Meet Our Coaches….Head Coach Lisa

Over the coming weeks as we head towards our 3rd birthday, we will be profiling members of the dedicated coaching team here at CrossFit 4504 to give you a more personal look into what drives them to help our community achieve their goals. We start with our affiliate owner and Head Coach, Lisa Hetherington


 Lisa was a talented golfer for many years before she discovered CrossFit. She was born with muscular issues which meant sports associated with fine motor skills were quite difficult, yet somehow astounded doctors that she could master a skill like golf, so was encouraged to stay with it.  Never being a natural athlete she battled weight issues throughout her life and the bullying associated with that, both as a child and also as an adult.  However she has always refused to let that stop her trying to be the best she can and also giving of herself to her community.  

Lisa tried her first CrossFit class in 2011 and immediately felt at home and accepted as equal – a feeling she hadn’t experienced very often among her peers. CrossFit gave her a physical outlet and taught her that she could overcome most of her limitations and still achieve her goals. She has gone on to compete in Games days, Strongman competitions and powerlifting, where she won Gold at the GPA Worlds in Sydney, 2014.

She has also developed a passion for Judging and has been to the Pacific Regionals as a Judge in 2014, 2016 & 2017.  Being involved in all aspects of the CrossFit community is something which she thrives on and enjoys immensely.




Why CrossFit? How has it changed your life?

CrossFit has given me the confidence and belief to see the best in people without judgement. It has changed my life in so many ways and through becoming a coach and affiliate owner I can pass on the many positives I’ve experienced. I love having created a space where people can be themselves and forge towards their own goals.  Being part of a supportive  encouraging community makes everything easier, and during all stages of my CrossFit journey from athlete, coach and affiliate owner it has been the one constant I have cherished and nurtured within CrossFit 4504.

Coach Lisa giving Lance a well done

What’s your favourite movement?

Deadlift for sure, but I do love a good Farmer’s Carry or Hang Power Clean. Anything heavy really!!

Lisa at GPC Nationals 2014


What do love most about coaching CrossFit?

Seeing that moment when the switch flicks and people realise they can do it. That moment when they achieve something they never thought possible. That swells my heart every single time!  Also realising that as a coach I can have a positive influence on a whole family, and being part of our CrossFit community which helps them find a common bond.  I get the greatest joy when a member comes to me and tells me how something outside the gym has gotten better, whether it be their sport of rugby or netball or even doing something they never thought they would like an obstacle course race.  I want my members to be able to use the fitness and skills they develop in the gym to help them thrive outside of it, to lead fun, full and functional lives.

Willing Michael to make a lift in the Open

Who’s your favourite Games Athlete?

Too many to name, lol! If pushed I would say Chris Spealler for his endless fight and I have always loved watching Sam Briggs compete. I was stoked to meet her in 2013.  Most recently though I have respected the journey Alethea Boon has undertaken to comeback from serious injury in 2016 to once again make it to the Games in 2017. To witness her pure joy at making Regionals this year was something special, and a good reminder about what is important in life and not taking things for granted.

Can you remember your first WOD?

Totally! Death by 10m. I thought I would die but I actually made it further than I thought. And to have complete strangers cheering and high-fiving me was an amazing feeling.  I was as scared as anything walking into that box for the first time but within minutes I knew it was where I was meant to be.

The worst ‘Girl’ and why?

Worst girl? I’m not sure I really have one as I love the challenge of them all.  Well if pushed for an answer Karen isn’t a favourite of mine!! But there is that sense of achievement once you finish her. One of my CrossFit highlights was accidentally starting Karen (150 Wall Balls (10/6kg For Time), at the men’s weight (10kg) and my coach making me finish it after realising half way through.

Lisa mid WOD


Dealing with Injury and How CrossFit Can Help!

Returning to training after serious injury can be a daunting prospect. When we say serious, we’re talking surgery, torn ligaments, nerve damage, hospital stays. Movements which you used to take for granted are now seemingly impossible to achieve. There are many benefits to continuing your training after an injury challenge and the following 3 points might help you feel in control and safe about your return to training.

Number 1 Patience

Your type of injury will determine the time you will require to recover fully. Obviously back surgery is a fairly major issue and full recovery could extend over 12 months. Same with reconstructive surgery. Torn ligaments may only require a few months to fully recover. Every athlete is different. One thing you will notice after serious injury is this… You will not be able to do the same exercises and movements pre-injury for quite a while. If you have an elbow injury, RX pushups will not happen this week- or next. If you have had knee surgery, your 1RM Squat is a long way down the track. Damage to shoulder ligaments? No butterfly or kipping pullups for you just yet, my friend!

