Antoine has been a member of CrossFit Heerlen since March 2017, but has been shooting pictures since the first day he visited CrossFit Heerlen as a spectator during our opening event in January 2016. We are proud to mention that he is not only a creative member of the CrossFit Heerlen staff team. He is also a coach now. And not just any one. After practicing CrossFit for years he started to enjoy helping other people experience the same benefits as he experiences through CrossFit. And so he decided to become a coach. But this didn’t happen overnight…
Fast forward 5 years (of which he’s been doing CrossFit for 4 years), his CrossFit level 1 trainer certification, shadowing the other coaches at CrossFit Heerlen for many hours and completing the CrossFit Heerlen Coach Development Program and apprenticeship, he is now an at least as dedicated coach as an athlete within the CrossFit Heerlen community.
Get to know coach Antoine!
Can you tell us a bit about you and your sporting background?
I started CrossFit only 4 years ago at the age of 47. I did not have any sporting backgrounds except for playing soccer (@ 8-15yrs of age).
What made you want to try CrossFit in the beginning?
I started CrossFit in 2017. And only because of a need to do something for my re-occuring low-back issue which I’ve had for years.
Most typical thing is that I felt REALLY GOOD from my 1st WOD on, but I did not like it. The pleasure and later on the addiction only came after a few weeks when I understood what’s going on with all those new movements and challenges and when I noticed what it did to my body and mind. All of these progressing things where done in a fun way, doable step by step with great coaching, and in a group of the CrossFit Community, meaning together with other athletes who also struggle, of which everyone has their own struggles. But at CrossFit Heerlen we help EACH OTHER. From then, to date. Now even more as a coach.
Video: Antoine at the Masters Throwdown Qualifier event at CrossFit Heerlen (2019)
What is your favorite aspect of being a CrossFit coach?
My favorite aspect of being a coach is getting and keeping people motivated to invest in themselves and feel good afterwards. Aside from willing to keep on improving my coaching skills, I’ve already had some goosebumps moments when an athete is picking up just one aspect I instruct, and moving safer and better afterwards. Although I’m aware of the fact that most progress will come through long breath.
What made you apply?
After some time I noticed I really liked helping, instructing others which planted the seed for becoming a coach one day. This made me apply already in 2019 and follow the hiring procedure at CrossFit Heerlen. But the assessment and feedback from the CrossFit Heerlen team made me clear that it was a bit too early for me to start coaching. Though I learned from the experience and started to look from another perspective. Not from an athlete’s perspective, but from a coaching perspective. Then at the start of 2021 with the Covid-19 issue going on I decided to get my CrossFit Trainer Level 1 anyway. Then things took a quick turn as there were some changes @ CFH and when a job offer came I immediately applied without hesitation and making clear I want to go all the way.
As a coach, what is the best advice you can give to early CrossFitters? And what advice would you give to someone who might be interested in trying CrossFit but is too nervous or feels like they need to get into better shape first?
My best advice would be: just be present, get in touch with your body, learn to accept it’s limits for now, learn to love your body it and be thankful. Trust the process, look to find the edge but never force it and go through all the new movements which will be scaled for you properly. A big misconception is that you must be fit to do CrossFit. NO. Quite the opposite: you GET FIT by doing CrossFit! Step by step you can always improve movement, speed, strength, endurance. Just join classes @ CFH with these attitudes and you’ll be good: 1) Leave Your Ego At The Door. 2) Work Hard Stay Humble.
What was your first CrossFit WOD ever?
I don’t remember my 1st WOD ever, but as said, my body felt great after the WOD was done, but (YET) I did not like it. Funny thing is though that some athletes from back on that same day I coach nowadays.
What’s your favourite CrossFit WOD?
I don’t have a favorite WOD, but I love a lot of movements.
And what’s your favourite CrossFit movement/exercise?
I love Pull-Ups, Power Clean, Handstand Push-Up, Toes To Bar, KB Swings, Front Squat, Wall Balls aaaaaaaaaand … Burpees. Important and probably good to know that personally I’ve overcome some real challenges myself with consistent work, showing up, asking coaches and athletes, looking at videos. Some examples: daring to stand upside down against the wall took me 9 months! Also I was really scared before my first boxjump @50cm. Double Unders and Squat Snatch were a struggle for so long (and still sometimes…).
Now that I’m a coach I still have skills I want to learn myself. That process never stops. Which also counts for the rising numbers for the weights. This quite automatically makes you humble. There’s a fine line between being proud (which you MUST BE! after each small success) and staying humble. Because remember: “There’s always someone warming up with your PR”.
What’s your favourite workout music (genre and/or track)?
Working for years in the music industry as a bass and guitar player, singer and producer my favorite workout music is rock music. Any track by Slipknot would have to be favorite. IMHO: it pushes me just over the border at moments when I’m at my limits during a workout. Of course this seeps through in my playlist as a coach but I can assure everyone that my list is composed well-considered, and in a way it keeps motivating “all” athletes.
What are some of your favourite activities outside the box?
I don’t have many other activities besides CrossFit and some musical projects. As my love for animals has grown exponentially these last years, and being 99% vegan, I hope to care for animals one day as well.
Finally, what is your ultimate goal in CrossFit and/or at CrossFit Heerlen?
As said, my goal as a coach is improving my coaching skills, I’m always eager to learn. I would love to help all kinds of athletes, from people who have difficulties moving or getting motivated, people with disabilities, through athletes differing in all range of levels up until elite athletes who want to compete or challenge themselves even more.
As an athlete my next goal is to qualify for the finals for a Dutch CrossFit competition called “Masters & Teens Throwdown”. Here athletes from all over the world compete in their age division (for me: 50-54). This year everything was different due to Covid-19, and I’m proud I made it to the Semi-Finals this year, but my goal is to perform on the competition floor next year!
Oh, and to finish off the statement I made in the beginning of this interview: my re-occuring low-back issue which I’ve had for years was gone after only a few months into CrossFit performing basic movements like good mornings and learning to use techniques like bracing your core muscles plus getting stronger step by step. Also I noticed I only got sick twice since then, whereas the years before it was a few times a year. Also I never had any other physical issues since then. OK, last thing, My mum (aged 72! se-ven-ty-two) recently started doing CrossFit as well and she tells everyone she already feels so much better after such a short amount of time.
Reasons enough to start CrossFit? Doing your workouts through constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity? CU soon @ a trial class Friday? Once a month everybody can join a class FOR FREE @ CFH without any prerequisites or fitness level needed.
Read more: Coachpage Antoine Pütz