If there's one thing that we love being known for, it's our badass members. Whether they're absolutely crushing their workouts in club, or smashing goals outside of our gyms, you'll know a Gymbox-er when you see one. If you're a regular at our Farringdon club, you may have witnessed Flo Wong swinging from the frame, lifting some mega weights, walking the walk (on her hands!) or generally channelling her inner Superwoman. Our blogger Kat caught up with CrossFit Queen Flo, to talk about her most recent achievement...
Flo, you’ve just competed in the Asia CrossFit semi finals - congrats on such a huge achievement! Before we get on to talking about that, can you please tell me more about your fitness journey. When did you get into fitness and what made you fall in love with training?
I was always quite sporty as a child, but it wasn’t until I got to university that I got into fitness properly because I wanted to lose some weight. It just snowballed from there - from being a keen group fitness class goer, to running marathons, to finally making the leap to do CrossFit three years ago. I loved the way training made me feel - stronger and fitter - and the people I met through training.
You’ve dotted around a few London gyms while you’ve been training. What made you decide to join the Gymbox family?
I was a member of Gymbox Victoria a while back when I worked nearby, but I never quite appreciated the gym as much as I do now. After training elsewhere, I decided to re-join as it had the best set up and equipment for my training, and I got to know a few other members who I train with regularly now.
What was your goal when you first started getting programming from our Master Trainer Firas Iskandarani? Did you ever intend to be entering competitions as a solo athlete?
I had been doing CrossFit for a few months and wanted to progress further with individual programming to compete, so I reached out to Firas for help. The rest is history! While I didn’t initially intend on competing individually, I wanted to do so when I felt that I was at a level that I could.
You recently qualified 18th in Asia in the CrossFit open which is super impressive. How did you feel when you found this out and when you realised you’d be competing in the Far East Throwdown/CF Asia semi finals?
I was a lot of things when I found out I’d qualified - excited, ecstatic but also nervous! Individual competitions are both physically and mentally very challenging and this was going to be my first “proper” RX competition, first international competition and first semi final (the comp before the CrossFit Games)!
I definitely had imposter syndrome, but I just trusted the process and training I’ve done all this time.
Can you tell me more about the semi finals - how did the weekend go down and how did you do?!
First of all, none of us had ever been to South Korea, so we didn’t know what to expect. We arrived a few days before to acclimatise and adjust to jet lag, as sleep is the most important factor in my performance.
When the competition kicked off on Friday, my coach Firas and boyfriend Jamie made sure I was well fed and rested before each event. That said, I slept terribly over the three nights because of adrenaline, but I did what I could with that.
At the end of day one, I came 8th with a good lead after a proud performance in event two, where I came 2nd in the barbell complex. I definitely earned myself the nickname of loudest lifter! Although I went into day two with a lot of confidence in both events and competing in the top heat, I started the day with a dodgy shoulder. I also had a nasty surprise with my legless rope climbs (even though I’d tested the workout before with a good time) and handstand walks, so I didn’t finish as high as I’d hoped - I finished 10th at the end of day two.
I was determined to come back on day three! I did the most I could in the chipper event but my downfall was the running, which brought me down to 13th overall. I gave it my all in the last event which saw me finishing 8th, so I clawed my way back to 12th overall.
There were many lessons learned and good and bad moments, which is what a competition is all about! Even in the darkest moments I kept fighting and I’m proud of that.
What was your favourite moment of the weekend?
My favourite moment had to be my 95kg barbell complex where I came 2nd. The crowds were unbelievable!
And what was your lowest moment, if any?
Day two! I was very confident in both events, with legless rope climbs being one of my strengths. I was on track to beat my previous time with nine rounds in 4:36m, but I just couldn’t get the last climb with my grip and right arm completely blowing up. It was a real shame.
Another low point was in the following event, where I struggled with my third handstand walk for a long time. This ate into my time to complete the snatch ladder. I was so excited to finish the event and PB my snatch! In the end, I just had two minutes to complete the whole ladder - half blind after losing my contact lens while handstand walking and falling on my face! - so I did what I could.
It was a good comeback if I may say so myself, thanks to the roaring crowd! But I never want to be in that position again.
Are there any lessons you’re taking from the weekend and if so, what are they?
When things don’t go your way, you accept it and drive on. Also, I really need to step up my running game again!
Having competed in the CF semi final, what’s the next goal that you want to work towards?
I’m looking forward to a solid few months of training before I do any more competitions. It’s been a very eventful six months so far!
I set myself a goal to do a weightlifting comp this year, so that’s likely my next one. Then my next one after that will be to qualify for the CF semi finals again next year, this time as a more proficient and faster athlete.
What advice would you give someone who wants to compete in a fitness competition (solo or as a team) but who’s never done it before?
Enjoy the experience! Whether it’s your first or 30th competition, you want to make sure you lap it all up so you can learn for the next one. Also, meet lots of people and don’t forget to celebrate, even in your lowest moments, as they are the most important for your growth.
Finally, what is it about Gymbox that makes it the best place for you to train?
I’m spoiled with Eleiko barbells and competition plates, platforms and rigs at Farringdon for my training as they are best in class. There’s also a serious training community there - I always learn lots from the weightlifters and calisthenics crew!
My favourite thing about training at Gymbox is that there’s a huge variety of disciplines on display. We might be doing different sports but we can always learn from each other in the same space. Then there’s the huge space in Farringdon that is just excellent!