Meet the athlete – Tom Claykens

Jeroen van Duijn

When did you start doing CrossFit?
I started CrossFit here at CrossFit Leiden the week it opened I believe.

What fitness activities were you doing before?
Previously of joining the box I was mainly doing the triatlon cardio sports with the focus on running. I went to the gym occasionally, but got pretty quickly bored lifting pointless weights and very often I skipped the dumbbells and crawled on a bike or treadmill to watch a bit of Netflix on the tablet. But than I couldn’t stop thinking how silly to run inside watching tv when you can go outside and run into nature. So more an outdoor running guy enjoying the fresh air and having no multimedia distraction like tv or radio. Just me and my Polar V800.

List 3 words to describe your very first CrossFit workout.
– Intense

– Limits
– Variety

What results have you seen since starting to “drink the Kool-Aid?”
I’ve lost 3kg in a month and I get close doing 10 double-unders in a row which seems like quick results. I also noticed the even bigger desire to work-out and the improvement in post exercise recovery.

What do you like most about CrossFit?
There is a lot to like. It pushes you to your limits which is where you book results. You get better at something when you are looking for the edge. The atmosphere in which this search is established is fun and motivating rather than intimidating. So the most likable about CrossFit is the cozy, responsible co-suffering.

What is your favorite CF exercise?
Once I master the kipping pull-ups, I think this will be the one. Running might be my best part, but it’s all about getting better at things outside your present comfort zone.

Your least favorite?
Burpees. So does my computer, because it initially auto-correct it to brumes, which is a nice type of cat. Anyway, yeah burpees. I struggle with my flexibility and because of this it strains my low back a little too much to my likes.

What CF accomplishment are you currently most proud of?
Getting my maximum heart rate consistently above my theoretical maximum heart rate of 190 during pretty my every WOD. On an intense run work-out I hardly get above 185. So I’m proud I am working so hard.

What CF goal are you working towards?
Don’t waste time during a WOD having to pauze during my strict pull-ups and push ups. Become half as muscled and lean as that fella smirking on the wall poster in the box.

Favorite color?
The shade of blue you can only find in the eyes of our boy Oliver. Check for yourselves. He’s in the box every Tuesday between 18:55 and 19:05.

Favorite food?
Bolognese sauce made by either my mom or chef-brother. It is a bastardized version of the original, overflowing with vegetables. We eat this in our house every Monday served on top of mashed sweet potatoes, rather than spaghetti. Great and healthy. You should give it a go, or pop by our house on a Monday evening.

Where did you go on your last vacation?
In 3 hours, I’m heading to Wales for the Man versus Horse Marathon trail run race. Last one before was beautiful Barcelona. My favorite city in the world by miles.

If you won 100,000 euro, what would you do with it?
Invest in a chiropractic education programme in Belgium or The Netherlands, get a motorbike license, take the family to Disneyland and treat every CF Leiden member a bag of Barbell Beef Jerky and a Fit-Aid.

Favorite quote?
Pain is weakness leaving the body.


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