Meet the Member: Ornella

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Meet the Member: Ornella

Today we’d like you to meet Ornella. She has been training with us for almost two years and is what I call a silent work horse. You never hear much of her. Not even when the Coach asks about language (even though she speaks English, she speaks plenty of „CrossFit“ to understand our querky Swiss German classes). But don’t let yourself be blinded by that! The PR board features her name quite often. Especially when it comes to barbells.

Ornella used to work as an analyst in the financial industry in San Francisco. For a year she worked for an asset management company here in Zurich but is now a full time parent to 2 kids (4 and 8). Her son starts kindergarten this year and she’s feeling antsy to resume her career again.
Aside from being a full time parent you while probably have tasted some of her fantastic cooking and baking skills – Paleo most often!

Before starting with CrossFit Horgen she says „I was in a rut, both mentally and physically. Life had been throwing me a fair share of lemons which I had desire to make lemonade with. I was dealing with some major personal and health issues.“

16807481_10158219005480585_8187764771825153306_nShe stuck to workout DVDs at home until „it had gotten boring doing it alone and it wasn’t motivating anymore. I was also trying to get rid of all the extra weight I had gained over the years during both of my pregnancies.“

So she decided to give CrossFit Horgen a try.
„I always knew about CrossFit but was very hesitant to try as I watched videos on YouTube of people doing crazy workouts and thinking to myself „I could never do that“. After all I do suffer from sickle cell disease and I had no desire to end up hospitalized for the sake of a workout.“

She just came out of a series of 4 invasive/reconstructive eye surgeries which took place over the course of 2 years, had suffered an internal hemorrhage in her right eye that had left her blind in that eye for a year and half. The repair of her eyes was a gradual, long and gruesome process that nagged on her confidence and dragged her down… Until that day…

„I decided to suck it up, put my big girl pants on and find myself again so I booked the introduction session and then the rest is history :-)“

In the beginning it was hard: „I struggled with the empty 15kg bar most times whilst I could see people lifting heavy weights and finishing under the time cap of the workout.“ Due to her illness she doesn’t have the same amount of lung power as an average person, but that never stopped Ornella. She’s been consistent and within a short time she saw the first improvements.

„I noticed that I built strength quite fast and slowly I was able to do a few workouts with the designated weight, and not a beginner scale…yay!“

But it wouldn’t be Ornella if she didn’t have a future perspective: „I’m only a little over year and half into crossfit and I still have quite a way to go in certain skills (mostly gymnastics) but I’m very happy with what I’ve done so far. I can only measure my progress against myself and I think I’m not doing too bad.“

This Spring she  participated in the Swiss powerlifting competition with only a year of lifting experience and performed awesome! She hit the numbers that qualified her for European and World Championships.

Here is her 125kg Deadlift from the Championships:


But she still remains very grounded and humble: „I’ve met some cool people that have become friends over time, not just at the box but outside as well.
There have also been a few times when I was the last to finish a workout (especially the ones involving running and/or wallballs) and an athlete who was already done would just come and join me and do the rest of the workout with me. It’s always extra motivating when that happens!“

-Ornella, you are an inspiration! Thanks for all your hard work – we can’t wait to see your next successes!


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