Andre Houdet had just finished school in Denmark when he was packed into a car with his parents and driven to Paris. His father is half French and there is a tradition that once you entered adulthood you moved to France, alone, to improve your French and embrace the culture.
“My parents were with me for 36 hours, in the 35th hour we finally found an apartment and they just drove off.”
Andre started off working in a coffee shop and joined a local CrossFit gym because he loved CrossFit, but, also because he needed a shower. “I had no shower in my apartment and a shared toilet so I got a membership in a really cool CrossFit gym which is the place that sparked my love of coaching.”
The gym he joined was CrossFit Louvre. The membership was steep for Andre, who was living exclusively on canned food and leftovers from his job at a coffee shop, so the gym owner, Daniel Chaffey, offered him a role as assistant coach. In exchange for free membership, Andre was tasked with preparing classes, demonstrating movements and assisting the ‘pro’ coach in delivering classes.
Houdet has since qualified for the CrossFit Games three times and welcomed his first child Emilia with his fiancé Natalie, who he also happened to meet in CrossFit Louvre. He has also recently turned NoShortcuts Training into a CrossFit Affiliate.
“Funny how things turn out. Andre is not only a great athlete, but an amazing coach. So when he told me that he would like to affiliate, it is with great pride that we should facilitate that,” said Daniel Chaffey, CrossFit International Manager and Andre’s former boss and shower provider at CrossFit Louvre in Paris.
You might be nodding along reading this thinking ‘nice story, but who cares?’ Well, Mike Halpin wrote an article last season highlighting the lack of affiliated athletes at the CrossFit Games. “11 of the 80 individual athletes were unaffiliated…13% of the field” which was the highest percentage on record and a significant increase compared to just 3.75% of the field in 2018.
Andre’s decision to affiliate matters. “Yes it is significant. He appreciates what CrossFit has done for him…he could easily open a gym with his own name but understands that if he is where he is now, it is because people contributed to CrossFit and he is now looking to do the same. It is obviously cool for elite athletes to be flying the CrossFit flag, but especially when they are fervent advocates for the methodology!” added Chaffey.
I asked Daniel why someone would look to affiliate. “It helps to attract coaches who want to be the best possible CrossFit coaches, participate during the Open with my community, attract prospective members and drop ins, benefit from tools such as the APN (affiliate partner network) and the Affiliate Tool Kit.”
Another reason for Andre affiliating is his plan for the 2023 season.
Julian Kragh-Maschvitsz, a three time Affiliate Cup athlete formerly of Team Butcher’s Lab; Nienke Van Overveld, a four time Games level Team athlete who finished 4th with Motion Training in 2021 and Julie Hougard Nielsen, who is consistently the fittest female in Denmark since 2019, will join Andre on NoShortcuts CrossFit, aiming to make the CrossFit Games and contend for a podium spot. Andre and his team will document their journey in an upcoming docuseries by Kevin Dijkstra (@CFKevin).