Are you ever going to see a better title than the name of this blog post? I’m not sure you will. If you knew me personally, you would definitely be all googley-eyes and be all like ‘say what?!’ But never fear, I haven’t gone mad, it’s all in the name of being a Love Middlesbrough Lass.  

Remember that time when I went to a classical concert for the very first time? And then I went back for a second time cos once wasn’t enough? And then I went to a dance performance even though I know absolutely nothing about dancing other than when I prance around the kitchen, singing really loudly. Well, you guys really enjoyed all this trying out new things and so I decided to make it a series. Basically Claire Goes… to somewhere or something brand new, right here in Middlesbrough and then tells you all about it so that you can go and give it a try as well. Simples! 

Now that we’ve got that cleared up, let’s talk weightlifting! If you’ve not heard of Crossfit Ulysses before then I’m about to change that. They have all sorts of Crossfit classes and personal training sessions and currently have funding from Sport England to offer ladies 3 months of weightlifting club sessions for free. You’ve got to register online and then you book all the sessions you want to attend.   

Crossfit Ulysses

I’m sure you can guess what happened next…yep, of course I totally signed up. 

I’m feeling a combination of excitement, nerves and slight worry that it could all go horribly wrong for Clumsy Claire™️  But don’t worry, whatever happens, I’ll bring you along for the ride. Who knows by the end of it I might be so strong I’ll be able to carry you… #sorrynotsorry

Week 1: turning up

First up, let’s talk just actually turning up. It’s always scary trying out new things but I am very much of the life philosophy that pushing myself out of my comfort zone is what helps me to keep growing as a person. With this in mind I approached the open doors … to be greeted by other people waiting to do the class, the owners, one of the fitness instructors – all a hugely friendly bunch and completely welcoming to a newbie! 

At my first session it was almost like having my own personal trainer as I was talked through the different techniques, the equipment, how to stand, even what shoes I should wear (Converse or Vans in case you’re interested – the flat shoe is perfect for balancing your weight correctly – who knew?!) and then given a lightweight bar to work with. Oh and a buddy too which was super nice! 

By the end of my first session I’d graduated to the 8kg bar and had done several back squats and bench lifts too (sidenote: please forgive any incorrect terminology in this and future blog posts – it will completely be me being forgetful as the trainers/coaches TOTALLY know their stuff!) My glasses were steamed up with the exertion and I had a massive smile on my face – I totally loved it! 

The day after 
Surprisingly not too bad. I could still move everything when I woke up in the morning. Not too achey. I’ve totally got this…

The day after the day after 
Owwwwwww! Why is walking downstairs so painful? Why are my legs not working each time I stand up from my desk? Arrrggghhh I can’t kneel down to play with the dog cos MY LEGS! So turns out, it’s 48 hours after when the squat-ache sets in! And about another 48 hours for your legs to feel like normal again. 

Next session 
All booked in! I’m going back on Sunday and I’m hoping to graduate to the 15kg bar – wish me luck! 

Weeks 2 – 4: moving forward

In week 2 I just casually pulled a 52kg sledge along the road. As you do. I’m not going to lie – it made me feel like a total bad-ass superhero….with wobbly legs *lolz* 

In week 3 I carried two 16kg kettle bells down the road, while holding a conversation with two people and praying that my hands didn’t fall off. The hardest thing was actually putting them back down again – owwwww my hands! And I graduated to the 15kg bar too *proud* 

In week 4 I brought my own buddy along because I’d been going on about how much I love it and how great it is and she was all like, I want to come, I want to come! From my many years and several failed attempts at staying motivated with exercise, one of the biggest factors for success is having someone there with me, to chivy me along when I get lazy and also just for the support and encouragement. I’m even more excited about going now! 


Summing up

First things first: I’m absolutely LOVING it! From the outside, all those people doing crazy looking stuff might seem intimidating but trust me when I say they are some of the nicest people I have ever met. Usually in a gym people shuffle around from place to place, not really looking at anyone and you definitely don’t see trainers and coaches going round correcting technique unless you’re paying for it. At Crossfit Ulysses the coaches are there with you all the time, giving you hints and tips, basically making sure that you do everything exactly right and being super friendly about it too. 

All the people who go are lovely too. Everyone is super welcoming to newbies and you generally chit chat while you’re working in pairs or staggering down the road carrying huge weights *chuckles* Even though I’ve only been going a short while it’s got a real family feel about it – a super strong kick ass family and one I definitely want to be a part of! 

I’ve got two goals that I want to achieve and I’m writing them down here so that I’m accountable to myself and to you lot too. 1) I want to successfully achieve at least one pull up. Yep, I want to pull up my entire body weight (and trust me when I say that is not a light weight) right up to that bar just by using my own strength, that I’ve worked super hard to gain. I will be absolutely BUZZING if I ever do it! And 2) I want to try one of the CrossFit classes. Even though they look really scary and I worry that I might just fall over at the end from sheer exhaustion. 

I’ll be back again at the end of my three month free trial to let you know how I’m getting on. And if you’re in any way tempted from reading this to give it a go, don’t hang about. Absolutely do it! If you spot the big haired redhead in the snazzy gym leggings come and say hey.

I would totally recommend that you go and give them a follow on Instagram and Facebook to read some truly inspirational stories. And if you want even more inspiration that this kind of thing can truly be for everyone, check out MeganLillieFitness too – it was this gal who gave me the courage to try it out for myself – she’s teeny, totally kick-ass and can deadlift almost 1.5 times her own bodyweight – if you don’t think that’s impressive we can’t be friends. 

See you back here in a few more weeks when I let you know if I’ve achieved that pull-up…wish me luck strength!