I've always wanted to do CrossFit but was never close enough to a box to participate. When I walked down the driveway to the garage next door my eye caught the Crossfit sign and that was a done deal for me. I live walking distance, what more could I ask for and I had no more excuses.

I've always done some form of exercise. I was always very active in school and continued when I left, joining gyms wherever I lived. However, I found I wasn't motivated enough to attend the normal run of mill gyms training on my own. I needed the group dynamic. So my training involved the usual group training in gyms or here in the UK outdoor group training which was hell in winter. Although I have to add that before I started CrossFit I went through a 4 month slump of doing nothing but walking the dog. I was not in a good place emotionally and physically. 

My goals were to be stronger, lose weight, yup I know that should not be a goal but it was and to tone up, get rid of the flab. Whenever I didn't exercise I felt unhealthy which normally led to eating unhealthy and a general unhealthy life style. Exercising keep me in check in that way. You can't work this hard just to undo it with unhealthy food and drink!

Since I've joined I given up on the weight loss. In fact, I picked up weight but since I started in September 2016 I comfortably fit into my smaller size clothes. I've amended my diet to be more wholesome and it is not a diet anymore, it is healthy way of life. I don't beat myself up if I eat some cake or have a glass of wine.  And I don't go near the scales as much.

Right in the beginning Jeremy said "weight loss" is not a goal. I didn't believe him. I do now. I started the same day as Charlotte and one day she remarked that she didn't notice a different, until I pointed out that we are now consistently doing Level 2 and not 1 anymore.  So I know I am definitely stronger. The team atmosphere is great. We try harder and push the boundaries all the time and a new achievement comes with great cheers.

To be specific about what I find challenging ... Burpees. I find them very challenging but have set myself goals to up the number of full burpees every time we are punished with those. Same with push ups. I struggle with those in the same way and add 1 full pushup everytime we have to do them. I struggle with the gymnastic skills and most of them scare me mentally but I push on and give it a try.

One of the things I enjoy most is setting a new PR, being able to ring the bell :), trying something I've never done before and eventually succeeding. CrossFit makes you do things you never thought you could. 

When I walk into that box I walk into a bubble of happiness for an hour. In that hour I don't think about anything else. The focus is solely on what's in front of me and the feeling is great, euphoric. I wish I could employ that "switch off" in other circumstances. The atmosphere and camaraderie between everyone in the box is something special. There's no airs and graces, it is what it is and no-one judges anyone. If you bump your nose with the bar there's sympathy but also giggles. When you miss the box jump, everyone cheers you on to keep trying and admire your wounds afterwards.

Each and everyone of the coaches bring something really unique to the box and to the training. Jeremy, the forever joker but not allowing anyone to slack, I am really thankful that you opened it right next door to my house. Kelly, kind but also strict and cause of many laughs in the box. 6 inches have a new meaning around here.  James, the drill sergeant with magic massage hands and great advice on how to deal with stiff muscles, tension and the like.He doesn't say sorry anymore when he hurts the hell out of you, because we are all friends now :)  Roman, always smiling and laughing and ready to yell really loud to make sure you finish on a high. Having done a Saturday workout with Roman there's no mercy!  I love that you all are attentive and always checking technique, you are all friends but on the other hand take your job as coaches very serious and are very professional in doing that. I love the most that it feels like a family with you lot :) You all made the effort to get to know each and everyone of us. That is special .

Results? Well the obvious really. I've not lost weight like I intended to but I am more toned where there was flab before, still more work to do there. I fit into my size 12's comfortably.. I am a lot stronger and have stamina and energy. 

My outlook on life has changed for one. Before I started CrossFit I was in a slump of note, emotionally and physically, lived on unhealthy food and couldn't get my butt off the sofa. I am now a lot more focused and energetic. I feel more confident in myself and much stronger.  That change also affected my attitude, made me more positive and given me the confidence to take a stand for myself. My body image was appalling. I hated the look of myself in a mirror. That has changed. And I smile and laugh more :)

Health and fitness have always been extremely important to me. So starting Crossfit has just affirmed that for me and made me more determined to be the best I can. 

There's no negatives. Just after I started Jeremy organised the barbeque day. That was great even though it poured with rain. The Christmas dinner was just as great and very well attended. I also enjoy the social media posts, videos, and interaction in the group. You all keep it fresh and moving along. Getting us to participate in the CrossFit Open unofficially is brilliant. We are all getting to know each other better and the competition and banter is something else.

It is unlike the conventional gym where you work on your own or do the group training routine over and over again.  CrossFit is about team, the community, pushing yourself, being competitive in a safe environment, overall body conditioning and strength training, it is challenging but in a good way, you can work at your own pace and your own ability, there is no pressure, personal coaching, nutritional help and coaching, and if the box has their own sport masseuse, that is a bonus to boot! The workouts are programmed to avoid working same muscle groups consecutively. Groups are smaller to accommodate personal attention from the coaches. Every aspect of health and fitness is looked after by fabulous people. You cannot go wrong! I'm flying the flag for Crossfit Chiltern!

Anmaré Peck, 49