Being good at sports and loving all-things-exercise comes naturally to some kids … but not to all kids. It’s these children, the ones who don’t believe they are any good at sport, that Ballito-based kids crossfit instructor Ivan Forbes hopes to help with his newly launched kids training facility.
Although I enjoy working with athletes and kids who are naturally good at sport, my real passion lies in helping those who don’t get picked for the teams and can’t find their comfort zone when it comes to exercise,” says former school teacher Ivan. “I want to show them that there is an element of fitness to suit everyone and help them fall in love with fitness.”
Originally from Johannesburg, Ivan qualified as a teacher 15 years ago and spent the past three years (before the pandemic) teaching physical education in Saudi Arabia. He was forced to move back to South Africa when Covid hit.
Having identified what he believes to be a worldwide problem of children not receiving thorough enough physical development and education in schools, Ivan completed a ‘crossfit for kids’ training certification before he left Saudi. “My goal was to take what I learned into schools there. Now I’m bringing it to South Africa.”
Ivan’s Ballito-based business, Ready Set Fit, offers gym classes that are centred around the crossfit principles, which teach you to focus on your own personal goals rather than competing against each other. It’s all about competing against yourself. “Crossfit for kids is huge in the USA,” says Ivan. “I’m not sure if SA is ready for us, but we are here. There is already a big adult crossfit community on the North Coast and now the kids can enjoy the benefits from this kind of training as well.”
Crossfit is all about strength and conditioning training. Sounds quite serious and boring for kids, right? Ivan’s goal, he says, is to ensure they are having fun while exercising at the same time. “We play games like ‘the floor is lava’ and do obstacle courses. I want them to be excited and feel positive about fitness. We slowly introduce a range of body weight exercises to the kids and teach them how to do each one properly. Importantly, they learn how to engage their core from early on. This is so important for body awareness and prevents injuries later in life.”
Ivan trains kids from the age of three years old right up to 15. “I can work with older kids, but then we are usually correcting problems rather than preventing them.” A father of two himself, Ivan understands the importance of keeping kids focussed and interested. He changes the routines and exercises all the time and, when they get older, he even introduces lifting weights. “We start out with just lifting light PVC pipes until I’m confident that they have the right technique and know what they are doing. Then we’ll slowly add appropriate weights and progress from there.”
One of Ivan’s current students, he says, is a shy little girl who was very introverted. “After just a month of training her parents say they can’t believe the improvement in her self-confidence. She does all the exercises really well and has truly found a little ‘niche’ for herself.”
From hurdles and lifting tyres to battling ropes and balancing, Ivan’s workouts include all sorts of fun things and the kids love them. He is also currently working with some of the teams at Ashton International with pre-season training.
“The most important thing to me is that they focus on their own workout and their own plan and work to improve on themselves … while having lots of fun!”
Details: 072 532 0071, [email protected]