This actually highlights the beauty of CrossFit – every movement is SCALEABLE. Squats can be lunges or making time to focus on your upper body strengths, running is now rowing/airbike, pullups for now are dumbell presses or having an opportunity to work on that squat range and strength. You can still working the muscles of the affected area, but not stressing them while the injury is recovering, or alternately work another area and turn it into a strength.

Basically, you need to accept that recovery takes time. Stay positive and don’t expect results to be immediate – or easy. Spend time talking with your coach about where you are at, your frustrations and where you are headed.

Melina is one our top performers and had to undergo a knee recon after a soccer injury at Easter. She’s used this time to work diligently through her rehab, listens to her body, and followed some additional programs provided by Head Coach Lisa to work on her upper body strength.

Number 2 Listen to and be guided by the experts

These are the people who are trained (or should be!) to know what’s going on with your body. If you are recovering from a serious injury, your coach will know what movements are going to affect the injured area. A good coach will work with your healthcare practioner to help program a scaled version of the workout. Each and every day. A great coach will realise and encourage every little milestone you achieve in your rehabilitation and celebrate the success of each returning movement with you.

If you have a physio or doctor who understands the basis of CrossFit you will have someone who understands how movements can be scaled to suit your recovery.

Calvin Schluter, from EveryBodies Physio, at Brighton in QLD, has this advice for those returning to crossfit whilst recovering from serious injury…

“Exercising and staying active is very important for aiding recovery from any type of injury. For certain injuries like low back pain, prolonged rest and avoidance of activity can lead to higher levels of pain, greater disability, poorer recovery and longer absense from work. Returning to any type of exercise after an injury will always require beginning at a lower level, and CrossFit is great because it is modifiable. Any CrossFit workout can be scaled to suit the level of activity related to your stage of rehabilitation. Before starting, it is important to chat to your coach and physio to find out what levels of exercise are safe for you.”

Rob came to us with a pre exisiting back injury and initially wasn’t lifting any load from the ground. We modified his workout movements and loads and within a few short months he was able to fully participate in the CrossFit Open in 2017

For those who are recovering from serious injuries – chances are you’ll have a rehabilitation program set by your doctor or physiotherapist. STICK TO THE PLAN. Exercise within the limits provided to you by a healthcare professional. Do the exercises they give you. Yes, they’re frustrating. Yes, they’re boring. But they are the movements that will help you see improvements, week after week. Do them for 2 days and then sit on your butt because they were a little painful or you couldn’t be bothered and you will soon discover that your recovery will be infinitely longer and more difficult. Work with your coach to incorporate these exercises into a workout. When you’re surrounded by friends, even the most mundane exercises become fun!

Number 3 Keep Moving

Reconstructive surgery, torn ligaments and other serious injuries can honestly be hard to push through at times during recovery. Your body is still in repair and your brain will send all sorts of signals, weird tingly feelings and sometimes pain. But those of you who keep moving in some way, will recover much more quickly.

Exercises should be low key to begin with until you have been cleared by your health care practioner to start adding weight or become more mobile. Strengthening the injured area is vital over time and will aid in prevention of injury in the future. You need to ensure that listening to your body becomes a priority while working out. Pushing through pain to go faster, become stronger, more mobile  is something associated with pretty much every sport, including CrossFit, but if you are returning from serious injury – do not ignore severe pain! If you experience severe pain to the recovering area during a workout – stop. Decide whether that pain is good or bad, whether the movement you are performing is within the limits of your set recovery plan, and if in doubt over anything you are doing, speak to your coach and wait for physio/doctor approval before attempting that movement again.

Again,  a CrossFit WOD will always provide an option to scale and a good coach will understand how to achieve this. You will still be working hard, just not affecting an area under repair or rehabilitation.

Sares learning to love the Air Bike as she overcomes a case of Plantar Fasciitis

Head coach and programmer at Crossfit 4504, Lisa Hetherington, agrees with the benefits of scaling for injury..

“At CrossFit 4504 we have many athletes who start with us with pre existing injuries or issues.  We work around these with the use of scaling, or in some cases giving them a completely individual program for that day.  The benefit is they are still able to come to class, be art of their community and spend time within the positive environment we foster here.  This has a huge impact on recovery mentally as well as physically.  We also have a close relationship with a team of allied health professionals and consult about our clients regularly, to ensure they’re making the best possible progress”

Don’t let injury hold you back.  Learn to see through the frustration to see it as an opportunity to get stronger in other areas and a chance to reset and refocus on technique.

Jan has used CrossFit to overcome many issues and successfully rehabbed after a torn meniscus she sustained doing a 100km walk.

Tara has battled a bulging disc and other issues along the way. Our team have always modified her programs to work out the issues when they have flared, and she’s still able to come and train and be part of our community.

Come and try the CrossFit 4504 difference today.  Register below for your Free 7 Day Trial.

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