That was the first thing I noticed, lurking at the bottom of the board covered with instructions for our session. Well, that and the wall of beautiful trainers ready for groping!
The new Reebok store, pilled high with delicious new kit, in Covent Garden had been open for two weeks already but this was the first time I'd seen it operating as a 'Fit Hub'. The space will regularly host a variety of health and fitness related events, from talks on nutrition to free classes including this one. I had no idea what CrossFit was but thought the best way to learn was by throwing myself into a class.
"CrossFit is hard to describe in a few words (try in just one!), but we approach fitness as a lifestyle. As a lifestyle, your health and well-being should be something that compliments everything else you have going on outside the walls of the gym, whether that's work, family commitments or social occasions." – Phil Morton, Reebok CrossFit Thames
So at 8am on a Thursday morning, I stumbled into the store with the other willing participants and was introduced to the board by our instructor, Phil. The dynamic warm-up listed at the top of the board was fairly tame – I wasn't scared yet – but was certainly enough to wake us up and get the blood flowing before moving onto the technique section.
Reebok CrossFit Thames pride themselves on their focus on quality of movement. It makes sense – there's no point in being able to do a billion reps if you're doing it wrong and injuring yourself. We spent the best part of the session building up to the perfect burpee – from correct push-up positions to a move that made me feel I should be on a surfboard.
Then we learned how to 'cheat' at them! I was slightly disappointed to find out that it still involved a lot of hard work but the technique made sense – if you jump straight down to the top of a push-up, you're in a good position to jump straight back up, therefore using less energy. Similarly, if you spring up to as upright a position as possible, you have to exert less energy on the jump up. So perhaps less of a cheat and more of a lesson on efficiency. Either way it felt like it was working and I energetically bashed out a few on my imaginary surfboard.
With 10 minutes left of the class, I'd completely forgotten about the very last instruction on the board, our workout of the day or WOD in CrossFit speak. Seemingly the first 35 minutes of the session didn't count and actually the session was all about this last section. We were to do as many burpees as possible in the time left, aiming for 100. Ten a minute...possible. But then every minute, on the minute we had to bust out five squats, which we'd also been perfecting in the session, then get back to burpees!
Apparently the key to CrossFit is counting – that way you can follow your progress. So then, progress for me next time would be an accurate count! I probably managed between 70 and 80 sweaty burpees – not quite the hundred but that felt like plenty. It was certainly intense – a killer workout that made me thankful we'd focused on technique to protect myself as I got tired.
Despite feeling like a wobbly mess at the end, the class was fun and made me feel like I'd made progress already! Crossfit is definitely for me. But I'm also looking forward to trying out whatever else the Reebok FitHub has to throw at me.
Visit the Covent Garden Reebok FitHub for details on events and classes or follow @ReebokUK