I first stumbled into a Crossfit class about two and a half years ago.. not really knowing what I was getting myself into. Of course, that first hour was total chaos… I had no idea what all these words and numbers were scribbled on the board in front of me… The coach seemed to say just one word and everyone was scrambling for their gear and loading up weights and I was just standing in the middle wondering what the hell was going on. But, I survived it, though the muscle pain I experienced for about ten days after could have put me off ever going back, it had the opposite effect. It had me totally hooked. I’ve always been a gym girl, I love a good workout, but with Crossfit it was different, and the kind of exhilaration and feeling I get during a work out makes all that pain and suffering so worthwhile! Add to that the amazing physical and mental benefits, as well as the effect that it can have on your riding – Wakeboarding, kiteboarding, whatever you are into. I know it’s not a workout for everyone, and many people have negative opinions about it, but for me it’s become a pretty essential part of my life, something that I make time every day of the week for.
Here we meet with Brayden Smith, kiteboarder, personal trainer and Crossfit coach, and get his opinion on how to get started with crossfit and the impact in can have on your riding and health in general.
When we first start kiteboarding, surfing, wakeboarding or even SUP initially we are so focused on the specific sport at hand that we usually disregard what physical impact that particular sport in going to have on our body. It is only after several months or years of progression, constant massive impacts and hours upon hours of riding that we start to consider how we are going to stay fit enough to be able to improve and become the best rider our bodies would allow. Well fear not my friends, in this blog post, I aim to shed a little bit of light on some of the training styles and methodologies out there that can help improve our athletic abilities off the water which in turn obviously will improve our ability on the water.
Firstly “getting fit for my board sport” (or getting fit in general) is a pretty massive can of worms to open, so realistically this blog post will be the first in probably a series of follow up entries.
Ok, let’s make a start.
Initially, when someone asks me, what should I do off the water to improve my performance on the water I generally say, (get ready for it haha) ……. well, it depends ha. Those magically three words that pretty much every educated fitness or allied health professional will utter.
Now from here I usually would say, “ Well it does obviously depend on your physical abilities, your strengths, and your weaknesses”. Before you should make your decision on what avenue you want to head down, I would always recommend doing a little bit of a self-awareness exercise. Ask yourself these simple questions as a start:
- What am I good at on the water?
- What do I struggle with on the water?
- Do I feel strong enough to progress to the next level?
- Is all this riding making me sore and stiff?
- All in all, what is the one thing I want to improve on?
These simple questions have a fair bit of merit behind them. They are designed to help you analyze your strengths and weaknesses. Are you magnificent at doing front rolls, back rolls, Railies, and S-Bends but as soon as you take one hand off the bar to go for a pass you crumble? Do you struggle with loading up enough to get that awesome pop off the water? Are your knees and back always sore after riding? Get into the nitty gritty of your riding pros and cons.
From here you should start to recognize some patterns. You might be hypermobile and can do the splits but you struggle with strength, or conversely you might be super strong, but you can’t get your arms behind your back to catch the bar. What ever your pros and cons are you should have a clearer direction to head down.
So you have read this far and your probably thinking, well this is all great Brayden, but I still don’t know what I need to do. Here is where I usually pull out my next catch phrase.
Ok, If you have no idea what so ever, and assuming that you don’t want to get a personal trainer my next recommendation would be to join a Crossfit box.
Now before your make any preconceived judgments about Crossfit, I must say this, I for one am not completely for or against Crossfit as a form of training. I think for someone that has no idea what to do about their health and fitness I think that Crossfit is a great place to learn. The one thing I would recommend before you decide to join a box is to do your research and find a good, reputable box that focuses on the physical preparation and your long-term physical adaptations over your Fran time and how many kipping chest to bar pull ups you can link.
In the next couple paragraphs, I am going to give you a couple reasons why you should give Crossfit a go.
1. You don’t need to think.
Now I am not saying this in a literal sense, but the main reason why you should try Crossfit is that if you still have no idea what you should do off the water, then you can easily solve this problem and just turn up to Crossfit. In a Crossfit class, they will have completed all the programming for you. You we are under great supervision (assuming you’re at a good box) and you will be coached from warm up to cool down. This is the main reason why Crossfit is great. You will be exposed to a lot of different types of movements, warm ups, cool downs and forms of cardiovascular conditioning.
2. You will become a jack-of-all-trades.
Because your not training in one particular modality, e.g. your not just lifting weights or just running you will become a pretty effective jack of all trades. So what I mean by this is basically, overall you will get stronger, faster, fitter, usually more flexible and have improved athleticism across the board. However, though you won’t be exceptionally great in any one particular area (unless you’ve been a gymnast your entire life haha). Don’t think of this as a bad thing, though. Life is varied with different challenges and requirements thrown at you everyday; Crossfit just allows you to be better across the board.
3. You will get strong, but no girls, you won’t get bulky!
Trust me on this one girls; you will be doing way to much volume (too many reps and too much cardio) to get bulky. Now before you snap back at me and say, “ Oh but I googled Crossfit girls and they are all huge” you need to understand that they are at the most elite level of Crossfit that you cannot even compare yourself to them. All the men and women that make it to the Crossfit games have been training for several years, have there diets on point and train up to 2-3 times a day.
I promise you, you won’t get bulky, you’ll get fit and trust me fit girls will always be more attractive the “skinny” girls (in my opinion anyway).
4. You’ll never be bored.
By design Crossfit is constantly varied, functional movements, executed at high intensities, this means that every workout will be different. No more getting bored of doing the same routine every Tuesday.
5. You’ll be accepted and make friends.
I must admit Crossfitters create a pretty great atmosphere. Community is one of their biggest emphasizes within their identity. You will be surprised just how supportive Crossfit families can be. You’ll make new friends, become fitter, stronger and overall a badass shredder on the water. What’s not to like?
I could go on about the science-based pros and cons of Crossfit for another couple thousand words, but this is not the time nor the place for such a discussion ha. In conclusion from this little opinion piece all, you need to take away from this blog is this.
If you have no idea how to train specifically for your chosen board sport, then give Crossfit a go. Do your research and try to find a community-orientated box then pushes you to be the best you can be. The flow of effects from there will happen without effort. If you are still unsure then, by all means, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll be happy to answer any of your queries.
Lastly, I just wanted to say thank you to Gemma for allowing me to contribute to her amazing blog and help out her amazing readers.
Stay Safe, Go Big and Have Fun.