Yeah, it definitely was. I remember, I first watched it in 2013. I watched the CrossFit Games’ highlights. I was like, this is mental. I had no idea what was going on, what people were doing. I think it was the Games where they did the swim and the bar monster workout. I was like, this is just mental. What these guys can do is insane.
I remember being addicted to watching highlights and it was from the days when you had Spealler, Kalipa, Froning, Graham Holmberg. I got addicted to watching all their YouTube videos. There wasn’t many boxes around at that time. I remember I traveled to unit 22 in a place called Northampton, which is about 45 minutes away.
That was a big effort for me to make that commitment. I could only go once or twice a week. It took so long to get there and so long to get back. It was pretty much half the day gone. I couldn’t afford to take that much time off work to be able to get there. I was going once or twice a week.
As you know, if you want to progress in CrossFit, you can’t just do it once or twice a week. I did that for about a year, year and a half, entered a few competitions, got annihilated.
I was like, I think I need to up my game here because I’m not progressing enough, and the standard is just crazy when you go to these competitions because, obviously, I wasn’t really involved in a box, per se, as in going to a box every day, you don’t really get to know what the standard is. You’re only dipping in and out of a box once or twice a week.
I opened a commercial gym in 2015. That was a mixture of fitness classes. We had some bodybuilder type machinery and then made a really small ring in the corner. I used to practice what I could on my own.
Again, trying to learn all the gymnastic movements on your own is never going to end well. I just chicken wing or wing muscle-ups and chicken wing around a bar and thinking I’m doing it really well. Then, watch it back and I look horrendous.
That’s when Hami came to my gym. When I first met Hami he said, “You’ve got good potential, but you have no idea what you’re doing.” He taught me and took me under his wing and taught me everything for about a year or so.
I really wanted to make a dent in the UK CrossFit scene and get to the CrossFit Games. I ended up opening a CrossFit box. That was probably the biggest athlete shift I had of my career, was opening my own box. That enabled me to be around people who want to do CrossFit every day. I had people to challenge me and do workouts against.
It made such a big difference being in that environment every single day. That was probably the biggest change in my career I had, was opening that box. Having Hami there to predominantly coach all the classes while I could focus on training and recovery in between sessions. That made such a big difference.
I remember when I was working in the commercial gym, I’d be working 12-hour days and trying to train for 2 or 3 hours. You don’t realize it in the time, but obviously your body can’t cope with that. My performance was never increasing as it should have been because I was working too much.
Being able to go in the morning, train, come back in the afternoon, do whatever I need to do, maybe have a nap, get all the right nutritional food in and then go back in the evening and train again. That made a massive difference to my athlete career.