Joining MaD has shown me a completely different perspective and outlook to training, and given me the confidence to do the things I’ve only ever let other people do for me. I am stronger in both body and mind, and believe in my abilities to achieve the things I thought I never could.

I have nothing but respect for the work you and Matt have put in to creating a welcoming, friendly and hardworking environment at MaD. I have valued the core principles that guide the success of the gym and have loved being a part of the MaD community. I really have 🙂

This is just ‘ka kite anō’. Not goodbye but see you again. Please pass on my many thanks to all the coaches. You’ve all been a huge part of my success and super strong baby hehe. Keep doing what you guys are doing because it’s AMAZING!!!

Thank you so much for having me, I’ll see you guys again soon. Te and Ngatai, Wellington.

Colleen TrigColleen BaD As Prizes

“Before coming to New Zealand, I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue to CrossFit while I was here. My body was sore, I knew I had a tight budget, and I was just nervous to try a new box. But after a short phone call with Donna, I knew I had to come and try a class at MaD before deciding if I should or shouldn’t CrossFit.

On my first class I was greeting with smiles from every member in the gym and the credibility of the coaches amazed me. I instantly felt a welcoming and positive vibe from the gym. CrossFit is known for creating “communities” and MaD is the primary example. I was originally meant to stay with a homestay family but after one night, I knew it wasn’t going to work. Saturday morning, having only known Matt and Donna  for 3 days, I came to Donna in tears. I was alone, scared, and ready to fly right home. She instantly began to help me without any questions, I was treated like family. By Saturday afternoon two MaD members had opened up their homes for me to live in for the next 3 months. I was speechless. These people didn’t even know me but because of the trust in Matt & Donna, they knew I couldn’t be too bad. That is a true sign of  a strong community; trust and the willingness to help all members of the community without question. By Saturday night I was safely in a new home with other MaD members.

The next 3 months were filled with making new friends, getting stronger, and learning healthy habits for working out. I was encouraged by other members to compete in my first Olympic Weightlifting Competition as well as Bad As. I had an amazing time competing in both, plus I was able to PR in all 3 lifts for Bad As!  At both events, I was able to connect with other competitors as we cheered each other on.

The friendships that I have made through MaD are friendships I will cherish the rest of my life. I came expecting to make a few friends and I am leaving with a new family. There is something so special about sharing your passion of working out with others which is what I was able to do at MaD. Between tough workouts, heavy lifts, and a few cold beers on a Sunday; I feel right at home. People talk about the “Law of Attraction” which is where you are attracted to people who have the same values as you and vise versa. This was the case for me as I worked out at MaD. I was constantly surrounded by kind, hardworking, funny,strong, open-minded people. I am forever thankful for the relationships I have made as well as the physical & mental strength I have gained while working out at MaD.
Cheers to you MaD! You have changed my life forever!” Colleen, Washington, USA.



I joined MaD CrossFit in November 2013 with the initial goal to loose weight, however as I discovered later on CrossFit is much more than just loosing weight. My initial plan was to join and gain some knowledge regarding training schedules and work ethics. This plan was rather shortly lived due to great people, support and atmosphere inside the gym. With each session I learned something new and exciting that I couldn’t do before. To this date I can still remember my first pull up, double under and rope climb.

In addition to the great training, the staff have a vast amount of knowledge regarding healthy eating and lifestyle. Since changing my lifestyle and my dietary requirements I have lost 14 kg in total. There is something great about going shopping for new clothes and realizing that I have dropped a whole size.

In summary I would recommend MaD CrossFit to anyone who is thinking of joining. You will be surprised at what you can achieve with some hard work and positive encouragement. Give it a shot and if it doesn’t work for you the knowledge learned can be easily transferred to a regular gym environment (Yea Right). Aleks – Wellington, NZ


Yas Burpees Hope

Hi Lou,

Happy New Year!

One year on – wow. I remember this time a year ago feeling so impatient for January 7 to roll around so I could start on ramp. Having made it through those hectic baby years that I really struggled with, to where Gus and Felix were 3 and almost 2, I was chomping at the bit to get my life back – and that’s what I feel MaD has done for me.

I am stronger, fitter, healthier and leaner than I have ever been. I have lost my residual baby belly (14 cm off my waist alone) and dropped 11 kg – I weigh less now than I did when Grant and I first met 19 years ago. I sleep better, have more energy, and as my mother-in-law commented, I can manage the hard days with the kids rather than falling apart at the seams.

Despite being away from home I have continued working out, doing either the body weight workouts Matt has been posting or something different depending on what equipment I have access to. (Obsessed or enthusiastic – had an interesting conversation with my brother-in-law!)

Grant and I stayed at the hotel he works at in Auckland on Thursday night and there is a rower in the gym so I did baseline since it was almost a year since I first did it.  My initial time was 8.55 minutes with body rows and scaled push ups. This time – 5.55 with no scaling and a knee that is still bothering me. Stoked!

So I would like to express my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to you and all the coaches for all you do, and also to all the members who make MaD such a great place. Yasmine – Wellington, NZ.

