My Story - Marcel
Updated: May 27
by MARCEL GIL ORTIZ
There has been no starting point for me in terms of fitness / physical activity / sports. I have been doing sports since I can remember. My first sports memories are from when I was about 5 years old, when I started Judo, followed by swimming, skateboarding, rock climbing, snowboarding… and finally: CrossFit and Rugby.
However, it was when I turned 12 when I started to workout to get “stronger” overall. Of course, back then, I had no idea about what I was doing, so for me, working out meant bicep curls, push ups and sit-ups. My “dumbells” were washing-machine soap bottles inside shopping bags, you would be surprised about what you can actually do with that gear. Couple of years later, I discovered rock climbing, which gave me a proper reason to get fitter. I started to take climbing a bit more seriously, asked a coach to make me a monthly training table and it was then, when I started to feel very attracted to sports performance and physical activity.
Then, rugby came along. I fell in love with the sport from day 1, and I decided to take it seriously. Rugby is a very physical sport, where being strong and fast is a main point in the position where I was playing. I decided that if I wanted to perform well, I needed to get strong. I realised that a new gym had recently opened it’s doors, with a curious name: CrossFit. Grabbed a friend, we got a membership, a jumping rope and that’s where it all started.
From that point until now, although I have had my ups and downs in training over the years, my life has gone around physical activity and sports performance. I decided to apply to university, and recently got my Degree in Physical activity and Sports Sciences, as well as rugby and CrossFit coaching certificates. Now my focus as an athlete is to perform at my best as long as I am alive. Trying to get as strong as possible inside healthy limits.
Now you know how I started. And there is reasons why I continue in the same path today. Looking good is just one of the outcomes from training, and not even the main one for me. In my career, I have gotten very interested in the physiological and psychological effect of physical activity.
The more I study the science behind training, the more attached I feel to it. We are now starting to understand how the brain responds to physical activity, in most cases being more effective than an antidepressant! Our current lifestyle has deprived us from what we were designed for: running, crawling, pulling, pushing, etc. And, these capacities play a very important role in our development as humans.
"...since I started training more seriously, I can see that my self-esteem, self-awareness and confidence have increased in all areas of my daily life."
Training has allowed me to structure my days better. In fact, most of the days, I plan my meals around training. A good workout will help me clarify ideas, shift my focus, get to meet new people and make me feel more capable overall. Also, since I started training more seriously, I can see that my self-esteem, self-awareness and confidence have increased in all areas of my daily life.
On those Sundays, when I decide not to workout or do any type of exercise at all, I notice that at the end of the day I feel somewhat anxious. This is how my body tells me that I need some kind of movement, even if it is a small walk or 20 min of stretching. It simply feels good.
All the previous story is my way to explain why I do what I do, why I am a coach. From my point of view, there is so much more in movement than what we know in regards to health and overall well-being. I believe that exercise does not have the attention it deserves in the health world. Exercise will help you get leaner and build muscle, yes… but it can go as far as reshaping your brain.
"We are born with all the tools, we just need to learn how to use them"
Someone said once “we are born with all the tools, we just need to learn how to use them”. I know, it is an overstatement, but in a way it is right. In a world where we are losing our ability to focus and move according to how we were built to, we need to re-learn how to use our body to get the maximum out of ourselves.
I like to see myself as a coach similar to a doctor working in a hospital. We coaches have our clients (patients) who may or may not have an issue, be it physical, psychological or physiological. We coaches meet with the clients, see the weak points in movement, and apply a treatment (training program) to fix the issue or to do a step forward on our client’s goals.
The base for my programming goes like this: quality, quantity and perfection of movement. Will you become healthier by just starting training? The answer is yes, of course. However, we are all different from each other, and our needs are specific to us. For this reason, quality training for you does not necessarily mean quality for everyone. Perhaps your goal is to be able to move pain free, in which case, we will assess your mechanics in basic movements. If you already move well.
l, maybe your goal is to improve your lactic tolerance, in which case we will play with intensities and volumes. Getting individual coaching and advice is crucial for a long lasting training life.
As a coach, I’d like to program, plan and help anyone and everyone. From an injury rehab to a long term goal (e.g competition). I am very interested in coaching for fundamental movements such as squatting, pressing, pulling, running… Moreover, I am also very interested in using CrossFit as a physical preparation for other sports such as hockey, American football or rugby. Another training modality I like to work with is Functional BodyBuilding (FBB). In simple words, FBB aims specifically for muscle building using functional movements (functional movements are those that move more than one joint at a time). FBB is good to build strength in specific areas of our body, working as a good injury prevention tool applicable to any sport.
However, my main goal as a coach is to educate people about the world around physical activity, it’s benefits and how it will affect the other aspects of their lives.