MEET-UP MONDAY // KAYLA BANFIELD

There are those once-in-a-lifetime people that you stumble across that are so friggin’ contagiously inspirational that you can’t help but go off and want to do amazing things just from their energy. Kayla is one of those people. It’s funny because we met over Instagram…I had just started CrossFit and was going through a bit of a body crisis because I was getting bigger. I found Kayla somehow and we became insty friends (so cute). She was CrossFitting and posting all this amazing shit that instantly drew me to her. It made me feel at ease with my body and excited about Crossfit and getting strong. Fast forward a couple of years and she is running CrossFit gyms with her partner James, as I am with my partner Kosta. To be honest, it feels like we were separated at birth. We’ve travelled together, visited each other’s cities and converse about our persistence desires to do more and be more. Where I am going with this is, it’s awesome to meet that someone who inspires you. They don’t have to be a celebrity (though in my eyes Kayla is). Surround yourself with these people (even virtually, like we do) and bounce off each other’s energy. I want to share Kayla with you, because she has been an incredible influence in my life and I love all that she had done, does and will do. Her energy is contagious, so I hope, by reading this, you take a little something and run with it. Enjoy the spark that Kayla’s words could potentially bring to your life, like they have mine! How has she attacked so many goals at such a young age? She gets after it.

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So tell us a little about your background in CrossFit and media…
From the moment I left working in my previous media role, I said to James “I want to work for CrossFit Media” and secretly had my sights set on working on the world stage at the CrossFit Games. From that day on, I quietly worked towards it. I sent out emails, attached my show reel, and volunteered my time backstage for CrossFit Regionals. I made myself known and said yes to any opportunity they gave me. I even (regretfully) accepted the role as floor announcer. This made me sickly uncomfortable, but I believe it was an important step to where I am today. I negotiated my way in front of a camera and for the remainder of that weekend, and got offered an official reporter job the following year. Again, I made it known that I wanted more & basically wasn’t going to stop trying unless they gave me an opportunity to show my stuff on the world stage. Surely enough, the next year, they asked.

You previously worked at Channel Ten, as a presenter on Totally Wild. Was there a pivotal moment that made you change your career path, and how did you fall back into media?

Absolutely! I always loved being in front of a camera, but it was never my true “passion”. I enjoyed doing it but couldn’t see it as a long term career. From the moment I started CrossFit and learnt about the importance of nutrition, I couldn’t tear myself away from it. I found myself researching nutrition while at work, and being late because I was at CrossFit. It made me question if I was working in the right industry. James, my partner had just recently opened a CrossFit gym and it was growing so fast that he needed help running it. The door opened for me, and it was a seamless transition for me and I’ve never looked back.

I never entirely wiped media out of my mind, so I looked for ways that I could still incorporate it into my passion. Working at Regionals & the World Games seemed like great goals for me to aim for, so I did!

Your most recent stint was at the CrossFit Games as their ‘day at the games reporter’ Tell us about that!

Oh my gosh!!! This was an absolute dream for me… but it was only fun from the moment it began. Leading up to the games, I woke up every day for about a fortnight feeling sick to my stomach with nerves, and was SO afraid that I would stuff up and they would hate me and regret flying me all the way from Australia!

But boy was I wrong, the job was so much FUN, and so stress free – they gave me full reign on what stories I wanted to do, I basically scripted everything myself and just went out and filmed as much as I could. They wanted me to report on the “fan experience” which basically involved me finding all the fun stories happening in the crowd, and especially vendor village, and just do stories on it! So chat to athletes, supporters and vendors about all the cool stuff happening.

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It was an easy job in the sense that I really enjoyed it and there was no pressure from anyone for me to anything that I didn’t think was appropriate – and all the people I interviewed were just so cruisey and having a great time. It was a recipe for success.

We basically hit the road at 8am, brainstormed some stories, filmed an opener and a closer and then just went around and interviewed. We sent all the footage to an editor, they cleaned it up into a 3 minute package, aired it on the “day at the games show”, meanwhile we shot our 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc stories for the day. At about 3 – 4 ish we knocked off, watched the individuals and then prepared for the next day. The crew that I worked with were lovely and it was so humbling to meet the people behind the Games & CrossFit.

