Member of the month Kirsty Griffiths

We are happy to share the inspiring #CrossFitStory of Kirsty Griffiths a professional musician who has been training with us since 2019. Learn about her journey full of obstacles, her goals and what motivates her to stay at CrossFit GVA.

Kirsty, can you introduce yourself in a few words?
I’m Kirsty Griffiths, I’m 47 years old, born and raised in Geneva but of Welsh origin and I am a professional musician (opera, harp and conductor of the United Nations choir) and also an international fraud investigator.

Did you do any other sport before CrossFit?
Having a cousin who was an Olympic butterfly swimmer, swimming was a big part of my life. I was always on the school team, not necessarily because I was any good, but because I was usually the only one who could swim the butterfly properly!

My real journey into sports came after a horse-riding accident left me with two broken vertebrae and in and out of a wheelchair. The specialist told me to get used to it as I would have back problems for the rest of my life. I changed specialists. The next one told me what I wanted to hear, to lift weights and make my back stronger than it had ever been. At the time, however, I was in bad shape so all I could do was aquafit, where everyone’s grandmother was in better shape than me! Then, I discovered Bodypump and gradually started lifting weights.

When did you start CrossFit and why?
Well, if breaking your back isn’t enough, in 2019 I fell down a pothole in New York and ripped every known ligament in my ankle. When recovering from my first surgery, there was a Buyclub offer to try CrossFit for a month. I gave it a try and instantly fell in love. But then, I attended a seminar at the box on ankle mobility and the coach noticed something was not right. If it hadn’t been for that seminar, I wouldn’t have known that I needed another major ankle surgery.

After the second surgery, my physiotherapist was a crossfit enthusiast and many of the warm up exercises we do, including those ten second pause squats you all love, were part of my regular physio routine.

What was your goal when you started? Have you reached it since?
My initial goal was to rebuild my body and be stronger than before. I also thought about losing weight, but body recomposition just happens naturally with CrossFit, so I just eat healthily but don’t worry about it too much. I have definitely reached my goal to rebuild my body, as well as improving my ankle flexibility. But I still want to get stronger.

What are your goals for this year?
My dream is to be able to run and do a box jump (not on the little box). Currently the ankle isn’t quite ready, but it’s only May, so there’s plenty of time.

What do you particularly like about CrossFit GVA?
I love the camaraderie. I’ve met so many people in the box who have given me tips to help improve my technique (especially handstand push ups), but also encourage me. Sometimes you have that really hard WOD where you don’t want to push yourself and want to give up, but you are encouraged by everyone around you and leave the box in a sweaty mess with a big smile of accomplishment.

Have you gained confidence since you started CrossFit? Do you feel better in your body, have you developed your mind?
Absolutely. At first, I was scared of hanging from a bar, terrified of falling and hurting my ankle, worried about deadlifts because of my back, scared of dropping a bar on my head. Now, I’m walking on my hands, swinging from bars, deadlifting, snatching etc. not only has this made my body stronger, but also my mindset. I no longer think “oh, I can’t do that”, I think “I can’t wait to try that”.

Do you have a great memory from the gym that you would like to share?
My favorite memory is from the CrossFit open and having my friends there to support me, the same friends who have witnessed the broken back and multiple ankle surgeries. It was a culmination of my determination and all the people from CrossFit GVA who have helped me reach my goals..

What would you say to someone who is hesitant to start CrossFit for fear of injury or not having the level?
CrossFit is wholly inclusive and every exercise can be adapted. The coaches are exceptional and always ask if there are any injuries, as well as ensuring proper technique to avoid injury, and advice on using the correct weight. More importantly, the class sizes are restricted in numbers so there are never too many people to prevent the coach from focusing on everyone.

CrossFit helps you overcome fears as well as teaching you how far you can push yourself and what you can achieve. As for level of fitness, you would be amazed at how quickly this improves. I used to think the SkiErg was a torture device, now I choose it over the rower or cycling!