Unmoderated, unabridged, is the guileless chat I had with Michelle and Enock, the ‘Straight Outta Pizza’ team, who are both extremely dedicated members of CrossFit Kwetu. They express and admit how being WOD (workout of the day) partners has pushed them way beyond their comfort zone.
Enock and Michelle stood 20th in Africa in the mixed teams. Standing ovation please! “Competing at this level exposes your weaker areas and you feel empowered by being able to identify them, so it’s back to training,” said Enock. At which point, we are all rethinking our crossfit careers.
Besides being the only pair at CrossFit Kwetu to do the first four 2017 Team Series events in one day, they threw in the Ndaikaini half marathon – professedly one of the toughest in the world – IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TEAM SERIES. Enock set a personal record (PR), completing the run in 2 hrs 6 mins! They then went on to RX the Team Series. A major achievement, as they had scaled in the previous CrossFit Open Games earlier in the year.
These were the three take home questions they brought out in a fresh way:
- Were you under the impression that a partner lets you win or slows down to suit your pace?
- In what ways should a WOD partner be like you and in what ways should/can they be unlike you?
- Have you ever had the opportunity to truly appreciate your partner?
It was a marvelous eye-opener on what having a WOD partner truly means.
If you missed out on these traits for this year’s team series, start now for the next one!
DO OR DIE
Michelle: Enock is the best training partner I have ever had. We used to come to the 10 a.m. workout and we never even knew each other’s names. I first noticed he was a beast on the 100m repeat sprints; he straight pushed it and me not wanting to be beaten pushed it super hard. We both knew we were racing each other – if he sped up I sped up. Neither would accept defeat easily and I was like, ‘oh shoot this guy came to dominate’. After that we still never really spoke, we were racing in every class and would almost fight to the death.
He will push every ounce of himself if you want try to beat him. That’s what makes a great training partner, you know they’d rather pass out than readily let you win. Even when we are not in the same class we still compete on the whiteboard. There is no one else I’d rather partner with because no matter what, I know he’s going to lay it all on the floor and will curse me out if I don’t.
A good training partner, I think, is strong in areas where you are really weak – mine is usually stamina. This guy has the stamina of a Roman army taking over the known world at the time.
Enock (sends us a clip of him on his biking-camping adventure):
I’m out of town, cycled to Lake Magadi – 95 km in total, and now I’m enjoying a campfire with friends.
Michelle took the words right out of my mouth. I’d have said exactly the same thing. No other partner would have been suitable for me. Michelle never gives up. She’ll die before she even thinks of caving into a challenge. If we had more time we’d seriously be at the crossfit box until everyone was sick of us, because almost everyday we find a new challenge that we crave for. This brings me to why she’s a perfect partner. She never says no to a challenge and neither do I.
Michelle: So I’ve lost terribly to him in certain WODs and runs – but that really helped to expose my weakest areas since he was strong on them.
We don’t wait for each other. The goal is to always beat my partner. What makes us even is that we have workouts that she excels in and others that I thump. It’s a healthy competition. It helps with growth when you have someone else equally driven and you both seek the same things. We text each other often on WOD performance, diets, gains and inspirational stuff. We also encourage each other, share knowledge and give advice. I can honestly say I would not have the growth and performance level I’m enjoying now if it wasn’t for Michelle.
Enock: I rarely have humbling moments, oddly enough. She can thump me in a workout and I won’t even stop to think that I’ve been beaten by a woman. Likewise I never belittle the workouts I do better in, by assuming I beat her because I’m a man. If there is one humbling thing it’s that I’ve never expressed any of this to Michelle. Feels weird that we share the same feelings towards this partnership and never expressed it openly till [crossfitter254] came along.
Michelle: Yeah, amen to all that! We are training partners and would never tell each other this – we are too busy battling it out – back to business.
We don’t have envy because if he’s stronger at something that means I’ll need to get stronger at it. Rich Froning, four times fittest man, said, ‘You won’t ever be a beast if you don’t train with beasts.’ My endurance has improved primarily because Enock killed me with his Kelly performance – I was like ‘never again!’
But when he does really well or gets a personal best I’m super proud and happy since it’s like a team victory. When you train with other people, you know their struggles. When you see them overcome it and excel, it’s a magical feeling. But at the same time I’ll check my time too and think, ‘yeah I need to work better on this.’
THE JOURNEY FROM THE PIZZA BOX TO THE CROSSFIT BOX
Michelle: I am not sure at what point in his weight loss journey Enock started Crossfit but I started in the beginning – I know both of us have come a long way in weight loss as well – we did not start crossfit superfit; I was 90 kgs and doing Hero WODs at my previous box, hence the team name “straight out of pizza”- I love pizza and could binge eat it every other day.
Enock: I was 110 kgs and now I am 78kgs. Cookies was my weakness. I do confess to once eating four large pizzas by myself though. I had friends over for a movie and everyone came holding a couple of pizza boxes. We had way more than we needed and casually munched along till the movie ended. I hadn’t even realised I had eaten 4 boxes!
PARTNERS IN FEAR
Enock: I’m almost always scared of the WODs, especially if it’s a movement I’m not good at. Then I hear Michelle tell me how she’s also terrified, so we just suck it up and do the workout. It’s great to know I have a partner in fear.
Enock: Good news Michelle, my next trip is cancelled so we should definitely look to doing a partner WOD, the synchronised workouts in our t-shirts! I bet this is when we are finally going to kill each other and this partnership ends before [crossfitter254] does this story.
So at this point we support each other by forcing the weaker one to die in the process.
Michelle: This is hilarious but so true- that’s exactly how we support each other, there is no mercy with this guy, no excuses – which is awesome because there is an expectation behind that – I need to do my very best and he has very high standards.
I, crosfitter254, can attest that they are both still alive and breathing and looking forward to slaying all future competitions – as usual!
Thank you so much guys for sharing the raw truth behind what it really means to be partners in glory and fear and triumph.
RECAPPING THE STRAIGHT OUT OF PIZZA PARTNER RULES:
- Be ready to pass out before letting your partner win.
- A good partner is strong in the areas you are in weak in.
- Partners need to bring in new challenges.
- A good partner never says no to a challenge.
- Good partners encourage each other by communicating regularly and sharing their workout and diet experiences, and any newly found knowledge or sometimes just inspirational quotes. Does Enock’s “Your workout is my warm up” count? 🙂
- Good partners maintain consistency even when they workout separately.
- Good partners consider either partner’s victory a team victory.
- Good partners have mutual goals and support each other’s goals and journeys.
- A good partner pushes you with zero mercy (but much love).
- Good partners express their appreciation for each other – very important!
We are always glad to hear from you. Share your thoughts with us and check out this post with a few more tips for other CrossFit challenges.