Latest Blog For TOWIC

We love having Chris as a part of our community. Since he's been here he;
  • Has Integrated himself into our community quickly
  • Tidies up other people's equipment at the beginning and end of class
  • Has come on leaps and bounds since he started
  • Has a strong accent
  • Is a quiet joker

I caught up with Chris earlier.

1) What do you love about Crossfit, and how does it help you in your day to day life?

I love the constant challenge and learning new skills and movements. I always look forward to training after work - it's always fun and we have a laugh. Day to day this has a big impact on my life. Whether I've had a good or bad day CrossFit is a great stress relief and I feel a sense of accomplishment after finishing the WOD.

2) What's your favourite workout?

I always enjoy doing clean and jerks, in any combination. I think I've progressed quite quickly in this movement and it feels great to approach the weight, get under it and then move it overhead. I also enjoy WODs on a Thursday which tends to be more cardio-based - I always perform well on them.

3) What 3 things would you say are TOWIC's biggest plus points?

1. It's great to train with other people who are supportive and good fun. That's what sets TOWIC apart from any other gym or sports club I've been a part of - there's a sense of community inside and outside the box.
2. Everyone gets individual coaching and help throughout the workouts.
3. Everyone is excited to workout and put the effort in - this shows particularly during Saturday's partner WODs.

4) How has being a part of our community had a positive effect on you?

I moved to London two and a half years ago and while I've got several friends from uni and a brother here, meeting new people at TOWIC has had a really positive impact on me.

5) What's your favourite treat meal?

Steak, chips and egg.

6) What would you say to anyone new trying out TOWIC for the first time?

A few pieces of advice:

-Throw yourself in head first, don't say you can't. Failing a lift or movement is never frowned upon and everyone is there to help you progress
- Buy some good quality socks because you'll work through them quickly
- Don't workout near me because I sweat a huge amount.

Thanks Chris!
If you come to TOWIC to get hot, sweaty, burn some calories and don’t want to think much more about it that’s awesome. We will make sure you enjoy and get benefits from working out.

If you come to see progress over time, to learn new skills and to improve your numbers then you need to follow a training program. You need to change the stimulus of your workouts on a regular basis. To identify your weaknesses and do accessory work to improve them.

At TOWIC we offer both options.

For those of you who just want to come and get a hard workout in on a regular basis then Bootcamp is the class for you. We vary the stimulus and movements to keep it interesting (and tough). If you come regularly (at least 3 times a week), then after only a few weeks you will see improvements in both your strength and cardiovascular fitness.

Our WOD classes are different. You will still get hot, sweaty and burn plenty of cals, but you will also be following a detailed training program that focuses on developing your strength (solid base of squats, deadlifts and presses), power (explosive lifts of clean, jerks and snatch), conditioning (heavy barbell cycling) and stamina in short micro-cycles throughout the year. These are also tailored around the 2 key competition dates in our year. The CrossFit Open which runs for 5 weeks and starts in late Feb, and our in-house TOWIC competition in the autumn (Sat October 20th this year).

We deliberately plan gradual progressions through different movement patterns in order to constantly challenge you and to show incremental improvements over time. This is our service to you. No quick fixes, but a solid long-term plan to move you forwards. To help you become a stronger, faster more mobile human with grit and discipline.

If you are with us to train, your mindset is an important factor in your development. You have to play the long game and accept that after the initial 6 months of PBs coming from all over the place that this will begin to slow down. You will find movements that are your nemesis that appear impossible to master. But if you stick with it, the benefits will come. More PBs will come. You WILL master those movements. The gains may be more subtle but they will still come.

And the best part thing of all is that we’re here to support you all the way. We’ve got your back (and quads, glutes, triceps...)your update here...
Congratulations to Rachel! Since she's been here, she has embedded herself into our little community. Her husband, Paul, is also here and they are a couple making changes for each other and to set good examples to their kids.

I love some of Rachel's answers here. Especially how CrossFit has helped with her mental health, confidence, body shape, self-esteem and much more!

1) What do you love about Crossfit, and how does it help you in your day to day life?

Crossfit has definitely had a positive impact on my day to day life. It’s given me more confidence in myself... when I joined six months ago everything was so daunting, every lift seemed really complicated and I always thought I’d have to walk out halfway through a workout and never be able to show my face again! I can’t pretend the workouts have got any easier but I’m happy to tackle each one head-on. I’ve learned that you’re never too old to learn something new and I think that gives me confidence outside of the box, too.

