It’s starting to feel a lot like summer which means only two things. Sun’s out and guns out. Or buns out. So, it could be 3 things. 3 very important things. Another thing that comes with summer is fewer clothes and fewer opportunities to hide our bodies under big winter jackets. And, of course, summer means drinking in the day time at BBQs and beach parties. Despite what you may you be thinking, this article is not about how many things summer means, it’s about how to maintain a balance between staying in shape and enjoying alcohol.
Why doesn’t anyone know how to sleep anymore? Why do people think they can just jump into a bed, with the heating on, TV or phone screen scorching their eyes, noisy neighbours waking them up and then hop out of bed 6 hours later feeling refreshed? Everyone seems to be tired, and even worse, they’re proud of it! Exhaustion has become a badge of honour. As if working yourself into the ground and neglecting your personal health is something that deserves respect or sympathy. Just because Margret Thatcher and Winston Churchill survived on 4 hours per night doesn’t mean it's a good idea.
Two of our earliest members took it upon themselves to organise a Christmas social, so a huge thank you to Suvi and Hannah, it was greatly appreciated. As the ladies had the evening covered, Sara took it upon herself to programme a partner 12 days of Christmas WOD to ensure drinks and merriment were deserved. Naturally being a Christmas themed WOD prior to a Christmas social the dress code for the WOD was slightly different to normal! If you have a few minutes the photos below are most definitely worth a look through.
The end of November saw us enter the final round of the Box Battles at CrossFit SE11 in Vauxhall. This time it was back to individual workouts but again with scaling options set across 3 categories. A for the big dogs, B for those of us confident with CrossFit but possibly not at the weights of the big dogs, and C for those of us who have been training for less than 12 months and are getting our confidence up.
This round was undoubtedly our best performance taking 1st place in the both the male and female C category, 1st place in both the male and female B category and 1st place in male A category. BOOM!!!!
I was tempted to call it a day right there and never enter another comp and simply bask in your glory for the next few years, but apparently you all have other ideas. We've therefore reserved a team of 6 for Tribal Clash next summer which is going to be epic. I may even try and get my training back myself so I can try out for a place on the team. It's a weekend of camping on a beach, some of us competing but more of us cheering people on and basically having a great time. Sara is also keeping her eye out for any comps she feels are suitable, so I'm expecting plenty more fun to come.
We made it to our first birthday more or less in one piece! It's been an incredible year seeing our membership grow, watching individuals improve beyond recognition and to see the sense of community come more and more to front of everything we do. The community element of CrossFit has always been hugely important to me. I've moved around quite a bit for various jobs and the first thing I did in each new place was join the local box, and that was my friendship group sorted. I love seeing the same prove true at CrossFit Hammersmith, not only seeing you support each other and help each other through some fun/horrendous WODs but becoming friends too.
To celebrate our first Birthday Coach Sara did a superb job not only putting together an inclusive competition for us, but also organising a number of awards to recognise our members, both serious and silly. The atmosphere in the box for the max press, front squat and deadlift was unbelievable, and the screams of encouragement from everyone there certainly helped to ensure the PB was full by the end of the day.
It was back to the Black Lion to celebrate in the evening, give out the awards and enjoy a well deserved cheat night after the efforts of the day.
The start of August saw us host round 2 of the Box Battles. The box we were meant to compete against pulled out on us (in my head due to our dominating experience in round 1, but possibly not) so we treated it as an in-house comp. Again there were 3 levels of ability for each WOD, and as it was at ours we had plenty of people willing to give it a try.
This time instead of being individual workouts, they were programmed in same sex pairs. The workouts were cleverly designed so that you had to use some strategy to ensure you played to each partners strengths. It also involved a max C&J which saw the PBs fly everywhere you looked!
The day was finished in the Black Lion for a social, making the most of the good weather and the beer garden! Some photos of the day below:
In May we attended our first competition at another gym. The guys at CrossFit Momentum are into their second year of organising a great little competition against other London based boxes, and we decided to throw our hats into the ring. The competition is run as a an overall leaderboard but is run over 3 rounds. Each round involves 2 boxes getting together and working our way through 3 WODs before a final team head to head.
The great thing about this competition is that it is open to all levels of ability and has 3 available categories to compete in. The As are the big beasties who want to put it on the line against the best in London, Bs who have been training for a year or more and want to see where they are, and Cs for those who have been training for less than a year.
