The CrossFit Story, Aussie Style

By Steve Willis and Matt Swift

In CrossFit, Videos

August 01, 2009

Video Article

“Commando Steve” Willis owns CrossFit FX in Sydney and placed fourth in the 2009 CrossFit Games. Along with Matt Swift of CrossFit Brisbane, he tells the story of how CrossFit is changing lives down under in part two of our series “Meet the Aussies” from CrossFit by Overload. Tony Budding interviewed Steve and Matt when they visited CrossFit One World in Union City, California on January 17, 2009.

Matt said that Australian CrossFitters started off in an isolated wilderness, disconnected from the larger CrossFit World. “There is a bit of disbelief that there are other CrossFitters,” he said. But when Commando Steve showed up at his gym to offer help, everything clicked. CrossFitters everywhere share a common set of values. Matt said he felt right at home in CrossFit gyms during his visit to the United States.

Commando Steve recalls being humbled by his Level 1 cert in the US in 2007 and being unable to walk for a week. “I got my ass handed to me on a frigging plate,” he recalls. Pure love of CrossFit, rather than business savvy, fueled the success of his affiliate. He was also helped by his appearance on the Australian version of the television program “Biggest Loser.” Commando Steve said CrossFit has changed his life. He has seen similar changes in clients. They gain confidence and their entire worldview is transformed.

Matt agreed. He has seen the transformation in de-conditioned housewives who have never played a sport. They can become the subject of “I want to be like her” comments within six months of starting CrossFit. The scalability of CrossFit makes it all possible. It made believers out of Matt and Steve, out of their clients, and now they are sharing their knowledge with other Australians.



15 Comments on “The CrossFit Story, Aussie Style”


wrote …

Good guys. I'm glad CF is taking off in Aus, despite me not living close enough to CF Brisbane to attend....maybe I'll have to move.


Ross Blake wrote …

CrossFit in oz is booming. A great community with lots of affiliate gatherings coming up.

Proud to be apart of it.


wrote …

Friggin' sweet!

Come on Adelaide (that's in South Australia, people...), we've got some catching up to do!


wrote …

2 awesome people and magnificent coaches to boot. Glad to call them friends. Crossfit in Oz is about to expolde people. Watch this space......


wrote …

Love the Aussie's! Love the Wallabies! Got a quick question....Is Vegemite Zone friendly?


wrote …

What the hell is with you aussies and vegemite, vitamin B, vitamin B, vitamin B, oi oi oi.


wrote …

I think it's in our DNA or something...

Just subscribed to the Journal the other day, absolutely loving it! Have spent the last month reading all of the free PDFs, it's awesome to be able to see all the videos as well - i think i'm addicted. The quality of stuff on here is fantastic, definitely $30 (Aust.) well spent!


Darren Coughlan wrote …

Great to see some Aussies on the site.

Matt and Steve are great guys aswell as coaches.

Would be nice to see Aus get more than 2 spots at the Games, I know it goes on number of affiliates, but we could have sent over 5 men to the Games that would have dominated ;)

Australia is booming, and with all the level 2's [high ratio to affiliates], CrossFit will/has a big and successful future here.


wrote …

The only way is up for CrossFit in Australia. It would be great if we could send a few more reps from here to the Games next year! That would really make it an international event. Congrats to Steve and Mat, our CF pioneers :)


wrote …

Great video guys.

Looking to set up an affiliate on the Northern Beaches in the next few months.

Get in touch if you'll be interested


wrote …

Congratulations Matt and Steve, both fine ambassadors for Crossfit in Oz. Does anyone out there plan to start an affiliate in Toowoomba?


Matthew Swift wrote …

Thanks for comments guys.

Adrian, I am pretty sure that YOU are going to setup an affiliate in Toowoomba;-) Be prepared to be hassled shortly .... can't think of a better guy to do it.

Nick, email me, happy help where I can getting you up and running.

Congratulations to the trainers that recently passed their level 2 in Perth, great job!


wrote …

More Toowoomba people! Awesome! I've been crossfitting out of my home gym (and in a normal gym when I need heavier stuff) for 4 months - you've got my full support to do something in Toowoomba.

I also think (from memory) that at least all the winners/finalists from Biggest Loser have all been trained by Steve (Black Team) - I know Chris was, Bob was, not sure about Adro, was the young guy who won 2008?


wrote …


great to see you and Matt representing Oz and congrats on your performance at the Games - it looked friggin' brutal!

Have seen you on the Biggest Loser over the last couple of years (long before i knew anything about CF) and was just curious as to how that fits in with what you do with crossfit? Philosophy-wise, that is. To me they would seem to be poles apart - TBL being obviously primarily focussed on rapid weight loss and seemingly fairly commercial and following the traditional ideas for exercise and diet, whereas CrossFit would appear to be at the other end of the spectrum.

Please don't feel like I'm taking a shot at you or anything - far from it! Just curious as to how much (if any) you have to change what you do for that setting. Is the program aware of your involvement w/ CF, are you allowed to incorporate any of it into workouts, etc..? Does it have a positive/negative impact on your work at CFX?

Sorry about the twenty questions...


wrote …

Well done guys!

Like Matt said, it's humbling finding out that there are other CF followers in Australia.

I've been following CF for nearly 3 years now and I thought I was the only one down here doing it!

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