Crossfit definitely helps my mental health (or as I sometimes say, it helps to keep my head on straight). I like the fact that once you’re in the middle of some brutal workout or another there’s no room in your mind to stress about anything else. It’s kind of mindful, in a way. You just focus on the next rep and nothing else matters for the time being. Depression and anxiety have followed me around for quite a few years now and Crossfit is a massive help in keeping the darker times at bay. That’s the main reason why training is a priority for me and I never miss a work out if I can help it.

2) What's your favourite workout?

I’d say the workouts where you build to a heavy load on a particular lift. I love that feeling when you keep adding and then adding a bit more. Before you know it you’ve surprised yourself and got a new PB! I also love the partner WODs. That’s another area where my confidence has grown. When I started I felt nervous about them and worried about being crap and letting my partner down. People at the box have taught me that no- one is brilliant at everything (well, apart from Rose and James that is!) I’m rubbish at sit-ups and will be slow on those, for example, but I can often make up for lost time if we’re running. We’ve all got different strengths and that’s what makes a good team.

3) What 3 things would you say are TOWIC's biggest plus points?

1) Definitely the culture of the community. Different people bring different energies to the workouts and as I said, everyone has their own strengths. I’ve found the members to be so encouraging and supportive. I’m always glad when Fiona is my bar-buddy or partner for a WOD as she is really motivating and also does my maths for me! Beth is brilliant at offering tips and Greg K always notices when you’ve made progress and is really encouraging. I also love the banter in the box, especially when Trish is training!

2) The coaches. They are all quite different personalities and all know how to bring the best out of you... even if I may not like it/them at the time! So much work goes on behind the scenes with the programming and it’s amazing how the different (and sometimes random-seeming) exercises all come together to make you stronger without you even realising it at the time.

3) Location location location! I live about a five-minute walk away from the box (and often look longingly at my house as I run past it on the 1km route!) I’m very lucky to have Crossfit almost on my doorstep. My husband Paul is at the box too and he’d never make his 6 am classes if we were further away!

4 )How has being a part of our community had a positive effect on you?

I’ve met some really great people at TOWIC. I love how you meet people of all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness levels and Crossfit gives you something in common with them. The dedication of the members and coaches is inspiring and definitely motivates me to train harder.

5) What's your favourite treat meal?

That would depend on my mood... I don’t think I could pick one favourite but I love Thai and also Turkish food. My main downfall is chocolate though. I can’t have too much of it in my house as I can’t resist it and don’t know when to stop!

6) What would you say to anyone new trying out TOWIC for the first time?

As a newbie six months ago I did find the workouts a bit intimidating. I got over this (on the most part) by telling myself that I turn up to have a good workout. It doesn’t matter whether I’m first or last to finish a workout or if I keep up with everyone else. Let them do their thing, you do yours and stay in your own lane (so to speak) As I said, there are people of all ages and abilities. You don’t need to beat anyone else or compare....just push yourself and the gainz will come! Everyone gets their butt kicked by Crossfit, whether they’re new to it or have been doing it since its inception! It’s not designed to be easy.

7) What would you say to other full-time mums tempted to try CrossFit?

Do it! I wish I’d done it sooner. It’s a brilliant way to get an hour for yourself here and there doing something to benefit your overall health and well-being... Plus, lifting weights changes your body shape like nothing else can. Not only that, it’s so good to have a pastime or hobby that’s not related to chasing children around. I know how hard it is to find time for yourself but it can be done. TOWIC have classes to fit any schedule and the thing is, time will pass anyway so why not invest it in making yourself fitter and stronger?

I think of CrossFit as a hobby with the advantage of increased strength, fitness and improved body shape as a side effect, rather than something to endure in order justify eating cake or to lose weight (which is always how I’d approached exercise in the past). It’s definitely a big part of my life now.

I read somewhere that if you do the same you will stay the same. The ‘constantly varied’ part of Crossfit will bring out strengths that you didn’t know you had.

Spencer is just that stand-up guy. He's polite, eager to learn and nice to everyone.

He always has time for people. As a fellow Sports Massage Therapist, I love how he'll point out to other members areas they could work on when it comes to muscle function, and in a completely non-arrogant way. He's just happy to help!