I was dubious of CrossFit when I first heard about it.  Why pay so much money for what seemed like circuit classes when I already had  a gym programme and ran a  couple of times a week? I was stubborn and had firm ideas about what I liked and besides, CrossFit looked like another fad.  Luckily, I was gifted a free month at MaD CrossFit and, being curious about why this was such a big deal, I gave it a go. And never looked back.
Any CrossFit website will give you a list of gains to expect and, while people will generally achieve most of these, everybody has a unique experience, influenced by personal history, goals and dreams.
I soon discovered that the standard benefits applied to me – within my first four months at MaD I was stronger than I had ever been, despite going to regular gyms for years.  Never before had I worked such a range of muscles or been encouraged to attempt such heavy weights (heavy for me, anyway). I understood that you don´t have to be big and bulky to get a 40kg bar over your head. 40kg! I had barely been squatting that in the past.
I fell in love with the “community” aspect at MaD, seeing the same bleary-eyed people every day at 6am who soon became my friends, sharing comments and jokes on the website, participating in gym BBQs and the wider international CrossFit community.
Listening to Matt and Donna, and then doing my own reading, I understood so much more about the benefits of clean eating, sleep and avoiding stress.  MaD ran a 30 day Paleo clean eating challenge and I soon found myself making long-lasting lifestyle changes to support a healthier body, and felt so much better for it.
Importantly, for me, CrossFit has taught me that I´m capable of way more than I thought.  CrossFit has put me out of my comfort zone a number of times and, not only is this healthy, but it´s important.  I´ve lifted heavy weights overhead, I´ve deadlifted more than my body weight, I´ve done handstands on the beach – getting over a fear of falling over and hurting myself.  I even managed a pull up.  Twice.
I´ve learned that if I have goals, I can practise hard and meet them.  And that this works outside the gym too.
Some people end up making CrossFit a big part of their lives.  I´m one of those people.  When I don´t get to do it, I miss it.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have travelled around New Zealand and some of Europe, going around various boxes.  Some have been awesome, all have their positive and negative aspects, and I´ve always missed my “home” box at MaD.
You can choose a cheaper box, a sexier box or one in a better location, but I would go for the quality coaching and excellent atmosphere at MaD.  Some of the movements are hard and taxing on the body and I want to know that I´m being well looked after.  Matt and Donna have experience, skills and a lot of heart.  In CrossFit talk, they´re truly RX, and you can´t really beat that. Josie – World Traveller



Who would’ve thought we’d still be here?!
After our first week, we sure had doubts
– Can we be bothered coming all the way from town?
– Working out at 6.30pm is late
– I’ve never heard of half these exercises, there’s a lot to remember
– It’s pretty expensive, is it worth it?
– It’s friggin hard!
After a while you form a habit and realise those are really just excuses.
All you have to do is show up 3 times a week. Consistency really is key.
We’ve found working out together has been the motivation to forming this habit.
We are doing the same workouts, just scaling differently, and are able to relate when the other is also gasping for air in the recovery position.
It inspires a little healthy competition and in the wise words of Elle Woods,
“Exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands”
Is CrossFit hard? Hell yes!!!
Neither of us are natural born runners, but you realise after 3 rounds of a 500m row then 21 burpees then a 400m run, that the run was actually the most restful part.
Later on reflection you get a sense of accomplishment when you realise you did something you initially thought was impossible and during, thought you were going to keel over and die. Yet you live to die another day.
Some days you can do a little higher, little heavier, little faster, on other days when it doesn’t seem to come together you have your best friend there to cheer you on.
Not only do we have each other, but the whole MaD community is behind you, waiting to see you succeed and reach your goals.
Matt, Donna and the rest of the coaches are top of their game and armed with the knowledge and tools to keep you safe and striving for more.
We could go into numerous more reasons why we CrossFit to convince you it’s worth it, but just sign up, give it a go and decide for yourself.
What have you got to lose?
Does the pain ever go away? No, you just kinda get used to it along with the constant minty aroma of antiflamme, and learn to love it
Tru and Le – Wellington, NZ

My Three Year Plan: Year One

I’ve just joined the Barbell Club at MaD.  Woohoo!! My first anniversary was on March 18, 2013.  It has been an awesome year and I have Donna, Matt, Lou, the other coaches and my friends at MaD to thank for it.  I would never have guessed this year would have been possible last year at this time.

I had just moved to Wellington in March 2012 after a 2-month break back in Canada, having completed my PhD in Chemistry at the University of Canterbury in December.  To put this past year in perspective, please allow me to digress…

The 4 years before my arrival in Wellington were, to say the least, tumultuous.  I had arrived in Christchurch in April 2008, married and weighing in at 86 kg, having put my career in neutral to follow my husband as he took up “the job of his dreams”.  I took the opportunity to return to uni after 20 years to fulfil a dream of my own to obtain my PhD.  Wanting to enjoy the outdoors and great weather of Canterbury, I joined the Christchurch Marathon Clinic. I found running a great way to release the stress of life as a student.

In August 2009 my husband quit his dream job and in September he walked out on our marriage of 19 years, leaving me with our senior dog.  I turned to the friends I made at the Marathon Clinic for support and stability and also found new friends in a road cycling group.  Within 6 months I had bought my own house, dropped almost 10 kg, completed my first half marathon (Buller Gorge, Feb 2010, 2h15) and rode in my first cycling event, the GrapeRide (101 km, Apr 2010, 4h07).  I found peace in the hours of training and great satisfaction in my accomplishments.  With their encouragement, I embarked on training for a full marathon, and although I still enjoyed the hours of training, they were beginning to take their toll on my ‘not so young’ body.

A year to the day after my husband left, the first of the three major earthquakes rocked Christchurch.  Needing something to focus my attention on while the university was closed and my research was delayed, I spent more time training and completed three more half marathons on my way back to the Buller Gorge, this time for the marathon (Feb 2011, 4h55).  The marathon was just one week before the February 2011 earthquake and another major disruption to my research and life.  This time, the university campus was closed for 3 months and it was an additional 2 months before I was able to continue with my research.  I was able to squeeze in one more shot at the GrapeRide, taking a full 22 minutes off my previous time.  But, it was now clear that if I was to complete my research before my scholarship was finished, I had to put all else aside and spend every moment on the task at hand.

By December 2011, I had sadly put down my beloved dog, submitted the final draft of my thesis, sold my house, put all my worldly possessions in storage and returned to Canada for Christmas.  I arrived in Canada, unemployed and living with my parents, mentally exhausted, physically broken and hardly able to move.  And no wonder, I had spent the last 8 months seated at a desk, pounding on a keyboard for upwards of 16 hours a day.  I joined the gym just up the street and hired a personal trainer with the goal regain normal function and enough fitness to begin running again.  She had me doing basic mobility and bodyweight exercises, though it wasn’t called CrossFit.  I was really enjoying it.  When I knew that I would be returning to NZ to begin my new life, I searched the internet for gyms in the area and found MaD CrossFit.  I had no idea what CrossFit was, but from the pictures on the website and in talking with my trainer, I thought it would suit me.  The first seeds of my Three Year Plan were planted.