We were paired with CrossFit Perpetua, which is based in Battersea and a number of our members got to experience their first ever competition. It was a superb day, very well run, an we all had an absolute blast. The comp bug definitely bit us!
Three months in
A missing coach. . . . . . So we’re almost 3 months in to this adventure and I’ve managed to be away for the last few weeks. For those of you who have only just joined, I got married in the New Year and have been swanning about in New Zealand on my honeymoon since. Pre-wedding I managed to get my in-laws in to the gym for a couple of sessions as you can see by the photo below (photo that I'll add shortly!) and have 2 new converts. You’ll no doubt see them in a couple of the Feb classes so make sure you say Hi.
I’ve had a blast over there, but looking forward to being back with you all and continuing to get CrossFit Hammersmith bouncing. I’m sure you’ll have noticed over the last few weeks that no longer does every coach have a Welsh accent, and we’ve even got our first female coach on board. Nathan, who is one of our founding members has stepped up to take Thursday evenings and Saturdays, Sara coaches our morning classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Yannick does Tuesday and Thursday morning. They all bring different skills and personalities to the gym, so make sure you make use of them. Just need to figure out where I fit in now.
New guys . . . . Our membership numbers have grown superbly over the last few weeks, and almost all the new members have quoted word of mouth as how they found us. A massive thank you from both Neil and I for spreading the word for us, and helping to turn CrossFit Hammersmith into the gym we’ve always wanted. On that front, we have 12 people finishing the February Foundations, and who will be jumping into the main class from next week, so make sure to say hi and make them feel welcome.
The next few weeks . . . . The CrossFit Games Open starts on Feb 26. The aim of the Games is to find the fittest man and women on Earth, or at least the best at CrossFit. However it’s not all about the big beasties who are at the top of the leaderboard, it’s a fantastic few weeks to find out what it’s like to compete, push yourself a little more and learn where some weaknesses may be. Each week for 6 weeks CrossFit will release a new workout. We will be doing these workouts on a Friday night and the more people we can get signed up, the more fun these nights will be. If you have any questions on any of this, just ask.
Your Feedback . . . . Thursdays had initially been days where most of the focus has been on Olympic weightlifting, with a short WOD at the end of classes. We’re going to change this slightly so the 06.30 class and the 18.00 class will be purely dedicated to weightlifting, without any WOD. The 07.30 class and the 19.00 will be normal CrossFit classes. We will trial this for the next few weeks to see how it goes, but any feedback or ideas you have just let us know. The same goes for Open Gym on a Sunday. Open Gym is a set time when the gym is open and a coach is present but there is no structured or taught class. It’s a time when you can catch up on a missed day, work on strength, hit up some weaknesses or try and get some times for the named workouts. As a lot of our members are relatively new to CrossFit, we’re happy to give some suggested workouts or even have a monthly gym challenge that can only be done in Open Gym so you have an idea of what to do if you do come.
To help you give us this feedback, and to help us all keep up to date we’ve set up a members only Facebook Group, imaginatively called CF Hammersmith Members Only! If you start getting friend requests off Neil and myself over the next few days it’s not just that we are desperate for friends, we need to be connected to you in order for us to add you to the page. Any questions, suggestions, rants or ramblings welcome on here, so once on it please do make use of it.
Finally you can expect these ramblings from us more regularly from now on, with Neil and I alternating fortnightly with our thoughts, updates and nonsense. The next one will talk about what else we have coming up such as our clean eating challenge and our new member of the month, but if there is anything you would like to see covered shout out, and if we can, we’ll oblige!
PS – Anyone point at my stomach and tell me I’ve put on a few pounds while I’ve been away is going to get very good at burpees!
We’ve made it! The morning of Saturday 8th arrived, people came, had a workout, hopefully had some fun, and more than a few have become our founding members. THANK YOU!
It was an interesting week leading up to the opening. Monday our Project Manager discussed timescales and all was well. Wednesday things were going so well that we were told we’d probably be done by Thursday. This is easy we thought! Thursday the tiling that was put down on Wednesday was taken back up. Maybe not so easy after all. Not to fear though, one changing room was definitely going to be finished. We’re a friendly lot, we can manage that, surely? 23.30 on Friday 7th, I leave a wedding in the midlands to receive a phone call to say things haven’t gone quite to plan. Wonderful timing!
