Sailing through CrossFit - Tom's Testimonial

Tell us a little bit about who Tom is....

I am a Naval Architect / shipbuilder / Project Manager. I have been in Naval Shipbuilding since an apprentice in 1978. Currently working at BAE Systems, Williamstown. I am 53 yrs with a great family.  We moved from England to Aus back in 1992. My wife, Louise, and three boys (22, 19 & 13) all enjoy a healthy life style with their work, uni, school, fitness, cycling, footy, rehab and cricket. My main hobby has always been sailing (since the age of 2) – I also cycle a fair bit.

At times I race larger keel sail boats. However, my real enjoyment / love always returns me to dingy racing (started in Devon (UK) in 1970).

Nowadays I sail out of Black Rock Yacht Club. I sail skiff dinghies (they go by the names of “RS100” and “Formula 15” - they are fast, furious, energetic (if you want to win) and very wet…

Photo: Tom's Formula 15 - a twin trapeze skiff with asymmetric kite – sailing here in 15 knots wind

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

I started CrossFit9 mths ago in April 2014. I found myself surrounded by people doing CrossFit! And loving it!! - Mates interstate, wife, four neighbors (all women) and youngest son.

What made you start CrossFit?

I lay in bed one day – and my wife’s quads and lats were firm – and she talked about deadlifts and clean and jerks.  I had no idea what these were.

I actually came to the conclusion that my wife and neighbors were all significantly stronger than me …and cycling was not providing me the core muscular strength I needed for my sailing and life generally. 

In fact cycling and kite surfing contributed to my many broken bones (9 in total over 6 yrs  - & too many hospitals!).

What benefits have you seen since you started?

Firstly - A great community of Westgate CrossFitters – that smile at 5:55am (when I manage that class) - and at 7:30pm – post some crazy AMRAP or EMOM MetCon / WOD!!

Secondly: all my family, friends and work colleagues – say how amazingly well I now look now a day – a 9 month transformation – at 3  steady sessions per week.

Thirdly - and I so much fitter and faster in my race dingy – my RS100. I recently competed in the VIC State Championships - and thought I may gain just above half way.

Post six races over two hectic days – I stayed upright for the whole regatta – posted mainly top three finishes (including two bullets) – and to my utter surprise took out the State championship.  My boys were flabaghasted.  Elliot still thinks I am having him on! 

There is no way I could have done this win without the dedication (and patience) Damien, Tammy and Loz and their Westgate CF program 

What advice would you give anyone considering starting CrossFit?

Give it a whirl – for 2 full months – go slow – 2 to 3 sessions a week if you are mid age – go at a pace that is sustainable in the long-term …. And enjoy it.

See what it does for you.  It will not suit all – but I think it will add a good 12 -15 yrs to my older life –and this probably equates to an extra “80 grandchildren years” … (work that one out!!).

What are your CrossFit goals?

  • Continue doing CF with no injury (as is the case to date)
  • Do CF at a pace I enjoy – and it is not a chore
  • Remember I am doing CF to help with my love of sailing and core body – not CF comps…
  • Keep banking those PBs fortnightly!!
  • Hit a body weight back squat (82.5kg) by 4 April 2015 (one yr.) - may not be realistic but I will give a smash – 10 kg to go….!!
  • Be physically strong enough with good endurance to do the RS100 European Championships (over 5 days)in Northern Italy (Lake Garda) in late July 2016 

Photo: Tom on an RS100 at speed on Lake Garda - Italy