We started our Box of the Month series back in May, when we got to know the team from Central Staffs CrossFit. This month, we head up north to meet the guys from CrossFit West Yorkshire - one of the first boxes to open in Leeds. Here's what the owners, Stuart Trees and Andre Seelig, had to say!

KITBOX: Hey, guys! We know CrossFit West Yorkshire has been around since the early days. Could you start by telling us a bit more about the history of the box?

ANDRE: We opened back in 2010 as one of the originals; Stuart and I were lucky enough to be two of the first members here. 

It was a slower take up in the brand back in 2010 but the core members and community were really special from day one.

STU: It started as part of a martial arts centre, and had numerous faces of ownership before Andre and myself took sole charge. We both have full time roles as officers within West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service, so the bulk of the coaching is done by our head coaches Kevin Jackson & Kate Prosser.

KB: How did you first get involved with the sport, and what made you decide to invest in CFWY?

ANDRE:  We both trained to supplement our fitness as firefighters and I was first introduced by Sam Briggs whilst in South Korea taking part in The Firefighter Games. Since then the box has developed and strengthened, and the product and service we provide has improved every year. We have great coaches and equally inspirational members now.

STU:  I had the opportunity to become involved in an exciting venture in the early stages & felt I could make a difference. By nature I like to help people & have been involved in sport my whole life, running a CrossFit affiliate is a great way of doing that.

ANDRE: After my first year of training, and falling for the sport as people inadvertently do, I had an opportunity to make an investment and be a part of the management team. Times were more difficult back then, due to a smaller support network and less experience. I thought Stu and I would add huge positivity and needed investment to our brilliant box. There was a bit of a financial struggle in the early years, but I could see the potential to keep providing a great service whilst increasing membership numbers. After taking the plunge, we took up support roles doing behind the scenes work but also started to coach the classes which we both enjoyed.


KB: It's clear you've both worked hard to build one of the UK's most respected boxes. What is it that makes CrossFit West Yorkshire so special?

STU: We don't just take 18-30 year olds from other sports & turn them into competitive athletes - we have a very diverse mix of members, covering a huge age range. From the most basic beginner who has never done exercise before through to international athletes - we all train side by side.

We pride ourselves on correct form & movement, never encouraging anyone to forgo form in the search of that bigger weight or extra rep. 

Despite our ever increasing numbers, as owners & coaches we make every effort to learn every single members name whilst encouraging friendships through holding parties & social events. All of this helps us to maintain a special environment & atmosphere, which no amount of marketing or money alone could achieve.

ANDRE: Walking through the door, the people and atmosphere really make it the best 90 minutes of your day. I'm always taken back with how much the members give to the coaching staff.

We aim to provide supportive, structured and fun coaching yet in return we receive friendships, high emotion, amazing characters and some good old fashioned work and commitment. I have learnt so much from so many members, and the stories of triumphs over individual adversity can bring a tear to your eye.

CrossFit West Yorkshire is special because we all love what we do!

KB: What have been the highlights since opening the box?

STU: Helping people achieve things they never felt possible and becoming part of an awesome community, not just within our own little bubble but worldwide.

ANDRE: I would separate the highlights into fitness, competitive and community. The biggest highlight for me is fitness related, and slightly generic, but it's the reason I have such a passion for this sport... Progress!

I'm so pleased to see members grow, develop and achieve. My favourite part isn't physical; the physical benefits are measurable and impressive, but an individual's personal development isn't. For example, we've had people with confidence issues join the box, and through our crazy supportive network we've built happier, more confident people. So, through fitness classes, we can build people up to help them make the best out of life. 

Competitively, I've witnessed some amazing achievements. From Stuart making the CrossFit Games Regionals, to young Callum Manchester getting to Carson in the Teen Gauntlet. We've had hugely positive experiences from most comps, but Tribal Clash, The Open, The Rainhill Trials and Scale The Heights have all provided our members with previously unimaginable experiences. Our annual in-house competition is another inspirational day, bringing together the morning and evening folk. The competitive side of the sport rocks - but I'm always eager to point out that competing is a bonus (and a big challenge), but it's not a must.

The community we have is ridiculous, from our crazy Halloween parties, to walking the Yorkshire Three Peaks together. The thing that really strikes me is the way the community is always willing to help to help each other, and ourselves. Whether it's lending a van, sharing trade skills, baking cakes for each other - or just being there when somebody needs a cuddle. It's an impressive extended family to be a part of.

