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More than 50 Te Puna Mātauranga kaimahi are getting fitter thanks to one of New Zealand’s top young athletes.

Kaiwhakarite Kaeley Elkington kicked off fitness sessions in Te Awamutu nearly two months ago and they’ve proved so popular she now runs five classes each week – either before mahi or at lunchtimes.

The classes came about after some kaimahi had attended CrossFit sessions she ran in Hamilton and knew she was involved in Olympic weightlifting.

“That’s basically how it started.  We got talking, next minute sessions were five days a week,” she says.

Kaeley has been involved in competitive CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting since 2014 and has a swag of records to her name.

“I’m passionate about CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting and I love sharing my knowledge and experience with people.”

After winning teen CrossFit titles in 2014, she started Olympic Weightlifting the following year, receiving training from Commonwealth Games gold medal lifter Richie Patterson and CrossFit Te Rapa owner Fiona Norton.

In 2015 Kaeley won bronze at the Oceania Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea, silver at the Youth Commonwealth Games in Samoa and gold at the New Zealand National champs.

Along the way she broke 15 New Zealand Youth and Junior records in the under 63kg category. She also competed in the CrossFit Games open (teen category), winning the Australasian title and finishing 12th in the world.

In 2016, a broken pelvis saw Kaeley take up coaching and discover a new passion.

“I love coaching - or maybe you call it motivating. It is so exciting watching people achieve the things they thought they could never do.”

With a vast range of fitness levels among those attending her classes, Kaeley says she factors that into her routines.

“With any movement or skill I include in a workout, I always have a scaled version for those who may need it. This doesn’t mean the movement will be easy, it means it is better suited and safer for the athlete’s ability,” she says.

“The reason I do this is so everyone has a mean workout and goes away feeling good about themselves. And for those that can push harder, I can always scale it up.”

She says the training is based on the CrossFit training guide and covers mechanics, consistency and Intensity.

“With mechanics, you master the movement. Consistency is demonstrating the correct movement repeatedly and with the intensity – if the mechanics and consistency are looking good, then we start to add intensity to the movement.”

Kaeley says she’s been pleasantly surprised by how any people have signed up to her classes.

“I think everyone just needed a push start. The interest has been overwhelming but I love that they love coming.  It’s even better when they come back.”

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