Crossfit and Barbells are not only for the Skinny People

I couldn’t walk up a hill without stopping and being out of breathe. Even the basic tasks were hard, such as picking something up off the floor or playing with my nephew. He was one of my incentives to do this, I thought, as I promised him I would teach him to climb a tree.

I joined my local gym again, and after trying a few different programs and instructors, I was introduced to Tom Chilton. In March 2014, he changed my program gradually over the months and I started to see results. To start with, I was doing the usual gym things such as x trainer and weight machines. I often saw people at the other end of the gym using the barbells and thought I could never do that as barbells are supposed to be for the skinny people.

Barbells are supposed to be for the skinny people?

After 3 months I received a free PT session and was introduced to burpees and wall balls. Because my movement was so bad, the burpees were changed to step ups. But this didn’t deter me, it spurred me on to get better. Over the next months I was doing more and more Crossfit, and I loved it. I was learning one movement at a time, which when put together made another move. Only recently did I discover that by doing inch worms and regression handstand press ups, that this was helping me towards doing wall walks.

After a few PT sessions the day came that I  thought never would. I was shown how to do a clean, and that meant using a barbell (a very light one admittedly). Then I used it in my workout that day.

I thought I was going to die, but thoroughly enjoyed it.


During further training sessions I was shown more of the Olympic lifts along with front and back squats. Also other movements that incorporate these such as clusters or push presses, and they appeared in the programs in various ways. I was recently given the option to follow a program that is designed to improve your lifts and I jumped at the opportunity, as I loved working with the barbell.

I am fortunate to have a coach that is very patient and has helped me, from doing an air squat and not able to break parallel, to being able to do ‘ass to grass air’ squats.

It didn’t happen overnight but with time and perseverance.

This was the same for all the movements. There are many that I still struggle with and my biggest nemesis is the squat snatch / overhead squat, but my love for the barbell means I keep trying.

The barbell often wins the fight but I keep going back for more.

This is coming from someone who thought only the skinny could lift weights and never thought someone my age could ever do an Olympic lift, how things change.

It has now been about 18 months since I started this type of programming and I have learnt a lot from it.

  1. Barbells are for everyone who wants to try.
  2. Move no matter how small.
  3. Do not give up.
  4. Be consistent.
  5. Take control of your thoughts.

These are not in any order as each one becomes number one at some point.

By trying have I lost anything?

Yes, weight. I am now 4 stone lighter. Have I gained anything? Yes I have:

The obvious is muscle, but I have gained a love of the sport and not just the barbell, but all that Crossfit is, wall balls or the dreaded burpees. I have also gained friends and a change of attitude that has benefited me in and out of the gym.

I would like to think I am one of those skinny barbell females, but I can dream and persevere, but now I am skinnier and the barbell exercises in their many forms have helped me get there. I still haven’t climbed the tree, but now that is a possibility.

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