Congratulations to Rachel! Since she’s been here, she has embedded herself into our little community. Her husband, Paul, is also here and they are a couple making changes for each other and to set good examples to their kids.

I love some of Rachel’s answers here. Especially how CrossFit has helped with her mental health, confidence, body shape, self-esteem and much more!

1) What do you love about Crossfit, and how does it help you in your day to day life?

Crossfit has definitely had a positive impact on my day to day life. It’s given me more confidence in myself… when I joined six months ago everything was so daunting, every lift seemed really complicated and I always thought I’d have to walk out halfway through a workout and never be able to show my face again! I can’t pretend the workouts have got any easier but I’m happy to tackle each one head-on. I’ve learned that you’re never too old to learn something new and I think that gives me confidence outside of the box, too.

Crossfit definitely helps my mental health (or as I sometimes say, it helps to keep my head on straight). I like the fact that once you’re in the middle of some brutal workout or another there’s no room in your mind to stress about anything else. It’s kind of mindful, in a way. You just focus on the next rep and nothing else matters for the time being. Depression and anxiety have followed me around for quite a few years now and Crossfit is a massive help in keeping the darker times at bay. That’s the main reason why training is a priority for me and I never miss a work out if I can help it.

2) What’s your favourite workout?

I’d say the workouts where you build to a heavy load on a particular lift. I love that feeling when you keep adding and then adding a bit more. Before you know it you’ve surprised yourself and got a new PB! I also love the partner WODs. That’s another area where my confidence has grown. When I started I felt nervous about them and worried about being crap and letting my partner down. People at the box have taught me that no- one is brilliant at everything (well, apart from Rose and James that is!) I’m rubbish at sit-ups and will be slow on those, for example, but I can often make up for lost time if we’re running. We’ve all got different strengths and that’s what makes a good team.

3) What 3 things would you say are Crossfit Woodford’s biggest plus points?

1) Definitely the culture of the community. Different people bring different energies to the workouts and as I said, everyone has their own strengths. I’ve found the members to be so encouraging and supportive. I’m always glad when Fiona is my bar-buddy or partner for a WOD as she is really motivating and also does my maths for me! Beth is brilliant at offering tips and Greg K always notices when you’ve made progress and is really encouraging. I also love the banter in the box, especially when Trish is training!

2) The coaches. They are all quite different personalities and all know how to bring the best out of you… even if I may not like it/them at the time! So much work goes on behind the scenes with the programming and it’s amazing how the different (and sometimes random-seeming) exercises all come together to make you stronger without you even realising it at the time.

3) Location location location! I live about a five-minute walk away from the box (and often look longingly at my house as I run past it on the 1km route!) I’m very lucky to have Crossfit almost on my doorstep. My husband Paul is at the box too and he’d never make his 6 am classes if we were further away!

4 )How has being a part of our community had a positive effect on you?

I’ve met some really great people at Crossfit Woodford. I love how you meet people of all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness levels and Crossfit gives you something in common with them. The dedication of the members and coaches is inspiring and definitely motivates me to train harder.

5) What’s your favourite treat meal?

That would depend on my mood… I don’t think I could pick one favourite but I love Thai and also Turkish food. My main downfall is chocolate though. I can’t have too much of it in my house as I can’t resist it and don’t know when to stop!

6) What would you say to anyone new trying out Crossfit Woodford for the first time?

As a newbie six months ago I did find the workouts a bit intimidating. I got over this (on the most part) by telling myself that I turn up to have a good workout. It doesn’t matter whether I’m first or last to finish a workout or if I keep up with everyone else. Let them do their thing, you do yours and stay in your own lane (so to speak) As I said, there are people of all ages and abilities. You don’t need to beat anyone else or compare….just push yourself and the gainz will come! Everyone gets their butt kicked by Crossfit, whether they’re new to it or have been doing it since its inception! It’s not designed to be easy.

7) What would you say to other full-time mums tempted to try CrossFit?

Do it! I wish I’d done it sooner. It’s a brilliant way to get an hour for yourself here and there doing something to benefit your overall health and well-being… Plus, lifting weights changes your body shape like nothing else can. Not only that, it’s so good to have a pastime or hobby that’s not related to chasing children around. I know how hard it is to find time for yourself but it can be done. Crossfit Woodford have classes to fit any schedule and the thing is, time will pass anyway so why not invest it in making yourself fitter and stronger?

I think of CrossFit as a hobby with the advantage of increased strength, fitness and improved body shape as a side effect, rather than something to endure in order justify eating cake or to lose weight (which is always how I’d approached exercise in the past). It’s definitely a big part of my life now.

I read somewhere that if you do the same you will stay the same. The ‘constantly varied’ part of Crossfit will bring out strengths that you didn’t know you had.