For the owner and coach at Port Melbourne’s first CrossFit centre – Pure Movement CrossFit, the community created around this relatively new sport is a much needed family.
The child of athletic parents, Canadian, Chelsea Abbott, followed her Kiwi boyfriend Stacy Young, to Melbourne four years ago. A self-confessed “non-sporting, un-athletic, nerdy girl” Chelsea’s exposure to CrossFit in her mid 20’s was a surprise to both her and her family. “My University days in Vancouver had left me with a few more kilos than I was comfortable with, and a nagging desire to make positive changes to my health and wellbeing.”
A friend suggested that Chelsea, who had never participated in so much as a team sport, give CrossFit a try. The rest as they say, is history. “I pretty much became hooked on both the methodology and the results. I also loved the community aspect of the training. I felt like I’d found something to be a part of.”
One of the world’s fastest growing exercises, CrossFit was founded by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai in 2000. Promoted as both a physical exercise philosophy and a competitive fitness sport, CrossFit incorporates elements from high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, girevoy sport, calisthenics and strongman exercises. Now practiced extensively throughout the world, CrossFit involves daily workouts (otherwise known as a “WODs” or “workouts of the day”) that are practiced in group classes.
Extensively researched for it’s effectiveness in increasing cardiac fitness and weight loss, a 2013 study by exercise scientists at Ohio State University revealed that participation in a CrossFit program significantly improved
VO2 max and decreased body fat percentage in both males and females across all levels of fitness.
And this was certainly the case for Chelsea. “The weight loss came quickly, but it was a growing sense of confidence and achievement that kept me going back. I felt strong, lean and empowered. I felt like my body was taking on the form it was intended to be.”
Several years on and Chelsea underwent the certification necessary to become a CrossFit coach. “It was a natural progression of my passion for the ethos and community behind the sport.” Coaching in her spare time while juggling work and her own training extended Chelsea’s reach in the CrossFit community. And it would be these networks that she would come to draw on with Pure Movement CrossFit.
Fast-forward to 2011 and Chelsea found herself in Melbourne on a working holiday visa with limited work options. Falling back on her CrossFit experience and training, she started working part time coaching others. “It was relatively easy to get work in the CrossFit community here and I stared to foster the idea of opening a CrossFit centre of my own.”
Pure Movement CrossFit opened at the beginning of this year in a former car auction warehouse opposite 7-11. It was the next obvious path for Chelsea who confesses that she comes “from a long line of small business operators, so the desire to create something from scratch and grow a small business runs thick in my blood.”
Bonded by a strong sense of kinship, Chelsea has created a growing CrossFit community in Port Melbourne. “We’re a little bit different from most CrossFit centres – we’re very welcoming, you won’t find any skulls or crossbones on our walls. We attract families, people seeking to lose weight and those that just want to give the sport a try. Angie Demeray is the other full time trainer here – it’s pretty rare to have two women leading this sport.”
And there’s a gentle feel to Chelsea’s centre. Rufus the Chocolate lab lolls adoringly on the gym’s floor, and people come and go during the open gym hours. Chelsea has done away with the macho face of CrossFit and preplaced it with a practical regard for the scalable and functional purpose of the sport. “We’ve created an environment that welcomes healthy competition and achievement at all levels. Everyone is here to achieve their own goals.”
And as for starting and running a business so far from home, Chelsea is philosophical; “I never anticipated that I would be doing it here, in Australia, without family support. But the strength I’ve found in my relationship with Stacy and the community that we’ve created here makes it all worth it.”
Pure Movement Crossfit is open Monday to Friday from 6am to 7pm and on Saturdays between 8am and 10am. Chelsea invites you to experience CrossFit done differently at Pure Movement CrossFit today with a free CrossFit trial.
Pure Movement Crossfit
67 Crockford St
Phone - 0419 006 625