Thinking about trying CrossFit in 2017? We caught up with Mike Lee, a Crossfit Coach at one of the UK's top boxes, Perpetua. www.crossfitperpetua.com Perpetua was voted one of the "Best gyms in the World" by Mens Health magazine in 2016.
Tell us a bit about Perpetua - what makes it such a great place to workout?
We have a really refreshing perspective towards fitness. We don’t let our members into a class-based Crossfit situation until we believe that they are comfortable with all the movements. Movement is what we are experts at educating people on – the intensity is really up to the individual. We will always guide people towards how a workout should feel, but our job as coaches is to primarily correct their movement patterns in order to provide a safe and efficient progress track.
Why do you think CrossFit has become so popular?
Quite simply because when taught properly, it works. What attracts people to CrossFit and Perpetua is that a human being should be able to lift a heavy object off the floor, run several miles and not feel like they need a lie down. A lot of individuals come into CrossFit with the aim of improving their aesthetics. This is a more than acceptable goal - looking good is a big part of feeling confident in your own skin. However, a few weeks down the line you will see these same individuals starting to wonder what their body can actually do, rather than simply look like. I love that change in mindset because health is not about what you look like in the mirror. Health is being able to sit down and stand up when you’re 80 years old, being able to partake in a new sport at any point in your life and have the freedom to move without limitation. This is what CrossFit is providing a lot of people.
What are your tips for someone looking to get into CrossFit in 2017?
Don’t rush into a decision. Any kind of fitness regime has to work for you. Don’t be ashamed to try one place out and then look at another before committing to their fundamental programme. I have actively encouraged people to check other places out before they commit to Perpetua. Nine times out of ten they will enjoy what they see on day one. However if they don’t, I tell them to look elsewhere and find something they believe is better or more suited to them. I’m proud to say we often find those people coming back.
Safety is paramount. Intensity is not the foundation of fitness. Technique—>Consistency—>Intensity. You can only build intensity on a strong base foundation. If a coach is encouraging you to move at high intensity regardless of your body mechanics, find a new coach.
Where do you stand on the Paleo / non paleo debate?
Food is such a personal topic. There are so many companies out there nowadays that prep food for people to take the hassle out of food preparation. My thoughts towards the paleo diet are quite simply that it involves eating a large quantity of meat. If you are following the diet properly, this is grass fed organic meat. I ended up very lean when I did a paleo diet, as the carbohydrate content is often lower. However I felt a bit lethargic and weak. This does not mean that it doesn’t work, it just didn’t for me!
The guys at Fresh Fitness Food (www.freshfitnessfood.com) have taken the macronutrient and thought process out of food prep for me and as a result I have time to do things I didn’t before. They even provided me with a healthy 10% off which I won’t lie, helped a lot :)
Find a nutritionist if you’re unsure, or subscribe to an online community. At Perpetua we use the Whole Life challenge a couple of times a year to get members who may have slipped back on track.
Do you have a personal favourite WOD?
Fran - It’s short, fast, and I’m good at it! (Sorry couldn’t help it!). It’s a really good test of “How bad do you want it”
Jackie - Surprised this makes my list because I actually really don’t enjoy rowing.
50 thrusters (20kg)
30 Pull ups
I tend to lean towards the faster workouts as I’m more of an explosive athlete than a long endurance based one.
What other exercise do you enjoy?
Spike ball (If you haven’t played this, it makes a cracking warm up)
Favourite cheat meal?
Ribs, with a side of Ribs. Some sweet potato fries thrown in there for good measure.
What 5 things could you not live without?
I’ll give you a top 3!
Good food - we have an emotional connection to food that directly impacts our mood!
My phone - So sad, I wish this wasn’t the case but most of my business is run through it!
Friends and family - When you’re dead, no one remembers the money you made or the clothes you bought. They remember who you were as a person. My friends and family made me who I am today and I will always be eternally grateful for them.