She’s travelled across the world, waving the SA flag high in CrossFit competitions. She can lift double her body weight. She trains like an animal, and now trains others in her own gym in Pretoria to be just as good. This is Celestie Engelbrecht
‘I was first introduced to CrossFit about 10 years ago, when I was au pairing in the States. My first reaction was, “I will never do that!”’
This is a sentiment that many on the outside looking in share about CrossFit. But not many of those people change their minds four years later and go on to rank among the fittest in South Africa, like 30-year-old Celestie Engelbrecht.
After spending six years competing at the highest level, the Pretoria-based ‘Beastess’ is now imparting her knowledge on to the members of her gym, CrossFit Tijger Valley.
Celestie The Athlete
‘When I came back from the US, I moved to Joburg and started training at the Yard Athletic (in Fourways) where I was prepping for a fitness show …which wasn’t really my cup of tea,’ says Celestie. ‘The head coach suggested I try CrossFit, so once the show was over, I started training to compete – and I was immediately hooked! Both by the challenge and the change that I saw in my body.’
There are two sides to CrossFit: It’s the exercise regime hundreds of thousands of people around the world follow to get into better shape and get ‘fit for life’, with a variety of functional-training movements that incorporate strength, gymnastics, plyometrics and cardio. They take an hour out of their day and head to their ‘box’ (what CrossFit gyms are called), do the WOD (workout of the day), and then head home feeling a little fitter and more energised than when they walked into the gym.
Besides being an epic CrossFit athlete, Celestie was also selected to represent SA in Olympic weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games in Australia earlier this year. ‘It was the highlight of 2018 thus far for me! It was awesome and an unbelievable experience to compete at that level and to represent South Africa.’ Olympic weightlifting consists of the ‘clean and jerk’, and the ‘snatch’, and competitors are given three chances in each lift to find their max weight. Celestie put up a huge 110 kg clean and jerk, and an 83 kg snatch, finishing with a total of 193 kg in the 69 kg body-weight category.
For more on the beastess, page through your October issue of Fit Life magazine.