I consider myself to be a an averagely-fit person by regular standards. I may not run marathons or be able to bench press my own weight, but I run outdoors three to four times a week and incorporate some strength training into my workout routine. Streaming YouTube workout videos (XHIT is a good one) and doing them in the comfort of my bedroom also helps.
So, when I started training at Fuel Athletics in Damansara Heights, I don't think I was prepared for the physical and mental challenge I faced each time I went to class though I've read about crossfit gyms and know of many friends whose fitness regime of choice is crossfit.
Classes for Fuel Prime include strength training and the usage of equipments such as dumbbells, bars, kettle bells, skipping ropes, depending on the workout scheduled for the day. First-timers have to attend Fuel 101 classes on Saturday mornings before being able to participate in the regular classes to get a handle on the types of exercises encountered during the workout. A warm up, essential before every workout, is done before the circuit of the day is introduced. Basic squats, burpees, lunges, push ups and pull ups are some typical exercises and a trainer usually explains each exercise so that the participants get to practice to ensure correct form and posture.
The circuits vary each day so you never encounter the same workout routine, which challenges your body each time. A circuit could concentrate on the upper body on one day with the usage of, for example, five sets of three deadlifts using barbells and 150 single unders (that's basically skipping 150 times), followed by another five sets of three shoulder-to-overhead presses and more single unders (50 double unders, for those who can get their wrists going quickly enough). Then there's more. Recently, the class went through a circuit of a 250 metre run, 50 burpees, 50 squats, 50 walking lunges, 50 double unders (or 150 single unders), 50 pull ups, 50 jack knife sit ups and a 250 metre run, and we could choose to either complete the single circuit in our best time, or as many rounds as we could attempt in 40 minutes.
I nearly completed two rounds of the circuit, stopping shy of 12 of the sit ups and the 250- metre run the second time around. It was exhausting, my shoulders ached from the pull ups and burpees, but I felt a sense of achievement. By the way, this was after almost two months of attending regular classes, two to three times a week.
I found myself feeling fitter and stronger. You don't have to lift the heaviest weight possible and risk injury - always lift according to your body's capability. And you tend to feel hungrier a lot more often in between workouts because of all the calories you've burnt and your body adjusting to the accelerated burn.
It's something that head trainer Matin Fayzal has cautioned before. "You need to fuel your body right before and after your workout to ensure you stay lean," he says. According to him, half a banana as a snack prior to class is ideal. And watching what you eat is neccessary. "Less carbs, more fresh food and nothing fried. You also need to be aware of your body's limitations and strengths. Take time to cool down and stretch after your workouts and if you don't think you are seeing the results you want just yet, give it some time. A month isn't enough."
Well I, for one, am going to continue with constantly challenging myself and building strength and endurance at Fuel.
Interested in Fuel Athletics classses? They are located at the Bukit Damansara Community Centre. More information on timetables, coaches and the available classes can be found here.