A Life Lesson from Weightlifting | Eclectic Cake: A Life Lesson from Weightlifting

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A Life Lesson from Weightlifting

I'm probably stronger than I've ever been before. After three years of flying trapeze, complimented by running, yoga classes and bouldering sessions, I'm really feeling the benefits of my hard work. Suddenly, I seem to be pulling and pushing up with relative ease and my body is accepting the hard (and sometimes unusual) challenges that are thrown at it. Seeing what I'm capable of is becoming a bit of a hobby and it's quite exciting.

So why would I not join CrossFit City Road for my first try at weightlifting and expect to ace it?!

Housed in the Old Street branch of Gymbox, the club offers classic CrossFit classes and  gymnastic-based sessions as well as the barbell class I tried. As expected, the two instructors and handful of committed regulars who gathered for a Friday evening class were pretty hardcore – there were muscles popping out everywhere and very limited faffing (in fact, the only messing around was from me wondering around not knowing where to grab equipment).


Reassuringly, though, they seemed equally friendly and welcomed me into the class, offering mirroring faces of pain as we were taken through our intense warm-up. It turns out weightlifters need flexible hips and my runners’ legs are pretty stiff but I didn’t get stuck in any bendy positions, so it was time to grab a barbell from the stand.

*S**t! I can’t lift the bar!*

I’d always assumed the heavy bit was the black disk at each end but the bar is quite hefty on its own. I quickly realised I was going to struggle in this class. I finally managed to haul the bar up out of its stand and thump it onto the floor. Already feeling slightly defeated, I grabbed the bar and battled it into position for my first lifts. It felt completely alien to me and the idea of sending a heavy metal object flying towards my head for a 'clean' seemed suicidal!


You can tell a good instructor by a few key points. Do they know what’s happening in the class, you know, what’s really happening? Can they identify when someone isn’t quite coping? And are they able to re-motivate that person and find a way of making the class more manageable? The guys from CrossFit City Road get a big tick for all the above. They found me a lighter bar, got me practising each little section of the lift, made me relax and kindly reminded me that I was a beginner.

Again, I was completely new at this!

Why did I expect to just waltz in and be great at something I’d never tried?! Weightlifting is like nothing I’ve ever done before and requires a lot of technique to get right. Angrily arguing the bar into position with a tense body was definitely not the recipe for success. Armed with a better attitude, I tried again. 


Weirdly, as soon as I was more open to failure, I seemed to succeed. I guess I was less worried about doing it right and more motivated to just give it a try and enjoy myself. Soon I was 'cleaning' and 'jerking' without wingeing and even lifting the heavier bar. The instructors were on hand to help tweak and improve my technique until I was performing fairly convincing lifts. 

All too soon, the class was over. Despite the jelly arms and legs, I really wanted to carry on. I'm excited to go back with my beginner head firmly screwed on.


If you fancy giving weightlifting or CrossFit a go, CrossFit City Road offer a free trial class. Sign up here.

15 comments :

  1. Crossfit was the same for me- got my ass handed to me and loved it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is tough, isn't it...brilliant, though!

      Delete
  2. It's funny how different sports require completely different kinds of strength isn't it? I was just as surprised as you when I started Crossfit a year ago and discovered that merely holding the 8kg training bar over my head made my arms ache for days!! I can promise you that if you keep going back you'll progress on to those black disks pretty quickly :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great to hear you stuck with it, Steph. Oh the ache! But I am looking forward to coming back.

      Delete
  3. Well done Jen, you're such a superstar! I would be way too scared to have a go, I'm so weedy! Sounds like you had some super helpful instructors to hand :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww, thanks, Cara! Honestly, give it a try. There will always be an adaption you can progress from. I'd definitely recommend the CrossFit City Road guys.

      Delete
  4. So glad you loved it :) I've heard good things about Crossfit CityRoad, the coaching makes a HUGE difference and sadly there still are a lot of boxes out there with less than excellent coaches... I've been doing Crossfit for 2 years and I did learn quite early on as well that you've got to let go of the pride, not compete with anyone else, not worry about what you look like or sound like (grunting helps a LOT when the weights get really heavy :). I can let you know when the next 'bring a friend' day is at my box (Thames) and you can come and train with me! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're absolutely right, if I didn't have such great coaches, I would probably have walked out in tears! Thanks for the advice – don't compete with others, especially.

      I would LOVE to come and train with you!

      Delete
  5. I wanna come train with you guys!!! #FOMO

    ReplyDelete
  6. Next guest days at my box are 10 & 11 of April! 10th is a Friday and I usually go to the 5 pm class (but 7 am and 12:30 crews are great too). On Saturday I can do 10 or 11am one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah no! I'm away for all of those dates. But I'll be there for the next one.

      Delete
    2. Boo :( I'll keep you posted re next dates!

      Delete
  7. So glad you're going back for more - you'll be hooked in no time Jen! Still need to get you down to my box too :)

    ReplyDelete