder one week, Ballet the next and just for balance we’re back to Tough Mudder next Saturday for the final UK event, the Urban 5k in Clapham.

    Sun: 9:30 Forza Fitness Squad Strong Girl Sunday Funday

    This started with a couple of the girls in my squad after I was moaning about never being able to box. I coach 2 Boxercise Classes a week, boxing features heavily in the sessions with some of my clients. I love it but I never got to put the gloves on myself. These girls offered to come over and put the pads on for me and from that grew our Sunday Funday session. It’s one hour of boxing and whatever else anyone fancies which could be running, battleropes, rope climbs, you name it. It is very democratic; we all write the work outs and everyone that joins us has to add at least two songs to the playlist.

  • The Phases of Menopause
  • Recovery Training???
  • Power through your PMS
  • Can Herbal Adaptogens help Perimenopause? 
  • 75Hard… This is what discipline looks like
  • IM Training Blog w/c 07.03.22
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