During my marathon training, one of my friends from the Marathon Clinic was training for her first Ironman.  She and I had similar fitness levels when we started our respective training programs and her goal was simple – to complete within the cut-off time.  She was such an inspiration.  I decided that with my new life, I needed a new goal and it seemed obvious that what I needed to do was to complete my first Ironman in the year of my 50th birthday – 2015.  Year one would be for gaining a solid fitness base and putting all three disciplines together, swimming, cycling and running.  Year Two would be for extending the distance to a half Ironman and Year Three would be the main event – the Taupo Ironman.

For basic fitness I joined MaD on a 3-month, 2x per week membership just to see how I liked it.  I LOVED it!  The coached workouts suit me.  I like how they keep me motivated and challenged.  I don’t look at the WOD before I arrive.  I like the surprise – no chance of talking myself out of doing what is required! I was soon able to start running again.  In June 2012, I ran the Wellington Half Marathon and matched the time of my first half marathon.  I was elated!  I joined a swim squad in July, having never done any competitive swimming and not having been in a pool for at least 15 years.  I found the Scorching Bay triathlon series and worked my way through the distance options as the season progressed.  By the end of February, I had completed two Olympic distance triathlons (1.5 km swim, 40 km bike, 10 km run; 3h30).  I’ve had a year of Tuesday and Thursday 6 a.m. workouts at MaD and I’m hooked.  I can honestly say that without the base fitness I was able to gain through CrossFit, I would not have been able to complete Year One.  With the additional benefits of the paleo diet, I now weigh in at 59 kg and I am stronger, fitter and happier than I have ever been in my entire life.

For Year Two, I had been planning to follow the traditional approach to Ironman training and employ a coach.  Having seen how much time my inspirational friend was putting into her training (10-15 hours on a weekend and 5-8 hours during the week) and seeing the benefits that CrossFit has given me in Year One, I was no longer sure that the traditional approach was going to be right for me.  This was confirmed with the Endurance program offered by MaD in January and February this year.  In the 6 weeks of the running program I was able to take a full minute off my 5 km time!  MaD’s philosophy of ‘Train Smarter, Not Longer’ finally hit home and hit hard!  I did quite a bit of reading online about the CrossFit approach to endurance sport, and the more I read, the more I was convinced.  So, this year, under the guidance of Lou, and with the help of all the coaches and friends at MaD, I’m taking on a personal challenge of using CrossFit and CrossFit Endurance to get me through two half Ironman events.  My goal is realistic, I think, to place in the top half of my age group.  I’m now an unlimited member, I have my first personalised training program from Lou and I’m on my way.  Look out Rotorua in December 2013 and Auckland in March 2014!

Thanks MaD! Lisa – Wellington, NZ.


Late last year my younger sister was diagnosed with osteoporosis,  something I mistakenly thought only really aged people were diagnosed with once they started falling and breaking bones.

The more I read up on the subject the more I came to realise that my wee walk round the block, up one hill  to puff and down the other side together with a weekly swim were not going to prevent anything.   I needed to literally ‘pound’ my bones and lift weight!

On quizzing Daniel CrossFit seemed to have all the necessary criteria to do this,  plus the testimonials I read were very positive so off I went to on-ramp with Rocky (such a patient soul).  It took me a while to get there but finally I was ready for class.  My first class was very nerve racking but everyone was very welcoming,  I got through it and despite me thinking I would not live to tell the tale I did of course continue to breathe and now enjoy the challenge of all the classes.

I knew I was at the right gym when both Matt, Donna and Kiwi the pug came along to support me at the Capital Classic Ocean Swim. I had never done an event such as this but with a little help from Casey and support from everyone I was in there on the day giving it my best shot.   I now have the ‘going long’ in my sights next year and I am sure CrossFit will help me achieve this both mentally and physically.

My daughter Amelia was enrolled in another Gym but I think when she saw how much I was gaining, improving  and enjoying the ‘ride’ she decided to join me.  While I know I will never be as flexible or have the form she has she inspires me to go hard and keep it up.  I hope in return both my children will see that age is no barrier to joining in and staying fit for life.

So those of you who have mothers, aunties sisters in the family do encourage them to come along to MaD CrossFit  to start pounding those bones!

Thanks to everyone.  Joy – Wellington, NZ


If mum can do it, then so can I!

I started CrossFit a few months after my mum, as I found my regular gym routine boring, and I was not achieving the results I wanted on my own. At MaD the knowledge of the coaches, community spirit and the structured nature of CrossFit, provides a very supportive and motivating environment in which to work out.

After 3 months at CrossFit I have noticed a significant change in my strength and muscle all over my body. When starting CrossFit my focus was strength and overall well being, I did not want to become fixated on weight, therefore i have not weighed myself since starting, although I have noticed a change in the fit of my clothes highlighting areas where the weight is coming off.

Working out alongside my mum, watching her push her-self, overcome barriers and achieve her goals has been truly inspirational. I have watched her transform over the past 5 months, gaining confidence, energy, strength and weight loss. Keep it up mum!

Thank you to all coaches, and other members for making me feel so welcome 🙂  Amelia – Wellington, NZ

I was brought to Wellington for a brief period for work in October 2012. At that point I was a CrossFit coach at CrossFit Townsville and I was interning to be apart of the CrossFit Level 1 seminar staff. Knowing I was going to be back in Wellington for a 2 month period in 2013 over the CrossFit Open in March, I was hoping to find a CrossFit box that could be my home away from home. I found MaD CrossFit after a not so welcoming session at another box in Wellington.

MaD was instantly welcoming in an email, which was followed by a friendly introduction to the other members in my first session. Matt, Donna and the team at MaD have been so generous with their knowledge and their support. The coaching is great, the programming considered and the environment so positive and friendly. I have enjoyed every session.
I can’t thank MaD enough for making my stay in Wellington so comfortable and for pushing me to new PBs. MaD CrossFit became my home away from home, I will miss them and will be back to visit any time I’m in Wellington. Lauren – Brisbane, Australia.

MaD Crossfit has changed my life.

Cliche? Yep. Corney? A little. The truth? Undoubtably!

In the last five months I have; learnt to climb a rope, learnt how to olympic lift, lifted more than I ever have before, become stronger, faster, fitter, happier, more flexible, and learnt how to handstand again. I lost 10kgs, lost 8 cms from my stomach, met dozens of new friends, and I have also had a number of revelations about myself. I have achieved all of this at MaD Crossfit.

