Lifestyle

Lifting fitness to another level

  • Former rugby player Henry Adderley now lives for CrossFit (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
  • Former rugby player Henry Adderley now lives for CrossFit (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
  • Former rugby player Henry Adderley now lives for CrossFit (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
  • Former rugby player Henry Adderley now lives for CrossFit (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

For years Henry Adderley lived and breathed rugby. Then he tore ligaments in both knees in two separate games. His rugby career was over.

“I felt disappointed,” said the 48-year-old. “Watching from the sidelines was awful. I tried to play again but mentally was not up to it.”

Looking for a new way to exercise, in 2008 he found CrossFit routines online.

CrossFit is a fitness regimen billing itself as both physical exercise and a competitive fitness sport.

Participants can take part remotely in the CrossFit Open in mid-January.

Mr Adderley was used to tough workouts in rugby, but was floored when CrossFit had him jumping rope.

“I couldn’t believe they asked me to skip,” said Mr Adderley. “It was the funniest thing. I hadn’t jumped rope in my life, and it was absolutely brutal.”

Another CrossFit workout done with the help of a trainer, pushed his boundaries even further.

“I had to do a handstand,” said Mr Adderley. “I hadn’t done one since I was a child in my parents’ hallway.

“A trainer had to help me get my legs up against the wall. I held them there for about three seconds, but it felt like 30 minutes.”

Some people might have been turned off by the wobbliness that followed the handstand, but not Mr Adderley.

“I thought it was pretty cool,” he said. “CrossFit satisfied my desire to stay active and compete. It is not just one type of exercise or discipline.

“It mixes a lot of different things from lifting weights to body weight exercises to gymnastics, running, swimming, and biking. Very few days are the same, so there is lots of variety.

“It also exposes you to things you may not have thought about, like skipping or handstands.”

In 2012 he joined LifeThyme CrossFit on Dundonald Street West, and certified to train children and adults.

Then in 2014, he and his wife, Amy, bought the gym.

Earlier this year he left his marketing job to run LifeThyme CrossFit full time.

“Because the business was slowly growing, we thought it was time,” said Mr Adderley.

Last month, he received his Level Two CrossFit certification.

“There are four levels altogether,” he said. “To teach, you have to get your Level One. Level Two takes the certification further and really reinforces how you teach the principles of CrossFit to a broader range of people.

“I think in Bermuda there are two CrossFit certified trainers, but, worldwide, CrossFit has exploded.”

CrossFit uses progressions to make everything accessible to people.

“I think this is the best thing about it. You can walk in and see gymnastics going on, while other people are doing muscle ups, handstands and skipping.” He said the level of intensity is tailored to each client.”

During his Level Two Certification process, higher level coaches picked apart his teaching style and technique.

“Then they build you back up again and say this is a better way to do this,” he said. “This is how you handle this individual and this individual.

“So many more people are coming in to try CrossFit who have their own health and injury challenges. You have to be able to react to them in a class setting.”

He refuted reports in the American media that CrossFit causes a high rate of injuries.

“The information out there now is that it is a lot less dangerous than a lot of other activities,” he said. “Like anything, if you don’t have an experienced coach leading, you could have a greater risk of injury.

“I have hurt myself a lot more playing rugby than I have with CrossFit. In fact, I don’t think I have hurt myself at all with CrossFit.”

He said CrossFit’s first aim was to get its clients to move well. Once the movement is mastered, the trainer starts to increase the difficulty level of the exercise. In a class of 20 people everyone’s intensity needs will be different.

Mr Adderley’s clients range from senior citizens to toddlers. He particularly likes working with children. His own children Jack 11, and Margaret, 8, participate in a lot of the children’s classes.

“It’s a real family atmosphere here,” he said. “With the children we make it as fun as possible. There are loads of games. The kids are running around and learning exercises, but they think they are playing Duck Duck Goose. We play lots of variations of tag, and dodge ball using exercise. We do loads of balance and co-ordination work and lots of tumbling.

“Then, as they get more efficient and interested, we break out PVC pipes. We start teaching them barbell movements with the PVC pipe, which weighs ounces.”

His challenge now is to convince more people that CrossFit is not just for the young and fit.

“We hear it all the time and it is not true,” he said. “It is ready for you and it is ready right now.”

LifeThyme CrossFit offers personal training for people who feel they are not yet ready to take part in a class of 20 people, and also offers small group sessions.

“Obviously, with any sort of exercise, you do need to get your doctors’ clearance if you have a health condition,” he said. “But if you are overweight and haven’t exercised in a while and just need to start moving again, yes, we are for you.”

Mr Adderley says CrossFit has changed his life.

“It has given me something to do that I love,” he said. “It makes me more conscious of moving better and eating better.

“I am no saint, but I am better than I was a couple of years ago. Every day when I wake up, I can’t wait to see the kids come in and do their thing.

“I think about CrossFit all the time, whether it’s about running the business, preparing for classes or teaching. It is quite involved.”

For more information, call 705-6915, e-mail hadderley@gmail.com or visit lifethymecrossfit.com.