Our latest Athlete Award goes to a couple this month.  We simply couldn't decide who was the more awesome out of this dynamic duo.  They both came to CFNZ with a few chinks in their fitness armour, perhaps more than a little apprehension too; but they made up for that with a ton of willingness to learn and the dedication to put in the practice and make the results happen.  Congratulations Matt and Eilis!! A limited edition CFNZ Virtuosity t shirt is coming your way, along with fame and glory........

Now let's hear a bit from them.

How did you discover CrossFit? 

Eilis: I heard about Crossfit working with CFNZ coach Amanda when she was physio student at Auckland Hospital. I thought she was crazy. I 'discovered' Crossfit when I joined a gym where CFNZ coach Craig moonlights as a personal trainer, and he introduced me to Crossfit-type workouts.

Matt: Jess Ryan and Eilis used to train with Craig at another gym. I went a few times but never had any motivation to go by myself and when they went off to the gym I used to play video games and eat chips. They joined CFNZ late last year and roped me into doing the February intro class this year. I got hooked and haven't looked back.

Favourite CrossFit exercise?

Eilis: That's a hard one but I do like box jumps, burpees, kettlebell swings, cleans and running of course. I'm starting to like overhead squats too, just not during Nancy 

Matt: Running and Body weight exercises. I used to hate pull ups but now look forward to them!

Most hated CrossFit exercise?

Eilis: I don't hate it, but the snatch is my nemesis!

Matt: Handstands and Dumb bell presses. These are never fun with tight shoulders... work in progress.

What changes in your health, physique and performance have you observed since starting CrossFit?

Eilis: Since training with Crossfit and improving my nutrition I've seen major changes. Lost a couple of kilos since last year, stronger, more energy, more motivation, less tendency to 'give up' when things get difficult. I improved my fitness so much my Gaelic football team played me mid-field this past season. That basically means I run...a lot! No way I could have played that position the season before.

Matt: Most importantly improvements in my fitness and diet have almost eliminated the need to use my Asthma inhaler. I have lost weight around the middle and thus needed to buy new pants and belts! Massive improvements in performance since starting CF, too many to list. But my biggest one would be progressing from green band pull ups to 30 kipping pull ups, unbroken.

What is one word that people use to describe you?

Eilis: Matt would say 'competitive'.

Matt: Ambitious

What advice would you give to someone with regards to starting CrossFit?

Eilis: Just do it! It is definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Matt: Have patience with your progress and be proud of the gains you make, big and small. I am pretty hard on myself so I should practice what I preach.

Something nobody knows about you or would be surprised to know about you?

Eilis: My left thumb is about 1cm shorter than my right....I didn't know, until Matt googled it, that it's an actual condition called brachydactyly! It's ok though because Megan Fox has the same condition 

Matt: I am 1/16 Samoan 

Favorite activity outside of CrossFit? 

Eilis: Gaelic Football and running.

Matt: Eating, I love my food. Is that an activity? If not then rugby.

Favorite place to eat a Paleo-ish meal in Auckland?

Eilis: Dos Amigos in Mission Bay = Ribs = Yum!

Matt: Ditto. The ribs with kumara chips and coleslaw! Thanks Amanda for introducing me to this place.

The song that gets you pumped up for a workout?

Eilis: Anything fast and loud. Once that timer starts though I don't hear much.

Matt: Fast rock music. 'Want This' by Shotgun Alley is a favourite at the moment. Great kiwi music.

The last thing you ate?

Eilis and Matt: Chicken tenders, roasted kumara and carrots.Proudest accomplishment at CrossFit?

Eilis: I have a few... Doing Fight Gone Bad last year before even joining Crossfit, the last workout of the Mount competition, doing unassisted pull-ups in a workout for first time, back squatting my bodyweight and doing my first Rx WOD (Nancy) despite taking a day and a half to finish it 

Matt: Improvement in Overhead Strength/Mobility. When I started in February my shoulders were so tight it was painful holding the broomstick in an overhead squat position. Last week during barbell club I overhead squatted 57kgs!

What are your goals for 2011? 

Eilis: To do more Rx WODs, PR my snatch and C&J, do Fight Gone Bad Rx and run the Auckland Half Marathon sub 2 hours.

Matt: For the year to go I want to improve my handstand technique and complete a workout with muscle ups.

Which CFNZ member inspires you the most?

Eilis: I honestly couldn't pick one person. Everyone at the gym is awesome! There are so many people I aspire to be like for different reasons.

Matt: Everyone who pushes themselves to do things they never thought they could do. I am also so thankful for the encouragement and mid-workout tips from the coaches and advanced members of the gym. They really do help!

Darren Ellis