When I first moved to New Zealand I decided to take up hockey. It was one of my first social groups as a new “off the boat” immigrant.  I played for the Featherston social team for a while and then progressed to starting a social team, for Dalefield with my friend Robyn. After this my exercise, for whatever reason stopped.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a big girl, with a big personality. I work on the body positive philosophy and don’t let my size get in the way. I don’t believe that it should. I’ve done acting, I run my own business and front my own band.  None of this depends on my size. I just wanted to get that out of the way before I start talking about fitness.

Recently, my lack of breath control on stage prompted me to think about my fitness and my stage performances. I am writing songs my body can’t keep up with. I needed to do something about it.

At the same time as I had this shift in thought I met Allan French through a course run by The Wānanga O Aotearoa. We were both doing the Diploma in Small Business and Project Management.

One day, up pops Allan on messenger looking for some help with a project. I meet with Allan and Ngapera, his partner and co owner of the box. We have a long conversation about fitness and exercise. It is evident both are very passionate about health, fitness and nutrition and as we chat and I become more intrigued by their business, which I now find out is CrossFit Manaia. We talk about CrossFit and accessibility and who can get involved and somehow I become hooked into a session the next day at 7.30am (Saturday).

I gingerly pull on my trainers and track pants and also enlist my 16 year old son to come with me as moral support and off we go, heading out of the door in the dark to our first ever CrossFit session.

I was sure I was going to die.

As I walk through the door of the CrossFit box I am met with lots of friendly and supportive athletes. I have no idea what I am about to face.

Allan and Ngapera guide both Sam and I through a scaled down version of the workout that the rest were doing. This matched our fitness level. I  found out that the workouts are performed all together doing the same exercises.

The workout was challenging and tough but I was supported and motivated throughout to keep moving and to keep going by the coaches and by the other team members. There was a fun warm up at the start and then after we finished we all headed off to The 10 o’clock Cookie for breakfast.

The following Saturday I felt motivated to again climb out of bed with my son and head off to the CrossFit “box” for a workout.

Each workout is different and some of them have names, this one was called “Pain Storm”. Even though this has got to be the most challenging workout I have ever done, it was enjoyable, within my capacity and left me wanting more (my muscles were definitely worked as felt the burn for a few days).

So now they’ve hooked us in.  Sam and I are now going to CrossFit regularly. This week I have been attending CrossFit Lite on Tuesday and Thursday evening. This class prepares you to join the regular class. Our instructor is kind and supportive, but works you hard and is attentive to your fitness level, at no point have I felt out of place in the “box”.

The results on my fitness have been fast.  The first week I could not do any of the running in the workout, I instead walked within my capacity, the second week, I could run some of the way.  My legs are stronger, my emotional well being is stronger, my posture is better and my fitness is improving.  This is only after 4 sessions. After every session I feel a different lot of muscles have been worked.

In the past I have struggled to find the right fitness program. I find going to the traditional “gym” boring. I can’t motivate myself to move and I hate walking by myself.  CrossFit just seems to appeal to my way of working, in fact I’d say it’s like playing a team sport without the egos.

If you feel like you need some motivation and a supportive team to help you achieve your fitness goals then I think CrossFit is worth a try.  You can find CrossFit Manaia on Facebook if you want to check it out.