Five hundred crossfitters descended on Rotorua's Lakes Ranch at the weekend to put their fitness to the test in the 2TOA Aotearoa pairs Crossfit competition. Among them was Rotorua Daily Post sports reporter David Beck.
I often hear people saying Crossfit is a cult.
I guess, from the outside looking in, it probably does look a bit that way. When you listen to a couple of crossfitters talking you might struggle to keep up as they mention AMRAPs (as many reps as possible), WODs (workout of the day) and pistols (one legged squats).
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I'll tell you what though, if it is a cult, it's one I don't mind being in. I'm fitter, healthier, stronger and more energetic than I've ever been. I've lost 30kg since January and I can do pull ups - I'm finally winning the war against gravity.
I've also found a renewed love for competition, something I've missed since finishing high school and giving up cricket and football 10 years ago. For the past two years I have reported on the 2TOA Aotearoa competition run by Crossfit Rotorua, but this year I bit the bullet and stepped on to the competition floor myself.
I teamed up with Aterea Thrupp, a 13-year-old from Crossfit Rotorua where I also train and over two days at Lakes Ranch we tackled a range of different workouts in the Beginner Men's division.
We finished 12th overall, out of 15 competitors. Our best finishes were fourth in a workout comprising burpees and thrusters, and seventh in the mud run. I didn't go into it expecting to win and I don't think either of us could've pushed any harder, so we were happy.
Competing in pairs adds an extra element: communication. You have to go into each workout with a strategy but be able to communicate clearly with your partner if you want to change it up on the fly.
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I was blown away by Aterea's efforts. He's a pretty quiet, unassuming kid and he was the youngest competitor in any division by a long way. Competing against grown men, he was never overawed by the occasion and we pushed each other right to the end.
I think that's my favourite thing about Crossfit; you get people from all walks of life - all ages, genders, races and abilities - spurring each other on in an effort to live healthier, more active lifestyles. At competitions, those who finish a workout last get the loudest cheer from the crowd, if someone is struggling to complete a movement, such as the hand stand walk, when they finally get it everyone goes nuts.
During the weekend I spoke to a woman who has lost 60kg in the past year, similarly to me she has finally found a form of exercise she loves. There was a father and son from Christchurch who train together in their own garage and won the hearts of everyone there as they went up against some of the fittest athletes in New Zealand.
The whole competition was full of inspirational moments and stories and I have come out of it more eager than ever to keep training and working on my weaknesses.
What some call a cult, I would refer to as a community. I had my doubts about Crossfit before I gave it a go and now I can't get enough. I love being part of the Crossfit Rotorua whānau and I got to see the massive effort that went on behind the scenes to make 2TOA Aotearoa happen. Hosting 500 athletes over two days is no mean feat but a small community came together to achieve a mighty goal.