Roger Birchall; My CrossFit Journey – Saxon CrossFit Chronicles

To be a true warrior at Saxon CrossFit you need to strive to be the best version of yourself which means displaying dedication, tenacity and the willingness to change. Roger, a member at Saxon CrossFit, and a CrossFitter for ten years, displays all of these qualities. He is a true warrior. He has passed his tenacity, energy and fortitude on to his children who already display all of the attributes of mighty Saxons. The Chronicle of Roger’s journey is an inspiration to us all. Read on and be inspired by his story told in his own words.

I started my journey with CrossFit back in the Summer of 2014. I was on a contract job up in Aberdeen and looking for an activity to do in the evening, next to my digs was a “normal” gym, but my interest was drawn to an industrial unit where I could hear some banging tunes and a rather interesting sound that turned out to be the crash of barbells to the floor, every once in a while a group of people would emerge from an open shutter and run to a set of road signs (sound familiar?). So this is what turned out to be Aberdeen CrossFit and I signed up and this is where I first got to know Fran and Cindy.

The start of my fitness journey began back as I turned 40, when I went for an NHS health MOT, the summary of the conversation was “you’re fat and 40, do you want to be dead and 50” Harsh perhaps but I started running the next day. I quickly worked out running on tarmac wasn’t for me (or my knees) and then started running on the trails, woods and fields around Hethersett, quickly realizing, not only was I loosing weight, I was getting fitter, and also the open country and improving fitness helped with the metal health- and confidence side of things, turns out I could make a change after all Running was OK now, but I was after something else, so joined a bootcamp that I still attend to this day, the advantage of this was very much functional fitness with movements we all recognize, and yes it has burpees, but also weighted runs, cleans and deadlifts. The lads at the bootcamp persuaded me to sign up to a now famous obstacle course race, “Spartan” and that is the first time I got a motivational speech from our own “Spartan Phil”. I loved it.

Reading OCR Magazine, a number of articles mentioned crossfit as a way to improve your performance at these races, so when I came across Crossfit I was sold as I learned new skills, primary among them was rope climbs and grip strength for the monkey bars and “rigs”, you’d be surprised how many people cant even hold there own body weight never mind lift it.

I ventured away from CrossFit for a while once my contract finished in Aberdeen, but continued OCR’s and bootcamp, and then joined the journey again here in Norfolk, I became vaguely aware of Saxon as I began to see T-Shirts and hoodies about, and occasionally went to Hullaballoos for kids parties, and noticed the interesting sign at the end of 11 Mile Lane, but it was my partner who first joined Saxon, and it was her who made me join Saxon in the end as she thought it would be nice as we could do it “together”, turned out doing something together meant “Murph” but I was hooked again, the atmosphere in the Box whenever we do Murph is really something to behold, but don’t let certain Saxon members persuade you to wear a weighted jacket….or do, and see how you get on.

The thing I like about Saxon and CrossFit is that the hour (or probably longer if we get chatting) I am there I can forget about all those other things that are sent to test us in life and just focus on why I can’t see for sweat, wonder why I am in pain and struggling to breath, or have a little chat with myself about picking up that bar or knocking out a few more burpees, (I think I can safely claim to be one of the sweatiest at Saxon…a sign I can control my body temperature rather well).

I do enjoy the community….especially since I’m very much part of a group of people (of a certain age) who are still focused on our fitness…

Lockdown proved an interesting time for us all at Saxon, but it kept a lot of us sane, there was nothing like doing a Super Saturday, going for the run section of it (there was always something that involved running) and bumping into your fellow Saxons coming the other way as they did the same work out, I still love Super Saturdays for the fact that we are thrown together and told to get on with it.

Another aspect of Saxon I really appreciate is Sam and Maddie and their development of our “yoof”. No1 child, though familiar with CrossFit headed down another sporting route, No2 Child, who some of you may see now and again at the Academy Classes is of an age where boundless amounts of energy need a conduit.

There is nothing better than doing a work out with him alongside me, which can occasionally happen when no one else is at home and I have to take him along or the Academy classes were quiet, he can beat me on the body weight stuff, and now the running, very easily but I can still outlift him….

Oliver developed a reputation for being the fittest in his footy team so that is why the Academy now has loads of kids on a Saturday, but I think a real moment was when We attended his first Crossfit Competition. As an 11-year-old he was never going to beat a 13-year- old in his age class, but there was a real father-son moment to be had when he showed the grit needed to return to the comp floor after a WOD that had pushed him (beyond) his limit, guided by Sam and Maddie he went back to the floor and went at it again…proud Dad moment but I may have had to explain to Maddie and Sam that I had stubbed my toe…….