Who knew,bunking a morning assembly in fifth grade would lead me, in turn to what I am now. I remember that day, a couple of us, decided to go and try our hand at basketball for team practice. And ever since that time, I have been in love with it. It is almost like I was destined to be a baller.
Basketball led me to the desire of getting fitter and play better. Like most people, I started going to the gym after finishing school. It was only in 2014 when I heard of CrossFit and decided to try it out. I did a little bit of research and was quite impressed with what I saw. The exercises they had, though simple, seemed so much more energetic. I especially loved that it was a group workout(cause I had always played in a team), high intensity and no-one could possibly get bored because of constantly varied movements. So much better than just hitting the treadmill/ pick up the same dumbbell weight in the gym!
The first day I went to the box (that’s what a CrossFit gym is called) they made us do 3 rounds of 10 pushups, 10 squats and 10 sit-ups. Now, by itself these are really simple movements and I had probably done them so many times before. But it was something so different from the monotonous gym routine and I was sweating and panting in just 5 minutes. From that day, I could never ever think of going back to a gym. CrossFit totally had me. I was super fascinated by it’s rawness.
In time I realized that CrossFit brought out my strength, worked on my energy and endurance, improved my basketball performance within three regular months into CrossFit, my vertical leap increased by 3 inches, I could run faster, became more agile and most importantly there was never a sign of fatigue. I could play endlessly. And more than on court performance, my recovery time became much better. I knew how to handle injuries and pain, which means I could help myself and team members if they had any soreness worrying them.
CrossFit educated me about fitness and made workouts fun. You could say it brought out ‘the monkey in me’. It has been 3 years and I think I have become better with each year, and yet I am learning more movements, or trying to get better at the ones that I know I can do with ease, and in addition to that I really like talking to people who are in dilemma about their fitness regimes and any other help. Obviously basketball practice helped me with CrossFit training too – I was able to perform my cardio movements better, last longer in engine workouts and also suffered less in movements like box jumps and squats due to my sporting background.
Thanks to both basketball and CrossFit training, I have changed my view about fitness too. I always used to think getting fit is my goal. But now I realize it is a continuous process, you can always get better and fitter than you are. So now I focus on the variety of things I need to do to keep improving. From an average level of fitness and athletic ability, CrossFit has led me to achieve some not-so-normal skills. In a year, I was able to walk on my hands for about 23-24 meters, in about 18 months, I could do 14 pull-ups in 20 seconds, I could lift much more than my bodyweight. I would be amazed and stunned looking at athletes doing a complicated movement like a muscle-up initially; but once I started working with that goal in mind, I could do it gracefully in a year.
Crossfit Anmol Gupta
You know, looking at others in the CrossFit community worldwide has helped me stay motivated to achieve or work towards my goals. I don’t think a single person has influenced me or has been a fitness role model. But regular people being sincere towards a fitter life pushed me more. Seeing their passion towards having a fit lifestyle, the entire CrossFit community right from the games athletes to a first-timer, all of that really motivated me through my CrossFit beginning and middle phase.
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I realized that I was also motivating others, which pushed me further. Some friends would tell me how they were inspired by seeing me working on my fitness, some even signing up for workouts for the first time because of me. I got texts from people I haven’t spoken to in years, and they wanted me to guide them in their fitness journey. I knew that all of them were looking up to me, and that made me want to keep up my level of fitness.
No fitness journey is complete without struggles. Every person has his own level/degrees/kinds of struggles. For me, it was the most dangerous six letter word called INJURY. I have always been prone to injuries right from my school days. Every injury hampers the performance. From ankle to lower back to shoulder, I’ve had several injuries. These injury periods are the hardest to survive. More than physical recovery, it’s a great mental challenge to be patient through it and give it enough time to heal.
There have been times when I’ve been super impatient and worked out while I’m injured, and always bared the brunt for it. That is the MOST important lesson I’ve learnt. If an individual wants long term fitness and stability, it is essential to give the injury the recovery time it deserves.
With that, as I have spent more and more time into Crossfit, learning and understanding fitness, I have learnt how injuries can be avoided. These things are something which majority of people fail to include in their routine. They are “warm-up” and “cool down”.
A good athlete spends a minimum of 15 mins for each warming up before workout and then cooling down post workout. Spending good enough time in stretching has really helped me avoid injuries over these years and in addition to that, it helps to train better too.
I think people need to see how they are benefiting from training – be it in their workouts, or in their regular lifestyle or whatever goal they have – weight loss, endurance, fitness, or be a better athlete –whatever. Once they notice these changes they will get hooked, and external motivation won’t even be required. They will never want to stop working out! It happened to me.