Amy and Chelle ready for CrossFit Masters League
Amy Wouters and Michelle Gray have qualified for the CrossFit Masters League Games in New Zealand in October this year and they’re determined to get there.
You can lend your support by joining in the fun of a trivia night fundraiser to be held at their gym Unbound Athletic at North Lakes on August 11.
If there was one way to describe Amy Wouters and Michelle “Chelle” Gray, it would have to be “Super Mums”! Not only are they busy looking after their kids (Amy has four children and Chelle has three), but this super-fit duo have also qualified for the CrossFit Masters League Games, to be held in New Zealand in October this year. They had to complete two rounds of competition in order to qualify against women in their age group (Amy is 38 and Chelle is 37) from Australia and New Zealand.
“Yes, our goal would be to come first - but I’m not competitive at all.” - Chelle
They are now working on raising funds to help with their travel costs to cross the pond and are holding a trivia night at their gym Unbound Athletic in North Lakes on August 11.
Amy and Chelle first met about seven years ago through CrossFit and have been friends ever since. What makes their bond even more special is how much they look out for each other.
Chelle lives with an autoimmune condition which affects her gastrointestinal system, making swallowing and sometimes even breathing, difficult and painful. This makes high-intensity exercise extremely uncomfortable at times. There have also been times she has needed nasogastric tubing to help her eat. Even while going through all this, she has still continued with her fitness.
“She is a warrior, who constantly amazes us all with her strength and perseverance,” Amy says. “It’s pretty impressive watching what she can achieve. We did a workout recently with weighted box step ups, followed by single leg squats and then that was followed by barbell work. Afterwards, Chelle was curled up in the foetal position and our coach had to go and get her meds from the locked cabinet and give them to her.
“So to me, it’s normal to see her doing this and it’s just life for her. No one else would even know what she deals with every day, but when you know, seeing what she can achieve is an inspiration.”
“It is what it is,” Chelle adds. “It’s not always easy, but my condition doesn’t define me and I just want to keep doing things like my fitness because I enjoy it and it’s important to me. I do what I want and just try to keep life as normal as possible.”
To qualify for the upcoming finals, the ladies had to complete workouts over set time periods. They came eighth overall after the first round, making it to the semi-finals where they had a four-day window to complete their workouts. Because of family and work commitments, they had to push hard and squeeze them all into two days.
What makes Chelle even more inspirational is not only has she qualified for the team event, but also the individual. Chelle completed the qualifying workouts while also doing shift work (she’s a midwife) and Amy balanced the timing around her youngest child, who’s just two-years-old. Overall they came in eighth position, with a goal to do even better once they get to New Zealand.
“Yes, our goal would be to come first - but I’m not competitive at all,” Chelle says with a laugh.
Laughing is a big part of what these ladies enjoy together, along with their CrossFit of course! Aside from going out there to step onto the podium (if they can!), their biggest goal is to get to New Zealand. With that in mind, a trivia night fundraiser has been planned for August 11 at Unbound Athletic in North Lakes.
“They (our gym) are putting their support behind us and have opened their doors for us to have a fundraiser, which we are extremely grateful for,” Amy says. “Anyone and everyone is welcome to come along. It’s going to be really fun. There’s going to be great prizes and some really awesome donated goods up for silent auction.”
So other than the chance to escape all of their children (just kidding!), why did this pair decide to head down the path of CrossFit?
“The community I think has a lot to do with it and also the challenge,” Chelle says. “The challenge and knowing it's not about what my body looks like, but what it’s capable of. Plus every day is different and you’re never bored. Although people may ask, does it get any easier? It doesn't. You just get stronger. “You're constantly challenged. You're always pushing for more and it's always changing. I think as women as well, seeing what you can do and losing those self-imposed limits, it’s that sense of achievement as well.”
For Amy, who already had three children when she decided to start CrossFit, her decision was based around wanting to strengthen her body, in particular her core.
“I was just in constant pain, I'd go to bed sore and wake up even worse,” she says. “So I was told to try running, but I couldn’t because it hurt too much. I was too weak from years of dieting and not building any muscle.
“Anyway, I saw that the gym was doing an eight week challenge and even though it was terrifying, I wanted to give it a crack. One of my friends started it with me, who ended up having to bail because she hurt herself. But I stuck the eight weeks out and I could see improvements.
“At the end of it, I started to think this is really fun. I went from lifting zero weights to being able to progress to doing some cool things. It was really motivating. Watching the weights go up really spurred me on and I just wanted to keep going. I never wanted to feel weak like that again, so if I don’t have to, I don’t think I’ll ever stop.”
The Masters of Trivia night is on at Unbound Athletic, 1/28 Flinders Parade, North Lakes on Friday August 11 starting at 7.30pm. Single, half table and whole table tickets are available with tables seating a total of eight. Tickets are $32.50 or $253 for a whole table. This includes a drink and entry into the lucky door prize. There will also be a food truck - 2 Serial Grillers - serving up Mexican street food (gluten free options available) from 6pm. Get your tickets at https://www.ticketleap.events/tickets/masters-trivia-tournament/masters-trivia-tournament-155522065