Do check him out if you need a great sports massage, or need to work on an injury!

He also brings people in to try CrossFit at TOWIC and that helps us to grow our community.

Congratulations Spencer!

1) What do you love about Crossfit, and how does it help you in your day to day life?

What is there not to love about The Only Way Is CrossFit?!! Since joining 18 months ago, I have grown to love this place even more and never get tired of training. I know it's cliche, but like everyone else I love the fact that before or after a hard days work, all I have to do is turn up and give 100% because all the real hard work has been done by you guys, with your meticulous planning of each class and the enthusiasm and motivation you provide.

My job is sedentary, so being able to train 4/5 times is vital to me, as it's the only form of exercise I get on a daily basis. Since increasing my membership to Unlimited, I've felt leaner, fitter and stronger than before and have noticed significant changes to my body shape, which has increased my self-confidence considerably. However, I still think it'll be a little while and a lot of blood sweat and tears before I get a body like Don & Noel and have the confidence to train topless like them!!

2) What's your favourite workout?

Hard question as I genuinely enjoy all aspects of training. I would probably say my favourites are any of the benchmark WODs, as they are all extremely challenging and give a great indication of how my fitness has personally progressed.

I'm also very keen on the strength cycle programmes and come on... who doesn't love a partner WOD or Bootcamp!

3) What 3 things would you say are TOWIC's biggest plus points?

Cliche again, but the biggest plus point for me about TOWIC is the variety of the programming, which at times takes me out of my comfort zone, frustrates the hell out of me but still pushes me to the limit.

The quality of coaching that you guys provide is another plus point, different styles of coaching, carried out in a non-egotistical manner with the sole purpose of ensuring that we train hard, make gains, whilst having fun at the same time.

Lastly, I love how you guys constantly strive to make improvements to the box. Prior to joining here, I had been a member of the big name gyms where classes were mundane and the gym floor was soulless. At TOWIC, you're more than just a number and in terms of the training and guidance you provide to every member, this level of service, in my opinion, is invaluable.

4) How has being a part of our community had a positive effect on you?

Community is what TOWIC stands for. Everyone has their own reasons to train, but for me, this is a place where I can work out as often as I like, in a fun friendly environment with like-minded people from all different backgrounds, cultures and levels of fitness.

There is no pretentiousness at TOWIC, no matching Lycra and no posing in mirrors taking selfies! I love how everyone embraces the community spirit by pushing one another in workouts without making anyone feel inadequate.

Competition amongst members is sparse, as, in my opinion, it seems that everyone is on their own journey, striving to become fitter and stronger themselves but still being there to support others at the same time.

5) What's your favourite treat meal?

This is an easy one for me. Basically, any meal that includes bread! During the week I tend to stick to a balanced healthy diet, which means I can relax a little at the weekends.

I adore thin crust pizzas loaded with veg, chillies and pepperoni as well as hot spicy curries with a nice slab of Peshwari naan to mop up the sauce (so common!!)

6) What would you say to anyone new trying out TOWIC for the first time?

Be patient and make sure you give it at least three months before you decide whether The Only Way Is CrossFit is for you. I was quite sceptical when I first joined as there were sessions that I really enjoyed and some were I didn't as I struggled to comprehend the technique patterns and had issues with mobility.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses but this is an environment where you can be guided and helped without feeling intimidated. Every workout is scalable and specifically designed to increase strength, mobility and fitness levels and from then on, it's how much you want to commit to your journey.

It's an old saying, "but you only get out what you put in", and if you're willing to give 100% effort in every class, train consistently and maintain a balanced healthy diet, you will undoubtedly achieve results.

Thanks Spence, and congratulations once again!
I think you all probably know Trish. She's the one who comes at us coaches with her banter ready, and a cheeky grin to help her get away with it.

However, she also just throws herself into the workout.

She doesn't particularly like any of the exercises, but she knows that lifting weights empowers her, makes her feel strong, and helps to escape a hectic lifestyle. For an hour a day, she can switch off, be with her friends, and train hard.

She reaches out to new members and gets others involved. I think you'll agree, she's one of a kind. And for that reason, our Member of the Month. We had a little chat earlier today!