KB: What’s your coaching philosophy?

ANDRE: Engage the audience, make it fun but challenging. Scale, scale and scale again..... This is fitness, not boot camp. We aim to build over time, and teach people not to expect everything right away. When I'm coaching, I like a light-hearted feel with an important message - but at the moment I've become the manager of admin!

STU: We encourage our members to play the long game - move correctly first before trying to break any world records. I cringe during competitions at some of the tekkers on display. My coaching philosophy revolves around integrity in every rep: learn the basics, learn to be efficient in movement & breathing, then take on the world.

ANDRE: Developing as coaches is critical, too: reading, challenging ideas, and observing others are all necessary for self-development. This is why we have a two coach system in our box, so all the coaches raise one another to grow and develop.


KB: We've already touched upon this, but how would you describe your members?

STU: Normal hard working everyday people who have made the choice to better themselves.

ANDRE: Absolutely amazing! We have such a diverse bunch of all ages, from all the corners of the world. We have students, stay at home mums, grandmothers, emergency service workers, doctors and physios. We literally seem to have one of everything, so if shit got real we could make a great arc that Noah would be proud of!


KB: What's a typical day like at CrossFit West Yorkshire?

ANDRE: We open the doors at 6am, when a stampede of crazy morning folk descend upon us. We made the decision early on to provide full accessibility, so we're open through until 9pm - with regular classes and open gym opportunities throughout the day.

STU: A class comprises of a warm-up, including specific mobility for that session, movement drills for beginners or a skill/strength element for the more seasoned member. We finish with a WOD that's been carefully selected to provide a specific response to our ongoing programming.


KB: What does the future hold for you? Where do you see the box in 10 years' time?

STU: In essence still doing the exact same things. Reaching out to everyone willing to take a chance, work hard & join us. It'd be nice to be doing it in a nice shiny new unit with all the top of the range equipment, but in truth it's the people that will make CFWY successful.

ANDRE: I'd like to have a fully coherent approach to strength and conditioning. A bigger space, with lots of subject matter experts all providing clear and current systems of work. Leeds is a university city, with many successful sporting clubs. I see CrossFit West Yorkshire as a central feature within this scene, whilst maintaining our community.

STU: Without giving too much away, the future is a very exciting prospect! Lots of hard work is going on behind the scenes so watch this space...

ANDRE: The future is strong!


Sounds like there are exciting times ahead for one of our favourite boxes!

Do you train at CrossFit West Yorkshire? 

We've heard from your coaches, now it's your turn to leave us a comment & let us know what it's like to be a member!

July 07, 2015 — KITBOX [ ]


Ash Mistry said:

15 months on and still loving it! Best part of my whole day. Fantastic coaches & members that make our box truly great. It’s changed my life for the better and I’ve made some lifelong friends along the way.

We live, love, breathe CFWY its part of our DNA

Tom Whiteley said:

Used to be the best hour of my day, now it’s more like the best 2 hours of my day!!! (including several rounds of chatting not for time…). 18 months on, can’t imagine not being a part of this place #morningcrewrules

James said:

With Crossfit West Yorkshire Andre and Stu have created a true community. A place where people from all walks of life can come to achieve their own personal goals without prejudice,whether that be weight loss, improved conditioning for a specific sport, or to meet new friends. It doesn’t matter why you are there, but matters that you are there and also who you are. Everyone knows each others name, what they do, whether they prefer brownies or cheesecake…the important stuff!
If you want to train in a place with a friendly atmosphere where you will be in a class of people who are bar staff, doctors, students, mothers and babies, fire men, computer programmers, school kids, property developers and Olympic athletes…then get yourself down. You won’t regret it!!

Ketes M said:

CFWY has become a special part of me and my lifestyle. I’ve been here for almost a year now and a day isn’t normal if I don’t go and train or even come in for a mobility session. All the coaches Kate, Kevin, Joe and now Oscar help support us in classes n wods. offering professional and friendly advice to get the best out of us. Stuart and Andre have done a sound job with CFWY and long may its success continue. Every member makes this place an awesome box to be at!! Also I gotta give Frank a mention – #topdawg!!!

Alex Lorrison said:

I joined CFWY 10 weeks after having a baby as it was the only place that welcomed me training with a baby in tow. 6 months later I’m absolutely hooked and the fittest I’ve ever been in my life. I also credit CFWY with keeping me sane whilst on maternity leave!

