All aboard the train to Prosperity!

An early start… Or not!

Formula for success: rise early, work hard, strike oil.

– Jean Paul Getty

LIKE any of life’s long journey’s, it’s usually a good idea to start out early. Despite knowing this, I still found myself waking up at almost midday (!!!) because I decided to stay awake until past 3 am last night watching Richard Dawkins videos on Youtube. So, while it wasn’t wasted time in that I enjoy learning more about the debate between atheists and people of religious faith (I’m on the professors’ side by the way) I definitely feel like half of my day disappeared into nothingness. And since in the middle of winter the sun is lazier than even I am giving us only 8 hours or so of sunlight, sleeping through half of it probably isn’t the best way to start a new lifestyle experiment.

So, the Train to Prosperity left the station a little late, but so what?! I have set myself a plan (very hazy at the moment, admittedly) and I wanted to start out. There’s no time like the present, even if the present is 4 hours later than I wanted it to be.

Where did I begin? Finding out a Workout of the Day (WoD), of course! For those of you not in the know, WoD is arguably the defining feature of a workout/lifestyle program called CrossFit. CrossFit has grown greatly in popularity over recent years with new gyms popping into existence everywhere and is basically aimed at training your body for functional fitness. It has had a lot of criticism from various people who say that the movements can cause injury if not executed properly. This poor execution can be exacerbated simply by tiredness midway through the WoD leading to poor form or by a lack of Olympic weight lifting training as CrossFit can be done either by accredited trainers in affiliated gyms who do (to my knowledge) provide proper training, or at home by people using extensive online resources. There are many other criticisms but I’m not going to go into them all here. If you’re interested, I feel this article provides a good non-biased overview from a respectable source.

That said, I would challenge anybody to look at the results achieved by CrossFitters and to see the positive attitude that so many CrossFit athletes (as they refer to themselves) exude and not think that there may be something to this lifestyle after all. A quick YouTube search would show many results of this but try following a CrossFit affiliate gym on Facebook or Twitter for a few weeks and check out any updates they have. Some skeptics, me included, might argue that it is a fad. On the other hand I grew up playing Rugby – to University first team level – and have never been as fit as I was then. The reason for this fitness? Well (key words coming up) I am no expert, but I strongly believe it was the functional training; the functional movements that define this tough, physical game and also form the core of CrossFit training. So, for now, I’m willing to put at least some of my skepticism aside for a while and try CrossFit – at home. Luckily, through my Rugby playing years I did a lot of training which means I’m familiar with a lot of the movements involved (though not all) so hopefully I can avoid the injuries. I won’t be doing the full CrossFit regime as I can’t shake off the idea of injury from high reps of complex movements. Instead, I’ll stick to body weight and dumbbell exercises as well as simpler barbell movements. In the future I will probably begin to introduce the more complex movements but in the more traditional format of specific focus (no circuits) and low reps per set. But I’m getting ahead of myself – it’s only the first day of this new life and I’ve not even done the first workout!

So back to the present –  I found a WoD from CrossFit West Yorkshire (an affiliate which is co-owned by an old school friend of mine) that was listed as being for beginners. It can be found here for those of you who are interested. How did it go? Terribly! I only managed to complete half of it! So despite the running I do where at the moment I average an agreeable but by no means outstanding 7.5 to 8 minutes per mile over 6 or 7 miles, I am not very fit! At least not functionally fit. I could probably have finished it but I was starting to get some cramping of the muscles. I have experienced that enough times on ‘comeback’ workouts to realise it was time to stop if I wanted to do anything useful over the next few days. It was an eye opener and it was painful but it was also enjoyable. I also like that it was difficult – in a way it reminded me of my old Rugby playing days. It’s too early to say if I’m struck on CrossFit but I will definitely give it another go tomorrow.

The rest of my day involved tidying up the kitchen (I even managed to make the ceramic hob look like new) and playing the guitar. This is another hobby from my younger days which I hope to resurrect. I have started learning a cover version of Imogen Heap’s Hide and Seek, by Antoine Dufour. Practice makes perfect!

So all in all, considering four hours of my day was spent asleep in bed, I have managed to do quite a bit. The day has flown by – it’s now past 9 pm and I haven’t been bored for a single second which is more can be said if I had sat watching the TV or whiling away time on the internet. To cap it off, I’m fitter, I have a tidier house (a newer looking hob), I’ve written a blog post and am on my way to a new song on the guitar. That’s just day one, roll on tomorrow!

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