1) What do you love about Crossfit, and how does it help you in your day to day life?
I really love the community aspect of it. Everyone knows I love to be a bit social and can talk for Britain, but being new to the East London area, I joined to get to know more people, make friends and workout. I can definitely say that I’ve made what I hope will be some great friends for life so thank you for that!
However, whilst that’s a great thing, I think I should be totally honest in my reasons for loving it (deep deep deeeeep down) and showing up Mon-Friday.

I really loved Darren’s post when he won member of the month before he left for Singapore, and it inspired me to open up more about things within my life and not be afraid of judgement, because sometimes it can help others too, like Darren’s post helped me!

Like everyone, I have my own story and I’m not afraid to talk about it. I’ve been through some things in my life that have been and are still really really difficult to deal with, to the point where I have succumbed to depression in the past. The gym has always been a safe place for me to let it out, as I find it helps to reduce stress and have a healthy mind, body and soul, and most importantly, I’m in control of myself there.

The reason I choose The Only Way Is Crossfit in Woodford Green over a regular gym is because it challenges me mentally – every.single.time! It has helped me to build my strength physically and mentally. Yes, you will ALL hear me moan and swear during classes, but deep down I love it, and the banter sometimes lightens it for everyone and makes me get through it quicker! Since joining, I find that I am so much less stressed because for me my release is at CrossFit, hence I go a lot more now. It’s also made me a lot more thick-skinned than I probably used to be.

I suppose when you go through things in life, it’s easy to give up on yourself. I didn’t want that for myself and I feel the coaches and AMAZING members here encourage me to not give up on me! Moral of the story; We’re all fighting battles that others may not know about, don’t be afraid to talk about it & find your release! It also helps me be way more productive at work cause I feel way more energised after class!

2) What's your favourite workout?
Eurgh – this is me you’re asking! Like is this really a genuine question?!?! To be frank, I have a love-hate relationship with exercise as most will probably know. I do it for the mental challenge, but also because I love to eat! So I don’t think I can say I have a favourite workout. I think my favourite thing ABOUT the workouts is that I eventually get through it, and it feels so satisfying, no matter how long it takes!

I do love that you turn up for an hour, get forced to do the workout and then can leave. In a normal gym, who’s going to push you to work so hard? I do love the Bootcamp sessions though cause they are so varied and fun, although I wish I could say that about today's (Friday). After a few too many drinks the night before, I was contemplating alllll of my life decisions including why I turned up to that class, during it!! Yuck.

3) We don't force you to work out! So what 3 things would you say are TOWIC's biggest plus points?
I think the community, and the encouragement you get from the coaches and members in the workout. Some places can be super competitive, or an environment where people only care about what they are doing and nobody else. I’m the type of person that gives up quite easily when I get tired and I really love and appreciate everyone for always encouraging me and egging me on to finish! Also, I think the coaches are the biggest plus points too.

4) How has being a part of our community had a positive effect on you?
It’s really helped me to settle in East London a lot better than I thought I would. When I moved here after I got married, I felt quite alone because I didn’t really know anyone, so I’m really pleased that I have a place I can go to as a refuge, to see my friends, but also get stronger.

5) What's your favourite treat meal?
Erm hello? Really? I know you watch my Instagram stories, Shaun!! I. LOVE. FOOD. I’d probably say my favourite cheat meal would be anything that combines chips, and some form of cookie-related dessert! Two of my biggest weaknesses!

6) What would you say to anyone new trying out TOWIC for the first time?
I’d say, if I can do it then you definitely can! Haha! No really, I’d recommend everyone to try it. A lot of people have misconstrued opinions of CrossFit and I think it’s because they think it’s super competitive and scary. I’d say don’t be scared, give it a chance and you’ll 100% be pleasantly surprised.

Thanks Trish. I'm glad the community aspect is so prevalent in your answers!

Hey guys! It's that time again. Our Member of the Month this time round is James Long. James and Rose have been a part of our box for a long time now. I was lucky enough, along with Sush and Avery, to be asked to attend their wedding and our friendship has always been strong! They're a part of the furniture and we're so happy that they're a part of our community. They've also brought through other members over the years such as Rose's sister and now James' sister!

James is a Woodford boy, has always sung our praises, and brings his infectious smile to the box. He and Rose sometimes have full blown arguments which bring comedy value. But more importantly, James is encouraging, friendly, always on time, ready to go, and gives his absolute best to every workout! He also always shows up to our TOWIC community drinks.

I caught up with James recently to talk about TOWIC.

