"I've been preparing myself for the unknown. I love difficult workouts, especially the ones that make you nervous at the beginning, but are well worth it at the end."
As a teenager, Lorinda van Loggerenberg had a promising athletics career to look forward to.
“I’ve always had a passion for athletics. I was a 100-meter and 200-meter specialist and became a professional athlete at the age of 17.”
At age 19, a hamstring injury halted her sprinting career, but concomitantly, she learned about CrossFit.
“I was studying towards a degree in sport science at the time, and during 2010, one of my lecturers, Hannes du Toit, introduced me to CrossFit,” she says.
Du Toit owns BST CrossFit in Honeydew, Johannesburg.
“My body was so stiff for two weeks straight, but I quickly realized that this was something else, and I had to master these beastly workouts.”
What was athletics’ loss turned out to be CrossFit’s gain. With one week of the Open left, Van Loggerenberg is in the top 10 overall in the Africa Region, having performed consistently well on all workouts including a strong third-place finish on 13.3 with a score of 249.
van Loggerenberg finished third overall in the 2012 Open, but the level of competition in Africa, especially among the women, has increased dramatically in 2013. She has proven she remains a top contender.
“The 2012 Open was my first competitive year in CrossFit,” she says. “It was tough, but I got through it.”
With CrossFit still growing in Africa, the 2012 Regional saw all but three women eliminated after the first event.
“It was a very humbling experience,” van Loggenberg says. “But even though I was disappointed that I couldn’t advance to the second workout, Regionals were still one of the highlights of my year in 2012 and I learnt a lot from the experience.”
The past year has been a busy one for van Loggerenberg. She married a longstanding member of the South African CrossFit community, Branco Visagie, and together they opened their own affiliate — RTF CrossFit. They both work together by training young semi-professional and professional athletes at a local high school.
Visagie is also van Loggerenberg’s main coach, while Du Toit, who Van Loggerenberg calls “an overall guru in the sport,” remains involved, as well.
“After Regionals last year, we went back to the drawing board and I feel that my preparation for this season is much better,” she says. “My programming involves a lot more planning and my main focus has been on Olympic weightlifting and gymnastics. My husband and I both mix our own personal flavors of training into my program, with a strong focus on Olympic weightlifting, weaknesses and a lot of endurance work.”
Her approach to the Open has also changed.
“I’ve been preparing myself for the unknown. I love difficult workouts, especially the ones that make you nervous at the beginning, but are well worth it at the end,” she says. “I also only do each Open (workout) once. That way, I know I have to make every rep count. I realize that nothing just comes overnight, it comes with hard work, and that is why I simply work harder after each Open week.”
Du Toit says van Loggerenberg’s athletic background has made her a very powerful athlete.
“She’s a very determined athlete and easy to coach in the sense that she wants to be well-balanced, so weaknesses don’t remain weaknesses for long,” he says. “But more than that, she is such a good example and positive role model to all the young female athletes that she coaches, both at the high school and at their affiliate.”
This year, she plans to improve on her performance at last year’s Regional.
“My goal for 2013 is to compete at Regionals, and to complete all the workouts at Regionals this time,” she says. “Everything after that is a bonus.”