Member of the Month: Cynthia Kapfer

Our member of the month is usually somebody who has been doing CrossFit for a long time with us. This month we wanted to highlight somebody who is quite new to CrossFit GVA and get their perspective. CrossFit has grown hugely in the last 5 years and as numbers increase, so do the fitness levels of the people who are training. That is great to see, but it also makes it harder for newbies to start as it becomes more and more intimidating to outsiders. Cynthia started training at CrossFit GVA just 3 months ago and has managed to solidly integrate herself into the community. We sat down with her to discuss her exposure to CrossFit and how she managed to overcome the hurdles to finally start CrossFit.

Where are you from and how long have you been in Geneva?

I am Moroccan and Swiss. I was born in Geneva and always lived here.

What do you do for a living ?

I am a social intervenante working for the city of Geneva and in addition I am studying for a Masters degree in law.

What exactly does a social intervenante do?

Actually it’s just another term for a social worker. To be precise I work for the real estate department for the city and I intervene on behalf of tenants who have problems in social housing. Usually it is when somebody finds themselves in a particularly difficult situation for example conflict with the neighbours.

How does a typical day look for you?

It starts with an alarm which rings for a long time and after that a good breakfast. Then I go to work or classes which takes me through to 17h, after that I go to CrossFit. After having expended all my energy in training, I go home and sit on the couch in front of the television. And then it repeats the next day.

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

Not that long, 3 months. I started in November 2019.

Why did you start ?

I was training in a gym for the last 3 years but I could not do it anymore. I felt like I had done everything and I didn’t like it any more. So I looked for an activity which was a bit more complete where I could get out of my comfort zone and help me to improve my physical performance. That was what got me interested in CrossFit, especially after having got good feedback from people who were already doing it.

Did you find it intimidating at the start ?

Absolutely, and it’s one of the reasons I didn’t start earlier. I didn’t think I was good enough to do it. And during my first courses, I was really impressed by the weights that the other members were using. But I quickly realised that all the exercises could be scaled to any level and also allow everyone to progress at their own pace.

What surprised you the most about CrossFit?

I would say how accessible it is. I didn’t think it would be so simple to adapt the workouts for every level, all the while keeping everyone in “the game”. That makes me think of adapative CrossFit for handicapped people, which is a great initiative that also proves how accessible it is.

Is there anything you did not expect?

Yes, two things. The first one is the atmosphere during the sessions. During the trial session, everyone is very quiet, the exercises are an introduction to CrossFit, the atmosphere is really nothing like during the regular classes. Actually, during the classes there is a lot of laughing, smiling, sweating and encouragement, a bit like a big playground for adults. I have to admit it’s much easier and nicer to learn while you are having a good time.

And the second is the number of people in the class. It really depends on the schedule, but I didn’t expect classes to fill up so quickly.

The CrossFit community is well known, but can be hard to penetrate. Did you find the community welcoming ?

This is also something I was looking for, the famous community. Spending time doing an individual activity next to somebody else doing an individual activity, but with a team spirit. And for me the community was welcoming. Most of the members were very open and easy to talk to and this quickly made me feel integrated. Also, I love the encouragement and the congratulations that are exchanged between members during the classes.

What other sports did you in the past ?

When I was young I did a few years of dancing and volleyball. After that I did some fitness and running, which I still do.

What frustrates you most during training ?

For me its gymnastics. That type of exercise is hard for me but bit by bit its starting to improve.

What progress are you most proud of ?

Nothing in particular, but I would say my general progress. In 3 months I can see improvement in my form and in the weights I am using, which really motivates me to continue. Actually the progression I see the most is in my running, which is crazy because I never expected it.

Are you one of these people who starts CrossFit then bores all their friends talking about it, or have you managed to resist?

Oh yes, I don’t think I spend much time talking about it. I’m more trying to convince people to come try and have a good time, but so far I have not been successful.

What other activities do you do other than CrossFit?

Mainly travelling, discovering new places and new activities.