How Ipswich duo became 'Fittest on Earth'
ORIGINALLY considered something of a fitness fad, in the past decade CrossFit has grown to become arguably the biggest exponent of fitness in the world with more than 13,000 gyms in 120 countries.
Last year, CrossFit Western Front athletes Willy Balas and Kate Morris teamed up for the first time to tackle a unique take on the traditional fitness competition - The CrossFit Team Series.
"It's worldwide, but done online,” Morris, 40, explained.
"So we do it inside the box (at CFWF), with a qualified judge who then submits it to the web page. The leaderboard goes up, you sit there and watch it.”
This year, with Morris joining Balas, 42, in the 40-plus age range the pair improved on their 19th-placed finish from the previous year to take out overall honours and thus the title of "Fittest on Earth”.
"That sounds pretty good, doesn't it?” a beaming Morris said of the moniker. "Honestly, we went into week one just to have a bit of fun.”
"At the end of the first week we didn't expect to be sitting where we were,” Balas added. "So in the second week we started to take things a bit more seriously.”
Balas and Morris combined to complete eight workouts across two weeks.
Some required the duo to work in tandem, tagging in and out through movements. Others had to be performed in complete synchronisation.
All required an elite blend of physical strength and fitness.
Team "Creatine So Much Fear” never placed lower than eighth in a workout. Two first-place finishes, a second and a third proved their consistency.
In the final workout of the Team Series, the pair showed their supreme teamwork to finish a gruelling 190-rep "up and back chipper” exactly one minute faster than the next-best team.
They were one of just six teams to complete the complex in under 15 minutes; their time was 11 minutes 37 seconds.
Morris said the secret to success was knowing your partner's strengths, whilst acknowledging your own weaknesses.
There is no room for ego on the gym floor.
"I know Willy is stronger in muscle ups than I am, so I made him go second because he had less rest,” she said. "You just learn to work as a team.
"You get the chance to be strong at some movements, and acknowledge your own weaknesses at the same time.”
Balas came to CrossFit because he wanted to have more fun with his training.
The former bodybuilder lost his passion for the cookiecutter lifestyle of traditional gym set-ups.
He found his "happy place” at CrossFit Western Front, and has not looked back.
"I come from Global Gym - from a bodybuilding background - and basically I got sick and tired of doing the same thing day after day,” Balas said.
"I discovered CrossFit online. It looked like big kids having fun, which is exactly what I wanted.
"Doing something like this gives me goals to work towards. There's always something new to work toward, day to day. I've never been fitter or stronger than I am now.
"I'll say it over and over - I feel like a kid. This is my home away from home.”
Balas and Morris will next team together for the Allstar Alliance Queensland qualifier on October 20, as part of a 12-strong CrossFit Western Front group split into two teams.
Morris was part of the winning CFWF Honeybadgers team at the same event last year.