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CrossFit Jozi Testimonial – Carl Alfonso

We promote our Lifestyle Challenges so strongly because of the results we’ve achieved through them. Coach Carl is a great example of the life-long change one of these challenge can instil. He probably didn’t think that he’d end up becoming a coach on those first few weeks of his first challenge!

Lifestyle Challenge Testimonial

Surfing the web for a new pair of running shoes one morning, I stumbled across the Rebel Elite Fitness website, Inov-8 shoes and consequently, the CrossFit Jozi website. I’m still not certain why I decided to pick up the phone and call Head Coach – Imtiaz Desai that morning, but I did. This would prove to be the most important call I had ever made in my life.

After enduring my introductory session I signed up for the Jump-Up Program and made a considerable dent in my test-in time when I tested-out. A few weeks after my Jump-Up I was starting to find my feet – really find my feet, for the first time and an email was sent to sign-up for the first Winter challenge.

At the time I weighed 103kg, could barely run 400m without having to stop and had a laughable squat. I thought my eating habits were somewhat healthy and never went to bed before 11pm, but I was enjoying learning about what my body could be capable of and was starting to really acknowledge, for the first time, that if I was ever going to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle I would need to make definite lifestyle changes.
I always wanted to look good and feel good even though health and fitness was not a priority. I just didn’t see a clear path to achieving those goals and didn’t have the commitment to do so.

At the start of the challenge, we were briefed on the requirements. For the first time in my life someone gave it to me straight. “It’s pretty simple guys – Eat clean, train at least three times a week, work on your mobility and get at least 7 hours of sleep a night”. We were introduced to Paleo style eating and how this could benefit our training and also how sleep would allow us to recover and train harder the next day.

I knew I could sleep more with ease, coupled with my desire to explore paleo and the fact that I began to think of ‘gyming’ more as training, I cleaned out my cupboards, fridge and freezer and hit the butcher and local fruit and veg store. I filled my fridge with Meat, eggs, vegetables, some fruit, nuts and water. I also purchased and read a book by Robb Wolf “The Paleo Solution” which gave me insight into how my body processes food and why eating paleo would be beneficial to my health. I owe much of my success to educating myself on nutrition and especially the misinformation and misperceptions surrounding nutrition that we all buy into.

For the first two weeks, I suffered from terrible headaches, dizziness, lethargy and moodiness (What I know now as the common carb flu). I endured these first two weeks but was adamant about sticking to the plan, and around the 15th day of the challenge the changes began to show. The headaches were replaced by clarity of mind like I haven’t experienced in years, my energy levels shot straight through the roof and didn’t dip from sunrise to sunset and it started to feel like my body was responding, reacting and giving me feedback on whatever I put in as fuel (food) and whatever training I did at CrossFit.

I lost 12kg in the next 4 weeks and when the challenge ended I was a firm believer – Keep it simple. Eat clean, train consistently, and rest well. The foundations of my new found lifestyle had been laid.

In the 6 months following the winter challenge I continued to lose weight – About 25kg to date and I’ve never felt better in all my life.

Why take up the challenge?

I have always set goals I wanted to achieve but had failed dismally on many occasions because of a simple truth, a truth I learnt through CrossFit and my first winter challenge. Often we keep goals we set in sight, but out of reach, not intentionally but because of fear or lack of knowledge, commitment, determination or ability. We can see the destination but don’t know how to get there.

The hour or two I spent at CrossFit each day and becoming conscious of the choices I was making about food and sleep during that first winter challenge became a catalyst for changing each minute of every day. How I woke up in the morning, how I treated my friends and family, how I began to manage my time better, how I began to deal with stress at work, at home, at CrossFit. I would say that more than anything else, the challenge became a compass for me, providing direction.

How to make decisions, prioritize goals and tasks gave my life perspective for the first time. After the challenged ended I looked back and could see the path I had travelled and could look forward and know that I could set the next goal and find a clear path to get there.
Once the challenge is over

It’s true that my first winter challenge changed my life but once the challenge ended, I knew that this was only the beginning of a whole new World. Each Workout of the day, or challenge or event I attend, I often get the asked this question just before the call of 3-2-1 go, “are you ready?” For some reason, the first time I was asked this question – I responded by saying, “as ready as I’ve ever been”. This has stuck with me and it’s the answer I use to that same question each time it’s asked.

Each day I wake up, each workout I begin and complete, I’ve never been fitter or healthier for that challenge but for life to. Learning to trust that as long as I work at my health and fitness a little each day, those days add up, and months add up to years and when you look back you realize how many goals you have set and then achieved, how much healthier, fitter and happier you are.

As you begin the winter challenge there are a few things critical to your success – Educate yourself on nutrition, focus on technique – Technique will bring intensity at every training session, work on your mobility and rest well.

You may have big dreams but the key to achieving them is to keep them top of mind, clear and simple. There is no substitute for hard work, consistency, tenacity and determination and always set goals, keep them in sight but more importantly within reach by working on them each and every day and have fun, ‘Fran’ can be fun if you want her to be!


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