Fiona Royall - Athlete of the Month July '18
2 Years going strong with this Warrior Woman Fiona Royall!
Even when she is holidaying Fiona is training hard and exploring her fitness in different environments. This dedicated attitude isn't the only thing we love about here, but also the general good vibes she brings into the class every session.
She has been an amazing athlete to watch grow and progress, seeing her flourish in every CrossFit Open brings so much pride into our hearts.
HOW OLD ARE YOU?
WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSION?
I'm a Digital Consultant. The work I do, where I do it, the size of the team and timeframes constantly vary from project to project. That's why I love it. I've been part of a team delivering a content strategy, then the next project I was part of a small team defining a digital business model. The parts of it I enjoy most is where I can work on strategy and be part of a collaborative team, travel is also ace when I have the chance. I spent most of last year working between Melbourne and Brisbane and got to explore parts of Australia I'd never seen before, and that I would never have had the opportunity to otherwise. I'm fortunate in that I get to work with incredibly talented, intelligent people who are also a lot of fun. It can be chaotic at times as you may have to travel or start a new project at short notice, which can make life balance difficult.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I went through a running phase a few years ago. Hilarious because I am a terrible runner - you will see me shuffling while we do block runs. I took it on a recommendation from a physio, as I was recovering from a meniscus injury I'd sustained. I got super into it, joined a running group and did heaps of fun runs. 10km was my favourite distance but I managed to do two half marathons. Every weekend I would roll out of bed and run 10km along the beach from Brighton to St Kilda. I still wasn't great but it was a lot of fun. I would love to build up to those distances again and rediscover the joy in it. Savage Conditioning was fantastic over summer to tap back into the cardio side of things.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE AT CROSSFIT COLLINGWOOD IN 2016?
I met Josh first. I had been thinking about CrossFit for years (I had even visited another box in the past) but had felt intimidated. My perception aligned with a lot of the stereotypes that are out there. I thought it seemed extreme and out of reach for me. I had moved to Collingwood about six months before and joined the local Anytime Fitness but was so bored and unmotivated. I had a mate who has done CrossFit for years so he was super encouraging and motivated me to start looking into it once again. Josh was so friendly and welcoming so the decision was easy to join. The onboarding process put me at ease as well, having to go through Academy before joining the main classes so we were able to get exposed to the fundamentals under close supervision.
HOW DID YOU FIND THE OX BOX?
Credit to all the stickers and posters that are around the neighbourhood. The power of subliminal advertising. Every street I'd see the purple stickers, and across the road from the building where I live there was a poster so I'd see it every day.
I was a fat kid at school, I hated sport and would generally do anything to get out of it. My brother was the total opposite, he had to go out and move every day otherwise he'd go stir crazy (he actually is a PE teacher now). I tried a lot of different things but the only sports I stuck with was tennis and horse riding. Horse riding was my obsession for quite a few years. It wasn't until after I finished high school I got into fitness. That was motivated as a way to improve my mental health as much as physical. My friends and I played basketball, then I got into mixed netball, and I joined a gym. I did get into running for a bit as well. Over time though I became increasingly bored with the gym, I would roll up and do treadmill and circuit work and that would be it. I ended up feeling lazy and unmotivated. Hence I began looking for something new.
I remember doing The Ox Box Academy at 6:30am and seeing the 5:30am crew wrapping up their sessions and thinking they looked intense, and a dedicated group so I decided to throw myself in the deep in and train with them. Early on it could be frustrating, there was so much to think about! It was reassuring learning everything can be scaled. I learnt box jumps by doing little jumps onto a stack of plates and holding Coach Caity's hand!! Everyone was so welcoming and friendly. I remember Tammy coming up up to me at my first class to introduce herself. I fell in love with training at the box as every day is different, you don't have to think about what to do, you can track your progress, you are being instructed by incredible coaches and the best part is the community aspect. Becoming a fitter, stronger and a better person is fantastic but the main reason I turn up is to spend time with a bunch of awesome humans. I love the ethos Josh, Ren and the team have instilled at the box: leave your ego at the door, be teachable, move well, help each other out, have integrity and support each other. I've now trained at a few other places and the more I do, the more I realise how lucky we are and how special the community is.
