WOW! I have been on this crazy journey for almost 8 years now, it’s so unreal to me that I started this journey what seems like ages ago. So much has changed, so many things have developed and few things have stayed the same. It’s funny to think about where and why I started doing this in the first place, because I am in a much better place now and I train for totally different reasons ( or am I?). If you know me you might find the reason for me starting this journey back then very surprising because I never talk about.
Throughout my story I will take you through moments like how, why and where I started doing my fitness training. I will tell you about situations I don’t want to experience again but taught me a lot about myself and how some bad situations can turn into some of the best opportunities for you in the end. A part of my story will be about the CrossFit journey that I am on right now and how it’s continuing to teach me a lot every single day. I will talk about all of the cool things I am able to do because I started my journey many years ago. I am fitter, leaner and stronger than I have ever been but it took a lot of trial and error for me to get here and I am still on a mission to get better. Now let me take you back to the start. (June 2nd 2012)
The start of a journey I will be on forever
My 16th birthday is coming up and I am excited, not excited for the big 1 6 but for the fact that I am able to sign up for a fitness membership. Now a days it’s not frowned upon to take out a membership before you turn 16 but it wasn’t like that when I wanted to. A lot of people don’t know this but before I took out a membership at this gym I took dance classes once a week at that same gym for about a year. As embarrassing as it is because I suck at dancing, I am okay with that because it opened a path for me to be in the space where I wanted to start my training months later and I enjoyed it. Another embarrassing fact about the start of my journey is the reason I wanted to start in the first place and how I went about preparing for it. A guilty pleasure of mine back then was watching the MTV show ”Jersey shore” and I got into WWE wrestling as well. Both of these shows promote a lot of muscular guys getting everything they wanted and living a cool lifestyle, so I thought to myself: I want that life. I want to be as big and muscular as these guys on TV because I think that’s going to make me happy and more confident. So obviously, like anyone would do, before I could even take out a membership I started eating an entire plate of rice for lunch (just rice). It’s honestly making me laugh while writing this because it seems so ridiculous and silly now, but I am so appreciative of it. First off it makes for a funny story now but it’s also something that would be the start to the journey, a silly and uninformed one but that’s okay.
The day was finally there, I signed up for my first and technically last fitness membership. I made an appointment with one of the fitness trainers there so she could make a fitness program for me. I realize now that she probably did not make one but got a general fitness program from their computer system and gave it to me. I remember it did not include a single free weight exercise, it was all cable machine work and some cardio mixed in (as basic as you’re going to get). While she was showing me the exercises I remember her saying ”Jij voelt deze oefeningen heel goed aan” ( which basically translates to: You have talent when it comes to performing these movements). From that sentence on I felt like I was on the right path and had started something I was meant to do, not knowing how different my surrounding would be in a couple years time. I went to work with these exercises and yes sure there was some beginners progress but not anything you could call significant. I am doing what they’re telling me to do in the gym, but I have no clue what I should be doing outside of it. I obediently followed the programs that they would write out for me, every 4 weeks or so we would have a check up appointment to make some changes or change up the program entirely. This would go on for the next year until I started my fitness internship at a place called ”your life”. You might remember me talking about a situation I don’t want to go back to, well this is that situation.
My fitness internship, Thank you for putting me on different track
It was a little over a year after signing up at the other gym and that same year I had started college. Now that I was in my second year we had to do an internship at a business we thought could benefit us in college and later on in life. I definitely chose the right spot but not for the reasons I could imagine back then, this place thankfully forced me to open my eyes and look elsewhere to continue my search of knowledge and enjoyment. But let’s talk about this internship first.
I was basically in the same position that my trainer was a little bit over a year ago when she was showing me what exercises to do in the gym. I would stand behind a desk, make my rounds through the gym to see if anyone was doing something where they could injure themselves. Alright let me stop here for a second, if you ever sign up to a gym and you don’t know what you’re doing, nobody is helping you out just because it doesn’t look like you’re injuring yourself then please sign up for another gym. Unfortunately this is a mindset that is more common than you would think. After my lap I would go back to my desk and be bored out of my mind until it was time to start my next lap or until an appointment showed up. I tried my hardest to make it better for myself by not just looking for the potential injuries, help everybody and put as much thought and energy as I could into every program that I would write up. Still, It sounds as boring as it was but it also makes me appreciate the fact that I did that job and now I have bigger appreciation for what I am doing currently.
