Where do you come from and how long have you been in Geneva?
I'm from Macedonia. I came to Geneva in 2001 with my parents, when I was 6 years old. So I've been here for 19 years!
What is your mother tongue and how many languages do you speak?
My primary mother tongue is Macedonian and my second mother tongue is French, of course. I also speak English very well, and there was a time when I was pretty good at German (but it's been 6 years since I practiced...).
Do you remember arriving in Switzerland? Was it difficult to integrate?
It wasn't easy to integrate. I didn't speak French when I arrived, so I was kind of vulnerable in front of my classmates, like "voiceless". I was bullied for the first few years, but it wasn't because I was from elsewhere. I mostly belonged to the nerd community. Over the years, things got better.
What do you do for a living?
I'm a final-year (6th) medical student at university.
Tell us more about your medical studies. What will you specialize in and why?
Studying in Geneva consists of 3 years of theory and 3 years of practice. In the last year, we can choose our internships. I'd like to specialize in visceral surgery. I really like the digestive system. I think it's a surgery that offers great diversity and a good balance between the technical and medical aspects. It's also a bit like "real" surgery haha!
How long have you been practicing CrossFit?
Why did you start?
I wanted to get stronger physically and mentally. I was beginning to feel limited by the weights and exercises I could do at home, and it seemed more user-friendly than a gym of any kind. What's more, the Crossfit training concept spoke to me straight away. I don't have a lot of time to devote to physical activity, but fortunately the WODs are fast and effective! I also like the fact that the program is set. That way, when I arrive, I'm carried along without having to think ahaha!
Did you find CrossFit intimidating at first?
Actually, I waited a long time before really deciding to do that first trial class, precisely because I found it intimidating! But, in the end, once I got there it wasn't as bad as I'd imagined.
The community spirit is well known in CrossFit, even if it can be intimidating. What was your experience and feeling when you arrived at CrossFit GVA?
I found the community welcoming. People don't hesitate to come and talk to you when they see a new face. It's true that for the moment I haven't quite integrated yet, because I often leave straight after the WOD due to lack of time. In the future, I'd like to try and stay longer and take part more in social events to get to know the members better.
What other sports have you done in the past?
I must admit that I wasn't very sporty when I was young! I did a bit of tennis, but more by choice of my parents than out of any real passion. In secondary school, I did the classic thing where you do fitness between June and August for your "beach body"... It was from the first year of medical school that I started doing sports at home (YouTube videos from different coaches) regularly throughout the year. I also did yoga and dance.
What frustrates you most during training?
Actually, I'm rarely frustrated at the end of a WOD because I always get something positive out of it! What can be frustrating, but it's not specific to Crossfit, are the days when your body is tired, when you're less fit. Everything then seems harder and heavier. In short, you just have to accept that there are days with and days without.
What progress are you most proud of?
Hmm, it's hard to think of any specific progress I'm particularly proud of! On the whole, I feel in better shape, less out of breath and better able to perform. OK, last week I discovered that I can actually do overhead squats (which wasn't the case two months ago), so that's pretty cool. But the day I manage to do a real pull-up, that'll really be an achievement.
What are your hobbies apart from CrossFit?
In terms of physical activity, not much apart from Crossfit at the moment... I'm planning to start running again as soon as the weather warms up a bit. Otherwise, my life consists of family, friends, training courses, reading medical articles, the Sunday mealprep and, when I have time, watching TV series and films.
Do you think it's harder for women to start CrossFit than men, or is that not a problem at all? Did you expect there to be more men than women in the classes?
It's funny, but I didn't ask myself that question at all when I started (in relation to the male/female ratio). I don't see what difference it would make or how important it would be... I don't think it's harder for women. We're seeing more and more female crossfitters on social networks.