In today’s world there are an increasing number of leaders and managers who are energised not just by material gains – but who are motivated by the pursuit of a larger societal purpose. The owners of GETFIT CrossFit are among this group of people. Rory Teo, smiles as he recalls the words of a New Zealand client who joined GETFIT CrossFit in 2011 when they first opened their doors, “You guys are not flash and you should stay that way.” This comment remains at the core of what the owners have built up today. It is now 2014 and as I enter GETFIT CrossFit in Telanai, it is clear that the owners of this box have stayed true to themselves and to their aims. Indeed there are no fancy signs at the door. Inside I see all of the essential equipment in a basic setting. And when I meet two of the founding members, I immediately know that they are down to earth, straight talking people. Surprised? I have to admit that I was. This is perhaps because today, the fitness industry has become a very gilded and glamorous one that seems to rely on attracting clients by promoting the idea of “the biggest” and “the best”. But the owners of GETFIT have managed to resist this strategy. Rory Teo, Gavin Sekhon, Gary Sekhon, Mas Idris and Haadi Samid – are the guys who originally introduced “Crossfit” to Brunei. They are intelligent, highly energetic people who have worked hard to keep a group of loyal athletes and attract a new following to this box, simply because they believe “actions, speak louder than words.” As they’ve done from the very beginning, they let their athletes speak for themselves and share their experiences with others, and to date this works. Gavin admitted that, “We seem to attract people who are focused and have a genuine interest in this type of fitness. They appreciate our frank advice and also value working-out in a close knit community that encourages and supports one another to reach individual goals.”
It all began in 2009 when this group of friends who hungered for more than the regular programs being offered at gyms, discovered “Crossfit.” Once they gained an understanding of its principles, they were determined to share its many benefits with others. So they started off with providing free sessions at UBD and soon realised there were many other like-minded people. This spurred them on to complete the CF-Level 1 qualification and in 2011 they opened Brunei’s first affiliate. Interestingly enough, coaching is not the only career that these owners, who are coaches, have. In fact, they all have demanding full time jobs and hectic schedules, hence the reason why the GETFIT boxes are only open in the evenings and on weekends. For instance, by day Gavin is an Accountant with BSP and Rory works with Royal Brunei Airlines in the International Relations Department. They work long hours and both have families with young children. Rory has a two month old baby and Gavin’s youngest is three months old. So with just 24 hours in the day how do they do it? Gavin explained that he gets up at 4.30 am every morning, commutes daily to Seria. All of the coaches agree that “discipline and communication” are key to what makes the team work. They discuss athlete progress, workout programs, and constantly update each other via email and messaging services. Undoubtedly it is their genuine commitment to the discipline of crossfit and to their athletes that keep each one of these coaches going beyond the call of duty, day after day.
The Learning Curve
After four years many important lessons have been learnt from being part of this team. Gavin mentioned that he values better leadership, teamwork dynamics and how to communicate effectively, back with his team at BSP. While Rory, who previously ran GETFIT Kids, believes that dealing with younger athletes has enabled him to be a more patient person and this has helped prepare him as a new parent. Both agree that crossfit prepares you physically and mentally. It helps to develop a fortitude that enables you to deal with the “unknown.” As well as this, all of the coaches have gained a lot more knowledge from attending regional workshops and seminars. In fact, they are very proud that some of their longstanding athletes have developed to become coaches at both their Telanai and Kuala Belait boxes.
Not Numbers, but Individuals
This is how all of the coaches at GETFIT CrossFit view the athletes who choose to train with them. Therefore, their ultimate aim is to help each person to reach his or her own fitness goal. I had the opportunity to also speak to coaches Mas, Emma, Haadi and Dennis. As “the one with the loudest voice” Mas explained that he keeps athletes motivated until they get to the very end of their gruelling work outs. Mas who also works in IT took the time to explain the details of how the program works and believes it is the environment of camaraderie and support that makes GETFIT CrossFit a great place to train at. Mas is currently developing his skills in endurance and mobility training, uses crossfit “to de-stress and live a healthy lifestyle.” Mas’ wife, Emma runs the women’s only crossfit class (Bella GFCF) on Saturdays. She works at BEBD and is passionate about encouraging more women to try crossfit. Emma thinks there is a misconception about crossfit that many women believe – it will make me “bulky” and or I must be “super fit” prior to joining a crossfit session. Her aim is to highlight the positive benefits and to educate more women that crossfit is about functional fitness- which will help you in everyday life. Next there’s Dennis Lim who has been a coach at GETFIT CrossFit for the past two years. He focuses on Olympic lifting, in particular, the snatch – a highly skilled movement which requires strength, flexibility, coordination, power, speed and absolute concentration – and is very good at it! Dennis who is also studying Business, said that he is serious about fitness and enjoys teaching and learning from his peers and clients. And last but by no means least, there is Haadi, also known as “The Ninja.” Haadi explained he was very much into weight training, but then suffered a slipped disc awhile back and so was forced to rethink his training program. He spent one year in Holland and while there, decided to dedicate his time to learn and develop his gymnastics skill – something he’d always had an interest in. Encouraged by his wife to pursue this path, Haadi rekindled his passion for gymnastics. He now strongly believes that “gymnastics should be taught to the younger generation because it creates a solid foundation that would in various other types of training.” He credits his gymnastics training for helping him overcome his injury both physically and mentally.
The GETFIT Team’s Pledge
The team strives to help each athlete achieve that ‘light bulb’ or ‘ting’ moment. Gavin and Rory explained, this is “the moment” an athlete realises he or she can achieve that sought after fitness goal – which once seemed impossible. These professional, qualified coaches at GETFIT CrossFit believe that their purpose is to continue building a stronger community with their athletes. They are committed to giving advice that will help each person become fitter and healthier. As joint owners of this box, they all see this as an investment in “blood, sweat and tears” more so than a business. This is a legacy they will pass on to the next generation. As young professional Bruneians they aim to prove that by working hard, by maintaining a sense of value, integrity and loyalty to one an other – they can continue to build a closer and stronger community!