“It (CrossFit) addresses all the physical aspects of optimal health and fitness, while emotionally, it provides you with a great stress release tool. And the social interactions are good for the soul, too.”
Susan Claassen is a keen sports woman with a thirst for competition.
During her school years, she gained provincial colors in athletics, hockey and gymnastics. When exposed to it, the multi-disciplined approach to CrossFit naturally appealed to her. Claassen initially attended a personal training session with CrossFit Platinum coach and owner, Julian Reichman. Her sister, however, persuaded her to try the group classes by enlightening her about the competitive characteristics of CrossFit.
“I still remember the first time I went to a class. We did burpee pull-ups and kettlebell swings, and obviously lots of squats,” she recalls. “I can also remember hardly being able to handle the little pink 8-kg kettlebell.”
Claassen describes CrossFit as the multi-vitamin of exercise.
“It addresses all the physical aspects of optimal health and fitness, while emotionally, it provides you with a great stress release tool,” Claassen says. “And the social interactions are good for the soul, too.”
As a member of CrossFit Platinum, Claassen was inspired by Reichman to enter a local event.
“I believe it encourages camaraderie among my members and the community at large,” Reichman says.
Claassen says it was the local competition that prompted her choice to sign up for the Open.
“I had so much fun during the competition that it made me eager to enter the CrossFit Games Open in 2012 …”
Claassen competed with the CrossFit Platinum team at the 2012 Africa Regional. Their team made it to the Games, an achievement she still beams about.
“It was an amazing experience and has inspired me to train even harder after seeing what girls half my size are capable of,” she says.
The trip to the Games has motivated her to get back there in 2013.
“Last year, I came in first out of the girls in my box in the Open, and that is a title I would like to retain this year,” she says. “It's going to be a tough battle because the girls have been training hard.”
She’s still deciding if she’ll compete as an individual or with the Platinum team again if they make Regionals.
“I know what my strengths and weaknesses are and have therefore been training four times a week to really focus on my (Olympic) lifts,” she says.
Reichman adds: “Susan is a small athlete and has great abilities in gymnastics, bodyweight exercises and metabolic conditioning. But she has to work harder on upping her strength to bring it in line with her other abilities.”
In that regard, Claassen has been following a strength program for the last three months.
“This was very valuable to me — my clean and jerk improved from 60 kg to 70 kg, and snatch from 45 kg to 52 kg,” she says.
She is also working on her ability to manage a higher volume of work with heavy loads.
“If all goes well, in anticipation of Regionals, we will go into a small strength cycle and also try to increase work capacity with heavier weights,” she explains. “I'm happy with my progress so far, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.”