Meet Silje Tønnesen: CrossFitting From Norway to Abu Dhabi

Silje Emilie Tønnesen is a CrossFitter from Norway. Tønnesen recently moved to Dubai to take a coaching job at CrossFit Yas in Abu Dhabi. In her first Open last year, Tønnesen finished 191st in the Europe region.

However, Tønnesen has been dealing with a back injury over the past several months and has been rehabbing to be ready for the 2018 CrossFit Open.

Tønnesen’s Instagram page is a living documentary of her CrossFit training. From Instagram stories to photos and videos on her main page, she is constantly working to improve.

As the Open approaches, we caught up with Silje to find out about how she got into CrossFit, her move to Dubai and what is in store for her in 2018. Check it out!

TBBS: How did you get into CrossFit? Did you have an athletic background before beginning?

Silje: A few years back I started training at a globo gym in Norway, and someone yells across the room, “You do not do bicep curls in the cable machine.” I freaked out, and didn’t really know what I had done wrong. This person later was to become a good friend and eventually my boss as a personal trainer not long after. I came to realize that he had just started doing CrossFit, and was all about the “functional” way of training (CrossFit) and was not about to let me go away from the gym without enlightening me on the subject. I gradually started doing more CrossFit style-ish workouts with my clients and doing some WODs myself. Then in May 2015 I finally got a membership at my box, Crossfit Sandvika, and never really looked back.

A post shared by Silje Emilie Tønnesen (@siljemilie) on <<<<<<∓mp;mp;t;>TBBS: How popular is CrossFit in Norway?< strong>Silje: CrossFit is becoming more and more popular, but it is still not as well known as in other countries around us. But it is growing with great speed and I’m so excited to see how it grows in the next few years. I think a lot of people have been introduced to it, but are still afraid to try because of all the negative propaganda. But still, it seems to grow faster because of the variety of people signing up to the gyms, from underweight to overweight people, from 10-80 years of age. So the word spreading is continuously and getting more positive and illuminating for “everyday people”.

A post shared by Silje Emilie Tønnesen (@siljemilie) on The Barbell Spin (TBBS): You recently moved to Abu Dhabi. What prompted the change?Silje: I recently got the job offer in Abu Dhabi, at CrossFit Yas, and I had heard a lot about it since I started CrossFit. I have thought about going abroad for a long time, but didn’t really know when or for what. So when this offer was on the table, I just figured, “why the hell not?”. Haha. Its a prestigious gym, with amazing athletes and a good reputation. I got the chance to work with and do what I love in a completely different country, which is exciting. I won’t say no to going out of my comfort zone, and growing as an athlete and individual.

A post shared by Silje Emilie Tønnesen (@siljemilie) on

TBBS: You’ve been recovering from a back injury. How is your back feeling and how did you stay motivated to train while rehabbing?Silje: A couple of months ago I started feeling the my back was having a hard time with pulling things from the floor, and it gradually became worse and worse. I then found out I had gotten a really big (long) rupture over the entirety of my right QL. (Above the hip to the spine. Of course it was really frustrating and hard not to be able to lift anything, and having to withdraw from several competitions. But as I have come to learn over time, you can always come back stronger from an injury, especially mentally. As well as given the opportunity to work and focus more on weaknesses that didn’t involve weights. I always believe that there is a meaning to everything that happens. In this case, I believe that I have gotten stronger mentally, and become better at gymnastics movements and got a bigger tolerance and respect for conditioning pieces. You can choose to cry about it, or you can choose to grow on it.

tyle=”padding: 8px”> >What an incredible feeling to be able to lift again😳😭❤️ Even though it’s only 25kg..😅 I am still over the moon! Just being patient and taking it step by step, day by day. #TheLittleThings #Weightlifting #RoadToRecoveryA post shared by Silje Emilie Tønnesen (@siljemilie) on TBBS: Are you ready for the 2018 Open? What are your goals for the season?Silje: Regarding the Open, this is going to be my second year, and I can’t really say I am ready. But I am going to be, and it is exciting to see how my fitness has improved from last year. My training philosophy had always been to become a better athlete, as well as a human being, and therefore give it my best in workouts and in the community. Concerning whether or not that will get me far enough in the Open, I don’t know, but I do know that I am proud of what I do and who I have become as a CrossFitter, coach and person either way.=”padding: 8px”> iv style=”padding: 8px”>Hammies are kinda cool💁🏼‍♀️👀A post shared by Silje Emilie Tønnesen (@siljemilie) on Any other big plans for 2018?


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If you weren’t involved with CrossFit, what do you think you would be doing instead?Silje: If it hadn’t been for CrossFit, I would still have worked out, that’s for sure. How my life would be different is a thought process that I am not willing to pursue just now, haha. But I would definitely be working with influencing and helping other people, in one way or another. That has been my goal ever since I got out of anorexia at a younger age, and had to build myself back up again “from scratch”. I want to have purpose in my life, and I want to see people who dont necessarily see themselves. In the near future, however, I will most likely become a teacher. In between coaching CrossFit of course!Too much sun for ya?☀️A post shared by