How Total Gym Helped my Crossfit Competition

Friday 12pm.

Here I am, about to embark on a new adventure and I have to admit that I am nervous. It has been a very long time since I have actually competed in a sporting arena, especially as an individual or in this case a pair.
Whilst watching the athletes arrive to register for the event, I find myself scanning the crowd of active wear attired, stern visaged participants, trying to pick out my competition. Is that rather imposing, heavily tattooed gentleman competing in the same category as me or is he, hopefully, part of the younger, elite competition? What about that short, stocky bloke with the razor cut hair and bushy beard? The diversity and variety of people here illustrates how big an impact this sport is having on our communities.

For those of you now wondering what I am doing, I am entered into my first ever Crossfit competition.
Yes, I have been “drinking the kool-aid” as detractors of this sport call it. I have embraced the somewhat manic, sometimes idiotic and oftentimes intense world of Crossfit.
Does this mean that I have to retract everything I have said about this training or that I am changing my whole philosophy around training and living a healthy lifestyle?
Short answer: No.
I stand firm in my belief that this type of training is not for everybody and it is definitely not for every body. This is a technical and physically demanding activity that has the capacity to cause serious damage to unconditioned bodies. The combination of heavy weights, high repetitions and protracted time limits means that even the elite athletes can get injured and this, I believe, is where a lot of the negativity comes from.
The question is, is this any different from many other competitive sports? How many rugby, netball, hockey, football, the list goes on, injuries are there every day? How many people have died participating in seemingly safer activities?

I have been training at Crossfit for 3 months but I have been training in a gym environment for 36 years (No, that does not mean that I started as a baby) so, for me, this weekend is about pushing my body to its limits and testing whether my philosophy of building a strong stable body through intelligent and progressive training will keep me out of the hospital or the physio clinic. I am not entered as a beginner but as a Masters athlete amongst some very seasoned athletes competing at a level just one step below the elite which means that we are pushing, pulling and lifting serious weight as hard and as fast as we can. If I am wrong, then I will break but if I am right, then I will be back to my normal routine on Tuesday feeling no worse than I normally would after a big training session.

Sunday 11am.
The event is over and the weekend is almost done.
It turns out that the short stocky guy was a judge and Mr Tattoo was in a different division so I dodged a bullet there.
My body, whilst tired, is still strong and intact and I feel good. I am stoked with how the work that I have done on the Total G®®ym® has provided me with a very solid foundation and helped keep me competitive. I am more convinced than ever that the awareness, control and stabilisation, not forgetting the joint strength and mobilisation, developed on the Total Gym® can have long-term benefits to anyone, no matter what your level.
Time now for a soak in a hot mineral pool and a bit of a mental break before I head back to my usual routine and my fabulous community. The competition inspired me but not nearly as much as I am inspired by all of the awesome clients and Workshop members that I get to spend time with every day.

Peace out.   John Pemberton

JP.jpgWith a background in performance and dance, John has been involved in the fitness industry for over 20 years with the last 10 focused on building his unique Boutique Gym “The Workshop Gym” in Birkenhead.

John works with a varied client base including tri-athletes and professional ballet dancers.  As a Master Trainer for Total Gym and functional fitness equipment, he is passionate about the importance of functional training, core strength and stability –  whether it be for the committed athlete or for those that just want to improve their health and well-being.

John is the owner and director of The Workshop Gym , an Auckland (Birkenhead) based gym  that offers Personal Training, Team Training Programmes or Group Fitness Classes. With Spin, Boxing, Stretch, Yoga, Gravity and  ELEVATE Circuit Training available. John can be contacted at

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