Heres a little about me:

I have played sport my entire life. I have also battled with my eating and weight. The one year I didn’t play sport I gained over 40 kgs. Writing that now it seems a horrendous amount, and it was. I transformed from a relatively healthy 6 foot, 80kg 18 year old into a clinically obese (fat!) 19/20 year old couch potato. I developed kidney stones. Kidney stones are generally a middle aged issue but here I was in the prime of my youth undergoing surgery for a completely avoidable diet related issue. I was sick, I was fat, I was grumpy. I regathered myself and lost weight. It was hard. I put a lot of effort into eating what I thought was a healthy diet. I did a lot of exercise. I was going to the gym every morning. I was playing indoor netball or soccer 4 nights a week. I was running every other day. By the time I was 23 I was back down to around 90kgs. I felt better, but I had no time for anything except exercise or thinking about the healthy food choices I was supposed to be making. That is how I have lived for the last 6 years. Either constantly exercising, or putting on weight.

Don’ t get me wrong, I enjoy exercise. I enjoy weightlifting, I enjoy team sports, I enjoy running. The problem is I also enjoy eating, I love bread and I really love ice cream.

Towards the end of 2012, I was struggling a little. I should have been happy. I had a beautiful loving partner, a gorgeous new baby girl, and I was more than halfway through a law degree having gone back to university as a “mature” student. I wasn’t happy.

When my partner got pregnant early in 2010 I put on weight when she did. When our daughter was born my partner lost her weight, I put on a bit more. I laughed it off (not literally unfortunately).

I was still working out regularly, and going for the odd run but I was still putting on weight (fat). I was studying and I used that as an excuse.

At 29 years old my friends and family were making fun of me for being a grumpy old man. They were joking with me to my face, but I found out they were talking to each other about it a bit more seriously. They were worried. They had seen it before.

I have worked very hard over the last 6 years to stay in control of my weight and they didn’t want to see me lose control. I also did not want to lose control but I think I could feel it slipping, that is probably why I was becoming grumpy.

I heard about Crossfit a couple of years ago and from the limited research I had done I liked the look of it. I had tried to do some of the workouts in my garage but space was limited, as was my knowledge of some of the moves, not to mention the terminology. I had toyed with the idea of joining a Crossfit box but nothing further. The problem was I was intimidated. I knew how fit I had been in the past and, more to the point, how unfit I was currently feeling. I wanted to start Crossfit but I thought I needed to be fitter first, in hindsight I think this was just another excuse. I was starting to feel uncomfortable with the way I looked and didn’t like the idea of putting myself on show, or working out in a group and being compared to others.

In October of 2012 my partner emailed MaD Crossfit. She presented me with the dates of their next introductory classes and thankfully she must have caught me in a good mood as I decided to give it a go.

The first thing I noticed when entering MaD for the first time was how friendly everyone was. Rather than people avoiding eye contact and looking at themselves in the mirror (there are no mirrors at MaD) they seemed to actively seek out a hello and introduction from the new comer, I certainly felt welcome. I then noticed how happy everyone seemed, and how they all knew each other. There was a lot of joking and laughing. I started to think I would like to be a part of this group.

I didn’t have to wait long. I was amazed at how quickly I felt like I belonged at MaD. Instantly included, encouraged, and supported. There was no judgment, just assistance which is what I needed.

I wish I had started sooner. I haven’t looked back. In the first 6 weeks I lost 5kgs and about 6cms from my waist. I am getting stronger all the time and feeling better everyday.

As for not being fit enough for Crossfit? Crossfit gets you fit. I got fitter once I started, a lot fitter, and quickly.

And being on show? Or compared to others? I never feel like I am on show and the only reason anybody ever takes an interest in how much I’m lifting or how fast I’m going is because they want to see me (help me) improve, not to compare themselves. Everyone at MaD Crossfit is there for their own reasons, they have their own goals, their own stories.

The knowledge and experience that Matt, Donna and the rest of trainers have is amazing, and so easy to access! Every one of them will share their information without question any chance they get. This is how I was introduced to the paleo diet. What a revelation! If someone had told me 6 months ago I could eat bacon and eggs more often and lose weight I would not have believed them. It has helped me to feel the best I have for years. I would highly recommend that anybody investigate it for themselves.

Living healthily has become incredibly easy. Working out is now never something I feel I have to do, it is something I want to do. Every morning one of the first things I do is check on the web for the days workout. Even when I am not planning on heading in for the day I have to know what I am missing out on. The workout is never the same. Sometimes it plays to my strengths, other times it forces me to focus on my weaknesses. While it is fun working out to my strengths it is even more rewarding working on my weaknesses and feeling myself improve. I am in probably the best shape of my life after only 5 months and I am looking forward to seeing how far I can go.

Pushing through some of the really tough workouts has taught me a lot about my own mental strengths as well. I feel it has helped me in the mental preparation for my last year of law school, 6 months ago I was ready to pack it in. Now I’m more prepared to tackle all the new challenges.

I can not imagine my life without Crossfit now, it has very quickly become a part of me, perhaps even an obsession (ask my friends) but its all good. I am ready for anything. I feel like a whole new world has been opened up for me, one in which I am truly happy.

In fact, in mid december, less than 2 months after starting at MaD I was so happy with the changes I was already seeing and the feelings I was having that I cried, yep a 29 year old man crying on the way to the gym. Weren’t expecting that little tid bit were you? Well neither was I, I wasn’t even going to put that in here but I just want to let everyone know how much MaD Crossfit has given me.

Lastly, for anyone out there who thinks MaD Crossfit may be for them, just try it. If your experience is anything like mine you will get fitter, you will get faster, you will make friends, you will do things you didn’t think you would ever do. You will have fun. YOU WILL BE HAPPY! Josh – Wellington, NZ.




I never thought I would share these photos.  Ever.  But I want to show people that this is achievable, and hopefully inspire them to go for it.  If you really want it.  You can do it.  I’m am by no means finished, there is more work to be done, but I have come so far from the person I was in those first photos, I am so much happier, and so much braver, and I have so much more belief in myself and my ability to achieve things I never thought possible.  CrossFit is life changing.

