Athlete Profile (CrossFit): Danie Du Preez – Mean Machine

With the explosion of CrossFit in South Africa, many of the local boxes have spurned some exceptional CrossFit athletes. When we speak of exceptional CrossFit athletes, Joburg CrossFit stand-out, Danie Du Preez springs to mind. At 43 years old, he is one of South Africa’s leading CrossFitters.

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Danie is a certified CrossFit trainer and can proudly lay claim to opening the first CrossFit box in South Africa. His box, CrossFit Bodies 4 Christ (B4C) is a thriving CrossFit gym that has many experienced and budding CrossFit athletes and six certified coaches. Danie is an avid CrossFit competitor, he even took first place at the CrossFit Africa Regionals in 2011. We caught up with the CrossFit enthusiast and this is what he had to say…


What is the most rewarding aspect of participating in CrossFit training?
It’s extremely gratifying watching athletes performing feats that they didn’t think were possible.

Why is CrossFit your sport of choice?
I was introduced to CrossFit by a friend (who was a mercenary). He was in the Special Forces and CrossFit was incorporated into their training routine. I am an ex-Special Forces member, so I was immediately intrigued by the variety of skills that it requires you to master and the competitive aspect.

What is the most challenging aspect of CrossFit?
The hardest part for me is being an athlete and running a business. B4C is growing at such a rapid rate which is very time consuming and I am soon opening another gym in Greenstone. I have to make adequate time for my training.

CrossFitters are known to follow the Paleo or Zone diet. Do you also subscribe to this specialized diet?
I follow the Paleo diet with the Zone blocks (quantifying portions). I have seen a major improvement in recovery time, performance and energy levels. As I have a bodybuilding background, I am used to being disciplined in terms of eating.

Take us through a typical day of your CrossFit training.
I am up at 4am and at the gym by 4:30am. At 7am I start my first workout which is a power and endurance session. At 1pm, I bang out a strength training session and at 7:30pm I do game squat training which is basically CrossFit Competition training.

Any plans for the CrossFit Games 2013? 
I would like to qualify in the top 20 in the world. I compete in the masters division and I have taken podium position every year since 2009.

Tell us a bit about your box, CrossFit Bodies for Christ…
Community is a major part of our gym. We start and end the day with prayer. We feel it is important to thank God to be able to train. We also believe in helping out where we can – at the moment we have been assisting an impoverished family with food and clothing.

Apart from the obvious, is there a particular reason that the name of your box has a Christian connotation?
Coming from a bad past, God has given me a second chance. I want God to be with me every step of the way. We even keep a box at the gym for people to drop notes with prayer requests.

In your opinion, can CrossFit training be applied to any sport?
Most definitely. It can be tailored for any sport and it will help athletes to ease from off-season into on-season while maintaining strength and fitness.

Why do you feel CrossFit training trumps conventional training?
You are guided throughout the session at the box so you are not lost in the workout. The gains that you see are incredible and you will always be challenged, learn new skills and never get bored.

What is your favourite type of shoes for CrossFit and why?
Undoubtedly, inov-8’s F-LITE 195s. They are very comfortable, light and durable. As the sole is thin, your feet are closer to the ground, which provides extra stability – especially useful for overhead movement. The added bonus is they look very funky.

Any advice for budding CrossFitters?
Your attitude will determine how well you do in CrossFit. If you are open minded, you will progress faster and definitely learn new skills.

Because we will be featuring some of the top CrossFitters in South Africa, what would you like for us to ask the pros? Is there anything you’d like to ask Danie?

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