1) What do you love about Crossfit, and how does it help you in your day to day life?

What I love about Crossfit is that is different to any other exercise I have ever done in my life. I’ve always been reasonably conscious of my fitness, but I often found myself getting bored of working out on my own with my earphones as my source of entertainment. Crossfit has shown me how it is possible to pack in so many random movements into one hour. One minute you’re legs are screaming while you pluck up the courage to finish 9 thrusters yet you have to then mentally prepare yourself to do a 400m run or a set of burpees. I love the thoughts that run through my mind as I psych myself up to get it done.

2) What’s your favourite workout?

Anything involving running and deadlifts is my idea of Crossfit heaven. I love anything cardio based as I’ve always been quite a strong runner and my guilty secret is that I love a barhop burpee.

3) I wouldn't tell too many people that! What 3 things would you say are TOWICs biggest plus points?

The Coaches - I feel fortunate to be at a box where a group of coaches are able to combine the role of teacher, comedian and sometimes disciplinarian. Also helps that I met a professional singer who played at my wedding for free : )

The Community – You won’t find many places with such a diverse group of people all aiming to be the best they can be.

Partner WODs – It’s a great motivation to split up a workout and sweat together! I love cheering each other on to go faster, for longer, lift heavier. Plus the accountability makes me want to try harder to do the best I can for my partner.

4) How has being part of our community had a positive effect on you?

I am a really strong believer in the correlation between exercise and mental health. A big reason I do Crossfit is for that endorphin rush I feel as I’m sprawled out on the box floor. You are your best competition - whether it’s a push press or a burpee fest, you can always aim to beat your personal best and it is exhilarating and exciting every time. Finally, being married to a woman who also likes CrossFit is great as we have such a key aspect of our lives in common. It’s just a shame that she wipes the floor with me every time.

5) She does. E-v-e-r-y time! Whats your favourite cheat meal?

Pizza has always been my biggest weakness but recently I’ve started to go for thin crust. That counts as healthy, right?

6) What would you say to anyone new trying out TOWIC for the first time?

Embrace it. In my first class I walked into 200 single arm kettle bell swings and swore to myself that I would never return. I’m thankful I came back. Things have changed now, you get to go through a Fundamentals class and are taught the basics, which is a massive help. TOWIC is unlike any other gym or box. It is friendly, welcoming, and you will never receive as much support anywhere else to be the best version of yourself. If that all fails you can always just turn up to laugh at Dons dancing.
The Deadlift is one of my favourite lifts. There’s always a sense of achievement and a feeling of strength when you lift a heavy weight off of the floor, safely, efficiently and with good form. Especially every time you beat your PB!

A few points to take in to consideration about the Deadlift;
  • It’s a great movement to build overall strength.
  • If your sole focus is body composition there are other exercises that will build muscle more effectively.
  • It’s a full body movement or compound lift. I get asked a lot, which muscles the Deadlift works and I tend to answer, all of them!
  • It works the posterior chain effectively – but the Romanian version does so even better!
  • Having long legs, being tall and lacking mobility can all hinder the Deadlift. In these cases alternatives may be better – think Sumo Deadlifts, Back Extensions, Bent Over Row – still working the posterior chain – but safely and efficiently.
After taking these points on board, we can now look at the Deadlift!
I like the image above. If we look at it from right to left you’ll see the form that should be maintained throughout the movement.

Feet under the bar – Your feet should be in a neutral position – try jumping on the spot, where your feet land should be a pretty natural position for you. The bar should be sitting over the middle of your foot – think laces of your trainers.

Bend from the hips – push your butt back and bend over to reach the bar. If you’ve done this correctly – your shoulders should be slightly forward of the bar and your arms should be locked out straight.

Bend your knees – until your shins reach the bar. The bar should remain over the middle of the foot. It’s only a slight knee bend, make sure you can still feel a slight pull in the hamstrings so that you are loading the back of the body.

Neutral spine – The back should not be rounded or over arched. Lift the chest and keep the belly and lower back tight.

Take a breath – Into the belly and brace – imagine you’re about to be punched in the stomach – this should cue your body to brace.

Drive through the feet – Whilst the Deadlift is technically a pulling movement – think of it as a pushing movement. Push the ground away with your feet and stand. The arms should still be straight, the back should still be neutral and the bar should remain over the middle of the foot.

