They say that a healthy body grows a healthy mind. However, for me, it was the right mind-set that pushed me toward developing a healthy body. In the face of a recent health crisis, I chose to think about a fitness goal that could eventually contribute to personal growth, both at work and home. And it was a CrossFit workout, I realized, that brought me back from the brink of collapse helping me thus to turn my life around.
Growing up, my mother would force me to put my books aside and go outdoors to play. But I was least interested in playing with people my age. I enjoyed Tennis, long walks, bicycle rides and treks though I rarely counted them as exercise at the time. When I began working, all this changed. I found myself strapped to an ergonomic, revolving chair with an LED screen at eye-level. This was when I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and was advised exercise and put on pills. Personal growth took a back seat unless the increase in body weight -- given the sedentary work conditions and two pregnancies --could be counted. All this hit my confidence levels. Body aches became frequent, cholesterol issues surfaced, blood pressure levels began to fluctuate, and I secretly wished I had adopted some form of exercise.
Cut to now - Think positive
I started walking every morning but apart from the little muscle toning, nothing much changed even after a month. My focus faltered and I turned to Yoga but found it very hard to stick to the regime. These sessions however, helped me better acclimatize to the rigorous Crossfit workouts I'd try later.
Around this time, I discovered Crossfit. All literature on this said it would be taxing and demanding. I would have to be cautious and complete the workouts comfortably and consistently because competency mattered more than intensity initially.
I was not sure I could do such workouts without a backlash. Yet, desperate for better health, I enrolled myself in the neighbourhood gym that claimed to have experienced Crossfit trainers. What happened after this still beats me! Every single day of working out would leave my muscles so fatigued that I would end up sleeping the whole time. In less than ten days, I had bid the workout adieu. Later, on enquiring around, I found many like me who had given up on Crossfit even before they had started. Some found it much too intense for their choice or physique, some found it overwhelming.
Crossfit is all about thinking positive and scalability
But the truth is, Crossfit has become a trend among the serious fitness geeks. And even some of the elderly. Sixty-two-year-old Janet James shared her passionate testimony with me even as I went back to my previous routine of yoga and walking on alternate days. However, I could not get CrossFit out of my head. Not long after that, I met Kamal Chhikara, Celebrity Crossfit Trainer, who demystified the obscure Crossfit workout philosophies and helped me find my mojo in sports again.
"A very important aspect of Crossfit training, especially for the uninitiated, is thorough knowledge about a lot of things and not just the techniques of the workouts. One needs to understand how the physiques evolve and muscles grow strong. It's important to understand about diet and for the first timers, a slow start is key. If you can't do all of these studying and knowing yourself, it pays to hire an experienced Crossfit trainer," he said. It is expensive to hire a personal trainer, but looking at the gains, it might seem sensible.
Finding the right trainer often seals the deal for Crossfitters, Janet suggested too. An experienced trainer can devise and help scale the right set of exercises for the newbie, she said. "The wonderful thing about CrossFit is that, contrary to popular belief; it's really not just for young fit people lifting heavy weights. Everything is scalable – everything – and I was scaled tremendously. Since I couldn't get up from a squat, I was placed near a large tire near the rig so I could squat landing on the tire and use the rig to help me up – over and over again. Couldn't do a sit-up so there was a band attached to the rig to help me come up. Pushup? No way. Just did what I could. Burpees? What in the heck was that!? I'd lie on the ground and crawl up. The PVC pipe or training bar was my barbell for months as I learned lifting techniques." she wrote.
Back to Crossfit - It's fun
Armed with Kamal's advice, I hit the gym once more. He had warned me "You have to prove that you are made for it". So I drew on my patience and did assisted squats for months before being able to do an air squat. And today, I am glad that I took up the challenge.
Why I got back to CrossFit despite a poor start was because it offered me variety. It didn't feel like I was working out in the gym and it was far from boring. I saw first-hand that anybody could do it, with a little help. The aged and the elderly, the ones with histories of serious injuries and surgical procedures, people with arthritis and cardiac issues embraced Crossfit for life at Kamal's Crossfit studio. One just had to approach it in the right way -- scale it to one's level, and start slow and consistently.
Each day brought with it a different set of tasks through the website. Groups worldwide would attempt to perform those workouts together, motivating, inspiring, and pushing each other to stretch their limits all the while. I felt connected and always returned for more.
Credentialled CrossFit trainers run over 13,000 licensed Crossfit affiliates worldwide. If you want to give Crossfit a chance, you have to know what to expect and your responsibilities, and choose your facility and trainer well. I learned the hard way but it made a difference to my outlook on health and life.
Much like Nitish, I gained much from CrossFit despite being a total novice in fitness regimes. More than anything, what I figured was that taking the decision to be smarter about your health is the first step. What comes next is extremely crucial – Follow through. Stick you guns, find your own formula and learn all you need to know to make it work. I stumbled through walking, CrossFit and yoga before the right coaching got me back on track to CrossFit. For a fit and perfectly active lifestyle, I decided to give Crossfit a second chance. I'm glad I did.
So, here's a closing tip – When you start out on this journey to a healthier self, allow some room to craft your own formula and go with what sits well, both, with your mind and body.
Disclaimer: This publication / editorial / article does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any Products. Please consult your doctor/ healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.