Morning Chalk Up Community

Chalk It Up To Greatness: Assem Effat

July 7, 2023 by

Athletics takes you to the heights of glory and deficits of defeat. When the pendulum swings from high to low, it can leave you feeling discombobulated. Regaining balance feels like starting over. 

Starting over is a confusing predicament. When life has been heading in a certain direction for an extended period of time, you can feel lost when attempting to redirect yourself. Starting over is the feeling that you’ve lost everything you have gained in your pursuit of something that ends abruptly. It’s the day after the competition or the end of an athletic career. 

Endings awaken new beginnings. When something ends, it makes room for the next adventure. 

Assem Effat, 32 year old CrossFit Semifinalist athlete, knows the feeling of starting at the bottom again. After 19 years in the sport of judo, Assem transferred to CrossFit and began a new quest. His goals started small and grew bigger and bigger as the sport of CrossFit took him to different heights. 

While Effat’s life of competitive judo ended, the wisdom gained stayed with him. Assem shares knowledge he has learned over a lifetime of competitive athletics to reveal a truth:  you never start over, you continue onward, influencing others in a profound way, driven forward by a passion for greatness. 

MCU: Assem, tell us about your athletic background and how you got into CrossFit?  

  • I was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt and I started doing Judo when I was 4 years old. At the age of 18, I qualified to join the junior national team of Egypt where I achieved the highest accomplishments in the sport. In 2009, I placed 2nd  with my  team at the Africa Junior Championship in Morocco. In 2010, I placed  1st as an individual at the  Africa Junior Championships in Senegal. Then, 5th place as an  individual at the 2010 World Juniors Championship in Morocco. After I aged out of the junior team,  I represented Egypt at the 2011 World Championships in China where I placed 7th with my team . At the 2013 World Championships in Russia, I placed 7th as an individual. My last appearance in judo was 2014 where  individually I placed 1st and 3rd place as a team at  the Arab Championship in Algeria. 
  • I began Crossfit in 2013. A friend advised me to try CrossFit to better condition my body for judo. Since my first class, I  haven’t looked back. In 2014, I quit competitive judo but remained doing judo recreationally for another year. Local CrossFit competitions started to show up in Egypt and I found it a good opportunity to reenter the competition environment. I discovered a whole new world of health and fitness in Crossfit. My goal was to be fit and healthy and always seek the best form I can reach.
Assem Effat in 2013

MCU: How has the CrossFit lifestyle benefited you? 

  • The standard training for judo was running and traditional isolation gym workouts. CrossFit methodology taught me a complete version of health and fitness.  I lost weight and became healthy for a more precious purpose, for myself not for competitions. I built experience and knowledge through my journey which led me to become a coach, a representative and influencer. My personality has changed with an improved character, higher confidence, more sociable, friendly, and helpful.  I’ve learned that sport is about  a great purpose, not just competitions. There are greater achievements and influences that are more precious to share with the community. 
Assem Effat in 2023

I lost weight and became healthy for a more precious purpose, for myself not for competitions.

Aseem Effat

MCU: How have you been successful in accomplishing goals? 

  • I started Crossfit seeking an active life after letting go of my judo olympic dream. I found pleasure by getting back in the competition for fun. My goals kept getting bigger and have grown to an extent I never thought would be possible, now competing as a Semifinal CrossFit athlete for the Africa Region. I even left my engineering job to pursue a CrossFit coaching career. Doing so was never the plan. I’ve given coaching my best and the  years have quickly moved  forward. These experiences have taught me to set goals  with a target and milestones. A target set provides a motive to go through a journey. Milestones keep me eager to learn and achieve more. The experiences built over years are the big assets. 

MCU: Does experience give you foresight on future goals?

  • Yes for sure! Failing to plan is planning to fail. I start planning by evaluating past experiences. Then, I set an ideal target for myself. At the end of every journey I assess the outcome and performance.  Whether failure or success, it’s a learning experience. I continue growing from there.  It's time for another journey with a bigger target and a tougher, wiser mentality.

MCU: How has your devotion to fitness guided you in your career?

  • When I let go of my Olympic dream, I sadly thought I was leaving sport behind to pursue an engineering career. Guided by ambition, self-learning, and experience, my path led me to a career as a CrossFit coach. I am grateful that I could get back into my passion of health and fitness through CrossFit. My work as a coach has upgraded my  intrapersonal skills. I can communicate effectively with people, set a good example, and be a leader. 

MCU: What advice would you give to others who are struggling? 

  • Work with passion and keep going. Don`t look for short vision results. Play the long game and the results will be surprising. Always have fun!! Enjoy the process and celebrate any small wins. Positivity is the key to consistency. Hard times will be there and a positive mind will defeat any down time and get you back up. Nobody ever succeeds alone. We are living in a social community so give back. What you put out into the world always comes back to you. 

Follow Assem's journey in Instagram @assem_effat

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