Every now and then we like to have a guest write our blog posts. Today’s post has been written by the Saxon legend Chris Booker. Enjoy.

” Hi everyone,

Serendipitously, my attempt at a guest blog post (that’s this) follows on from Coach Tim’s excellent one on CrossFit and mental health. I’ve actually had the idea for a while and was inspired to get round to writing this a few weeks ago, after doing a very limited session due to a back problem. Maybe I had a reason to be feeling sorry for myself, but afterwards, I realised that I was really happy! I’d enjoyed the workout, taken the time to thank people and tell them what a great job I thought they were doing, and hung around to encourage the next class. Everyone asked how I was doing. We talked, joked and laughed between lifts. I saw friends get PB power cleans and another, new coach Els, excelling at coaching like a veteran. I was proud. No wonder I felt very happy. I appreciated it all. And when I came to write this, I realised just how many different ways CrossFit is beneficial.

I help run a “depression self-help group” and, through that, I’ve seen several lists of things like “The N Ways to Wellbeing”, where N is a small positive integer (about 5-10). N and the terminology vary a bit, but they are always very similar.

They always include exercise. Obviously CrossFit fulfils this. Even if the workout is horrendous, it can make you feel good and is good for you. But that’s not the only list item it satisfies.

CrossFit encourages you to eat well. You want to make progress and the foundation for it all is nutrition. “Eat” is the first word of “CrossFit in 100 Words”. (Okay, so I fail at/object to word two!) There’s plenty of advice available at Saxon – see the recent blog posts.

It will help you sleep better too, and probably relax. Just make sure you allow time for these.

The lists often say it’s helpful to have goals. Who doesn’t have CrossFit goals? Doing a pull-up, box-jump, some significant barbell lift… ambitions to work towards. Recently, I was delighted to achieve one of mine, but the process is even more important than the result.

They recommend trying new things. To start with, CrossFit is defined as “constantly varied”. It includes Olympic lifting, “strongman”, and some gymnastics movements that you’re unlikely to try at a conventional gym. And there are lots of other things I have tried because of CrossFit, from paddleboarding for Tribal Clash to new foods when socialising with members.

Similarly, they advise you to keep learning. I’ve been going to Saxon for over 3 years and it’s surprising how often I learn something new. Things related to fitness and exercise and unrelated. Tim alone is a “fountain of knowledge” on so many topics, although there are a few you might not want to learn about!

I’ve seen these previous three expressed as challenge yourself, and just realised that every Saxon workout is programmed to make you do exactly that.

Sometimes the lists include boosting confidence and self-esteem. That’s not something anyone can just do, but if anything can help, Saxon can. I’ve been told it has made a huge difference to me many times.

It’s wonderful that giving and doing things for others is its own reward, and so ubiquitous to the lists. The Saxon environment makes you want to give back. This can be seen every day in the support and generosity of the members. And there are big examples, like Rob’s Bootcamp, the Johnson’s hospitality, members becoming coaches and Gary taking on co-ownership.

Something that doesn’t appear on all the lists, maybe because it’s too obvious, is have fun. Saxon is FUNctional fitness – everything is fun there. With the right attitude, even the worst 40 minute EMOM! And how many times do you laugh during a class? Get the chips out because you’ll lose count!

Another thing that is always included in some form is awareness. Part of this is noticing and appreciating good and amazing things, including emotions. As I hope this proves, there’s lots to appreciate at Saxon alone. Another aspect is being focussed on something so that you forget about other worries. That’s how I am at the box. I have come to associate the Cheers theme with Saxon:

“Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.

 Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.

 Wouldn’t you like to get away?

 Sometimes you want to go

 Where everybody knows your name.

 And they’re always glad you came.”

– Where Everybody Knows Your Name, by Gary Portnoy & Judy Hart Angelo

Which brings me to what I think is the most important element on all the lists: connecting with people. That would explain why the community is regularly cited as the best thing about Saxon CrossFit. Sometimes the lists talk of being “part of something bigger” – that’s Saxon. It engages everyone. It brings together diverse people with a common interest. Perhaps nothing does that better than shared suffering, like a brutal, “spicy” workout! That’s just the starting point for members becoming great friends.

So I present to you my own list of 1 Thing for Wellbeing: Saxon CrossFit!

“Cheers”, Saxons! “