My nerves were so unnecessary, it’s so funny how we always anticipate the worst & it was in fact the most fun weekend I’ve had in a very long time! And I was working!

How did you feel being in the limelight?
It’s funny – most people hate watching themselves on the big screen, but I actually love it. It was a spine tingling feeling seeing my big purple head pop up in the jumbotron of the soccer stadium in the breaks for the individuals… I actually love the camera and I have (it sounds weird, but) built a relationship with it over time. I have fun with it and tell it my secrets and it’s almost like my best friend. I hope that comes across to people, and I believe that it helps me feel and look comfortable on camera. It has taken some time though, there are DEFINITELY a lot of things I’ve done that are out there on the world wide web that I’d remove in an instant!

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While you’re not gallivanting around overseas interviewing CrossFit games athletes, you’re running CrossFit gyms in Adelaide. Tell us about that!

Wow! My life is a constant adventure. It’s filled with ridiculously high highs, and disgustingly low lows. I think running your own business can be a lot like that! It’s hard work – harder work than I’ve ever done before, but it’s rewarding and enjoyable.

James and I are obsessed with expanding, growing, building and improving. We are both high achievers and this occasionally puts us in a bit of a hole. Our aim is to change the lives of so many people and teach everyone how to live healthy and fulfilling lives – we are still figuring out how to best do this, but we have had massive successes along the way.

We also like to spend money. Not on ourselves, but on the business. We love buying our clients new toys and offering new services. We have changed our logo 3 times, but we’re proud of accepting that it may take some time to get things completely right.

We currently have 2 CrossFit gyms, and we are working on perfecting them. There will be more soon.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to take a risk and follow their passion?
I know everyone’s lives are different, but the way James and I look at things is that we started with nothing, so we have nothing to lose. Every time we lose money or clients, buy things that we have to sell for a lot less, or take a step back, we only have to look at how far we have come to not let it affect us.

For anyone else wanting to take a risk, you will regret the opportunities that you didn’t take, more than the ones you did. The rewards of risk taking are overwhelmingly sweet, and for the most part, they do come eventually. Keeping in mind, failure is an important part of success too.

You only get one shot at life, make it exciting.

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What inspires you?
Helping other people and seeing success through what we have on offer. There is no feeling that drives me towards my goals, more than that of someone else’s success.

I love hearing about someone’s first pullup, their clothes fitting better, and their confidence rising. That inspires me every single day to reach more people and change more lives.

What is wellness to you?
To me it’s a feeling. I guess it shows itself in different ways to different people – for me it’s confidence, it’s waking up with energy, it’s being happy, it’s being able to give my energy to others in my life. Secondary to that, wellness shows physically too. Healthy people glow and exude their inner wellness and it’s very attractive. I think you can tell straight away with people who look after themselves.

How do you find balance?
I hate that word, haha! To be honest it’s still one of my demons. I try to float, I try to stay off my phone, and I try to switch off work when I get home & on weekends. I do yoga SOMETIMES, and have meditated once.

By nature, I’m very all or nothing. I do, however, get enough sleep, eat well, and structure my days very well so I have time to eat lunch, train, and socialise. I guess that provides me with balance in my every day life, however I’m still working on slowing down haha.

What does a day in the life of Kayla look like?
Well, I always train first. If I don’t, I can write that off for the day. I like to spend 60-120 minutes training with friends and James, and then I generally book myself for PTs & nutrition consults from around 11:30am – 2:30pm. I then use the afternoon hours to email and do computer work, I also have most of my meetings then and make phone calls. Some nights I’ll call the day quits at 3 – 4 ish, other nights I’ll PT & consult until around 6:30pm. Every day is different but I always make sure to block nutrition consults & PTs together, and give myself a good chunk of time to reply to emails and do other online organisational things.

I make sure not to work late too many nights a week, as I like rising early, and need to give myself a few hours to wind down before bed.

Thanks Kayla, it’s been a massive pleasure. Keep changing the world.

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Claire Hargreaves