David Chu said:

I’ve been a member here for almost 3 years now along with my wife and son who are also members. This place has become my second home and in all honesty I spend way too much time there. Keep up the fantastic work guys.

Elizabeth Pike said:

Got to be the best move I made joining Crossfit West Yorkshire nearly 14 months ago. When I walked through the doors I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wasn’t convinced I’d be able to do anything. Those thoughts soon disappeared during my free trial week. The coaches all instill that belief in yourself. I have the confidence now to push that bit harder knowing my body can do that bit more. I have made some amazing friends here. The support from everyone in the box is fantastic. I’d urge everyone to give it a try no matter what age or level of fitness you are.

Louise Mortimer said:

CFWY is like my second home, no wait, more like my first home! I love it, everything about it! I love the sport, the people, the coaches and last but not least Stu and Andre the owners! For both guys to work such a demanding job in the fire service and then dedicate so much time into making this place for us all to come down and share our love of CrossFit is incredible. Even though Stu can be a bit of a princess sometimes!!
I was at a CrossFit gym before and moving to West Yorkshire was the best decision I ever made! The coaching is top class and I can’t wait until we have a shiny shiny new place to mess up!!
Team Integrity are a force to be reckoned with :)
Peace out hombres

Gemma swain said:

I’ve was welcomed into this box 8 weeks ago ,I have been a member of a gym before but never have I experienced anything like you get from a crossfit gym. The community and atmosphere they have created at CFWY is fantastic,I already feel part of the family ! The Coaches are amazing and so supportive giving 100% every time. Thank you CFWY I’m well and truly hooked!

Christina Ling Lee said:

I have been a member of this awesome box for 2 years now. It is a great place to train with brilliant coaches, an excellent programme and an awesome community of a diverse bunch of people who I am proud to say are like family to me. I see these guys nearly everyday and spend half my life down here, I think some people think I live here. Forget all the nonsense you hear about CrossFit & give it a go. I promise you won’t regret it.

Chris Page said:

Best decision I ever made walking into CFWY and signing up.

Tom Costello said:

After losing all motivation training at a ‘globo’ gym. I decided to try Crossfit. I’ve been going to CFWY for almost 2 years now and have been humbled, by the support and positivity of the CFWY community. Everyday I get up at 5am to train with these people who I now count among my closest friends. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks to Stu and Andre and the rest of the coaching team for creating such a great place to train.

Linda Wales said:

I’m coming up to a years anniversary at this place and I just love it. Never looked back since I joined. These guys are helping me prepare for adventures outside of CrossFit whilst encouraging me within CrossFit as an individual and team competitor. The coaches are fab, the people are so friendly, it’s a real home from home. (sick bucket please!!) lol

Anon said:

Stuart is my favourite, he reminds me of David Ginola. He’s a dish!

Cathryn Chrimes said:

I have just come back after a small break to have a baby. I was really worried whether I would feel the same coming back and that starting again would be too daunting. It has been the exact opposite, the support of everyone from instructors to members has been amazing and I look forward to coming every session. The baby weight is coming off quickly and my confidence is increasing with every session.
I can’t recommend Crossfit West Yorkshire enough, it is an inspiring place to come.

Emma manchester said:

This has been my box for the last 3 and a bit years and I love it. Every coach is so passionate about what they do and they have managed to set a culture of encouragement, community, fun and self-improvement. This is why my time training here has flown by and I’ve managed to stay active throughout my pregnancy and then return to training after having my little boy.
Well done guys. This recognition is well deserved.

Emma manchester said:

This has been my box for the last 3 and a bit years and I love it. Every coach is so passionate about what they do and they have managed to set a culture of encouragement, community, fun and self-improvement. This is why my time training here has flown by and I’ve managed to stay active throughout my pregnancy and then return to training after having my little boy.
Well done guys. This recognition is well deserved.

Richard Stephenson said:

Absolutely fantastic place where nobody is any better than anybody else, the coaching is the best around in all the areas of Crossfit. As on the comments it’s like a community all pulling everyone else in the same direction to a healthy lifestyle.

Lucy said:

I was made to feel welcomed and loved at CFWY on the first day that I walked through the door, and 2 years later I still get that feeling every day I train there. Stu and Andre have built such an amazing community with brilliant programming which means every member works their arses off and sees their own improvements in form, strength and endurance. I will never stop going.

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