Bar path – The bar should come up vertically. Keep the bar close to the legs – moving it away from the body will put unwanted pressure on the lower back.

Finish position – You should finish in a standing position. Keep the bar close to the body, arms locked, and don’t lean back. Hips and knees should be locked out at the top.

Tune in next week for what could go wrong with the Deadlift – and how to fix it.
New year, new you? Starting 2018 feeling excited and ready to go? Got big hopes and dreams for your CrossFit progress this year? Great. Here’s
my top 10 tips to help you smash your fitness goals...
  • Have some fitness goals. 😜 seriously though, how can you achieve or smash your goals if you don’t take time to write some down. Not too many, just a few, and make them SMART too ... (Specific / Measurable / achievable / relevant / timely). Talk to the coaches about your goals (after or before class - not during!)
  • Dial in your nutrition. This actually where you can make the single biggest difference to how your body looks and how your body feels. You don’t need to jump straight into tracking macros and weighing your food, simply having awareness of calories in vs calories out is a great start.
  • Get enough sleep. The goal should be 7 - 8 hours. Minimum. (And no - time in bed scrolling through social media or watching ‘The fittest on earth’ doesn’t count)
  • Be consistent. Keep showing up on a regular basis and getting the work done. There’s no substitute.
  • Look for balance in your program. To keep things interesting and to challenge your body to reach its full potential you need to do different things. If you only show up when we program squats and dead’s then other areas of your physical development will suffer.
  • Mobilise - we all need to do this more than we think. More than you are thinking right now. No - even more than that. Getting closer... every day there should be some form of mobility work in your routine, whether it’s when you watch tv in the evening or brushing your teeth in the morning there are plenty of opportunities to get flexy!
  • Take a ‘One more rep’ attitude. With CrossFit workouts your mind often gives in before your body. When you feel like dropping the bar or taking a break, hit one more rep first.
  • Celebrate finding a new weakness. It can be frustrating when you feel crappy after a workout. But think about why and if this is due to a specific weakness then actually that’s a great thing to understand because you can then do something about it. Talk to the coaches if you need help figuring out what.
  • Track your progress. Said it before and I’ll keep saying it. The only way to know if you’re improving is by tracking your lifts and workout scores and having data tell you. Not feelings - data.
  • Enjoy small victories - a 1.25kg increase on a lift is still a PB. Don’t be annoyed if you then failed a 2.5 kg increase. 42 double unders is better than 41. Celebrate every little gain and ring that bell.

Bonus Tip

Have fun - Allow yourself to smile and enjoy the process. Be able to laugh at yourself. To share a joke with your classmates. We train together, we gain together, but we also have fun together. 👊🏻
Add a few of these to what you do this year, and you will without question see benefits in your training.
Looking forward to working with you all in 2018.
Hey guys! It's that time again where we celebrate our Member of the Month.

This month we've gone for Greg Johnstone.

Those of you who know Greg know that he's a stand-up guy, with a great sense of humour. He's always throwing in funny comments, especially when it comes to workouts! He knows how to train but still have fun.

He never complains and attacks every workout.
He talks to new members and makes everyone feel welcome. I caught up with Greg earlier today;

1) How has CrossFit impacted your life?
Crossfit has positively impacted my life in many obvious and some subtle ways. Initially, it helped me to lose some holiday weight unintentionally through the different training styles and from there taught me the importance of a healthy sustainable lifestyle and diet with the occasional treat. I can say with confidence this is the fittest and healthiest I've ever been as a direct result. More subtly it's an hour of my day where I can focus on one thing, forget if I've had a hard day at work, and have a laugh with people whilst also getting a tough workout in.

2) What's your favourite thing about CrossFit?
My favourite thing about Crossfit is the constant variation and having my gym programming out of my hands with someone who is professional. All my training beforehand was traditional gym based freeweights, which has helped with my strength, but it never included any metabolic conditioning. I love being able to walk into a class not knowing what I'll be doing for the next hour but seeing the previous class covered in sweat and jokingly telling me to go home while there's still time.

3) Do you have any advice for someone just starting out at TOWIC?
My advice to people new to training or Crossfit would be to take the plunge and remember that everyone once had their first workout. Every workoutisscaleable and you'll be amazed at how quickly you start adding more plates to the bar, running that little bit faster, or beating your PB's in a movement you never thought you could do (I hate overhead squats but I can do them now!).