In hindsight February this year, I was depressed. I was the heaviest I had been in my entire life.  The joy of having my first child was beginning to be overshadowed by the fact I was carrying 20 kilos more than when I fell pregnant, the day I had my son I was 45 kilos heavier – the first 25 kilos disapeared in the first 4 weeks but I was left feeling disgusting and I was beginning to believe that I would just be another “big cuddly mummy,” I’d just get pregnant again and think about working out or dieting once my baby days were done!

This was until in a state of desperation with a holiday to Hawaii looming 5 months away I googled “Bootcamps in Petone” – Before I had my son I had done bootcamps with my old gym, I liked the team environment and the intensity of them – I knew I needed something tough!  This was the fateful moment when “MAD Crossfit” came up on my screen, I took a look and the minute I saw girl lifting what I then classified as “mens weights” I thought – oooh no – not for me, I can’t do that.  But then I read some testimonials, googled CrossFit and read some more and all signs pointed to success, I remember thinking the transformation photos were too good to be true and that changes like that can’t happen in 6 months! Atleast they won’t for someone in my state.  But.  They did.

Initially I was motivated by my need to lose the weight, but as soon as I started classes that was no longer my focus.  My focus was to turn up and give 100% to every single class, to push myself everytime, to lift heavier, to run faster, the strength and fitness I have built over the last 7 months has blown me away.   The weight loss is a happy by-product, as is the great posture, the new found self – esteem, confidence and trust I have in myself now.  Donna promised me if I committed to working out 3 times a week and following a Paleo diet I could do it.   And I have.  My son Fred turned 1 on Sunday – my goal was to have lost 20 kilos before then and I have done it.  I fit back into all of my old clothes, in fact – my whole body composition has changed so much that now some are too big – or according to my husband just cover up all of my hard work too much.

Switching to Paleo has also been life changing. When it comes to “diets” you name it – I have tried it.  They never worked out.  Donna suspected I had food allergies that were causing some of the significant health issues I told her about and strongly recommended I try going Paleo. I felt so much better instantly and the more I read, the more I realised that Paleo is not just “a diet” – it is about educating yourself on how to fuel your body, how to feed it best, to run the most efficiently and happily.  What has blown me away is we feed our animals and our cars and our plants and gardens better than we feed ourselves – we know exactly what makes them all grow and live best, but the majority of us know little about how to feed our own bodies!…..generations of social conditioning, advertising, cultures and habits have shaped the way we eat and drink. Paleolithic eating makes so much sense, its so simple and so good for us, it may at times take a little longer to prepare and cook food that way, or cost a little more, but I would rather put myself and my families health first and invest the time and money in good nutrition.

Within 4 weeks of starting CrossFit, my husband decided to give it a shot, he could see the enjoyment and satisfaction I was getting from each class and decided to leave his gym and get on board too, like me it has not looked back.  We believe we have reaped such great benefits, higher energy levels, healthier skin and digestion, and no crazy peaks and troughs in moods/emotions.  In fact we believe CrossFit and Paleo combined have helped make our lives better, we are happier and we are more motivated and driven in business and in life in general.

I have had people come to me and say I look the best I have my whole life, that I look better than before I had Fred, that I am glowing, that I look so healthy, what are you doing?  The sad thing is when I tell people it is CrossFit, the majority of them look disapointed, they wanted me to say Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers or some shake replacement fad – “something easy”.   It’s sad that we now live in a society where most of people don’t want to work hard to get results, they want a magic pill, something quick.  One thing I have noticed since starting CrossFit, is it takes a special breed to turn up 3 or 4 or 5 times a week and work that hard, push themselves that far.  It’s not for everyone.  Not only have I enjoyed every class, but I have really enjoyed the company of everyone I have met at MAD and can’t imagine my life with out CrossFit in it.  It’s sounds crazy. but the best part is, it never gets easier, there is always something heavier or harder to strive for.  That’s what keeps me going and keeps me feeling so rewarded every week.

Thanks so much to Donna for inspiring me, believing in me and for helping me every step of the way and to Matt, Lou & Dan for being such excellent and encouraging coaches. Meredith – Wellington, NZ.

I’d spent the better part of a year working in Afghanistan, and after taking some time off and traveling around a bit, I met a Kiwi and followed her here to New Zealand.  Training solo in a place like Afghan for a year isn’t nearly as much fun as being a part of a community.  I emailed Matt and Donna with hopes to shadow at their gym in order to get my mindset back into training others and to experience that ‘community feel’ again.  Little did I know I’d not only gain from their knowledge and experience, but became part of a family too.  With every CrossFit certification available, Matt and D$ have been invaluable in helping me work on my technique, skills, and mobility.  Coming from the military, I relate to and appreciate Matt’s professionalism and structure, and it’s quite obvious how much Donna has put her heart into the gym, and how much she cares about all the members at MaD.  They’re two coaches who’re one of a kind, and New Zealand is lucky to have them setting the standard for CrossFit here.  Everyone at MaD not only welcomed me as a coach, but made me feel at home as a friend and part of the family.  From walking into the Dyson’s kitchen and making myself Brekky,  invitations to ‘lady lunches’, invitations to the NZ S3V3NS, to drinking the tap dry of Porter at Speight’s Ale House…  I’ve managed to gain LOADS of photos and awesome memories.  Enough to make me want to come back!

The past four months of traveling, working and living in New Zealand have been some of the best of my life… wait, wait, they’ve been CHOICE!  I’ve grown and learned HEAPS from all the places I’ve been, the experiences I’ve had, and the people I’ve met.  I hadn’t planned to stay in NZ for as long as I did, and most definitely didn’t consider its potential as my home.  However, coaching at MaD, and living here with my beautiful PARTNER, Josie, who welcomed me into her family and life, calling NZ home is more than just a possibility now, it’s SWEET AS BRO!

Thanks to all of you who’ve made my stay so much fun, and No worries mate, I’ll see you sooner than later. Zac – Colorado, USA. 