I would stay there as intern for my second and third year in college, during this time I would teach some small group classes, organize some events and do anything else for them that they needed me to do. At the end of my 2nd year as an intern I gained the knowledge and experience of a full time employee and trainer. I worked there for about 40 hours a week for free, I did everything that all the paid trainers were doing, I did shifts by myself, I worked Sundays, I worked graveyard shifts, I had the same amount of appointments as everyone else, all of it. Then it was time to start my final year of college and this year I needed to focus on personal training while completing my internship. I won’t bore you with the requirements and the assignments I had to get done that year, but it was all about getting my personal training certificate. The summer between my 3rd and 4th year in college I was getting paid to work at the gym that I was interning at the last 2 years but as soon as school started I would go back to being unpaid and working there again for free. This year would be different though because of all the personal training I had to do to get through my final year and assignments. They agreed to it before my summer holiday even started, I had my internship locked up and I felt good about it.
Welcome to CrossFit
A couple months before the holidays started our school had signed some of us up to take part in a CrossFit competition that was just for other Dutch schools to compete in just like my school. I had never heard of CrossFit before in my life and boy oh boy was I not aware of how it would change my life. Our class took a trip to a CrossFit box in Den haag ( The Hague, for all of you none Dutch folks) called CrossFit bink 36. The co owner of the box named Marjolein gave us a presentation about CrossFit and afterwards we did a workout including deadlifts, pull ups and burpees. A couple weeks after that trip I went back to that same CrossFit box and signed up. I would join classes at CrossFit bink 36 which was about a 90 minute round trip from my house and would do my full time internship at the your life gym. Some days I would do 1 training session at the box and another one at the gym. I did not do super well in the competition but well enough that I felt in love with the sport and everything that comes with it. I had never felt this passionate and strongly about anything in my entire life and I still do to this day.
CrossFit bink 36, The place that actually changed my life for the better
Remember when I said that I had my internship locked up before the summer even started? Well that did not go according to plan. It was late August of 2015 and I was about a week out from starting my final year at school. After ”interning” and working at this gym for free for the past 2 years they told me they only had room/ time for one intern that year and they wanted to go with someone new. At the time I took this as a sign of betrayal and I definitely let them know how disappointed and frustrated I was. At the end of the day it was me who was without an internship however. so I went back to school that following week without an internship. Looking back on it now my view has changed completely and I am so thankful that they forced me to look for another internship and with that a new path in life.
I had to move on and I was constantly searching for internships online until I found a place that was looking for an intern and it was pretty close to my school. I visited the place and within 2 minutes I realized that I did not want to do this anymore, I was done with the so called ”conventional gym” work/ setting and was ready to move on to something else. In a desperate attempt I emailed the 2 owners of CrossFit bink 36 and asked them if they would let me intern there. After I got done explaining what happend to my old internship they said yes to me interning there and I am so thankful and grateful for that until this day. They opened the door for me to develop myself in a place where I truly wanted to be and felt like I belonged.
If it wasn’t mandatory for me to be at school I was probably at CrossFit bink 36, either doing my internship, training or both. Over the next 6 months I would do many of different things, I would help coach classes, lead parts of the classes, do our weekly cleaning ritual and I would do everything and anything else they needed to get done. If you walk into CrossFit bink 36 today you can still see the walls and doors that I painted back in 2015/2016. I completed my personal trainers tasks and assignments which had me programming a full on Olympic weightlifting program and analyse the movements that were involved with that. Marjolein and Jorden helped me out whenever I needed it and in the end I got my certification.
Although I don’t live in the Netherlands right now I still have a membership at the box that I can activate at any time. CrossFit bink 36 will always be my second home when I am in The Netherlands and I can not imagine myself training anywhere else when I am there.
Jorden and Marjolein were the owners of CrossFit bink 36 back in 2015 and hopefully they know how much that place put me on the right track and journey that I am and continue to be on. Jorden is currently the sole owner of CrossFit bink 36 and I would highly recommend you training there if you’re ever around, It’s a good facility that’s continuously getting better. I am so proud of how much that box has grown, they had just over a 100 members when I started training there and now they have reached over 400 ( that’s a big number for a CrossFit box). They continue to improve, expand their facility and knowledge.
Moral of the story
I am so thankful and grateful for all of the things I have done and been through on the way here. I am very much aware that I am not close to where I want to be in life in the long run, but all of these lessons have helped shape me and build a fundamental base that I can build from while I am trying to get there.
Certain moments that I have described to you in this blog left a bitter taste in my mouth and left me feel angry and frustrated. Right now I am loving the fact that these things happened to me because other wise who knows where I would have ended up now. It just goes to show that the bad times will eventually turn around and create something positive even if you can’t see it until 5 years down the road when you’re writing a blog about it.
This is just the start of the story, next time I will tell you all about my fitness journey that continued on after leaving my CrossFit internship. I will tell you all about working in a normal gym again, my experiences while working as trainer in Australia and much more.
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