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CrossFit community keeps couple coming back

Peter and Lisa Punivalu-Anae have been with Fatutoa gym since it began operations as a 'garage box'. They are still at it.

The couple, who competed as part of the Silverbacks team in the 2019 Toa Games on Saturday, said support from the community is what motivates them to keep going back to the gym.

They commended the environment created at the Fatu Toa gym at Vaitele Fou as 'very family oriented'.

"Honestly I think it’s really the community. If we didn’t have such support from the community, we wouldn’t have even wanted to come back," said 31-year-old Lisa. 

"Like we came initially for our health and because the environment is so supportive, it’s helped us to come back continuously."

The couple from Vaivase Uta said two years into their marriage, health was given absolutely no priority until they decided to try out one class; it turned out to be a "game changer".

"One of the keys for CrossFit: if you don’t have good mobility, [then] basically you struggle, that was one of the hardest part[s] in our first year, it was mobility, it was very hard," said Peter, 32. 

"It’s still hard but now we can do it."

"Also when we both started we were both 20 kilograms heavier and so, in our journey, we lost that and that also assisted with the mobility and also the nutrition Fatu Toa offers helps [to] put you on the right track."

Lisa added: "It supports and nutrition helps in your fitness training."

The couple continue to convince family members and friends to join the fitness programme, advising them not to be intimidated before giving it a try.

"Don’t be scared, because when they think CrossFit, [they think:] ‘Oh, it’s gonna be hard’ but that’s not it; it’s not like you come here and squat 300 kilograms. No, you start out with the bar just like everyone else," Peter said.

"Just come and try out; don’t be scared; don’t think that you can’t do it; just come and do a class first and then you judge.

"Do a class, not just one class, just come for a week; commit to a week.

"Slow progress goes a long way."

They also discussed the personal challenges that arise from dedication to fitness, including the loss of time with their four-year-old son.

"Personally my only challenge is trying to fit CrossFit around my schedule with work but I know, when it becomes busy, I should come to the morning classes and that’s what I’m trying to teach myself going forward, to prioritise morning over the afternoon," Lisa said.

"And family time, sometimes we go home late when class finishes late because we have a four-year-old son, and we rush back to spend some time with him," said Peter.

"But overall you can bring your kid here, and like I say it’s a really nice community to be around, and family oriented.

"All the credit goes to the coaches at Fatu Toa who put in the hard work and planning the programme but for us we just trust the programme and we do it every day."

CrossFit Fatu Toa is the first and only registered CrossFit affiliate in Samoa.  

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