Johnel, Nice & Keana








The Suralta Whanau! Mum, Dad and teenager Keana all train at CrossFit Waitakere. Mum and Dad in Adult classes and Keana in our CrossFit Teens Class. We are so inspired by this incredible family that we chose them as our Athlete(s) of the Month. We believe that parents are the best role models for our kids. They will sometimes do what you say, but mostly- they do what you do.

Interview by Paddy Compter

Names: Johnel, Nice & Keana
Live: Henderson

You have all been coming to CFW for over a year now, what motivated you to start?
We always wanted to be physically strong for as long as we can.

How is it training somewhere together as a family?
This is the first gym that we have been together, though we haven’t got a chance to be in the same class yet. There are lots of times that we talk about WODs at home and it’s quite good that we have a common interest now that we didn’t have a year ago.

What sort of exercise were you both doing before you joined?
Johnel – I was in another gym for about 4yrs and the last 2yrs of those was doing CrossFit. Then I was just doing a boxfit class but a friend of mine encouraged me to do CrossFit and the rest is a beautiful history.

Nice – I was in Club physical for quite sometime doing the old school pre weights and cardio exercises. Johnel was already talking to me about the people of CrossFit, and how the community is going to help me get towards my goals but I was too scared to give it a try at that time.

Keana – She was in a sports program sponsored by Harbour Sport in North Shore. She did the program for a couple of years. It’s not necessarily for special child like her, in fact she’s the only special child in the group. And aside from that, she was in a swimming class for three years.

Keana is a regular attendee of CrossFit Teens and I heard she is doing classes on her own now! How has that journey been?
Unlike other teens in the gym, Keana is autistic – a special child – where her condition gives her a lot of limitations unlike the normal teens. One example of that is her learning capacity. She can be very slow in picking up instructions that are given in the class which is why in her first year in this gym, I was required to stay with her during her CrossFit class to watch her and make sure that she understood the WODs.

It was quite hard for me during her first few CrossFit classes but later on I realised that by doing it with her, it gives her a chance to have her own personal coach and I can push her harder to her ability.

When she started here a year ago, she couldn’t even run 200 metres. She would just walk parts of it on her way back to the gym. But now, she’s comfortable with 4 x rounds of 400 metres (in a WOD).

Staying up on the pull up bar for at least 3 seconds before was impossible for her when she started here. But now she can carry her weight up in the bar for a longer period of time while doing knee raises.

Keana does not have the ability that a normal teen of her age has and she may be well behind of other teens in the gym, but for us her parents, we are very grateful to our coaches for letting her join the CrossFit Teens class and for all the patience that they are giving to Keana. For us she is a very good example that CrossFit is definitely for everybody. Her journey might take longer than others or she might not be able to finish it at all, but we can see that she is doing everything she can to be a better person one day.

How often do you guys train in an average week?
Johnel – 4 x times a week plus the Sunday Yoga.

Nice – 2 to 3 times a week

Keana – 2 x times a week plus Yoga on Sundays.

How important is staying healthy and fit to you all?
It is important to us to live longer. We want to stay in shape as long as we can so that we can serve our kids longer. Specially our youngest, Keana.

Do you remember your first CF workout (“WOD”)and what it felt like afterwards?
Yes it was 15 x box jump, 300 metre run, 15 x WB shots – 4 RFT

It brought me to my knees after the WOD, it’s was the hardest thing that I had done for myself in years. I really felt that it was too much for me..and believe me, I gave up CrossFit after that very first WOD. For four months I didn’t do any further CrossFit classes and I just stayed in my normal routine doing boxfit. But then I realised that I should give CrossFit another shot and this time I did it slowly (scaled) until I got comfortable with the movements and it works, until now I am still doing this thing that we all love “CrossFit”.

What gets you through a difficult WOD?
All the people that I am working with in the gym. It’s them who give me the encouragement to get through.

What are your physical goals for the rest of 2018?
To be able to do 10 unbroken double unders.

Favourite exercise?
Thrusters & HandStand PushUps

Least favourite?
Run and burpees

Dream WOD?
Nothing really in particular but the recent “strongman” WOD was really awesome.

Favourite music to WOD to?
Anything with loud noise will do (Johnel)

If you could give some advice to someone considering starting out at CFW, what would it be?
Start slowly. Give yourself time to adjust naturally. We all have our own unique CrossFit journey.

5 facts about the Suralta Family:
I cannot think of things here, so I thought that I would just take this space to tell everyone that it’s the people here in CFW and the coaches that keep us motivated.

I have been in quite a few gyms around Auckland and this is my second CrossFit gym but only here that I really realise the true meaning of CrossFit community.

Thank you everyone for all the support and encouragement and we wish that we may all still be together for the coming years under one box doing what we love to do.


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