Is Utrecht UnScared?

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My son lives in Utrecht and loves the city. He loves working out and has found what is for him the ideal place. He is always talking about the great coaches and the facilities. How there is a great atmosphere where everyone works together and seem to get pleasure from each others successes. To me it seems the ideal place to get a sweat on and to get fitter and healthier. What is UnScared CrossFit? I had to find out more about it.

Willem Hilberdink, is a 30 year old with a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, but chose a different career path by opening a gym. His athletic background is in American Football and Powerlifting, but his gym mainly offers CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting.

Tell us a bit about UnScared CrossFit.

Together with a team of 10 coaches, we coach daily group classes in CrossFit, Weightlifting and Strength training, to about 500 members. Our main goal is to get people to move in a time where it’s so easy to become sedentary, while also offering people an amazing experience, both socially and physically. We believe that with just a couple hours of training per week, you can achieve amazing things.

Where to find UnScared CrossFit

They are based in the city centre of Utrecht, located in an old abandoned railway maintenance warehouse at 2e Daalsedijk 4b and have been open since March 2015!

What exactly is CrossFit?

A fairly new sport that focuses on endurance, strength, mobility and speed. By combining all kinds of movements from different sports and disciplines, people need to be extremely all-round to be good on the competitive level and people just starting out have the awesome benefit of getting better at every facet of fitness.

I remember reading a long time ago about CrossFit. Its an incredibly intensive activity based on a series of very specific workouts and Coach Greg Glassman, the founder and President of CrossFit explained it best. Each is given a name for ease of instruction.

‘I wanted to explain the workout once and then give it a name.  I thought that anything that left you flat on your back, looking up at the sky asking ‘what just happened to me?’ deserved a females name.  Workouts are just like storms, they wreak havoc on towns.’”

How many participants at UnScared?

Our groups have 1 coach to 10-12 members, with classes being able to have up to 20 participants (and 2 coaches).

When and where are training nights

We are open 7 days a week and only close over Christmas and New Years, so our members can train whenever they want!

Do you want new CrossFitters?

Currently we have a waiting list of a couple months to start, but we are looking to expand the schedule and welcome more members as soon as possible!

At what level?

We have athletes – and take in athletes – from all walks of life ad from all fitness levels, from internationally competitive athletes to absolute beginners!

Do you take part in competitions?

Not me personally (anymore), but a lot of our athletes do! Some of our coaches are competitive CrossFitters and/or Olympic Weightlifters.

What attracted you to CrossFit?

The variety! There’s nowhere to hide in CrossFit, you have to put in work, acknowledge your weak spots and can’t take any shortcuts. The cool thing about that, is that you’re never done and there’s always room for more progress and fitness.

Willem  grew up in  Groningen. When he was 18 he moved to Utrecht. He came here to study and make sure he wouldn’t get stuck in the place that he was born in.

What is your favourite place in Utrecht?

A little square called “Ledig Erf”, down by the south-end of the canals. Time seemed to have stood still there and there’s a bunch of cute little cafes that are cosy and winter and have big terraces in summer.

Does Utrecht inspire you?

Always, I think it’s the best place to live in the Netherlands. People seem to be happy here and the city is always working hard to innovate and be modern, without cheap gimmicks.

Does Utrecht as a city do enough for sport in general?

There’s lots of initiatives, but I think they can do WAY more to get kids into sports, especially the ones that are less well off. Our future will be determined by how our kids will view effort, activity and quality of life, so this is an investment the city should make.

What about UnScared CrossFit, do they give you enough support?

Definitely! We don’t work that much with the city, but they were extremely helpful with getting all the right permits when we started.

How big can CrossFit become?

It’s already extremely big! Last year, over 400.000 people competed in the “CrossFit Open” and every year more and more CrossFit-affiliated gyms are opening up. Right now, the focus from CrossFit Headquarters is switching from competitive fitness to general health and chronic disease related to inactivity, so I think it will only grow in the years to come.

Are you in competition with other fitness methods?

I honestly don’t believe so. Sure, there are other fitness methods that use a similar affiliation model and training methods, but we’re all in this (I hope at least) with the same goal in mind: making people fitter, healthier and happier. Therefore, I believe “competition” is the wrong word to use, although friendly competition can of course drive the quality of customer experience, haha.

A lot of women seem attracted to CrossFit, why do you think this is?

The sport of CrossFit has always been good to women. Competition-wise they show the men’s comp as much as the women’s comp and award the same prize money. More people tend to watch the women’s side even compared to the men’s side! CrossFit has normalised strong and muscular women, which I think is awesome.

On the recreative side: almost all CrossFit gyms have a (close to) 50/50 division of men and women, the same goes for staff. I think that’s awesome and proves that CrossFit is a very “modern” sport, without falling into the traps of social justice, haha.

Will it ever be an Olympic sport?

I don’t think so, the CrossFit Games themselves have always been a ‘stand-alone’ competition and is very successful at that. All the rules, regulations and hassle of Olympic Committees will be detrimental to that, I believe.





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Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins is Welsh and lives in England. He is a writer. A Europhile and Remainer, he is a regular visitor to Utrecht and has set his crime novel series in the city.

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