July 5, 2012
Africa's Leading Man: David Levey
By Jolene Raison

"Training as a CrossFitter reminds me about searching for that balance between my faith, family, friends, training, work, play, etc."

After taking first at the 2012 Africa Regional, David Levey is headed to California in just a few days to compete at the CrossFit Games.

On Balance and Personal Bests

“Since Regionals, I have increased my training volume to complete three to six workouts daily,” David Levey says. “Thursdays and Sundays are active recovery days that include a light warm-up, mobilization and some light Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.”

The core of Levey’s CrossFit program is balance. “You have to make sure you don’t overly favor any given aspect,” he says.

This concept extends beyond the box for Levey. “Training as a CrossFitter reminds me about searching for that balance in life between my faith, family, friends, training, work, play, etc,” he says.

This emphasis on balance is evident in his training program. Levey incorporates skills and knowledge from his background in biokinetics (kinesiology) and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to become more efficient and maximize his work capacity and force production.

Levey’s weekly training regimen includes daily strength work, high volume sessions, single modality met-cons, higher load met-cons, gymnastics skill work and interval training. With an uncompromising focus on his movement standards, Levey has been hitting regular PBs.

“My clean and jerk has gone from 105 kg to 115 kg; my OHS 1-rep max from 95 kg to 105 kg,” he says. “On a heavier Grace of 70 kg, I have decreased from 3:12 to 2:31; the time to complete 30 muscle-ups has dropped from 5:56 to 4:27, and the list goes on,” Levey says.

Mind games

The training and competition environments are vastly different, he says. Levey’s training includes mental preparation. “Years of competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and other sports events have taught me that I generally tend to over arouse in the competitive setting,” he says. “I have learned to use mental imagery and positive self-talk to remain calmer and more relaxed in competition.”

Community matters

A self-made athlete, Levey credits the CrossFit community to helping him get where he is today. “I personally have had a lot of interaction with Jobst from Cape CrossFit, Danie from B4C Fitness Center, Neil from Ballistix Fitness and Imtiaz from CrossFit Jozi,” Levey says. “They all willingly helped me with information that really assisted me in getting into CrossFit and getting my affiliate, CrossFit East London, going.”

He says CrossFit Jozi held a Fight Gone Bad-style charity event last year with a view to developing an African CrossFit Fund. The proceeds were divided amongst this year’s Africa Region qualifying athletes and team to aid in their trip to the Games. South Africa’s fittest woman, Rika Diedericks, recently held a rowing workshop at CrossFit Jozi to also add to the fund.

Levey knows there is always room for improvement in this area. “We can definitely grow even closer as the South African CrossFit community,” he says.

He suggests holding more CrossFit competitions and CrossFit fundraising events. “This would further help to integrate the CrossFit community, as well as show the public that we want to give back to the community.”

Comfortably uncomfortable

Right now, Levey’s energies are focused on Games preparation and the opportunity to compete with and meet many of the world’s best athletes.              

“In the final two weeks before leaving for the states I’ve added in some hard farm work type workouts such as shoveling, chopping, hammering, wheelbarrow pushing, stone lifting and anything different.”

It’s been his final step in getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Levey is infectiously enthusiastic about every aspect of CrossFit including his training, his improvements, his affiliate, even the new Reebok Nano 2.0 shoes that replaced his barefoot training. Yet in the midst of all the energy and excitement there’s a sense of calm and balance.

“I continuously and consciously work on achieving balance.”