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Africa’s Fittest Woman, Celestie MacIntosh

Africa’s Fittest Woman, Celeste MacIntosh has made it to CrossFit Regionals five times – more than any local CrossFit athlete.

She now balances her training as an elite athlete with a career as a part-time digital marketing consultant. “And I’m very excited with a new love to get my mind out of the gym and have a different focus. CrossFit will always be my number 1 priority, though, at least for now, but it’s good to finally have this balance,” she explains. 

Age: 29

Resides: Fourways, Johannesburg

Give us a brief outline of your on-season training routine.

There is no on- and off-season in the sport of CrossFit. This is a lifestyle and if you want to compete at a high level, it’s something that needs focus. I have two to three training sessions per day, which means, at times, especially closer to competitions, I can be in the gym all day. I really enjoy these days, though, but as soon as it feels like too much, I’ll back off and rest as needed. I know my body really well at this stage of my training age, so I know when it’s trying to tell me I need rest. I’m on the Program, which includes a lot of variety. I do a mix of everything I need to be doing to get better.

Are there big differences in your on- and off-season nutrition?

Nutrition is highly individualised. We’re all different, which means what works for me won’t work for someone else. For me there is not really a difference. I try eat well to fuel my training. I can feel the difference in my performance and sessions when I don’t eat as healthily, but I’m not going to kill myself when I pig out a bit… I’m lying. I pig out, a lot. We all have to live a little, after all.

What advice would you give to a woman who wants to pursue a sport like yours?

My advice to anyone who wants to compete at the sport of CrossFit is the following: Make sure you really love it. All of it. The good days, the bad days, the long hours, the sacrifices, the pain, setbacks, being broke, winning and losing. If you love it it will all be worth it and you’ll have the motivation to keep improving! Don’t do it for sponsorships, money or to look good, ‘cos that’s not what our sport is about. It’s about empowering people and improving yourself!

What are your thoughts on female equality in your sport? Have you seen a growth in participants over the past few years?

I’m fortunate enough to be part of a family of women who have changed the opinion of what women should look like and what women should and shouldn’t do. It’s not about being sexy at all. The beauty of it is embracing you – your shape, your look and, most of all, your strength, both mentally and physically. At times we take on the same workouts as the boys. We don’t back off from any challenge. We’re strong and we build one another up to be better. The sport is definitely growing. We now have a teens division at the CrossFit Games and these young girls look up to us top athletes. The sport is building strong women from a young age, to prove we can do whatever we believe. These girls are the future.

Get in touch with Celeste

Achievements:

2017

  • Arnold Classic Weightlifting 63kg Women’s winner
  • CrossFit Regionals Spain – only female from SA
  • Fittest in South Africa
  • Fittest in Cape Town Winner

2016

  • USA Opex Fitness Training Camp (September – October)
  • Ultimate Forces Challenge Bali Reality Show
  • 186kg Commonwealth Games weightlifting total
  • SA Weightlifting Gauteng Champ
  • CrossFit Regionals (Spain) qualifier
  • Athletes Games Manchester, UK

2015

  • Opex Optathlon – 3rd 
  • All Africa Games Weightlifting Squad
  • SA Weightlifting Champion – 63kg Class
  • Gauteng Weightlifting Champion – 63kg Class
  • CrossFit Regionals Competitor, Copenhagen Denmark
  • Pretoria Throwdown Winner
  • Fittest in Cape Town Winner

2014

  • Athletes Games, Manchester UK – 14th 
  • CrossFit Games Competitor
  • CrossFit Africa Regionals – “Fittest Woman in Africa” – 1st
  • South African Weightlifting Champs – 1st 
  • Gauteng Weightlifting Champs – 1st 
  • Last Man Standing – 3rd
  •  Fittest in Cape Town – 4th

2013

  • CrossFitt Africa Regionals – 4th
  • RXIT Winter Series – 2nd 
  • SA Weightlifting Championships 57kg division – 2nd
  • CrossFit Games – 19th in the opens
  • Fittest African Ladies CrossFit Games – 4th 
  • Powerlifting SA Champs

 

Photos by: Ruby Wolff  

 

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