CF is for people that are interested in real fitness, and in challenging training and movements.

Sport is Everywhere interviews Jan Van Delden, 55 years old, coach and owner of Crossfit Twente, Netherlands.

Sport is Everywhere : Can you explain the history of Crossfit Twente ? How the project started ?

Jan Van Delden : I started working at the student rowing club Euros Twente University, as a professional rowing coach in 1989. I trained the rowers in the boat, and on land with circuit training and weight training. I used to work for the Dutch Rowing Association as a consultant for 12 rowing clubs in two provinces.
Two years ago, I was asked to train the student club, that was working out with the traditional curls and bench presses. My superiors really had to talk me into training them. I was not interested in people that were staring at their biceps in a mirror, watching them grow.
IMG_3220I introduced circuit training, and they seemed to like it, but I wanted more. With my rowers I was doing dead lifts, power cleans and other functional movements. I was looking on the Internet for more information about Olympic lifts, squats etc, and guess what? Yes, good guess…. was the website I found. At first I thought the people  that worked on the videos, were out of there minds, working out like that. The found information about any subject on the site was of high quality, so that made me curious. I started digging deeper and deeper in the CF main site, and became enthusiastic about their program. I decided to try the WODS on my students, and they loved doing them.
Then I read an article on the CF site, about a University club, ( non profit affiliate) Chapel Hill. I mailed with CF and we were immediately  accepted as CrossFit Twente University Hercules as an affiliate. We started with 12 students, and within three months we had 32 members, and the gym we had was to small to host us. I started  training myself in januari,because I wanted to do the Ramstein level I certification in 2009. I had remarkable results, and lost 6kg body weight, gained a lot of muscle mass,  with the three day on, three day off cycle. I am 55 years old, and I smoked all the student members of Hercules. Sometimes they could beat me, but that was rare. These results convinced me about the effectivity of the CF program.
Last year I decided to experiment with CrossFit with two of my rowers, I combined CF Endurance in the boat,  C2 rower, and CF workouts. My crew rowed fantastic times on Senior A level, they had 12 victories on regattas last season and now have the club record in the coxless pairs (6.45).IMG_3199

After the summer we had some difficulties with the accommodation for Hercules (a large new gym at the University, stacked with machines, and no place to throw weights anymore).
I started a small gym with eight clients on an industrial area (36m2), and bought some materials to start my commercial gym. Hercules was temporarily training in my facility (far to small), but they could keep practicing their Olympic lifts, and work in the gym and on the parking.

I could start my Gym easily, I only invested in material, and I had the facility free of charge, and most important, I was not financially dependant of my CF gym only.

I saw that you’re a new affiliate. Can you explain what the affiliation change for you ?

After one month I could move to better and larger facility ( 500m2), and I have 12 clients at the moment. I thought it was the right time to become an affiliate with my own gym CrossFit Twente. CF Headquarters did not allow two affiliates on my name, so I had to drop the affiliation of Hercules. Since 12 october 2009 I am an affiliate with CrossFit Twente in Enschede, in the Netherlands, and the student club are allowed to carry the name CrossFit Twente University Hercules, under my affiliate CFT. Thats why they are separately mentioned on my website, and not on the CF mainsite anymore. They also train in my facility, with my equipmentl at the moment, and in January the rowers will train there as well.
So in fact there are 5 CF gyms in the Netherlands.

IMG_3302My gym is in a schoolbuilding, where young students are educated for teaching fitness at regular gyms, and as trainers for different sports. The PE teachers are enthusiastic about CrossFit, and want to introduce CF and functional training in their program. The sport center of the University has recently decided to buy CrossFit materials for Hercules, which I can use for CFT as well, so we will be well equipped for Crossfit training  this year.  I already applied to have a CF level I Seminar in Enschede, and I think this will work out well. The staff is impressed by the facility and equipment I can offer for the seminar. I will need some help from the other affiliates, it is not easy to get 60 medicine balls by your own. The hosting of the Level I Certification will promote CF in the Netherlands, and we will all benefit of the event.

Is it easy to open a Crossfit gym in Netherlands ? What are the difficulties ?

It is easy to open a gym in the Netherlands, but of course it is bit of a gamble, you never know how many people will start CF. It started of  with friends and people that I have trained with before, and they take new people with them.  I had an article in the newspaper, and will have one more in a couple of weeks.IMG_3378

Can you explain the importance of Olympic lifts and powerlifting for health and physical condition ?

I never thought that Olympic lifts would be so much fun to learn and teach. I have a rower, with bodyweight 72kg, whose is snatch is 68 kg, and C&J 82 kg now, after only one year of training.
The lifts are important to people, because they are fun, challenging, and they recruit all the muscles in the body, and demand good coordination. Rowing and Olympic lifting is a perfect match. “There is nothing like a good snatch” says Mike Burgener, and I agree on that, it realy is a fantastic movement.

Do you have some favorite WOD’s ?

My favourites are Isabel 30 snatches on time (35kg) and Cindy 18 rounds of 15 squats/10 push-ups/5 pull-ups.

IMG_3379If people are interested by Crossfit, for the first time, what do you tell him ?

It can kill you! I explain what we do, the intensity, the functional movements etc, and that they should take it easy the first couple of training sessions.
The first WODS are short (21-15-9), and I use easy exercises, scaled down as needed. Pull-ups(assisted) push-ups, squats, push press. the basic 9 movements of CF.

Is it easy to promote Crossfit in Netherlands ? And in Europe ? What are the difficulties ?

CF will promote itself, an article in a local newspaper, an interview on a local tv station will help. Recently I demonstrated CF to my trainer colleagues on the University. The CF website is important I think, people that visit the website, will look for gym in their country and vicinity.
I train a lot of people at the moment (60 rowers, 12 participants of my gym, and 35 students), it makes Crossfit well known. My colleagues on the sport center, and the students and PE teachers of the school where my gym is located, know what CF is.

How do you imagine the future of Crossfit in Europe ?

I think that Cf will grow faster and faster in Europe, the majority of the people will still go to the traditional gyms, or group lessons in those gyms. These people are happy the way they train, and they are not directly the people we are looking for. CF is for people that are interested in real fitness, and in challenging training and movements.

What would be your advices to someone that would like to open a Crossfit gym in Europe ?IMG_3383

If you want to start a gym, start small, with a couple of motivated friends in a small space, or in a parc. Do not invest much, you can train with tyre tubes, filled with sand, pvc pipes filled with water or sand. Flip tyres, hang rings on a branch of a tree, find a course in the parc, or on the playground of a school.
It is important how you train, and with who you train, not the equipment or the space you work in.
You can also do the workouts in a Globo gym, there will be people that are interested in what you are doing, and they might join you.

Do you have some relations with other affiliates in Europe ?

We have had a meeting with the other Dutch affiliates, and we plan to have one in februari again. Everybody has strong points, mine is rowing on a Concept 2 rower, and gymnastics, the other affiliates have other strong points, we can help each other, to become better trainers, and exchange experiences.
Maybe the Belgian affiliates can join us as well.

IMG_3388Have you ever participated in Crossfit Games ? Ever thought about it ?

In Indonesia people never say No, and to be polite they answer: Not yet!  But I am really to old for that*****, maybe if they have a 55 + categorie it would be worth the effort.