Athlete of the Month

Alan Gibson!

Thank you Alan for the work you do. Us westies love our beaches and our bush which we often take for granted until we get in trouble. Waitakere is a better place for having you in it!

Interview by Paddy Compter

Name: Alan Gibson
Age: 41
Occupation: Medical Simulation
Lives: Piha

How long have you been crossfitting now and what was it that got you started? I have been coming to the box since Dec 2014. And what got me started?…….sadly I separated from my sons mum some 5 years ago and ended up doing a lot of comfort eating as a form of coping. I was in Northland after a few days of working teaching the ambulance service how to do good quaity CPR. Upon driving to Whangarei I just about fell asleep at the wheel and woke myself up before I crashed- it turned out to be one of those Aha moments – my body shape was XXXL and I felt tired a lot of the time- something needed to be done.

What sort of exercise were you doing before you joined? Basically nothing

How often do you train in an average week?I haven’t been in a few weeks due to starting a new role but I was going 3-5 times a week and I love it.

How important is staying healthy and fit to you and your family?I have an active 6-year-old boy and its very important I am around for him and I don’t die early. Its interesting teaching others CPR when you discover last year 1875 people had a pre -hospital cardiac arrest and only 15% survive.My son loves his bike and he wants to be on it every day…….rain or sun we are out having fun- fitness has enabled me to be a better parent.

Do you remember your first CF workout and what it felt like afterwards?It was the lovely Fran and I am sure if she was an Apple product she would be ‘i gorgeous’…….. like most x partners who have the madness gene she pushed me into a very uncomfortable area in my life. Upon reflection I am happy I met Fran as it was the start of a journey to help me lose 8 inches off my waste.

I have always admired your tenacity in difficult WOD’s, how do you push though when the going gets tough?I don’t believe I push through at all, during the WOD I look around in admiration of those in the box……I am always chasing to be like them as they are my heros and they inspire me to chase greatness. I really enjoy the motivation of the coaches and how they inspire the vision, encourage the heart pre, during and post WOD- thanks

 We can’t do this interview without talking about your work (as a first responder). Can you tell us more about what you do?When I sadly separated from my wife I didn’t have much in terms of confidence and other items. The Piha community became a Whanau to me. In return I donate around 10-12 shifts a month to supporting those in need before the real ambulance arrive. Since Christmas I have been to 11 drownings, suicides, 21 motor vehicle accidents, 9 shoulder dislocations, I have put 12 people into the back of Westpac helicopter and lots more.

I really hurt myself a while ago when I responded first before the team to a fall at the Piha falls. The pack and equipment is around 35kg and I got to the top of the falls from the car park in 12 mins (1.8kms). When I got to the top it was apparent the patient was down the falls so as luck would have it I found a rope, made a harness and abseiled down the falls with the gear. Sadly I couldn’t save the patient and the winch for the helicopter was 130 feet- to get extra support in.

I cant really fully explain what I do, other than I do try to help others- that was a hard day for me on the falls as it became apparent that patient could of been my son up there needing help and was 12 mins acceptable for me to get to the top? It does however raise the question- are we work ready as a ambulance service? Upon speaking to his family overseas it is evident loss of someone dear just sux

What is a typical day of work for you then? Is there such a thing?There is no typical day format as such but during each month I could be in any part of NZ or in Australia. Most days commence at 6 ish and end after 1030 depending on what I am doing and the place of work- when I am training others I could be on helicopters, in MRI/ theatre rooms, Airbus A380, shortland street set, aircraft hangers, army bases and more. I try and go to other boxes if I can but they are not as good as our one.

How has training at CFW helped you in your work?Some of the items we train with are full bodied manikins….adult men, pregnant woman etc and they could weight up to 90kg…..lifting these cases in and out of the car has become easier with taking on CF.

Whilst working for St John in Piha CF has enabled me to be work ready- which could be anything from running on the beach, climbing up Lion rock with the pack or pulling people out of dangerous situations.

 Do you think you are getting better as you are getting older?I have found I have become more domesticated if that’s what you mean? In all seriousness …..yes but I am still watching my heros at the box and chasing the greatness they produce at every session.

 What/who motivates you at the box?My son ……. To the world I am one person but to one person I am the world.

Favourite exercise?With the team at the box……..when we are doing deadlifts

Least favourite?Hand stands and double unders ……

Favourite workout music?I am happy when Kapz isn’t present cause I am over the Beyonce stuff she plays. At the moment it is ‘The Dubliners ….. Rocky Road to Dublin’

If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering starting out at CFW, what would it be?
Just do it, have fun chasing greatness, give it some time and enjoy watching changes in your body shape

 3 facts about me you may not know;

  1. I qualified as a registered sick children’s nurse and some years ago I opened and commission the sick children’s unit as Waitakere hospital.
  2. I am currently doing my MBA in Business.
  3. This year I came up with the idea for the first ever NZ CPR saves live walk/ Hikoi……. This was the first ever CPR walk to save lives in the Southern Hemisphere.



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