NO MACHINES are needed for CrossFit champion Elyse Willoughby, who took home first place with her team of five at the All Star Alliance CrossFit National Championships held in Brisbane recently.
Hundreds of CrossFit affiliate teams – three males and three females – battled it out at Australia’s largest team series involving advanced, intermediate, masters and teenager divisions.
Willoughby – at just 15 years of age – firstly competed in the two-day qualifier event in Melbourne where her team progressed to the national finals earlier this year.
She competed in the teenager division and battled it out for first place against a Queensland team.
“Out of the six heats we won four, lost one and drew one with the other team,” Willoughby said.
“We were involved an array of different movements and exercises to suit athletes of all levels.
“Each workout, depending on the movement, are all scored differently.”
Willoughby heard about the event through social media.
“There was a message out on Facebook asking if anyone would like to join the team,” she said.
“I do not think there were many teenage competitors so they were trying to gain interest.
“One of my friends was going so I just thought I would give it a go.”
Although the competition appealed to Willoughby, there were heats she was nervous about.
“There were a few things I was not sure on before I went to the event,” she said.
“There was a heat that involved handstand walks and I am not great upside down.
“I was a bit nervous, but once I got there and embraced the environment it was not too bad.”
Willoughby was a “ring in” for the Victorian team.
“We had to check that it was okay if I did compete in the team even though I live in South Australia,” she said.
“Our team comprised of members from all over the place so it made it hard for all of us to train together.
“It would have helped if our team trained together more if it was possible.”
The team trained together once prior to the event.
“We did one training with four of us, but other than that we all trained on our own,” Willoughby said.
“I personally train at Blue Lake CrossFit almost everyday of the week.
“I train in the individual and team classes and some one-on-one stuff as well.”
Willoughby is proud of how far she progressed.
“Since I first began I have definitely improved,” she said.
“I have become stronger, faster, more confident and am willing to try new things.”
Willoughby became involved in the sport through family interest almost three years ago.
“My mum and dad watched it a lot on television and suggested I should give it a go,” she said.
“I originally hated it and did not want anything to do with the sport.
“Mum then made me come to a class once and I did not want to go.”
The sport grew on Willoughby and she eventually began to love it.
She enjoys the atmosphere which comes with the unique sport.
“It is really welcoming anytime you rock up to any CrossFit gym or event whether it be here in Mount Gambier or somewhere else,” Willoughby said.
“Even though you go off and do your own separate things, you still have the community around supporting you and cheering you on.
“We are like family.”
Willoughby will continue to work on her CrossFit skills.
“The championships was the first team event I have ever been to and it was very different but very fun,” she said.
“I am looking forward to competing in a partnered CrossFit competition early 2019 in Warrnambool.
“There will also be an online qualifier for the Australian CrossFit Championship at Blue Lake CrossFit and at other gyms around Australia on January 24 to 27 that I will be competing in.”