“I expect that in 5 years most of the people in Europe will have an idea what Crossfit is”

(English) In February, a Crossfit box will open in Antwerpen. The first one in Belgium ! Bert hendrickx, co-owner, explains his project…

(Français) En Février, un salle Crossfit ouvrira à Anvers. La première en Belgique ! Bert Hendrickx, co-propriétaire, explique son projet…

Sport is Everywhere : How did you start practicing Crossfit ? What are your professional and sport background ? Do you have some favorite WOD’s ?

Bert Hendrickx : I started Crossfit in January 2009 with the workout Murph. Daniel, who is going to be the co-owner of Crossfit Antwerp told me about Crossfit and said to look at the website. I did and started with this WOD. Like many others, I was smashed. But I liked it so much, I followed the website day in day out but for the first weeks and it was love at first sight, what a feeling! And you hear this of so many people who start doing Crossfit, they fall in love, It’s as simple as that. You really have to try it to experience the feeling.

My professional background is as a personal trainer. I worked in a globo gym and started implementing Crossfit workouts in my training sessions with amazing results. For myself I hadn’t been really (cross) Fit in my life,  I’ve played soccer and tennis on an average level. Now that I’m crossfitting for almost a year I’m in the best shape of my life!

One of my favorite WOD’s is Cindy, because this lies into my strength.

Where are you training ? Do you train alone or with others people ? Is there a lot of people practicing crossfit in Antwerpen ?

For the moment I am training alone at a globo gym, sometimes friends of mine join me for a training and more and more people are asking me what it is that I’m doing, they are very interested. As far as I know there aren’t many people crossfitting in Antwerp, of course we hope to attract the people to try Crossfit when we open our box.

Can you explain your project of opening a box in Antwerpen ? How the project started ? What are the difficulties when you plan to open a crossfit gym in Belgium ?

The more I did the daily WOD’s the more I was attracted to Crossfit, I read every article on the mainsite, watched every video and read the message board. When we were about four months into crossfit we were searching for a place to attend a certification and a few days later we saw on the mainsite Crossfit was coming to Belgium to give a cert. We were stoked! We are now certified and have found our location. At this moment we are rebuilding and working towards the opening that will be in February. The hardest part of opening a CrossFit gym in Belgium is finding the location. This took us several months. You have to get the permission to open one and it`s hard to find an industrial space where you can do this. But we succeeded now and are really looking forward to spread the virus in Belgium.

Can you explain what looks like a week-end of crossfit certification ?

We attented our Crossfit Certification last August and it was an absolute blast, we thougt we already knew quite a bit about Crossfit, but there were so many new things we learned that weekend. The most important thing was to watch the trainers give us instructions so we could steal from them what queues they use to improve a clients movement. You don’t learn that from a textbook. Priceless. Also I have to mention the atmosphere at a Certification. This is like the Crossfit community and is very amazing, the people who are doing Crossfit are so nice and helpful, that’s really great! Now in January I attented both the Gymnastics and Olympic Weightlifting Certifications in the US. The Level 1 focusses on the global movements, but during these 2 certs they go way deeper in the specific movements and how to teach them safe to our clients.

How do you explain Crossfit to someone who doesn’t know it ?

It’s really very difficult to explain what Crossfit is in a few words. I always start to say that Crossfit is a mix of the most effective and functional movements combined from different sports. Then these movements are mixed into WOD’s (workout of the day) to attain the best possible fitness state a person can achieve. The majority of the workouts are short and really intensive. This is were you get the best return for your effort. The movements are also very funtional so we can be fit at everyday activities and they can be scaled so we can train a housewife to a top athlete.

How do you imagine the future of Crossfit in Europe ?  Do you have some relations with other affiliates in Europe ? And with other people practicing crossfit in Belgium ?

I think Crossfit will grow in the same way it is growing in the USA and Australia for the moment, it is growing really fast there. I expect that in 5 years most of the people in Europe will have an idea what Crossfit is. Now there is only a few who really know Crossfit in Belgium. But I’m sure the word of mouth will spread fast!

We have a few relations in Europe, especially with Crossfit Gymert (Interview of Charles Verschuren on SportisEverywhere). We visited them a couple of times to ask some questions about the start-up. We have contact with Crossfit London, Copenhagen, Ramstein. I know about 10 people who are practicing Crossfit in Belgium.

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

I haven’t participated in the Crossfit Games, but I will try my best to participate in the games some day. I know I have a long way to go when I look at the top Crossfitters, but this is something I really want to train hard for. It’s really exciting and motivating to see so many top athletes compete against each other. I’m sure we will have Europian and Belgian Games in the years to come. I’m really looking forward to that. Not really to win it, but to meet so many great people who are practicing this beautiful sport of fitness 🙂

I want to thank you for the interview.