WATCH: Taking on the crossfit world
In the competitive fitness industry, one Wellington local is establishing himself as a high achiever.
Within three years of taking up crossfit, Luke Fiso (26) has claimed the top spot in multiple competitions, represented New Zealand for the past two years and opened his own business.
Luke was introduced to the sport in 2013 after a friend competing at The CrossFit Wellington Cup competition invited him to come along and watch.
The self-confessed competitor by nature, who has been active in sports all his life, was intrigued by what he saw.
“I didn’t realise there was a competitive side to it or that it was that big.
“After seeing those guys I thought ok this would be interesting to try,” says Luke.
He began in the fitness industry at 16 doing group fitness classes.
Luke gained a certificate in exercise prescription and a Bachelor of Health Science from Massey so he could become a personal trainer.
The Wellington weather helped Luke realise that his bootcamps weren’t going to satisfy him long term.
“Around the time I was doing bootcamps I saw crossfit and I thought they match up really well and if I’m going to open a facility I may as well open a crossfit facility,” says Luke.
Instinct Fitness was opened at 192 Willis Street in 2015 before a second location in Thorndon was opened at the start of this year.
Luke’s philosophy on fitness is simple – it’s a gateway to a better life for everybody.
“I don’t think that anyone should not be doing fitness.
“It’s just moving and it’s trying to get people not sitting on the couch all the time or sitting at their desk or in their car,” says Luke.
In his ideal world he would love to open gyms up all over the place and make fitness more accessible for everyone, but jokes that his business partner might not agree.
“When I think of where I’m from out in Porirua, there are a couple of gyms that are doing really well and they exist basically off donations.
“I would like to do that in other areas where they don’t have the service,” says Luke.
Balancing his growing business with his own athletic career isn’t easy and Luke has made adjustments so it can be sustainable long-term.
This year he brought two people into the business to help run things, particularly the business management and development.
He also increased the coaching team to six, which takes some of the daily pressure off.
“I still coach about 20 hours each week so it’s better than coaching about 40 hours a week which I was doing before,” says Luke.
Like many people new to crossfit, Luke was inspired by Rich Froning who won the title of Fittest Man on Earth four times straight before moving to teams competition where he has won both years.
“When you look at Rich you think ‘oh he makes it look so easy, surely I can do that’.
“So from the beginning I thought I can make it to the games,” says Luke.
He’s in his third year of real competition and taking crossfit seriously.
“I would like to qualify for the games, so that would be top five in the region and I’ll keep it there for now,” says Luke.
Luke is focused on the upcoming CrossFit Games season which begins with a worldwide five-week Open competition where people submit their scores for a weekly workout.
Luke took top spot in New Zealand this year, which qualified him to represent New Zealand at the Pacific Regional competition for the second year running.
The top 40 male and female athletes from New Zealand, Australia and Asia compete in seven events over three days for a top five spot and qualification for the CrossFit Games which take place in California each July.
The CrossFit Games consists of the top 40 athletes in each category from around the world that then compete in a series of unknown events over five days to find the ultimate winner.
From what he’s seen Luke believes mental toughness is the key to success.
“The higher up you get the more mentally tough the guys are.
“A lot of guys can out-lift some of the best guys.
“It drains you physically but because you are so physically drained you have to push through so I think that’s the difference.
“A lot of training, a lot of preparation leading up but on the day it’s all in your head,” says Luke.