For our next member spotlight, let us introduce you to Stefan. He is likely a familiar face to all, as he manages to come to the 5:30am classes, evening open gym, and weekend WODs! When Stefan arrived in Hanoi at the end of 2020, he made sure getting into CrossFit Tay Ho was a top priority. His work only had him in Hanoi for a short period of time, and as an experienced CrossFitter, he knew that our box would not only be a place for fitness and wellness, but a place for friendship and positive experiences.
To say that Stefan has changed during his time at CFTH would be an understatement. One coach described it as a metamorphosis. We have seen Stefan change physically and mentally during his time with us. He is a fantastic example of an athlete who has committed to himself, puts in the work, and is reaping the benefits.
Stefan is always willing to lend a helping hand. Volunteering his time to help with events, and donating delicious Carlsberg Beer for a variety of socials. Though only with us for a short time, he truly dove headfirst into our CFTH community, and we are thankful for the time he spent with us! He came with a plan for himself, to get better and stronger, and is leaving us with a lot more. In his own words, saying that CFTH is like his second home sounds like a cliché, but it is nevertheless still true.
"When leaving home, especially in these times, it has been amazing to have a place to come, where everything is familiar, and is warm and welcoming. A place to make new friends and to get recommendations”
How long have you been doing Crossfit/how long at CFTH?
I started doing CrossFit in the military back in 2009, back then it was mostly heavy lifting, working out with tire flip and sledgehammers. I have been a part of CFTH around 5.5 month
What was your very first class at CFTH like?
It was warm and welcoming, and felt familiar. One of the huge advantages in CF for me, when I'm traveling, is that everywhere I go, the workouts more or less are structured the same way, and therefore it feels familiar.
What are some of your recent accomplishments/a-ha moments/or something you have been proud of in the gym recently?
I think my DU during the Open, and the consistency I have put in to get them. In the past, I have always avoided DU and hated them. Even though I´m not entirely there yet, I somehow have become pretty happy to see them in the workouts. And then Barbell Club. That has been a real eye opener for me. I have always been good at spotting other people's mistakes, and then do the same mistakes myself. For many years I relied on my upper body strength, and did not use any proper technique, until now, thanks to Rebecca. I have become confident in my footwork and in my jerks, and I´m pretty happy with that!
What are some goals you are working toward?
I still want to improve my barbell technique and my gymnastics. I hope that handstand walking and Bar Muscle Ups are possible in the near future.
Favorite movement/WOD and why?
Oh, there are so many! My all-time favorite WOD is Murph. First of all, it was the very first Hero WOD, and I really like that the CF community is honoring those heroes. Another reason is because of my military background. But mostly because it's an awesome workout…
Favorite CrossFit Tay Ho moment?
I think that would be The Open. So many happy people doing fitness together. A community that put in a lot of hours in planning costumes and competing. Coaches that were supportive and put in a lot of work to make it happen. That was, for me, an amazing experience.
Something positive Crossfit has taught you?
CrossFit has taught me to believe in the process. To not measure myself against others, but only against myself and my own performance.
Any advice for someone just starting?
CrossFit is for everyone, don’t compare yourself against people who have lifted weights for a long time. Have fun, and the results will come. Also, trust your coaches.
How has your health/fitness/mindset changed since starting CrossFit?
I think that overall I have become stronger in a more healthy way. For example, instead of focusing on isolated movements, it's more about functional movements.
Have you experienced any other completely unexpected changes after joining CrossFit? (ie. new friends, “family”, the community, more self confidence, etc)
After joining CrossFit outside the military, I did not expect that the community was such a huge part of it, that surprised me in a positive way. I saw some of the same values in the community, which I was used to in the service.
What do you do out there in the real world?
I work for Carlsberg, doing strategic changes and implementing ways of working.
How long have you been in Hanoi?
I have only been in Hanoi for 5,5 month.
Hobbies, Talents and or Interests? What does a day in the life of Stefan look like outside of being a CrossFitter?
Back home I spent a lot of time outdoors and hunting. And training my dog for hunting. In Vietnam, it's mostly work.
Favorite thing to do in Hanoi (outside of Crossfit)?
See cultural things and have a few beers
Favorite Hanoi restaurant?
Bao Wow and local street food
What is a fun fact that would surprise us about you?
I once took salsa lessons to impress a girl – and I don’t own a rhythm.