My wife and I have been traveling around the world for nearly a year. Along the way we met more than an Oreo or two that we liked and we definitely started to feel out of shape. A few months back we met an owner of a Crossfit gym out in Canada and he convinced us to try a box along our journey. We really trusted him so we had high hopes for Crossfit. When we made our way to New Zealand we decided to look for the right gym for us and spend a week learning the fundamentals. We found MaD Crossfit and they opened up their doors while others in town were not interested in short term members. Donna (the owner) set us up with private instruction for 6 hour long sessions that focused on all the techniques and movements we would need to be successful at Crossfit, keeping our bodies properly aligned.

Those sessions were exactly what we were looking for but we found something we didn’t expect: a community at MaD Crossfit that came not only from the staff but from the members. We started to feel that we were working out with friends that were supporting us along the way and we didn’t want to give that up. So our 3 day pit stop in Wellington turned into 3 WEEKS just so we could keep working out at MaD Crossfit. I would highly recommend this box to anyone looking to ensure proper fundamentals and form while getting in (or staying in) good shape with a crew of supportive friends. Ken and Hillary- World Travelers.

I joined MaD in April 2011 after many months of deliberation. Now my only regret is not joining earlier.

I always thought that I was relatively fit, I was quite quickly proved otherwise. Rather than being put off, I was motivated to get fitter and take on the specialist advice provided.

Matt and Donna are experts in their field. They are always open to questions, and give advice freely. They are happy to impart their knowledge, and strive to get the best out of you.

The atmosphere at the gym is second to none. Everyone is approachable, supportive, and all egos are left at the door. All that matters is, that each and every person working out, gives 110%

My job requires a high level of fitness to be maintained. The constantly varying workouts at MaD, supplement this need perfectly.

Having spent lots of $$$ previously on ‘globo’ gyms and never really seeing the results I desired, I recommend anyone in the same boat to give MaD a go. I have also been lucky enough to visit other CrossFit gyms around the world, and can safely say, you will not find another one with the same expertise.

I for one have no regrets, and look forward to seeing what new challenges they have in store for the next year, and meeting them head on! Pete – Wellington, NZ.

Hey Donna and Matt

First of all, I noticed on facebook that you’re moving to Petone!  I trust that you found a bigger and better box and you’ve grown out of your space!  that’s great news!   I can see that class sizes are bigger from the pictures on facebook!  congrats!

So I just entered my first Crossfit competition this weekend and just barely squeaked out a win.  The competition wasn’t particularly strong, but it was still a very good experience and a nice start.  But I just wanted to say thanks to you and everyone else at MaD, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do it without you guys.  I became a much strong crossfitter while working out at your gym and I’m very grateful for it.  And a special thank you to Matt for showing me how to lift the atlas stones!  It came up as an event last weekend and I was much less nervous because I had already done it with Matt! – Adrian, Ontario, Canada. Read about Adrian’s 2012 CrossFit games choice HERE.

It was January 2011, I was getting frustrated with the usual gym visit to Les Mills which I have been doing for the past 4 years. While it helped me to maintain a very basic level of fitness, I was not happy with my situation.

What I wanted to achieve was …

  • Increase strength, especially core and upper body
  • Reduce a couple of inches from the waist line
  • Increase cardio fitness level

During 2009 & 2010, I worked with couple of Personal Trainers to reach the above objectives. They did their best, but I didn’t get the results I wanted.

In March 2011,  I met Donna from MadCrossFit and I thank all the Gods I know for the unusual chain of events which led to that meeting.

For me,  meeting Donna and Matt has been one of the most valuable discoveries for 2011.

What I most value about MaD CrossFit are …

  • For a guy like me with average fitness level, the workouts can be scaled so I can be in the same session as an elite athlete. This is a very good source of inspiration.
  • There is variety; routine is the killer of any gym routine. CrossFit is a proven methodology which has given me the results I was looking for a very long time
  • The workouts are designed to make you work smarter; to use your brain not only the muscles
  • Learning about proper form and technique, especially when moving to heavier lifts to build strength while minimizing injury
  • Small group classes, family feeling where you can get support and encouragement from fellow members
  • Practical and valuable advise on nutrition and establishing good eating habits

If you want to increase your strength and fitness level,  then try out the 6 session “On-Ramp” offering from MaDCrossFit.  It will be one of the best decisions you make for your long-term health and well being. Rumi, Wellington, NZ.

I am a mum to two active kids aged 4 and 2.  I realised one day while playing with my kids in the back yard or at the playground, that I had lost most of the fitness and strength that I’d had when I was younger. I wanted to be able to climb, jump and swing along with my kids with strength and confidence.

I started at MaD CrossFit in April 2011.  I had been looking to get fit again after 4 years of doing very little exercise, and looking for something a bit different.  I came across CrossFit by accident, did a little Internet research on it and thought yeah this could be what I’ve been looking for. During my first on-ramp session I discovered how unfit I was, struggling with squats and box-jumps and afterwards being unable to walk properly for three days. I have learned heaps from Matt and Donna, and about myself over the last few months. Each workout is a new challenge pushing past my boundaries, with Donna and Matt coaching me on form and encouraging me to work even harder.  As a result I have become stronger and leaner, feel happier, healthier and more confident.  Matt and Donna put a lot of effort into running a great and very friendly gym where everybody knows your name. They are very experienced CrossFit trainers and on top provide excellent advice on nutrition. Thank you Mad CrossFit for the education and motivation, for creating a community of camaraderie, perseverance, acceptance and support. And thanks to my fellow CrossFitters, who struggling alongside, push you forward, cheering you on to finish those last few reps, those last hundred metres. I’m never going to look back. – Jo, Wellington, NZ.

I was first introduced to MaD CrossFit in early March 2011 when I thought I was at a peak in my training as I was preparing for a selection course.  I was running 10 – 12km four times a week, going to the gym at least five times a week and would have been doing about two to three hours training a day.

I thought my fitness was at a high level and was really struggling to gain any improvements in my fitness which was becoming very tedious and repetitive.

That was until my first session at MaD CrossFit!! Well did that open my eyes up to where my level of fitness really was!

Sure I could run 10 -12km, go to the gym for an hour and do bicep curls and bench press but my first workout at MaD showed me my weaknesses, and it was less than ten minutes.

I learnt very quickly that my range of motion was very limited, I was extremely inflexible and my general strength was not where I thought it was.