Thankfully when we turned up on 7am on the Saturday morning the security code for the inside gate had been changed so we couldn’t get in to see the state of the gym anyway. However the Spanish cleaners who met us there weren’t letting that stopped them and all 3 of them leapt straight over the spiked gate. These guys have functional fitness in spades! If they could do it, then so could we. Neil took a little more convincing but Dan flew over and soon we were in.
All hands were on deck and we were making progress. 10 minutes before the first class, we were all set, with the slight exception that the floor was still soaking. Not to worry, Neil darted out to get some kitchen roll and then there were 6 of us on our hands and knees drying for all we were worth. If Dimitri had come in 2 minutes earlier he would have been greeted by this:
As soon as we had people through the door we were in our element though. It was amazing to have 6 such superb people in our first class, and they set the tone for the rest of the day. Everyone who came to train gave it their all, and everyone who came to have a look were probably glad they weren’t training when they found out it was 4 rounds worth! The photos below are all post WOD and made our day.
A heartfelt thanks for everyone who has helped out, including the team that turned up at 2 to help put the boxes together and get a few of the last mats down. I’ll leave you with Jan “the buffman” Zikka who has a definite career available putting boxes together if he ever wants a change from the current one as an esteemed oceanographer!
The countdown is well and truly on now. The days are flying by and somehow we’re only two weeks away from our launch day (Nov 8th, get it in your diary, and even better, book into one of our workout timeslots and have a session with us). Our levels of excitement are going through the roof. I’m not really sure how our friends and family are putting up with us, but thankfully they are.
Since the last blog we have had our logo designed (thank you Sanju) launched our website and our FB page and been overwhelmed by the love we’ve received. The messages and comments have meant a huge amount to us both, and I’ve, so a genuine heartfelt thank you. I’ve been told Neil even shed a tear. I’m not sure if it was the comments that had this effect on him, or the fact that we had our first five people sign up as members! I on the other hand was just having some issues with my contact lenses.
Anyway, back to being manly men and the rest of it. They gym is getting closer and closer to completion, with the changing rooms and plumbing going in this week. Electrics are going in next week and the decorating will be completed shortly after, then it’s just the equipment and rig go in! We really are that close, it’s finally becoming a reality.
I’d love to show you a photo of the progress, but I’ve been locked out of my own gym! I went down today with a camera so I can share it with you to find out our project manager has changed the locks! Thankfully it’s only because he wanted the unit more secure, and not that he was so envious of how it’s coming on that he wants to keep it to himself.
It was however the second random conversation I’ve had with the project manager this week. While in my office on Wednesday, we had a surreal chat about how brave we were willing to be with our tiles in the changing room. If I’m honest I’m still unsure how bravery and tiles go together, but when you’re first in the changing rooms, preparing yourself for the days workout, take a second and let us know what you think when you see them in all their 3D glory!
With that randomness I’ll leave it there!
After almost 3 years of trying to find a suitable building for our gym, countless emails, calls, visits and offers, we've finally found somewhere to call our own. We first saw the space in Hammersmith over a year ago, but we're confident that the old adage that good things come to those who wait will prove true. Our first home for CrossFit Hammersmith, and we couldn't be more happy or proud.
It wasn't love at first sight exactly, but both Neil and I saw the potential as soon as we stepped through the rather dilapidated door. Admittedly you had to squint to see the potential, to ignore the trenches that were dug in to the floor, the 20 years of paint, dirt and God knows what else on the walls and the 24 double plug sockets running down one wall (still no idea why). Don't just take our word for it though, check out this beautiful picture below:
As I said, potential! After what seemed like an eternity with nothing happening, the last couple of weeks things have gone crazy. We've signed the lease, built a website, ordered our custom built rig (Ben from 1883 is a hero!), ordered equipment, had heart failure after seeing the solicitors fees (don't think Neil will recover for a good few months), put the new flooring down and had the whole place sandblasted and a million other things that have turned into one big blur. I think below you'll start to see this potential:
We're not there yet, but we're not far short. By the end of the week we'll have changing rooms, and the week after that we'll have water and electricity. We are indeed spoiling you! That leaves us with one week to get the rubber flooring down, Ben to work his magic on the rig and the equipment to be delivered before our big launch on November 8th. We'll be open in the blink of an eye.
We'd love you to be part of it, so keep an eye on the wesite and our Facebook page and we will fill in the details of exactly what is happening over the next couple of weeks. We'd love to see you there!
Until next time.