The Hartlepool branch of international fitness sensation CrossFit has seen its membership rocket under the guidance of 19-year-old head coach Evie Hollis.
Such has been Evie’s impact that CrossFit Telic’s membership has increased by a third in just six months, with directors Joanne McCue – ex-wife of Duncan Bannatyne – and ex-Marine Lee Howe hailing the former Middlesbrough girls footballer as “inspiring”.
Now Joanne and Lee plan to meet the increasing demand for functional fitness classes by extending the opening hours and potentially doubling the size of the unit on Park View Industrial Estate.
Believed to be the youngest head coach of any of CrossFit’s 300 UK boxes, Evie was appointed head coach in October last year when she was only 18, having taken up coaching the fitness sport at the age of just 16.
The teenager leads a small team of three qualified CrossFit coaches, having achieved Level 2 CrossFit trainer qualifications.
Evie, from Ingleby Barwick, initially took up CrossFit as a 14-year-old only in preparation for football trials with Middlesbrough Ladies’ Centre of Excellence but became “hooked” on a sport her parents Steve and Sue had already taken up.
Since kicking football into touch to focus solely on CrossFit, Evie has competed in the World CrossFit Games in California, finishing fifth in the 16-18 years category when she was still aged just 16. Passionate about Olympic weightlifting, she has also been included in the Golden Chance nurturing campaign run by the British weightlifting team in Loughborough.
“I come to work every day with a smile on my face,” said Evie. “I’m doing something I love, that I’m passionate about. Right from first taking up CrossFit I’ve just loved everything about it.
“Some people have a misconception about CrossFit that you have to be fit to join in, but it’s for people of all shapes and sizes, whether they be office workers, stay-at-home mums, athletes, college students or whatever background. It harnesses all the fun and camaraderie of sport.
“Being head coach is my dream job. As a teenager, it was a bit daunting at first but I get people’s respect because I’m a coach and a respected athlete.”
Joanne said: “Evie has a list of college qualifications about a mile long but she’s an athlete who has been promoted to head coach by merit of her outstanding performance and natural leadership.
“She’s a motivator who leads by example. She’s tiny but her confidence comes through her own outstanding CrossFit ability. As a direct result of her drive and enthusiasm, people are making giant strides in their fitness. She is helping build a real community here.”
Now CrossFit Telic is increasing its opening hours to include Sundays, whilst plans to extend into neighbouring premises would result in the unit doubling in size to meet the increased demand.
Previously a director of Bannatyne’s Health Clubs, Joanne runs four other North-East CrossFit centres with business partner Lee, along with a new WattFitness gym chain in Ingleby Barwick.