At last, CrossFit has arrived at our new club, Gymbox Old Street. Our top VPTs and experienced CrossFit coaches, BJ Rule and Tom McAdam, have brought CrossFit City Road to the space and promise it will transform the way Gymbox members train. “It will make you fitter, faster, stronger and leaner” they say. BJ Rule takes us through the paces.
Hi BJ, you and Tom will be running the first CrossFit area at the new Old Street club, how does that feel?
We're extremely excited to have the opportunity to provide CrossFit at the new Old Street club. By combining the best of what CrossFit has to offer, which is progressive and measurable strength and conditioning, with all that makes Gymbox unique, a great fun atmosphere with the very best equipment, CrossFit City Road will develop a community of individuals with a combined want to be stronger, fitter and generally more awesome!
Have you both been into CrossFit for a while?
Both of us have been involved in CrossFit for at least five years. It's had a massive impact both with the way we train ourselves and the way we train our clients. My own training would often move between variables - weightlifting, powerlifting, triathlon, marathon, kettlebell sport - I was searching for something to inspire me. CrossFit combined a wide range of fitness modalities into one activity. On top of combining a lot of the disciplines I was already training in, it also introduced me to new ones - particularly a host of gymnastic/ body weight exercises like handstands and muscle ups on rings, things I would never have considered doing in the past. This general and broad approach to training has also helped with training clients. Everybody wants to be fitter, faster, stronger and leaner, CrossFit, with its mixed modality of training, allows people to achieve this.
What can members expect?
The best thing about the CrossFit City Road and Gymbox Old Street relationship is that industry-leading coaching and progressive and structured training will be provided in an industry-leading facility. Members can expect the very best instruction and programming whilst using top of the range, world class equipment in a state-of-the-art facility. The dedicated studio which CrossFit City Road will call home features a custom made Beaverfit rig/frame, Eleiko bars, plates and kettlebells, hexagonal dumbbells, medicine balls, slam balls, gymnastic rings, concept 2 rowers, assault air bikes, wood way treadmills, ski ergs and more.
What can CrossFit as a brand bring to Gymbox?
CrossFit City Road and Gymbox is a brilliant brand match. Gymbox already pioneers functional training in the competitive commercial gym market while CrossFit is 'functional movements performed at high intensity'. Across the Gymbox group there are already plenty of members (and trainers) who train using CrossFit methodologies. CrossFit City Road at Gymbox Old Street will provide the coaching, facility and environment for like minded individuals to train and progress together towards their health, fitness and performance goals. Most CrossFit facilities in and around London are in industrial units. CrossFit City Road is within Gymbox Old Street and this differentiates it from other CrossFit boxes because of location, facility, amenities and kit. As Gymbox Old Street is providing the facility for CrossFit City Road this further elevates the Gymbox Group as an industry leader in strength and conditioning and the functional training markets.
Why do you think CrossFit has become so popular, worldwide?
CrossFit has become popular worldwide because of a host of reasons. But probably the most important of these are that it gets measurable results; it develops a want to be better; and because it's fun - it's life changing and people love it!
Why is it innovative?
At its core, CrossFit is a very effective GPP (general physical preparedness) programme. This means it will improve overall fitness inclusive of all its components - strength, speed, power, stamina, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, coordination, agility, balance, accuracy. Who wouldn't want to be better at these? It is the way in which CrossFit focuses on this very generalist approach that makes it innovative and unique. A CrossFit programme will include weightlifting, gymnastics and mono-structural training (running, riding, rowing, swimming, skiing). These modalities can be mixed into highly effective combinations which yield results very quickly.
Talk us though a training session
CrossFit City Road's sessions are structured and progressive. Each daily session across the week is different with different exercises performed in different combinations. From week to week the exercises are progressed by load, duration, variation, number or by a combination of all of these. Each session will have a structure which will include: a general warm up, a specific warm up, a progressive strength component, a progressive gymnastic component, a progressive 'metcon' (metabolic conditioning) component (these are the classic CrossFit workouts many will have some familiarity with). Across the week different days will have different focuses, this is to ensure that if someone is attending all six days they are participating in a fully comprehensive strength and conditioning programme. However, if they are only coming to one session a week they are getting what they looking for in a complete and progressive training session.
How does training in this way impact on fitness?
Training is meant to be progressive. That is what separates it from 'working out'. To get results and to impact fitness a progressive overload must be applied. This is a fundamental aspect of training or going to the gym which is greatly overlooked. CrossFit City Road will be implementing a structured, progressive training programme.
And mental strength?
It has been said that "the greatest adaptation to CrossFit occurs between the ears!", Greg Amundson. The nature of some of the training sessions in CrossFit develops mental strength like nothing else. This has a huge crossover to other aspects of life. Knowing that you can overcome obstacles and have the mental strength to keep on moving is life changing.
How is it different to Frame?
What we will be providing at CrossFit City Road will be quite different to Frame due mainly to the progressive and structured programming and specific gymnastic, weightlifting and general CrossFit skills that will be taught. CrossFit City Road are working in conjunction with the trainers that provide Frame so that the two can complement each other. For those signed up to CrossFit City Road a weekly Frame session will reap benefits and for those Frame enthusiasts who want to add more and get more from their training then joining CrossFit City Road will have a huge impact.
Can total beginners give it a go?
CrossFit is aimed at everybody. Part of CrossFit's manifesto is that CrossFit is scalable. This means every exercise should be performed by every person, it's just the level that changes. In the words of Greg Glassman CrossFits founder "the needs of an Olympic athlete and our grandparents differ by degree not kind". For example everybody needs to squat, how much they might squat will be different. Beginners to the gym would be much better placed attending a coached CrossFit City Road session than trying to squat on their own.
How long will it take training in this way to see and feel real changes?
What we will provide at CrossFit City Road will be an education and lifestyle change as much as it's an exercise programme. People will learn to understand what it is that their bodies need not only whilst exercising but what they need to better nourish their bodies through food, how they can recover better, sleep better and generally live a fitter life. Changes will be quick, not only physically but mentally.
What are you most looking forward to about running CrossFit City Road?
We are most looking forward to helping people progress with their health and fitness goals using CrossFit methodology in the awesome facility that is Gymbox Old Street. We can't wait!
All Gymbox members are offered a free trial session at CrossFit City Road.
For more info, timetables and price plans go to www.crossfitcityroad.com
Photos: Vesna Nikolic