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From Rugby Fields to CrossFit Gyms: Bridging the Gap

Mitchell Bernard, the owner of Pac Gyms, has a unique background that bridges the gap between elite sports and everyday fitness. Having discovered CrossFit through his rugby days, Mitchell has integrated CrossFit methodologies into strength and conditioning practices for premier rugby athletes. This holistic approach highlights the universal applicability of CrossFit principles, emphasising that the needs of professional athletes and every-day people only differ by degree, not kind.


The Rugby-CrossFit Connection

Rugby demands a blend of strength, speed, agility, and endurance. Through rugby, Mitchell was exposed to the necessity of diverse and comprehensive training regimens. When he found CrossFit, he recognised its potential to not only enhance athletic performance but also promote overall health and longevity. CrossFit’s varied, functional movements align perfectly with the multifaceted demands of rugby, making it an ideal training methodology.


Applying CrossFit to Rugby Training

  1. Functional Movements: Rugby involves complex, full-body movements that require strength, coordination, and balance. CrossFit’s emphasis on functional movements, like squats, deadlifts, and presses, directly translates to improved on-field performance.

  2. High-Intensity Training: Rugby matches are characterised by bursts of high-intensity activity followed by short recovery periods. CrossFit’s high-intensity interval training mimics this pattern, enhancing athletes' ability to perform under pressure and recover quickly.

  3. Strength and Conditioning: CrossFit’s strength programs, which include Olympic lifting and powerlifting, build the explosive power necessary for tackles, scrums, and sprints. These lifts are also scalable, making them suitable for athletes at different stages of their careers.

  4. Endurance and Stamina: CrossFit’s endurance workouts, incorporating running, rowing, and bodyweight exercises, improve cardiovascular fitness, which is crucial for maintaining peak performance throughout a rugby match.

Universal Fitness Needs

The saying, “The needs of an Olympic athlete and our grandparents differ by degree, not kind,” epitomises the versatility of CrossFit. This principle is evident in Mitchell’s approach to training both professional rugby players and everyday gym members at Pac Gyms:

  • Scalability: CrossFit workouts are inherently scalable, allowing everyone, from elite athletes to older adults, to participate at a level that is challenging yet safe. Modifications and scaling options ensure that all members can perform the same fundamental movements, tailored to their abilities.

  • Functional Fitness: The core of CrossFit training is functional fitness, which means training movements that mimic everyday activities. This philosophy benefits both high-performance athletes and the elderly by improving their strength, flexibility, and overall functional capacity.

  • Holistic Health: Beyond physical fitness, CrossFit promotes a holistic approach to health, encompassing nutrition, mobility, and mental well-being. Pac Gyms programs incorporate these elements, helping all members achieve a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

Success Stories at Pac Gyms

Pac Gyms has seen remarkable transformations. Rugby players have enhanced their performance, reducing injury rates and increasing their competitive edge. Similarly, everyday gym members have achieved significant health milestones, from weight loss to improved mobility and strength.

Mitchell’s dual focus on elite athletic training and general fitness underscores the universal benefits of CrossFit. Whether training for rugby or striving for personal health goals, the methodology remains effective and adaptable.


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