Travel! There is so much I still want to do but in the near future planning to get back to Thailand for more training, back to Nepal for more trekking and to Japan to do snowboarding. I'm trying to balance the love of travel with adulting and saving for an apartment which is a challenge!
The main thing is to work on cool projects with cool people and learn. I would love to work overseas again. It's important to me that my work has value and meaning, to be a part of a team, work with creative, fun people and to continue in a role where I act as an advisor/consultant.
For me, I believe the most work I have to do is around my mindset. If I can continue to develop there, I hope to see the improvements translate into how I train and eat. So that is my main goal, though I don't see it ever ending, it will be an ongoing journey. This year I read 'Chasing Excellence' by Ben Bergeron and listen to his podcast so he has been hugely influential on that front. Outside of CrossFit, I have done yoga for many years and would like to do yoga teacher training. Not to teach, but to further enhance my knowledge, understanding and practice.
WHATS HAS BEEN A SPECIAL MOMENT IN YOUR CROSSFIT JOURNEY?
I enjoy seeing others achieve new feats, it's super inspiring: things like Jellie getting her first muscle up, Freya's first pull up, Mads' first toes to bar. It's very cool. At a personal level, taking myself off to Thailand at the end of last year to train and the benefits that flowed on from that. Work had messed with routine last year and I didn't feel I was where I should be, I was feeling burnt out from stress and travel. Going into an environment where you are completely focused on training (4+ hours a day), eating well and recovery surrounded by like-minded people from all over the world was exactly what I needed - plus the island hopping and exploring on rest days. It was a total life/work detox. Coming back to the box in January and noticing the progress I'd made, and soon after a lot of things started coming together was exciting: my first toes to bar, handstand push-up, double unders and pull-ups all within a month.
WHATS YOUR FAVOURITE WOD?
Anything with the rower: I love rowing! But in all honesty, my favourite workouts right now would be anything where I get the opportunity to work on a weakness, of which there are many (the more I do CrossFit, the more I realise there is to learn). The biggest ones would be running, assault bike and anything gymnastics related. I have a lot of work to do to better drop under the bar in both cleans and jerks and snatches.
3 SONGS YOU LOVE TO WOD TO?
Reunion - M83
Stronger - Kanye West
Testify - Rage Against the Machine
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
WOULD YOU GO BACK IN THE PAST OR GO INTO THE FUTURE AND WHY? WHICH TIME PERIOD WOULD YOU GO TO AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
I have a degree in history so I'll go with the past. It would be incredible to see the Roman Empire at its zenith.
WHEN DO YOU PREFER TO TRAIN?
WOULD YOU RATHER BE A PIRATE OR A NINJA?
Ninja! Give me stealth.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE TREAT FOOD?
The prosciutto pizza from Lazer Pig.
WHAT'S THAT INGREDIENT THAT YOU ALWAYS END UP ADDING TO YOUR DISHES?
IF YOU WERE IN THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE WHAT WOULD BE THE OBJECT YOU'D ALWAYS HAVE ON YOU?
A Valyrian steel sword
IF YOU WERE AN ACTION FIGURE WHAT WOULD YOUR 2 ACCESSORIES BE?
Coffee and a yoga mat.
IF YOU COULD GO ONE PLACE IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW WHERE WOULD IT BE?
Nepal, trekking in the Himalayas. It is paradise on earth. Stunningly beautiful. The landscapes are so special: lush green trees, roaring rivers, the mountain peaks, glaciers, up to the sparse landscapes at higher altitudes. To look up at the skies filled with stars at night is an experience I will never forget.
FIONA'S TIP TO ALL READERS
If you're reading this and thinking of giving CrossFit a go: DO IT! Walking through those doors was one of the best decisions I ever made. You will be supported by excellent coaches and be welcomed by a bunch of new friends waiting for you! It is a powerful opportunity for learning, growth and development.