"I still remember the workout. It was box jumps, butterfly sit-ups, squats, push-ups, pull-ups and skipping. I was hooked. Now, I live CrossFit."
“I have always loved the rough stuff,” Cameron Mitchell says.
Mitchell’s love turned into a childhood of playing a range of sports until a foot injury grounded him at 14.
“My foot arches collapsed for reasons still unknown,” he explains. “I was on crutches for about three months (after surgery) on each foot, and the rehab took about three years after the operations until I could fully run again. I haven't had a single problem with my feet (since).”
In 2003, Mitchell became more determined. After leaving school, he focused on rugby, playing both internationally and locally. However in 2010, injuries again halted his progress and he hung up his boots.
“(After rugby) I took gym training quite seriously, but by the end of 2011 I got bored and began looking for something new,” he says. “So I started MMA early in 2012. I wanted to get my fitness up to help my MMA and my coach at the time said I should try CrossFit.”
In February 2012, he did an introductory class with B4C CrossFit owners and coaches, Danie and Charmaine du Preez.
“I still remember the workout,” he recalls. “It was box jumps, butterfly sit-ups, squats, push ups, pull-ups and skipping. I was hooked.”
He began training at B4C three times a week to supplement his MMA training. He gradually increased the frequency of CrossFit classes and eventually stopped MMA altogether.
“Now, I live CrossFit,” Mitchell says with a smile on his face.
Mitchell’s coach, two-time Africa Regional winner Danie du Preez, says the young athlete has what it takes to succeed.
“Cameron is committed to his training, his diet and his rest. I see a lot of potential ahead for this young man, and this is just the beginning,” du Preez says.
Mitchell first got a taste of competing in October.
“It was a team event, and although we didn’t do very well, it was a brilliant event. I loved it,” he says. “I think this is where I realized that I enjoyed competition.”
Mitchell has since taken part in several events, recently placing seventh in one of the region’s most popular local events.
“I was hoping for a top-10 finish, so I was really pleased with my performance,” he says. “This really made me hungry for the Open. It did however expose my weaknesses, like handstand walks and pistols.”
Mitchell displays a competitive mind set.
“I believe that CrossFit is very much a mind game, and I like to think I have a very strong mind. I hate giving up. I hate quitting. It tears me apart when I quit.”
In order to prepare for the Open, Mitchell trains twice a day, five times a week. He’ll do a strength session in the morning and a met-con in the evening. He also has two active rest days in the week, so he spends a lot of time at the box.
“B4C is like my second home. I sometimes spend more time there than at my own home,” he jokes. “We really are like a very big family.”
Mitchell is also dedicated to eating well.
“I am very strict with my eating and follow the Zone diet. I am still learning about competition preparation and what works for me, so even though I have a plan, I still change things up if I notice it isn’t working.”
du Preez is confident he’ll go far in CrossFit competition.
“He’s a fighter and pushes until the end,” du Preez says. “His hunger to win is what I believe is his biggest driving force to get him to his goal.”