Making Challenges Feel Good

Jade Sarsero, Physiotherapist at UFIT Clinic and CrossFitter at UFIT Tanjong Pagar gets ready for the CrossFit Open talks about why it’s a great sport and how becoming friends with your physical therapists can really help you improve your performance and get the most out of your competition in 2019.

The CrossFit Open is coming. Why is it so great and why should you make friends with your physical therapists?

I started CrossFit over a year ago back in Wales and fell in love with the sport. CrossFit for me is a second family. I know I’m going to love UFIT Tanjong Pagar when I joined and it will soon become my second home. As a physiotherapist and a woman, CrossFit allows me to push my body to its limits under the supervision of experienced coaches. Every day is a new challenge, and CrossFit allows me to focus mentally and get rid of other stresses in my life. If you have NEVER weight trained before (or trained only on machines), CrossFit is a great place for you to start. You’ll learn how to do all of the important lifts in a super supportive and non-judgmental environment. You might even find that… (GASP)… you love strength training!


But doesn’t everyone get injured doing CrossFit?

In short, yes you can possibly get injured. But that could be said for any sport or exercise, or even driving a car. In the wrong situations, with the wrong coaches, and for a person with the wrong attitude, CrossFit can be dangerous. But when you’re in the RIGHT situation and with the right team and coaches, there’s really no reason to get injured.

During a CrossFit workout, you’re often told to complete a number of strength training or endurance exercises as fast as possible, or complete as many repetitions as possible within a certain amount of time. For that reason, it’s REALLY easy to sacrifice form in exchange for finishing the workout quickly. If you don’t have somebody spotting you or telling you to keep your form in check, then you’re in trouble.

CrossFit isn’t the problem. The problem is that we don’t fully understand the stress we are imposing on our bodies when we perform movements incorrectly.

 When it comes to strength training, improper form (especially at high speeds with heavy weights) is the fastest way to get seriously injured. Luckily, UFIT Tanjong Pagar and CrossFit Bukit Timah are run by experienced and committed UFIT coaches who are always on hand to correct your form.

So what’s the CrossFit Open?

The Open makes you realise you can do things you never thought you could do, or even think about trying in a class. It’s a global competition that is open to anybody and everybody who does CrossFit. An opportunity to compete against yourself, the professionals and the rest of the world, as everyone does the same WOD.

It’s not about “paying $20 to see how unfit you are” which I have heard many people say, it’s about the community, the atmosphere and the friendships it creates. It’s about witnessing people get their first pull up, handstand push up, double under or first ever Rx work out. There’s no better feeling than hard work paying off. I for one struggle to achieve an Rx work out and look forward to the Open challenging my abilities and to be pushed by my new friends at UFIT Tanjong Pagar.


The Importance of Physiotherapy for CrossFit

Physiotherapy is one of the most under-utilised avenues of rehabilitation among conventional fitness athletes and CrossFitters. Physiotherapists are movement specialists with a deep understanding of the human anatomy. Physios are also the main point of contact for physical medicine and unlike many primary care physicians, physios usually won’t tell athletes to give up the sport they love. Instead, we will provide athletes with the tools they need to understand how their bodies can perform better in those conditions.

As a CrossFitter myself I understand how frustrating it can be when you are unable to do the recommended WOD or do a technique due to injury. This is partly because I am highly competitive but also, I enjoy pushing myself in each session. However, I recognise when my body is not happy, with pain being a tell-tale sign. It is the body’s way of checking back in to let us know something we have done is “not cool”. Underlying weakness can be difficult to identify without specific testing. We can still perform functional movements because of compensation. Our bodies are the masters of compensation, but after enough time they will start to break down. Muscles need to be re-educated at the core of their neural connections in order to work properly in conjunction with other muscles.

Key things to note to avoid injury during the Open:

  • Good form and technique – discuss with the coaches if you don’t feel confident with your movements or skill

  • Appropriate mobility – making sure your joints have the range of motion needed to do a skill, for example, ankle mobility for a squat

  • Warming up and cooling down

  • Set realistic goals/weights during the workouts – Favour small gains instead of big leaps, don’t fall victim to the pressure of the Box – as mentioned above, don’t sacrifice form for a shorter time on the clock

  • Listen to your body, it will let you know when you’re not happy doing something

The Open is 5 consecutive weeks of challenges. It’s a long slog and can be extremely tiring and testing for your body. You will push yourself and you will get swept along with the energy and competition and that is the fun stuff.

But you must also realise that RECOVERY and BODY MAINTENANCE are just as important as determination to get you over the line in the best possible state. Make sure you look after yourself. See your physiotherapist if you have any concerns. Having sport massages is also recommended. You can do so every week if you can, you will never regret it and your body will thank you.

 Head over to UFIT Clinic Raffles Quay to see Jade Sarsero or any of our physiotherapists and Movement Therapists at UFIT Clinic One North and Orchard! Embrace the challenge of CrossFit at UFIT Tanjong Pagar and CrossFit Bukit Timah!

For those participating in the CrossFit Open at CrossFit Bukit Timah and UFIT Tanjong Pagar, UFIT Clinic is offering 5 x 30 minutes sports massage for $450 at any of the 3 Clinics for the 5-week duration of the CrossFit Open from 22 February to 30 March


Naturally sociable and full of energy, Jade finds escape in exercise and CrossFit. She has worked in one of the busiest hospitals in South Wales and worked with athletes ranging from rugby players to gymnasts. Her areas of expertise include recovery from injuries and developing strategies to prevent recurrences. Jade takes great pride in helping her clients reach their goals.