MEET A MEMBER SEP 17 - NANDA SURENDRAN

My name is Nanda Surendran, and I'm 33 years old. I was born in India, lived in 7 countries, been through 13 schools by the time I finished high school and finally settled in Brisbane. After high school, I started off my career/life as a part time chef apprentice for a year while doing full time engineering degree in Auckland, worked as an engineer to design medical devices for the heart in California and then decided to pursue the path of medicine. I am currently less than a month away from finishing my Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree and to ultimately embark on a career in neurosurgery, and I still love cooking. 

I have been a "global citizen" all my life, trotting around from one country to another because of the nature of my dad's job. Finally, when my parents decided to settle in Brisbane because its idyllic tropical beauty that reminded them of our roots in South India, I joined them from California to start studying medicine at Griffith University. 

I was sick and tired of traditional gyms, sticking to the same routine of alternating between chest, back, legs and shoulders with a sprinkle of cardio on the treadmill. It was boring. There was no guidance or motivation from anyone. I liked the variety of workouts/movements in CrossFit where no two days are the same, and fuelled by the desire to get fit and strong drew me to CrossFit . My first intro session was on 3rd May 2016, so its been just over 15 months. 

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I had read about the benefits of high intensity metabolic conditioning coupled with strength training as the best way to lose weight and attain higher levels of fitness within the shortest period of time, with evidence for reducing insulin resistance. Yes...I know this is all too medical but then I am a nerd! The real and honest reason that I gave it a try is because I wanted to challenge myself. This was a personal goal that I had set to commit myself to CrossFit for 6 months no matter what, not just a physical challenge but also a test of mental toughness. It was 'one day at a time' and now 15 months later I am still here...

I will never forget my first intro class with Phil and Lily and my first WOD with Scotty. I was sore to the bone after my first class but I came back only because of the great coaches at CrossFit Mitchy, as they encouraged me and scaled the workouts to suit my fitness level - a level where squatting my own body weight for 10 reps was a challenge! It is important to mention that given the rumours and stories about CrossFit injuries from friends and media, I felt safe after my first class. The coaching quality is top-class with a lot of emphasis on safety, technique and correct form. 

From barely being able to do air squats to personal best of 116kg for 1 rep on back squats in 15 months! Yes, I can lift more weights, run faster, row more efficiently and bike harder without feeling short of breath in the first 10 calories.. but the biggest improvement is how I feel from within, so much more healthy, rejuvenated and younger. The biggest change in my life since starting my CrossFit journey has been my overall health, both physical and mental. I feel more active, energetic and happy in life. For me, it is about realising that I can now do things and challenge myself further in a way that I would never have been able to. 

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My biggest challenges in CrossFit is technique, technique...technique. I am always learning from coaches, other members and from watching YouTube videos on how to be better and more efficient in my techniques and correct form to lift weights. It only comes with practice, a lot of patience and learning from mistakes. When I have improved on a technique, I can find myself lifting heavier with minimal effort and it is so satisfying when you get it right. 

Just as life is a journey and not a destination. Crossfit is a big part of this journey in pursuit of getting fitter and stronger. My motivation comes from challenging myself, learning and improving with every WOD. The other big part of this motivation is to do the workouts with your peers, motivate them to do better. There is an honest spirit of camaraderie and sense of community that I enjoy at CrossFit Mitchelton. 

The advice I would give to someone thinking of starting CrossFit would be: If you never try, you will never know what you are capable of. Take one day at a time, learning each day, listen to the advice from your coaches, and look back in a month's time on the progress you have made. The results speak for themselves.