Name and Nickname:
AJ Perese - DK, Good Morning…nah not that last nickname, maybe… lol.
Full time employee at Lion Nathan, although my PT (personal training) course is coming to an end so will be looking at moving into that industry at some point.
Where are you originally from?
Gotham. Lol nah, born and raised in Auckland, stayed in Ponsonby (past) and Point Chev (currently), ethnicity though? Samoan, a plastic Samoan that is.
What is your fitness background?
Not much, I grew up playing basketball and in the later stages got to the point where I’d just be running (like Russell Westbrook :P ) the whole game. Wasn’t much of a gym junkie or anything like that until I joined Zealous.
What made you walk through our doors for the first time?
I grew up attending MAGS with Yushu, we finished school in 2004 and I hadn’t seen him since then. So in 2012 when I found out he was running his own gym in Avondale, I thought it’d be a nice way to catch up. And at the time, I was nursing a basketball injury. Even though I recovered from that very quickly, I haven’t gone back to basketball since, unless it’s the odd social game or to catch up with mates.
What keeps you coming back?
When you notice gains or improvements, but I think the main reason for me is the members, you can’t replace the members we have, always cracking jokes and makes the classes that much fun, but at the same time can push you to your limits when you yourself think you can’t.
What motivates you during a WOD?
Thinking that I’ve done enough to earn a bit of rest, but then seeing others keep going, or even just seeing others not giving up during the wod when you can clearly see they’re struggling is always good motivation, comes back to the good ol’ question: What’s your excuse?
Tell us what you would generally eat in a day, from when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night?
If you were to ask me this a few months ago, all hell would break lose lol but thanks to some nutrition advice from Yush:
Toasted oats with protein powder.
Bacon and eggs.
Peanut butter on its own.
Protein shake, especially on days that I can make the WOD.
Chicken, mixed veggies and brocolli.
What is your favourite music to listen to while WODing?
Anything upbeat, most times I don’t hear the music but those times when I can hear it, anything really, even the odd slow jam, especially when maxing out in lifts, gets all that raw emotion going on lol.
What are your favourite hobbies, talents, skills, outside of CrossFit?
I enjoy playing the PS4 mainly because I get to talk and catch up with my brother who lives in Melbourne, but at the same time can hand out a decent ass whooping in NBA 2K (looking at you Yushu, Drew and Reti) lol, I enjoy movies too, especially horrors as some of you will know by now.
What is something we might not know about you?
As a young lad, which was just a few years ago…lol nah, growing up I played league, made a few rep teams and even made the junior Warriors team, it’s the whole reason I went to MAGS because they asked me to go there (as well as St Pauls) but as soon as I got to MAGS my love for basketball came back and that was that. I still get reminded whenever my uncle (league junkie) is around and the league is on TV, always does those ‘that could’ve been you out there’ ones, cares aye :P
If you could introduce anyone, dead or alive to CrossFit for one WOD, who would it be and why?
Probably a younger version of myself - thinking of the gains I could’ve had now if I had this sort of training when I was at school is always an interesting thought - falls into that shoulda, woulda, coulda category though unfortunately.
What recent adventure or challenge are you working towards?
I’ve entered a team into the CrossFit HPU Playoffs this December. Since I’ve started my PT course I haven’t been able to attend the Zealous classes as often as I used to so my fitness and strength has taken a big dip because of it. So right now I’m training a bit more often to not let my team down, and to feel a bit more energised in general.
What motto or phrase do you live by?
When I first started at Zealous, for those that can remember, it was “How bad do you want it?” and it still is the phrase I think of to this day when times get tough or when I start to get a bit lazy in regards to training.
To finish, what advice would you give to a newbie or to someone who has just joined?
Don’t give up. There will be days when you question why you’re doing CrossFit and if what you’re doing today will benefit you in the future. If you can persist, you will achieve. Like Yushu said once upon a time that has stuck with me since hearing him say this - “No pressure, no diamonds”.