South Africa has seen an explosion of CrossFit boxes opening in the past year, nearly tripling the number of registered affiliates. We interview Boris Kramer of CrossFit Real World Fitness (CrossFit RWF) to see what makes him and his CrossFit box stand out among the rest…
How long have you been involved in fitness and sports?
I have been actively involved in fitness now for almost three years. I was very active during my school career and my love for fitness has always been there, even if it was dormant for a while.
Tell us a little about your sports qualifications.
I studied part-time at ETA in Centurion completing my course in fitness with merits. During the same time I did my CrossFit Level One and I recently completed my CKT1 in Kettle-bell Sport.
What got you started into CrossFit and when did you open your box?
I was introduced to the idea of CrossFit by one of my lecturers and my first experience was at a non-affiliate. I wasn’t yet aware of trademark infringements, all I cared about was what this new method of training was that I had instantly fallen in love with. I then opened my box in April 2012, almost two years ago now.
What do you think of the state of CrossFit in South Africa and its growth?
All I can say is, WOW! It’s been overwhelming, but it’s great. The more boxes, the more exposure we all get. CrossFit is still very new in SA, so there will be hick-ups, but they iron themselves out quick enough. I’m very excited about the future.
What would you say is the most fundamental aspect you emphasise as a coach with your members at your box?
Safety first! The majority of accidents I hear about are not because CrossFit as a sport is un-safe, but because individuals take short-cuts. I try instil a culture of safe repetitions with good form before we move to heavy loads.
Tell us a little about your CrossFit box?
After my first CrossFit WoD I was hooked. I wanted to share it with everyone and I wanted a place where I could go any time and live my passion. This is how CrossFit RWF was born almost two years ago. I like to compare us to that little Italian restaurant hidden away where no one thinks to look and yet they drive past all the time; that place where the owner greets you by name and remembers your favourite dish. A place where the cutlery doesn’t match and every wine glass is different, but you don’t care because you feel like you’ve arrived at your home away from home. We are a family box where the mom that’s raising the kids, the dad that’s a surgeon or the student that’s an Olympic athlete can feel at home because here we are all the same.
What do you believe really sets your CrossFit box aside from other boxes in South Africa?
What makes my box different is its unique energy; I bring my own personality into the box and this in turns attracts people that are like minded.
What are your goals, as a coach and for the box, in 2014?
As a coach my goal is always to expand my knowledge and apply to my coaching techniques. I have taken on a fantastic business partner, Fritz Pienaar, and together we plan on taking CrossFit RWF and its members to a brand new level. Just how that’s going to happen you’ll have to wait and watch this space.
What one piece of equipment do you enjoy using the most, and which do you members enjoy the most?
I love the Kettle-bell, because we use it so often the members have learned to love it also. I guess anything you become good at, you love. If you had to ask me what they hate, now that list is a little longer…
If there’s one piece of equipment or gear you believe every CrossFitter should have, what would it be and why?
I’ll have to stick with the Kettle-bell. She is small enough to travel with and the diversity of movement options and sequences is endless. She has humbled the hardest of men.
The 2014 CrossFit Games are open us, what are your thoughts for the 2014 season for SA and our athletes?
This is a very exciting time for everyone in CrossFit community. I expect an insanely high level of competition this year. I think people should take it in their stride. The pressure to do well is at its highest for many athletes now and not everyone handles it the same way. There can be only one winner so there is going to be much disappointment if you don’t enter this season with the right mind-set and heart. Enjoy your victories and learn from your failures and most of all, have fun.
Which athletes, even if they’re not from your box, are you keen to see make waves at this year’s CrossFit Games Africa Regional?
That’s a hard one. With so many boxes and new faces on the scene, it’s anyone’s guess. I would love to see an unknown show his or her face like Dave Levey did – he came out of nowhere and just dominated. We will see a lot of this in the future, I think. For now I have my eye on Gerhard van der Merwe and Wilna Apple from CrossFit PBM and even a few guys from CrossFit Bryanston have been stepping it up in the strength department. Not sure what Dave Levey and Albert van Zyl (CrossFit Bryanston) are feeding their crew, but whatever it is, they should share. However, in all fairness, to all the athletes out there, it is anyone’s game. If you put in the work, it will pay off.