Only four years ago Mike Mulders made the bold decision to turn his life around and start CrossFit, which literally saved his life. Now as a dedicated CrossFit coach at Powerbox Amsterdam, he hopes to motivate others to lose weight, achieve goals and lead a healthy lifestyle. His inspirational story and impressive transformation make him one of our most inspiring OneFit teachers!

Years to live

In my twenties I was taking part in triathlons, cycling, swimming and running. But when I turned 29 I injured my knee and I had to stop everything. My knee was so painful, I took a break from exercise and then it turned into two years. In the end, I thought it was too late to exercise again. For nine years I did nothing and gained so much weight, I became obese. The doctor told me if I carried on living my life this way then I would only have 10 years to live, so I decided to do something about it. I quit my job at the IT company that I worked for and I started training to get my qualifications to be a teacher in the fitness industry. In the end, I found CrossFit.

CrossFit is a lifestyle

When I started CrossFit I couldn’t even do a push up or a pull or anything – I was too heavy. The first month was really hard. I know exactly why some people don’t dare to do CrossFit because in the first three weeks I felt the same. I thought to myself – I don’t belong here, I’m not fit enough, I need to train more and I’m embarrassing. That’s why you have to find the right box that suits you because everywhere is different. At some boxes people like to show off and at others there is a real community. CrossFit is a new lifestyle. It’s food, exercise, it’s community and you share everything. It’s important because everyone will have a point when they will break and you have to support each other and remind people why they started in the first place.

Motivation is key

Four years ago a lot of people told me that I needed to lose weight, but I didn’t do anything until I realized my health had to change. In five years, I’ve lost a lot of weight. I’ve dropped from 130 kilos to 90 and reduced my fat percentage from 38% to 20%. Now my goal is to motivate others. Some people want to lose weight, some people want to gain weight and others want to gain muscle and that’s even harder. CrossFit gives you a solid mindset and anybody can do it. I motivate people by telling them to start easy and scale everything down if needed. There is no pressure because it’s just you against yourself – of course it’s in a group, but everyone helps each other out.  That’s what CrossFit is all about – it’s a community.

Always safety first

CrossFit training is a combination of power lifting, weight lifting, gymnastics and cardio. A lot of people go as fast and as heavy as possible because of the timer, and that’s fine as long as your form is correct. If you’re form is not right then your coach has to adjust the weight. They also need to show you the proper way to do a movement. People say CrossFit is bad for you, but that’s not true, bad posture is bad for you. So quality of coaching is the most important thing for CrossFit, but that also goes for any kind of sport. Beginners should listen well to the coach start at a steady pace. It’s better to keep your form and use lighter weights than go for heavier weights. If I see someone pushing themselves to use weights that are too heavy – I refuse to let them do it and take them off. Safety is first but that doesn’t mean it not fun to train in a group.

If you want to get fit in a supportive community then search for the right CrossFit box for you. If you want to try Mike’s sessions, check out Powerbox Amsterdam.

Written by Laura Court-Jones