Interview with Southern Peak Crossfit Owner and Head Coach - Christian Pedersen

Interview with Southern Peak Crossfit Owner and Head Coach - Christian Pedersen

This week I had the opportunity to sit down before a challenging 5.30 pm crossfit class with the owner and head coach of Southern Peak CrossFit - Christian.

Christian was born in Denmark and moved to New Zealand in 2006 to play cricket and to study strength & conditioning at the Otago Sports Institute. He was a coach at North Dunedin CrossFit before opening his own gym CrossFit gym two years ago at 36 Ward Street, Dunedin. 

Southern Peak CrossFit is a warm and welcoming environment. The sense of community and the variety of exercise, skill, and training in each class makes the hard work so much fun!

CrossFit really is an excellent way to build skill, fitness, strength, flexibility, and so much more. I chose to become a member of Southern Peak CrossFit because the coaching is very hands-on with a large focus on performing skills and movements correctly and in a safe manner. I find this carries over into everyday tasks and helps me move better throughout my day. 

Thank you for taking the time to come and speak with me today Christian...


When did you start CrossFit and how did you get into it?

I got into CrossFit because my flatmate at the time - Ben Thompson (Speedy) was a CrossFit athlete and coach. I then began coaching and training at CrossFit Dunedin in 2012.


Why did you decide to open your own gym?

I had thought about opening my own gym for a while. I knew I had a great recipe for how to run a gym. I also wanted to get more people involved not only in CrossFit, but in fitness. As a personal trainer, you don't get the opportunity to train many people at once as sessions are usually one on one. But I knew if I opened my own gym then I could reach more people and be able to train groups of people at a time like high school groups, corporate groups, boot camps etc. I also like that I get to call the shots now!


Who can benefit from taking CrossFit classes?

Anybody and everybody!

The great thing about CrossFit is that it is totally scalable. You can scale any exercise to suit older people, people with injuries, adaptive athletes, anything can be scaled to suit any individual. CrossFit is a high intensity exercise and sometimes people are afraid of that. But everybody can benefit from high intensity exercise and the beauty of measuring exercise on intensity is that each person's perceived intensity varies from individual to individual.


What does your member demographic look like?

Our member demographic is very broad!

If I were to break it down into two of the largest groups I would say we have a large student base due to our location being in close proximity to the University and the fact that CrossFit seems to speak to students. The other group we mainly target our marketing towards is young professionals and young families. This group is roughly in the age range of 27 to 42 years old and our timetable is catered to this demographic. 


Many of our customers at Inline Nutrition are looking to tone and build lean muscle; can CrossFit help our customers achieve these goals?


A member with nutritional/body image goals in mind should obviously sort their nutrition and nutrition supplementation prior to training, but the great thing about CrossFit is that each class is so different and each member has such different training goals in mind. There is no specific way of training so some workouts may involve long distance running/endurance training with light weights, the next day's workout might have shorter/faster sprints coupled with medium weights, and another day's workout may focus on technique and strength with heavier weights. The variability forces members to work on both their strengths and weaknesses and allows them to gain overall fitness which can ultimately take them closer to their nutritional/body image goals when coupled with good nutrition. 


Is nutrition a significant factor in your training/coaching philosophy? 

Yes - hugely!

We have members who have chosen to work with nutritionists recommended by us here at Southern Peak CrossFit. We recommend that members try to learn as much as possible about nutrition and to seek help from professional nutritionists and dieticians when possible. I believe nutrition should always be looked at from a long-term perspective because short-term fixes are never sustainable or healthy. 


Do you believe nutrition and fitness are connected? And if so, how? 

Yes, nutrition and fitness are definitely connected. 

"You can't out train a shitty diet."

There is a huge difference between good calories (nutrient-dense foods) and bad calories (empty/non-nutritious foods). If a person is getting the majority of their fuel/energy from bad calories they are going to find it extremely difficult to hit personal bests in the gym, to train well, stay healthy, and feel good. Nutrition controls such a large part of our day and is a large factor in how we feel, perform, and whether we improve or not. 


What are your future goals/plans for Southern Peak CrossFit?

Short-term: I would love to get more businesses involved in our corporate group training. We also take many high school classes as part of their P.E curriculum, however, I want ALL Dunedin high schools to include CrossFit as part of their P.E curriculum. 

In the long-term: I want to build the Southern Peak CrossFit brand by owning more gyms and running more specific programmes that go beyond what we offer now - outdoor, P.E, corporate, and CrossFit programmes. 


And lastly, what brings you the most joy from owning and coaching at Southern Peak CrossFit?

The community!

I love seeing 'normal' people develop into athletes - often without them even realising that or aiming for that. Members at Southern Peak CrossFit learn and nail skills they would have never thought possible from gymnastics skills to Olympic weightlifting. Members will develop into athletes without noticing, all they are doing is showing up to classes and enjoying themselves. I especially love to watch the progress of our older members because you compare them to the rest of the population who are their age and they have so much more energy and fitness than their peers. 


Thank you to Christian and all the coaches at Southern Peak CrossFit for all your help and support! You really have cultivated an awesome atmosphere at Southern Peak where members encourage each other to get the best out of themselves and to reach their peak.

Check out their website for more information on CrossFit, Southern Peak CrossFit's pricing, location, timetable, and interesting reads on their daily blog that includes all the workouts we do at Southern Peak. 



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