Donna soon had me rolling out on this little yellow ball (which was not fun when you are that tight), and doing daily mobility.  I can not say how much just this alone helped me progress forward in my training.

I am really starting to see huge improvements and gains in all areas of my fitness but the main improvements have been in my strength and flexibility.

I have been going to MaD Crossfit for about four months now and can not say how happy I am with how Donna and Matt have helped me achieve my physical goals, so far.

I now look forward to working out and afterwards am not walking around sore for the next day or so.

I would recommend MaD CrossFit to anyone who wants to improve their fitness really fast and actually see the results, if anyone is unsure just give it a go. The welcome you will get is always friendly and positive; you will never look back (or think about going to any other gym again). -Daniel, Wellington, NZ.

I have been a member of MaD CrossFit for 8 months and enjoy the benefits of strength and conditioning training as well as paleo eating.
My mother suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis for over three years. Her symptoms ranged from living with daily swelling and aching in her joints to incapacitation from extreme flair ups and attacks of the knees and hips. She was constantly exhausted and fatigued, working in the garden; a great passion, became impossible and a walking stick was always close at hand to help with walking during attacks.
Doctors tried to prescribe her medication but she refused as she knew there was a better way – she believed she could control this through diet and supplements but still wasn’t sure how. In January this year I challenged her to try strict Paleo for 30 days to see if it made any difference – what could she lose from it?!
Within 2 weeks all fatigue and pain had vanished. Swelling in her joints had all but dissipated. After 6 weeks, there were no symptoms at all and she had lost 10 kilos without even trying – and she got to eat bacon!
4 months after starting, the Rheumatologist cleared her completely of the disease. She even spent a whole 8 hours in the garden without any pain or exhaustion. Something she never dreamed she would do again. The walking stick now lives in the roof! Any slip in the paleo regime and symptoms begin to come back overnight.
I have noticed a complete change in my mother, she is much happier, relaxed and full of life. Paleo is now a way of life! – Lou, Wellington, NZ

Ann leads a bunch of boys on the Graperide

Hi my name is Ann ,I am married to Dan and we have 2 gorgeous children Jayda ( 5yrs) and Tyler (4yrs) we live in Petone, Lower Hutt.

I am a avid road cyclist, when I started Crossfit beginning of November 2010 , I was sore 24/7 I couldn’t do a pull up, or 1 tricep dip off the bar let alone 10 strict push ups. I am proud with what I have accomplished in 5 months , I can deadlift above my body weight ( 60kg I’m 156cm tall) and I can do more than 10 strict push ups.

I started to eat Paleo beginning of January 2011 , and saw my body compostion change , I don’t feel slow, I’m healthier and making improved food choices.

Donna is incredibly knowledgeable about nutrition and fitness, gives great massages and is a great motivator. I recommend MaD Crossfit gym to anyone, if you want to achieve your fitness goals. Ann, Wellington, New Zealand.

During my short time at MaD Crossfit I have realised that there is so much to learn, so many improvements to make, so much fun to have.  I have also learnt to leave my ego at the door cause I’m not going to be good at everything. Well not just yet!  With help from coaches Donna and Matt I know that I will learn the most effective fitness and nutritional practices and will be able to continue these practices all my life. Patrick, Wellington, NZ.

I’ve been going to MaD CrossFit for 3 months and already I’m addicted! The best thing I like about CrossFit is seeing results.  I never thought I’d be into doing weights – I was more of a cardio girl and always focused on running, netball etc. Because I started at the bottom of the fitness pile, I have seen big gains in strength and my body composition has changed more with CrossFit than it has ever before.

I also really enjoy the community feel that Matt and Donna have created. Everyone that comes to workout is really encouraging and the friendly competitive atmosphere really pushes me to do my best. I’ve also noticed a big difference with increased energy level’s and how much more balanced I feel in my day-to-day life.

I’m looking forward to seeing how strong I can get and where CrossFit will take me. I encourage anyone who is thinking about it to give it a go and see what you can do. I think you’ll surprise yourself! – Rachel, Wellington New Zealand

I discovered Crossfit while living in Auckland and trained there with the wonderful Darren Ellis of CrossFit New Zealand.

The timing of my move to Wellington meant I was lucky enough to be in at the start of MaD CrossFit at the end of 2009.  Donna & Matt have established a great gym in a great location and the CrossFit community they have built up is friendly and supportive.  The women’s weightlifting competition held in May 2010 is a credit to them – a good turnout, fantastic atmosphere and competitors coming from around New Zealand and overseas is an amazing acheivement in such a short time since opening.

I mainly go to the 6am sessions with Donna and can say without reservation that she is a fantastic coach  – not only in terms of technique and nutrition but also as a motivator. Don’t know how she does it but somehow I always want to try really hard!

The MaD CrossFit daily workouts are always interesting and challenging and I genuinely look forward to checking out the whiteboard when I get there to see what I’m in for that day.

I’m stronger and leaner than I’ve ever been. I only wish I’d known about CrossFit sooner – I am a Crossfitter for life now – nothing compares. – Jenny, Wellington, NZ

It was with a certain level of anxiety that I walked into the MaD CrossFit box in March.  Knowing that the CrossFit programme was used by elite athletes, special forces, police and fire service personnel to build functional (read: lifting crazy heavy weights and doing absurdly intensive metabolic conditioning) fitness only added to my
fears.  This wasn’t a gym as I knew them to be, all labels, shiny machines and mirrors on any flat surface.

My fears and anxiety were abated instantly by the friendly welcome I received and the introduction to the people working out.  The usual ego attached to gyms was non-existent, and this in itself had me signed on.

Four months later and weighing under 100kg for the first time in fifteen years I can safely say that I have not felt stronger, fitter or as mentally alert in almost as long.  Donna and Matt continue to invest time and energy at every stage of my training, working towards what has become a common goal, of improving my strength and
conditioning.  Their expert advice and continued focus on good technique over heavier weights has seen me break personal records and complete workouts that I would not have attempted four months ago.

I can see myself in ten years time still benefiting from Matt and Donna’s philosophy of good form over high intensity, understanding that I have achieved, with their help, so much in such a short time and that things can only improve from here on out.

