Fitness focus: We try CrossFit
Not for the faint-hearted, this hardcore, highly effective training programme eats other group exercise classes for breakfast. No joke
WHAT IS IT?
CrossFit is based on three principles: that we should train using functional movements (meaning actions that replicate real life); that training should be intense; and that it should be constantly varied. CrossFit combines strength-training, weight-lifting, gymnastics and cardio to create a pretty infallible training programme.
Launched in 2000, there are now nearly 3,500 CrossFit-affiliated gyms worldwide, including Life Spark in Dubai, which is locally sponsored by Reebok.
I rocked down to CrossFit LifeSpark's box (meaning gym) not knowing what to expect. When I saw the scaffolding-like bars set up (for pull-ups and lots more), and the piles of weights and medicine balls, I contemplated running away. However, once we started I got right into it. I enjoyed the fact that you are competing against yourself and that there were people of many different ability levels in the class.
We did various routines and exercises, including rowing, squats, pull-ups (with the help of some magical rubberbands) and sit-ups with a medicine ball. There is a different programme every day and often a new movement to try.
Ben Ford, who co-founded LifeSpark, says, "We spend 50 per cent of the class on weight-lifting, technique and gymnastics movements, about 40 per cent on body conditioning, and the rest on the warm-up and cool down. Candice and I plan the programme a month in advance, but it's flexible - we'll change it during the class if people have a particular body part they want to work on."
Class sizes are kept small so you get direct instruction on how to do everything properly. Ben says, "We want to empower people with knowledge so they can do it on their own. Also, when they go to any other CrossFit boxes, they will represent us. We want them to move well."
WHAT ARE THE RESULTS?
LifeSparkers are constantly winning fitness competitions, in the UAE and abroad. And from the looks of Ben and Candice, this is a training programme that works.
WHERE? JLT. First trial session is free. Dh100 for a one-off class, Dh600 for a month of twice a week, Dh900 for month of unlimited. Visit www.crossfitlifespark.com