September 2016 Athlete of the Month: Abel den Hartog

Abel, congratulations on being featured as our Athlete of the Month for September. Tell us a little bit about yourself (where are you from, how did you get here, what do you do aside from the time you spend at the gym, etc. feel free to share whatever you’d like).

Hi! I am a 35-year-old male human being, born and raised on third planet from the sun. In 2012, I married another human being, Tamara, and she’s pretty awesome. We moved to Canada 4 years ago from a tiny country called The Netherlands.

Together we produced a little Canuck, Ezra, who I now believe may actually be a Tasmanian devil that has the power to get away with anything through sheer cuteness.

If I’m not working out at 416 I’m most likely working or chasing after my son. I enjoy sailing in the summer and skiing in the winter. We try to travel somewhere new at least once a year and occasionally go scuba diving.

Meanwhile my wife is attempting to rewrite the human genome through programming live viruses. Eventually she will help solve heart disease, or cause a zombie outbreak and human extinction. Sit tight!

 

 Sadly, September is your last month in Toronto. What’s next for you and your family?

Back to the Netherlands. A move that, above everything else, will make Ezra’s grand parents very happy. We are excited to go back and see friends and family, but sad to leave Toronto at the same time. Toronto is an amazing place to live and after 4 wonderful years, going back seems even more scary than leaving the Netherlands in the first place.

 

You’ve been at 416 for many years—from the shoebox days to the “big rig & showers” days—when and where was your first CrossFit Class?

I started Crossfit in 2009, at Crossfit FSF in the Netherlands. Their first location was literally a 2 car garage. If you hit the 9’ ceiling with your wall ball, it would literally come down and hit you in the head. The coaching and people were amazing though, and their new location is great and very well equipped.

My first class here in Canada was in the original 416 shoe box. After the garage gym, it actually felt like a step up, but also familiar! This was back when Dan somehow managed to work 27 hours a day, and stupid s**t like this happened on a daily basis:

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It’s crazy to see how much change the box has gone through in the past couple years!
If you could give yourself any advice for that first class, after all of these years of experience, what would it be?

I would tell myself to focus less on weight, time, or reps. Instead, the focus should be on developing correct movement patterns and technique. It would have brought me results faster and with less risk of injury.

 

What is your fondest memory looking back on your time here?

416 has been amazing and has given me many memories. The parties, competitions, and regular classes have given me friendships that I hope will last for a lifetime (which will be 257 years in my case).

 

What are you most excited about returning to when you head back to the Netherlands? Any Dutch delicacies you just can’t wait to get your hands on?

Two things:
– Rookworst (an amazing smoked sausage)
– Berenhap sate (a large deep-fried meatball with slices of union between the meat, served with a spicy peanut sauce)
I will eat those within a week of arriving – guaranteed!

 

Let’s say life takes a weird turn, and you’re forced to walk in to every room you ever enter using an entrance theme song—what would it be and why?

I am torn between ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ from Monty Python’s Live of Brian, or freaking everyone out with the theme song from ‘The Twilight Zone’.

 

How do you take your coffee?

In large quantities.
If you could take a trip anywhere and with anyone, where would it be and with who?

Once Ezra is old enough to understand and remember the plan is to go on a Safari in Africa. We would love to see the big 5, now that they still exist in the wild.

What is your September fitness/performance goal?

The same as last month, and the months before that: Handstand (walk). My body doesn’t function properly when it is upside down!

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All the best to everyone at 416, thanks for 4 amazing years!