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Rosi Jelfs shares her passion for fitness

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Rosi Jelfs is a Senior Manager in our Research & Innovation Services and leads a team that is responsible for the day-to-day management of research systems, which support the end-to-end research lifecycle.

For this edition of Dialogue, we spoke to her about her passion for fitness.

Tell us about your hobby…

I am a CrossFit athlete and coach at CrossFit DHM – I train and compete for fun, and help others on their fitness journey, from complete beginners to people who’ve trained for years.

CrossFit is a fitness methodology that combines anything and everything – weightlifting, gymnastics, cardio and much more.

How did you get into CrossFit?

I found CrossFit in 2015 – I rowed throughout university and afterwards, but could no longer commit to a crew, and I missed the social aspect. I found CrossFit DHM and it was everything I was looking for – a great community of people, great fun, and the right level of challenge.

I started coaching in 2018 because I wanted to give back to a community that had given me so much. I love helping people make progress or learn a new skill, however big or small it is, and seeing them gain confidence that translates into other parts of their lives too.

In March 2020, when the then gym owner wanted to close the gym, a small group of us got together and bought the gym – the community meant so much to us that we didn’t want to lose it. While we couldn’t open our doors during lockdowns, we lent out equipment and programmed workouts that our members could do at home. We kept the gym going all the way through the pandemic and it’s stronger than ever now. I sold my share last year to focus on other things but getting involved in the gym is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve now also qualified as a nutrition coach so I can help people with that area of their health too.

Why is CrossFit important to you?

CrossFit has helped me in every part of my life, not just my fitness. If I’ve had a stressful day at work, there’s nothing better than flinging a heavy barbell around. In learning new skills and getting stronger physically I have developed mental strength, resilience, and self-confidence, and I don’t think I would have been able to progress in my career in the same way without what CrossFit has given me. And, at 35 I am the fittest and strongest I have ever been. I enjoy competing now, but my longer-term goal is to keep training so that I have the best chance of staying fit and healthy as I age.

The biggest myth about CrossFit is that you have to be fit to start – anyone can do it because it’s endlessly adaptable – we’ll meet you where you’re at. At my gym we have members in their early-20s, mid-70s, and everywhere in between. People can be put off by seeing things online about what professional CrossFit athletes are able to achieve – that’s like saying you wouldn’t go for a run because you can’t sprint like Usain Bolt!

Many people see exercise as a chore or a punishment, and I think finding something you enjoy doing can make a huge difference. A lot of our members wouldn’t have described themselves as ‘sporty’ before joining, and for many of them CrossFit is the first form of exercise they’ve ever enjoyed, so they keep coming. Our focus is much more on what our bodies can do, rather than what they look like. Seeing someone get a new skill or hit a personal best, and the joy they get from it, is the best thing about being a coach.

I would encourage anybody who’s curious about CrossFit or any other activity to just give it a go – it won’t be as scary as you think, and you might meet some great people and find a new hobby!



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