Guess who’s back?

A brief catch up on my year away from Lift Off

It was the start of July and my destination was Adelaide in South Australia, where I had pure intentions of ‘seeing what happens’ with an undertone of ‘expecting to stay.’ It was a new chapter with my partner that started with an unexpected flashing red light and some powerful aligning of the stars. Until then, the first ten days were spent being very out of touch with being present, probably still dealing with my departure.

Finding a good headspace and a place to work were first on my to do list. There was a gym five minutes bike ride from the house which I had visited many times before in my previous stay in 2016. Side note, before arriving I had made no plans about work. I had emailed local gyms in the area and got very few responses, with just one of which was willing to discuss me working there. I was invited by CFEA (the willing responder and previously visited local gym) to watch a class, potentially shadow coach and then discuss work options. After watching two classes and halfway through the third I had decided I had seen more than enough, exchanged pleasant goodbyes and told them I would be in touch (it wasn’t the place for me). I’ve visited a big handful of CrossFit gyms now and on so many occasions am strongly reminded about the depth of excellence that is pursued at Lift Off in every way with nothing but positive intentions for the members needs. Not a gym that’s mostly about money or the owners playground.

Another gym was a twenty minute ride from the house, right in the city centre. Mode Fitness, owned by CrossFit Games athlete, James Newbury. First arrival I was greeted by James and co (Tia-Clair Toomey) who was down for a few weeks whilst they trained for the games. Very friendly greeting and genuinely nice, down to earth people. I took part in the class and realised the person taking the class didn’t have much time for coaching, mainly explaining the workout, overlooking and calling out how much time was left. Conversing about potential work was brief as they didn’t need any, however one of the members overheard I was a coach looking for work and informed me of a brand new gym that was, fairly, south of the city and likely looking for new staff.

My first visit to this new gym went far beyond expectations, I was invited to train there for the day and shadow coach the classes that evening. By the time I left I was handshaking an agreement to work full time as a coach at V2 CrossFit. It was a very immaculate gym, the best looking CrossFit gym you’re ever likely to see.

The stars had started aligning which means that red light was flashing harder than ever before. Within the next week I was given a car to use by an in-law and the hours of work settled around 20. Another few weeks pass and the red light had stopped flashing, it was just a red light now. The biggest change had come and the reason that brought me there was no longer. My relationship had ended and I had some decision making to do. I wasn’t ready to leave. A not well known friend reached out and offered me a place to live. Another reached out and offered me a car to use.

That’s the stars aligning again. The final months of the year were by far the toughest I’ve had yet. I knew I would need all of the tools from my short-lived toolbox if I were to not let it get the better of me. Very fortunately I was given a life line. I was brought into a home, not a house and I made family through three people named Jack, Sheri and Tracey and I owe them the world. I hate to think where I would be without them. They introduced me to their friends and treated me like family. By the time it was almost Christmas things were certainly back on the up. I had months of self investment and development like I had never experienced before and a very close knit group of friends. My work situation at this point was at the same gym, except with a few more hours and way more faces. At this gym I learned that there’s a thing called ‘good karma’ and good spreads good but some people don’t really change.

During Christmas I booked flights to come home for a very short, but much needed, ten days. I spent a few of these at Lift Off and the rest of it with family. On my way back down under I had some more changes on the way, my terms of six months work per employer were approaching fast and I had no plans. Cue the stars doing their thing again.

With the last week of work I was told that there was a gym back up north, west of the city that was looking for a new coach. It was about an hour away depending on traffic. I contacted and organised a meet up. I was offered the job as lead coach for CrossFit Adelaide, a very prestigious gym that had an excellent name for itself. The longest running CF gym in Adelaide of ten years and formidable owners Ben Norman and Steph Ortiz. The job also came with a place to live and a vehicle to use! The first two and a half or so months the owners would be away on holiday which meant I had some huge shoes to fill. At CFA I learned some powerful lessons. Be cautious of dogma and don’t be afraid to think laterally. It made me delve into my why’s like why I started working in this industry and why do I enjoy it so much? What do I offer people and how can I improve? The latter of all that is where this gym really helped me and how thinking laterally was the answer in my current stage. A regurgitated term that Ben used on me when discussing how to improve my coaching and cognition of learning. That the grey areas were actually larger than I thought and the black and whites were very few and far between. I’ve always thought I was in touch with the ‘it depends’ answer and now it’s more pertinent then ever before. I work in this industry not only because I love it but because I think it’s what I’m here for, to be a forever student and a teacher. I learnt many things from Ben and Steph about coaching and training and also about life in general. Two very intelligent and special people that have a strong IOU above their names.

The final few months of my stay involved me living slightly different than customary. I was enjoying more diversity inside and outside of the gym and it echoed in my work and my capacity to think laterally. But before I knew it I was teary eyed at the front of a surprise party for my leaving and then again at the airport saying final goodbyes (see you laters) to my aussie family. A year seems to go so fast once its passed but I know the density of memories and lessons underneath what seems like a flash in the pan.
I was worried about coming home and feeling like I’ve taken a step back but it couldn’t be more untrue. I feel like I’m only scratching the surface of what is yet to come for me and Lift Off is back on the forefront of it. I’m beyond excited to be reunited with old relationships and to construct new ones.

See you at the gym,

Coach Mike




Lift Off CrossFit is based in Bishops Stortford, Herts. Our experienced team of coaches have made Lift Off the regions premier CrossFit box.

We welcome all levels of experience and pride ourselves on treating all members as equals.



If you are interested in coming down to meet us, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you!

 01279 755 333
 Unit 1, Twyford Business Centre
London Road, Bishops Stortford
CM23 3YT