My Adaptive CrossFit Journey - Janessa Yu

Fear. Apprehension. Excitement.


These were just three of the many emotions going through my mind as I decided to take a leap of faith and sign up for Innervate Fitness’ CrossFit Trial.

You see, I was born with a neurological condition that affects my ability to balance as well as my muscles. Fitness was not something I would normally associate myself with, much less a CrossFit box. I usually avoided exercise – you wouldn’t catch me asking for another physiotherapy session or to go and sweat it out somewhere. But what I do like is challenging myself and pushing myself to reach my fullest potential.


I was introduced to Innervate’s Adaptive CrossFit program by a friend who saw a post about it online. What attracted me was the idea that anyone and everyone was welcomed to do CrossFit, with the support and help of a family-like community. The focus was on what athletes can do, not what they can’t. To a person with special needs, that environment was just what I needed after growing up often hearing what I (physically) cannot do.


My first class was eye-opening. I met other adaptives with various adaptations but with everything else to offer. Their strength and joy still inspire me, and I’m glad to have found a community where I could shed all feelings of being different and embrace my strengths instead. Coach Moses was very patient in explaining to me about CrossFit and how the adaptive classes work, taking time to understand my needs. He would basically scale the movements and workouts accordingly, being attentive to each adaptive and always ensuring safety first.

I like how CrossFit movements can be scaled to suit an individual’s needs, making it really versatile and able to be done by anyone regardless of age or ability. The same movements are done across the board, just with different intensities and sometimes equipment. Examples of how Coach Moses scaled the movements for me include doing front squats while wearing a weighted vest instead of with a barbell, doing deadlifts with a kettlebell or dumbbell, doing cleans with one hand holding a dumbbell and the other holding a pole for support, among others. The movements were also done progressively, I had never imagined I would one day be able to do burpees and push ups like I can today.


Another thing I like about doing CrossFit is the fulfilling sense of achievement I feel at the end of each workout or when I set a new personal record. Knowing I did not give up and even managed to do things other people never thought I’d be able to do motivates me to keep pushing on and reach my full potential. Of course, doing CrossFit has its practical benefits too. CrossFit focuses on functional movements which are applicable in our everyday lives. After learning how to do a proper squat, I can now pick up things I’ve dropped on the floor with greater ease. After doing burpees, I’m no longer as apprehensive to go on the floor and be afraid that I cannot get up.


Another thing that keeps me coming back is Innervate Fitness itself. I love how everyone at the box is part of one big Innervate Family, regardless of program. There is always laughter being shared and bonds forged as we fight through a workout together. All three coaches are also very friendly and dedicated. I also like how Innervate is a social enterprise unlike the usual gym, committed to using Fitness For A Cause and Fitness For All, creating a very inclusive environment for people from all walks of life.

Over the past few months, I have grown so much mentally and physically. I am proud to call myself an Innervate Adaptive and feel better about myself than before. Now, I look forward to training sessions every week with a different set of emotions running through my mind.


Joy. Anticipation. Warmth.

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