Guest Spot – Laura Meere

How long have you been training here at French Vanoli and what made you initially decide to start training here

I started attending classes in French Vanoli in February of this year, so I’m just six months at it, still very much a newbie. What initially got me to start training was my brother who’s been doing CrossFit for years. He had been trying to get me to join CrossFit knowing I found ordinary gyms quite mundane. At Christmas last year I had been complaining about having no motivation to train so he went online and found French Vanoli,  with the gym being so close to where I work and  just few minutes from my house he kind of just looked at me as if to say now what’s your excuse?  I was still quite apprehensive about joining and was mulling over the idea for a while. I mentioned to a friend at lunch one day that I was thinking of doing the introductory course, she had us both signed up by that evening. So I guess you could say initially it took some strong encouragement to get my butt in the door. 


You currently take part in our CrossFit program. How do you feel it has positively impacted you since starting it? 

Physically I’m so much fitter than I was six months ago, more so than I thought was possible in such a short space of time. I also found I have a lot more energy to go out and do things and I’m a lot less lethargic. It has definitely had a massive positive impact on me not just physically but mentally as well.  My mindset and attitude has greatly improved. I’ve struggled with self-confidence issues for years so the idea of being capable of doing something like CrossFit was so foreign especially with the reputation it had for being so tough. Then I started training here and I found I’m much more capable than I let myself believe. With each class you can see yourself improving and because if this you want to try harder to get one more rep in or just lift a little bit heavier. Before you know it how you think has changed, you go from thinking, I could never do that to, I could probably do that I’ll give it a go. It may seem like a small thing but it has such a positive impact on all other aspects of your life, from work to friends and family. When I’ve had a crazy day a work and I come into the gym a ball of stress I always leave in a way better mood. I’m undoubtedly much happier within myself since I started. 


You’ve recently made the decision to take part in our upcoming Battle of the West CrossFit competition. Was it an easy decision to come to and how has your preparation been on the run up to the event?

 No, it definitely wasn’t an easy decision. I wouldn’t be the most competitive person and the idea of competing in front of so many people is both terrifying and exciting. It was with some trepidation and some more of that strong encouragement from the coaches and friends in the gym that I came to the decision to take part.  Since I’ve signed up I’ve made sure I get to classes four to five times a week, I’ve practiced the workouts with some of the other ladies who are also taking part and just tried to convinced myself that I’m absolutely well able for the workouts. On the day I’m just going to do my best and try have a little fun while doing it. It’s a great way to meet new people and a good way to get a measurement of just how far I’ve progressed over the past six months.



What is your favorite thing about training here? 

There are so many things I love about training here but without question my favorite thing is the people. The people at French Vanoli are all awesome. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming. We’re all there for the same reason so there is a real sense of community and comradery in the gym.

The coaches at French Vanoli are amazing as well, they made me feel very comfortable especially when I first started and was very anxious, but I soon found I had nothing to worry about. They’re very encouraging and just seem to have this belief in you when you don’t have it in yourself. Everyone just wants each other to do well, people are so supportive of each other I think we drive each other to do better and although you’re working out individually and to the best of your own ability you still feel part of a team. My favorite part of training is after a tough workout, when everyone is in a heap on the floor, you manage to drag yourself up and high five everyone around you. It’s our way of acknowledging we got through a tough workout together and it was awesome if not somewhat painfully gratifying.


Do you have any advice for people who may be thinking about starting CrossFit or who are maybe slightly apprehensive about taking the plunge?

 Yes, just do it. The hardest part of anything is getting started, you only have to convince yourself to be brave enough to come in here one time. Once people are here they’ll see there is nothing to be afraid of and that Crossfit is strangely addictive. You soon fall into the habit of coming every other day and in no time you start to see results.  Plus you get to meet new people from all walks of life, make new friends and in general have great chats with people all while becoming more fit and having a great time doing it.