Each month we sit down with one of Pwrmeals’ sponsored athletes to learn more about what drives them, the struggles they face, and how they overcome them. You can find all our interviews here.
Tess Hering is a CrossFit athlete, trainer and nutrition student. In part one of this interview we caught up with her to learn more about her recent involvement in the 2019 Torian Pro (held in Brisbane’s Pat Rafter Arena), as well her life as a CrossFit athlete and coach. In part two (coming soon) we’ll discuss her hectic training schedule, the importance of heroes and how Pwrmeals fits into her life.
It’s clear to anyone who follows you on Instagram that you’re very active in the CrossFit world. Tell us more about that and how you got started.
Tess Hering: Haha, yeah! So I’m 19 now and have been doing CrossFit for about five years. I originally got into it because of my Mum and sisters – it was a little family thing.
I used to be a swimmer and started CrossFit after school between swimming sessions. I did it on top of my swimming for strength and conditioning, but after a while I guess I kinda became hooked ...but you wouldn’t have known it at the start!
I’d often call Mum after school and be like “I’ve got heaps of assignments to do and I just want to chill out and not go to CrossFit because it hurts!” But once I started doing it a bit more frequently – and decided that I didn’t want to stare at a black line in a pool for the rest of my life – I decided I should give CrossFit a go.
It’s very addictive because it’s so different to what you’re used to seeing. You look at some people and you’re like, “Oh, I want to be able to do that! I want to be able to do a handstand push up!”
You get to meet so many new people, and so many good athletes, and I’ve been lucky enough to become really good friends with some and develop some close bonds – so that’s all pretty cool.
As someone who knows a little bit about CrossFit but has never done it myself, it looks like a sport with a really cool community.
Yeah, it’s definitely community based. That’s the biggest thing that drives people to keep on coming to CrossFit.
You make these amazing friends through, well, through suffering together I guess! You all have the same goal in the end, it’s just a little bit different for some. You have the people that want to be athletes, and there are others who just want to get fitter and stronger and be healthier in their lifestyle.
It involves every kind of person. Especially in a gym. It’s amazing to see so many different people come in and out of the same gym, and they’re all getting the same results. They’re all pushing themselves to the limit and they’re all feeling absolutely stuffed after every workout!
And it’s all based around community. Really! It’s not about times, it’s not about what weight you can lift, it’s not about how well you do in certain things. It’s more about getting behind each other and supporting each other and, you know, cheering each other on once you finish your workout.
If there’s like, five people to go you’re not just going to lie there after your workout and then walk out. You’re going to go and cheer them on! And especially as a coach, to see that kind of thing happening in your gym is really special.
It’s even like that in events and competitions. I mean, yeah we’re competitors, but we’re also going to cheer them on because we want them to do well. And I think that’s what separates CrossFit from a lot of other sports. I found that when I was doing swimming it wasn’t that community based. It was very focused on yourself, and you had to do well, and yeah I had a couple of friends but it wasn’t like CrossFit is where you have a wide circle of friends.
I heard you’ve just returned to Sydney from a few days of competition. How did that go?
Yeah, I just got back from the Torian Pro. It used to be a little local competition up in Brisbane run out of a gym. This year they got some really big names and it’s moved to the Pat Rafter Arena, so yeah, not so little any more!
I competed in a team, but it was cool meeting all the athletes competing in pairs, and all the Masters athletes as well. It was such a well run event with an amazing vibe. It was awesome to have the fittest woman on earth, Tia-Clair Toomey, there. And to also have Rich Froning, Royce Dunne, Tasia and Chyna Cho all there from America was amazing.
It was great to not only be there as an athlete, but also as a spectator. The teams were on before the individuals, so we were there screaming and losing our voices for everybody, which was fun!
Some of the workouts were so cool just to be a part of, you know like being able to use the worm…
…the worm? What’s that?
It’s like a massive sandbag but it’s about four people long – so if you were in a team of four you’d be using a four person worm. We were doing these weird movements with it, like thrusters and push presses and everything like that… it was pretty great.
It must be pretty inspiring to see the big names there and to see what they do, and then to bring that back home with you and have that inspire what you do.
Definitely. Seeing people like Tia and Jess Coughlan and Maddie Sturt and other top names from overseas supporting this event was great, and to see how they handled themselves outside of the competition was pretty cool too.
You take some things back with you, and you’re like, “Okay, so we all go through the same kind of thing.” Whereas normally you’d think, “Oh they’re these one-percenters – these people that can do everything well all the time.”
But then once you see the amount of effort and detail that goes into each event, and that sometimes it doesn’t work out for them, and then you see how they process that and react to it, you think “Oh, I’m not the only one who can get all sad when an event didn't go well or something like that.”
You get to have a shared experience and see people going through the emotional rollercoaster, you know, the tears laughs and everything like that. But yeah, you mentioned the community aspect of CrossFit before, and it’s great because we’re always there for each other. You’re there supporting them along the way, and they’re supporting you.