A Beginner's Journey to Class at CFSL – Part 1: The Intro

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When new starter Rob suggested he could do a series of blogs about his first days of becoming a CrossFit athlete I thought about my early exposure to the world of barbells, gymnastics and crazy women called Fran and Jackie. As a relatively new box, the majority of our athletes are all relatively ‘novice’ CrossFitters who I think can easily relate to what Rob talks about here. The first few months of CrossFit are awesome and humbling, filled with unprecedented successes and countless failures.I urge you to take a look at these blogs as Rob and his friend Emma work their way through the key skills in the CFSL basics course and have a think back to your early days. Hopefully they will evoke some good memories and inspire some potential CrossFit athletes out there to get involved. 

Keep chasing, 
Coach Ozzie


Handing in my notice to my old gym was a pretty tough decision.  I’d been going there too many times a week for over six years.  Turning up each time had been a habit I wasn’t sure I would be able to go through with breaking.

But when I worked out how many hours I must have spent in there, I had to conclude the results didn’t really reflect the commitment.  This had been the place where I had gone from 9.5 stone to 11.5 stone in one year, but ever since, I had been on a constant plateau, inefficiently bulking and ending up with a belly, or trying to get lean and losing any size I had managed to gain.

My sedentary lifestyle only compounded my lack of results.  Deskbound all day in my office job, sitting down to commute to and from work, and the rewinding in the evenings in much the same way: on some sort of cushioned seat and normally in front of a screen.

Ozzie only worked in the sports and entertainment division of my department for the best part of the year, but we became good friends.  Seeing him graduate from office to drone to outdoor fitness instructor was like seeing wildlife returned to their natural habitat.  With some of the other office lads, we got Ozzie back in the summer to run bootcamps in Regent’s Park for some hesitant volunteers from the media conglomerate where I was still working.

This is when Ozzie started telling me about CrossFit: what it was, how much it cost, why it was so good.  I was definitely intrigued, but I had to ask how people could afford CrossFit AND a gym membership.  Ozzie explained: “CrossFit means you don’t need a gym.”  At the time, I was too wedded to weights sessions, sitting around gormlessly slash ‘resting’ between short sets and not often breaking a sweat, scowling at the gym hogs who used all the gear, had no idea and never worked hard at all.

Rusty covered some of our bootcamp sessions and evangelised further about CrossFit, in particular CFSL.  I checked out the site and the Facebook page, but Battersea was nowhere near Belsize Park.  I also had some ongoing injuries (from poor weight training) for which I needed to complete physiotherapy.

The more I read about CrossFit, the more it looked like the answer to my frustrations.  Coincidentally, I was coming up to the end of the lease on my current flat.  Taking a leap of faith, I decided to move specifically so I was nearer to CFSL.

I began to talk through the initial training process with Ozzie in order to work out dates.  Friends baulked at the idea of the cost, but health and fitness had become increasingly important to me.  I would rather invest in that than chuck all my wages on boozy nights out I can never remember anyway.  In my enthusiasm to get started, I even recruited a friend to join with me, showing Emma CFSL’s Facebook video while at another friend’s for dinner.

The morning of our free induction couldn’t come quickly enough.  I quite literally jumped out of bed at 7am on Saturday, feeling like I was starting a new chapter or going on holiday somewhere exciting.  Arriving at the box as a new face, the atmosphere was so markedly different to any gym I had set foot in.  Instead of hostile stares, everyone was immediately welcoming.

Whisked off to a separate room, Ozzie took us through the initial moves before we ran the baseline.  Midway, I began to regret the whole Onken Biopot I had boshed for breakfast.  Rowing was a weak point of mine at college, and the less said about my sit ups the better, but we got through it nevertheless and were buzzing for more straight after.

We stayed to watch a class in action, itching to get stuck in.  All the trainers came to introduce themselves to us and explained what was going on.  It felt like a real community.

Step one of the journey is complete.  Just ten sessions to go till we see about graduating to class…  I think I’m obsessed before I’ve even begun.

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