After taking a break from running, to work on my strength during the winter off-season I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone and enter the CrossFit European Championships; scaled division.
For those of you unfamiliar with this kind of competition, picture the CrossFit Games process with the CrossFit Open qualifiers at a much tamer level! After only doing CrossFit for just under a year I wasn’t even sure if my abilities would be good enough for it!
This proved to be a rather eye-opening experience. Over the last month I have taken part in three CrossFit online qualifiers, which have to be filmed and scored, with the top 30 getting a place at the live finals. Unlike running a race this was a very weird situation for me, with so many rules and regulations to follow and a variety of movements to take part in it wasn’t as straight forward as getting from A to B as fast as possible following a route.
CrossFit Qualifier 1: Double Impact
3 Front Squats 40/30 kg
6 Snatch *choose your weight 9 Deadlift 40/30 kg
12 Push Press 40/30 kg
All of the weightlifting and everything I wasn’t confident with. After getting rather worked up about this being the first qualifier it was also every bit, if not more, as hard as I had imagined. The front squats and deadlifts weren’t a problem for me but handling the snatches and a 30kg push press for 5 rounds of 12 shot my arms out. I managed to make the cut off of 16 minutes in just over 14, but I placed myself very close to the bottom of the leaderboard.
CrossFit Qualifier 2: The Sprint!
10 Burpee Box Jump Overs 20” (Male and Female)
20 Calorie Row
40 Kettlebell Snatches 12/8 kg
80 Single Unders
This was totally opposite to the initial qualifier and everything I loved in a workout. My nerves were gone and I felt confident in my abilities. I managed to test out my rowing earlier in the week so I knew roughly what time I would be working with for the rest of the workout. This was a sprint with a time cap of 7 minutes so it was going to be fast and furious! I placed much better in the workout but assumed I would not make the qualifying top 30 due to my first poor attempt on Qualifier 1.
CrossFit Qualifier 3: Twisted Fran
Round 1 (3 Minute Time Cap)
15 – 12 – 9 Thrusters @30/20 kg
Jumping Pull Ups
Round 2 (3 Minute Time Cap added to previous Round Timecap, i.e Total Timecap = 6 Mins)
12 – 9 – 6 Thrusters @30/20 kg Jumping Chest to Bar Pull Ups
Round 3 (3 Minute Time Cap added to previous Round Timecap, i.e Total Timecap = 9 Mins)
AMRAP 9 – 6 – 3 Thrusters @30/20 kg Jumping Ring Muscle Ups
Seemingly more complex on paper than it actually was. With the feeling of no pressure on my shoulders now I enjoyed a nice mix of thrusters and jumping pull-ups, chest to bar and ring muscle ups. Unexpectedly I did the best in this workout. From the first qualifier I learnt to pace the weights a little better and make sure my breathing wasn’t all over the place.
What are the main things I learnt from this process?
- Mainly that the top athletes are absolute machines in comparison to us mere mortals!
- I now feel more prepared for what’s to come for the Ultimate Throwdown competition in December and what I need to work on before then.
- Pacing is crucial, it is better to do a slower first round and then build up so you don’t blow out.
- Frustration won’t help – you have to try to keep a cool mind even when things aren’t going to plan
- Play to your strengths and embrace your weaknesses
- I just missed out on the top 30 but it really did feel like it was more the taking part that mattered this time around as I gained so much from it. Progress it bit by bit, a little at a time.
- Ignore the fact the camera is there and just treat each qualifier as a workout in itself. If you can do it with someone else, even better!
Read more about the benefits of CrossFit here.