4) How would you describe TOWIC to other people?
My favourite thing about TOWIC is the people, both the coaches and the other members. The coaches are always knowledgeable and quick to help with technique and giving people a gentle nudge to work harder than you thought you could. And each class is an opportunity to get to know someone different from all walks of life who share a common goal of getting fitter than they were yesterday.

5) What's your favourite workout?
My favourite workout is the easiest answer to any of these questions. Having previously been a short distance athlete in school and uni my preference is now for endurance events as they test between your ears as well as your physical ability. Without adoubt the best test of endurance ability is the heroWOD Murph. 1 mile run, 300 squats, 200 push ups, 100 sit ups, 1 mile run. It partners my favourite activity, running, with bodyweight movements that anyone can do anywhere and is a great benchmark to test your fitness over time. Like every WOD it's scaleable so everyone can attempt this beast.

Thanks Greg, and thanks for being such a big part of our community.


Obviously we all breathe, but have you ever been in the middle of a workout and found yourself gasping for air and feeling like you just can't get enough oxygen in quick enough?

How about just before you try a big lift - ever find yourself wondering whether to breathe in, breathe out or hold your breath?

Don't worry, it's normal. But not thinking about your breath during a workout can lead to sub-optimal performance, and focussing on when and how you breathe can have a positive impact on your training.

Hell, it can even improve your Fran time - and that’s what we all want that - right?!

If you read books or listen to podcasts by coaches and athletes then you’ll notice they all talk about breathing at some point. How important it is. How much difference it can make.

And the good news is thatthere’s only a handful things to consider about your breathing when working out - when and how to breathe in, how long to hold the breath for, and when and how to breathe out.

Here's some patterns we recommend:
During strength training, where we typically focus on between 1 and 6 reps for a number of sets, deeply inhaling into your belly and holding the breath before you start a rep engages your core and braces the body.

It opens and lifts the chest helping you to maintain good form. It also gives you the option to use a powerful, quick exhale to assist the completion of the movement.

So in the example of a squat: You unrack the bar and get your feet into position, you look forward and take a deep breath in then start to move down. Once you hit below parallel you start to exhale (in a strong but controlled way) and stand back up.

At the top of the movement you repeat by breathing in, bracing and holding on to the
breath before thedecent. Personally this has made a huge difference to my front squat.
That deliberate inhale at the beginning lifts my chest and elbows into a much better starting position, and using a powerful exhale when coming back up feels like it allows me to ‘explode out of the hole’ more effectively.
This same breathing pattern also applies to deadlifts and presses. Just watch this video of Annie (and her super abs) to see it in action.

Annie Strict Press

Now on to MetCons. This is a little more tricky as sometimes it involves both lifts and strength aspects, solets split this one up.

1. Pure cardio i.e. Running, rowing, skipping, burpees etc.

This is all about rhythm. You need to establish a breathing pattern that works for you and allows you to continuously breathe in and out with ease. The aim here is to avoid very short sharp breaths and to get into a tempo of 2 sec in -2 secs out (or more),
rather than 1 sec in - 1 sec out (or less).

2. Combo exercises like Thrusters and wall balls (aka the motherf*cker movements of CrossFit).

These expose poor breathing techniques like no other. If you hold your breath for multiple reps during these movements, (which most people do especially when at the beginning of their CrossFit journey) you will quickly find yourself either on the floor or standing with your hands on your knees searching for answers to why you can’t keep moving!
But - if you can remember to breathe out at the top of the movement in that brief pause before the ball comes back at you or your arms bring the bar down for the next rep, then
everything gets easier.
Same thing applies to burpees, air squats. Breathe out at the top of every rep.

3. Body weight exercises like toes to bar, pull ups, muscle ups require a little bit of both of the above.

Don’t hold your breath, rhythm is critical and you need to find the right point to inhale and exhale. Experiment with this by trying 5 reps with an inhale on the pull and an exhale of the release, and then 5 reps the other way round to see what works best for you.
Let’s leave it there for today. Like mostthings it’s important not to over analyse this to the point where it becomes a distraction. Sometimes all you need is the intention to focus on this during a workout. Not necessarily by stopping moving, but by deliberately paying attention to your breathing pattern, making a mental note of when you feel particularly out of breath and experimenting with different things to see what helps you and what doesn't.

For more info or questions just ask the coaches but until next time - don’t forget to breathe!