Coach’s Profile



Name: Catherine Dunphy   Age:  45

Occupation (when not coaching): Student Development and Engagement Manager – Faculty of Engineering, University of Auckland
Lives: Huia

Genice said it would be impossible for me to do an impartial interview with you (my box bff) but here goes…

How did you start up doing CrossFit? Was it something to do with your sister?

I was doing some bootcamps at Les Mills and they finished and my sister Rachael said why don’t you come and train with Genice. Genice was doing ‘Crossfit’ at Les Mills and was about to start CF Waitakere and I followed her to the box.

The real reason I got into it though was that I was sick of being inert and making excuses as I piled on weight, my blood pressure was rising and all the health indicators were not scoring well. Rachael and Genice were my inspiration.

What was your exercise background? You were a PE teacher at some point but what about before and after that?

I have a degree in Physical Education from Otago and am a qualified teacher. Taught PE for a few years. Used to swim, played rugby (number 7) and did the gym thing, ran, touch, netball you name it. The truth is I had been lazy for a significant number of years and found lots of excuses like no time, busy with the kids, busy at work etc etc

How long have you been doing crossfit now?

Five years!

How often do you fit in training in an average week?

Not sure if there is an average week but I try to get in at least 3 times but if I get in more than that then those are bonus sessions.

Is it challenging to fit your training in (between being a mum, wife, full-time worker and now coach)?

Yep – so I try to do things like coach the kids and teens and then do a workout. Have to make it a priority because I know how much better it makes me feel.

Do you remember your first CF workout and what it felt like afterwards?

I started at the time that the CF Open was on and those were the WODs. The first one was 150 wallballs, 90 dubs and muscle ups. I thought I’ve got this as I took the heavy badly shaped wall ball. It sucked, I sucked, I was sucking in air, my thighs were burning and there in started my love/hate affair with wallballs and crossfit. I couldn’t believe it was so hard.

 Can you actually believe how far you have come then – from unfit novice to masters athlete to coach!

No! I didn’t realise how much impact crossfit would have on my life when I first picked up the bar. 

How important is staying fit and healthy to you (and your family)?

Really important –and as the mother of two daughters, they watch everything that I do, so role modelling to them is crucial.

 How has CrossFit training changed the way you approach exercise?

I do it now! Plus I also know that there really are no excuses for not getting in some exercise every day. The importance of remaining flexible and mobile cannot be understated…. especially as you age.

What about food. What changes have you made over the last few years?

Significant ones – I took on the paleo challenge at the end of my first year of doing crossfit for the simple reason that I really wanted to see whether or not I had the willpower to follow a 12 week challenge from beginning to end. Plus I just wanted to see how much difference it would actually make. I lost 15cm around my waist and dropped a lot of weight as well in that time and have mostly maintained it through eating paleo.

 And what does an average day of food look like for you?

Eggs, eggs and more eggs. So today I am having two boiled eggs for breakfast with an avocado, some tomatoes and some kumara. Lunch is last nights left over lamb roast with some salad. Dinner will be a variation of that. I have a couple of pieces of fruit as well and if I get really hungry then I will have some carrots and almond butter. Boring but effective.

What was it like making that transition from your average person kicking around in class to standing at the front and coaching?

Scary! Makes you realise how much you zone out when you are in the class. It also makes me aware of the responsibility you hold as a coach in terms of making sure that people are being safe in their lifting, not overdoing what they are capable of doing etc.

What is it you enjoy most about coaching?

Watching people improve in the quality of their movement. Seeing the pride in people’s faces when they succeed at something they have been working on for a while. I also like it when I try a cue and it works.

 Who is harder to coach – kids or adults?

Kids are a sharp learning curve – if your cues or directions are wrong they will demonstrate exactly what you have asked or have said, so you get instant feedback about your coaching. Plus they are high energy and short attention span and have no qualms about showing you or each other how competitive they are!

With the adults – I have to move from being peer to coach and make sure that I have something of value to offer each of them during the one hour that they are with me. I find that challenging. I watch a lot of youtube videos and read the crossfit journal to help me upskill.

 You and BJ are great role-models for your daughters. How important do you think that is for kids (to have positive role models around)?

Very important. Monkey see, monkey do.

Do you have any thoughts about the influence crossfit has had on women’s perception of their bodies?

I am not sure about other women, for me there is confidence that comes from knowing what your body is capable of within the box through the things that you are able to lift – eg not sure if you remember this but when we were in the old box and we could get a husband deadlift – 80kg. That was a good day – means that I know that if BJ was in trouble I would probably be able to lift him to get him out of trouble.

Overall my girls like being strong and the focus on what your body can do, as opposed to what it looks like is really important for young women.

What/who motivates you at the box?

The boilers! Genice – without her none of us would be here! All the other coaches – working to provide a quality experience for everyone. The CFW whanau – nothing quite like it. I love going to a comp and seeing our whanau there supporting us and cheering, proudly wearing the colours. The 5.45 crew.

What are your physical goals for 2016? 

DUBS 50 unbroken – I would love to get a bodyweight clean and jerk, the elusive muscle up and beating Paddy.

Favourite exercise?


Least favourite?


Dream WOD?

I really liked the combination of Deadlifts(increasing weight) and box jumps that was in the open a couple of years back and beating Paddy.

Top couple of songs to WOD to. Your answer to this can’t be anything from Frozen.


Fight the power

Something hard and metally on the odd occasion when Genice takes 5.45

To be honest I don’t usually notice the music when I am wodding.

 Crossfit Idol/s?

Paddy Compter, Tanya Hammond, my two to tangiweto buddy Kristian, Kapz, Kara Webb.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering starting out at CFW, what would it be?

Just do it! I think some multinational used that slogan before me….

You are never too old, or too unfit to start

 3 facts about me you may not know;

I am a pretty open book but…

  1. I am the second eldest of 8 kids and we grew up in a little place called Te Puia Springs
  2. I love trashy crime novels and have read all the Lee Child books
  3. My husband has the same name as my father…


  • Janeo — April 21, 2016

    Sculls, you’re famous! Awesome interview, chick, so pleased you mentioned your rugby playing days – not sure I’d be able to keep up with you now! You should relocate to Winton and get some of that Crossfit fever happening here…

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