Chur! – Karaitiana, Wellington, New Zealand

Nick heavy deads

MaD Crossfit has been the beginning of a new phase in my life. I am fitter, stronger, healthier and more positive then I have ever been.

After 5 years of relative inactivity due to lower back pain caused by an injury playing senior rugby, I decided to look for a new exciting physical endeavor. The community nurtured by Matt and Donna has encouraged and re-fired the competitive spirit that I had lost.

I love going into the box to see familiar and an ever increasing number of new faces from all sorts of back grounds share in the suffering, achievement and ecstasy of a workout under arguably the most experienced Crossfit practitioners in New Zealand.

Walking into MaD I feel better within myself have made new friends and are eagerly awaiting the next challenge.

Nick Hale, Wellington, NZ

CrossFit is a great exercise programme, too often spoiled by ego and poor coaching.

MaD Crossfit is great. Having left Wellington, Donna and Matt’s coaching is one of the things I really miss.

Donna and Matt have a really smart approach to coaching. Smart coaching means fast and sustainable improvements in skills and performance, while minimising the risk of injury.

Here’s what I received through Donna and Matt’s coaching:

They have a diligent and consistent focus on form. This minimised my chances of injuring myself, and ensured that I could continue to make consistent progress without being limited by my own bad habits.

They have a sound focus on flexibility. Because we’re all lacking flexibility in key areas, and this is a key limiting factor in any development.

They set sensible training volumes in the right areas – the right balance of lifting heavy, and working really hard (met-cons, or metabolic conditioning) for a short period. Our bodies need the right amount of training stimulus to continue to improve. It is important that the volume is not too little, but equally important that it is not too much. The right amount of beat-down makes you stronger, too much beat-down makes you weaker.

They have a load of knowledge, experience, and training. They have the knowledge and experience they need to help clients to work around and heal existing inflexibilities, imbalances and injuries, so that we can get better.

Personally, I also read a lot, study a lot, ask a bunch of questions, and just generally expect my coaches to be ahead of me on all this stuff.   They always did, and I learnt a lot from them.

Having left Wellington, I’ve tried a half dozen different Crossfit affiliates, and have found them all wanting. Matt and Donna really are great coaches, and I strongly recommend them to anyone. Anthony White, London, England.


“Matt and Donna work as an efficient and effective team. They are passionate about the Olympic Lifts and Crossfit. I think they will do great things in New Zealand.” Coach Mike Burgener

”Matt and Donna” are super knowledgeable, excellent coaches! I was skeptical of participating in the pose running clinic. Since I’ve been running to work out since I was 12, I didn’t think I could learn anything new. I was wrong! I was able to cut a minute and a half off my 5k running time in only 2 weeks of doing the pose running! It works!”

“I love CrossFit. Donna & Matt have taught me so much about lifting heavy shit safely! They emphasize form over everything else to keep you safe.” Celeste Young, Massachusetts

“It has been great having you both here sharing your passion and expertise for CrossFit.  You both are great coaches and you are going to kill it in New Zealand.  We can’t wait to hear your stories of success and eventually come crash your gym on a vacation to the land down under.” Justin Riley, Owner, Crossfit East Sacramento

“Matt and Donna, I’ve grown really used to you guys being a regular fixture in our box and I don’t really like the thought of you guys moving to the other side of the planet! However, I know that is where you want to be, and it’s where you will make the biggest impact on those around you. You guys are awesome, and I thank you very much for teaching me how to take care of myself so that I can become stronger and more flexible, and not end up old and broken. Thanks so much, its going to suck seeing you guys leave. I hope that we can visit somehow every once in a while.” Travis Cassidy, Owner, Crossfit East Sacramento

I only found out that Wellington was the Capital of NZ when I was laughed at by a pack of 18 year old kids as I answered the quiz question wrong with Auckland!

You would expect the best of anything in a capital city, and in MaD Crossfit you get it. All of us having done Crossfit for a while and have an idea of a Typical Stateside Box with all the tools and space available to throw heavy weight around, and this is what you get with MaD. It’s amazing what Donna and Matt Dyson have achieved with the facility since setting it up.

Donna and Matt have been part of the Crossfit family since 2008 and in that time have picked up almost every Cert qualification CF has to offer.

There was me thinking, my trip of NZ was something of a show case for Crossfit, only to find that Donna and Matt had done the same in the states visiting a total of 45 boxes!!!!
It was amazing to listen to there experience and how Crossfit has changed in the years they have been part of it.

It was great to train with such CF enthusiasts who have trained with specialists and the ‘names’ within the sport.

I would have loved to have spent more time with them, as every time I trained I listened to the vast knowledge they had. If they were ever going to do an internship there- I couldn’t recommend a newbie Coach anywhere else to go.

MaD Crossfit is the essence of the community and the sport of Crossfit.I wish them luck with the box and cannot thank them enough. Andy Edwards-world traveler, soon to be Crossfit affiliate owner in the UK.

“Matt and Donna – Thank you for helping me ‘find my pockets’, stop shuffling like an ‘old Asian lady’, and teaching me how to keep myself flexible as I’m ‘no longer a 20 year old.’

It was great meeting and getting to know both of you. I knew CF was “international” but now I can say that have CrossFit friends from across the ocean.” Cherie N., CrossFit East Sacramento

“Matt and Donna-You guys will be missed greatly. I appreciate all that you have brought to CFES knowledge, massage, coaching, encouragement, toughness and on and on). Crossfitters in New Zealand are going to be lucky to have trainers of your passion for overall fitness. On a side note: a huge thanks to Donna for help putting me back together and introducing me to all the stretches to keep me healthy and strong. Best of luck and come back and visit.” Brian Nabeta, Crossfit Arden Hills Swimming http://journal.crossfit.com/2010/03/yards.tpl

“Matt and Donna- It has been so great getting to know you. You are both an inspiration to me. Your dedication and teamwork is a gift that you have shared with all of us. We are going to miss you and those cute pugs of yours.” Anne H., CrossFit East Sacramento

“For your interest everyone has been talking about it (MaD Running Clinic) at CFNZ the past couple of days & most certainly trying to incorporate it (Running Drills) into their workouts. It seems the overall feedback from the Clinic has been extremely positive. Well done to you guys.” Kirstine J., CrossFit New Zealand