In Conversation With Florence
“I’ve learned to not compare my journey with others. Comparison is the enemy.”
Being in constant dialogue with athletes and others shaping our industry for the better has been a foundational practice since we started Blue Elvin. Through these conversations we are widening the circles of influence around us, listening to different perspectives, and uncovering new complexities of an athlete’s training journey.
Conversations bring clarity, along with more questions. This has shown us that there is so much more to uncover, that every person has a unique relationship to training and so to support as many athletes as possible we need to keep discovering.
Having conversations is a natural part of the journey as we build Blue Elvin. We want to share the conversations we’re having in the hope that they may resonate, spark a thought, or encourage further conversation.
And if you’d like to share your own story, or know someone who should, please get in touch with us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently we had the pleasure of sitting down with Florence Wong, 10 months into her journey with Functional Training, and CrossFit specifically. Flo is one of the athletes taking part in the product testing for our first Set; AB-001. Flo has an openness, dedication to training, and energy that has inspired us ever since we first met her in December 2019.
After reflecting on our conversation with Flo there were three things that she said, relating to her training journey, that really resonated with us.
- “It’s changed my mindset from exercising to training. Everything had a purpose and that helped me to step back and look at everything in my life and question why I’m doing it. Everything is so much more balanced now.”
- “The main thing is that mentally I’m happier about my body image. My mentality has definitely shifted and I’m so much prouder of what I can achieve performance-wise. CrossFit has helped me overcome some of my anxieties.”
- “I’ve learned to not compare my journey with others. Comparison is the enemy.”
Read on for the full conversation.
Tamara: Hey Flo! How did CrossFit begin for you?
Flo: I had gone to a drop-in class a couple of years ago because I wanted to try a new gym and at the time I was running a blog reviewing studios, plus I was curious about CrossFit. I enjoyed it but my focus was on HIIT and running at the time. I was training for the London marathon. After running the marathon I was looking for something different. A lot of the HIIT classes I had been going to were inspired by CrossFit and I liked the way that CrossFit thought about programming. When I went to sign-up the Coach remembered me from the drop-in I’d done two years before and this felt like a sign that this community takes its people to heart. I also appreciated that there was no space for negativity in the CrossFit box and you feel that when you walk in.
Lamorna: How did this differ from your previous expectations of CrossFit?
Flo: There were lots of people in my HIIT classes that would say that in CrossFit you can get injured easily by adding on weight too quickly. Honestly, I was also a bit put off because I heard people say that CrossFit girls are too bulky.
Tamara: Now that you're 10 months in, what have you learned from CrossFit?
Flo: I think the main thing is my change in mindset from exercising to training. Having spoken to a lot of my friends, we were all coming from the same place where doing gym classes felt great because we were losing weight. But sometimes that can become quite unhealthy - you get obsessed and then you’re exercising to burn off calories. Which just led to focusing on aesthetics. After joining CrossFit there was a lot more focus on performance and why we’re doing certain movements. Everything had a purpose and that helped me step back and look at everything in my life and question why I’m doing it. Everything is so much more balanced now.
Tamara: And by everything you mean your outlook both physically and mentally?
Flo: Yes, physically, and mentally. The main thing is that mentally I’m happier about my body image. That’s always been a massive thing for me. Now I feel like I understand balance a lot more. And going back to the point about CrossFit girls being bulky, well when you start CrossFit you’ll gain lats because you need your lats and your shoulders might become a bit broader to help you lift things overhead. But you also feel a lot stronger and I actually feel leaner. My mentality has definitely shifted and I’m so much prouder of what I can achieve performance-wise. Crossfit has helped me to overcome some of my insecurities.
What’s been really helpful in working with the coaches and some of the athletes. These might be elite athletes and when I talk to them there’s not a shred of standoff-ish ness or pride. Especially when the Open happens, it's such a healthy competition and everyone wants you to do well. When you speak to these elite athletes they always have things to work on and that’s so encouraging.
Tamara: Is there anything at the moment that’s holding you back in your training? Or any barriers you’re trying to overcome?
Flo: Now I have a coach who helps me programme and prioritise what it is that I want to achieve. It’s helped a lot. At the start of your journey, there’s so much to learn and everything is so exciting. At one point I felt like my engine wasn’t getting any better, I didn't know what to focus on in Olympic Lifting, and I never thought I’d get a muscle-up. It was a bit demotivating and I felt like I was plateau-ing. That was a barrier but I’ve managed to overcome that with a coach.
Lamorna: Do you think that process and the skill to prioritise have applied outside of the gym too?
Flo: Yes. My coach was very blatant with me, and said “What is it that you really want? And what do you really really want?” I applied this to my work and my life as well. What is it that I need to achieve now, what is it that would be a nice to have, but only if I have time? It helped mentally too as it stopped me spreading myself too thin. In my 20s at work, I’d say yes to everything because I was very afraid to say no. Then I’d end up burning out. I’ve stopped that now. I’ve also learned not to compare my journey with others. Comparison is the enemy. Especially when you can see everyone's journey on Instagram. It’s frustrating but it helps to have someone to remind you to stay in your lane.
To see more of Flo’s journey see here.