15 May 2020 | by CrossFit Amsterdam


Going Below Parallel with COACH JARNO

Coaching since 1995!
Jarno Bonhof is the Founder of CrossFit Amsterdam.
Back on the floor for some Lunch WOD sessions as of next week. As a coach he is tough and wants to educate everyone and even though he looks
like a big mad man sometimes, there's no way he can hide his big heart and love for the box and it's athletes.

We changed our member of the month item into a Coaches version!
Our coaches answer all kind of questions from our community, even the silly ones!
This way you have a chance to get to know them a little better.
Enjoy the read!

1. When did you find out about CrossFit?

I learned about CrossFit back in 2007! 

At the time I was a Personal Trainer, at Special Sports Amstelveen, the most prestigious and famous gym of the Netherlands back in those days. This was not so much because of the qualified coaches and training physiologists, but mostly because of all the celebs and wannabe's surrounding them trying to look more fabulous in the gym then outside... all show but no go!

Don't get me wrong I still loved what I did, which is making people better. And I loved my clients... apparently you attract the people that are like you! I met some of the coolest people which I am happy to say I can still call good friends!

In 2007 I booked a trip to New York city to either get inspired or quit my job (been working in the fitness industry since I was 16 years old), because I did not like what I was seeing in the gym and what is was about to become.
Before I went I reached out to one of my early teachers in Kettlebells, named Steve Cotter and told him that I wanted to go his hometown NYC. He recommended the Black Box CrossFit. After a couple of days sight seeing I visited this small box at the 5ht floor in some side street... and from day one I was hooked. I never saw something like this before. No mirrors, no machines, no excuses, no fake people.... but genuinely friendly hard working people with all kind of backgrounds! Great coaching, camaraderie, free weights, real sweat!
I loved it. This was real, this was training!
Two weeks of holiday became almost two weeks of CrossFit.
There and then I knew I wanted to start something like this too. Like minded people, no matter your background, but with the same drive: A continuous pursuit of excellence in becoming as fit as possible! 

When I got back I had a plan, I had to get my CrossFit Level 1, start my own box and train and educate many! My dream was teaching CrossFit and sharing the knowledge that I've gained from one of the best, smartest, inspiring and knowledgeable people I came across... Professor Bert van Wingerden of the International Academy for Sport Science, who trained some fierce fighters like Peter Aerts, Pedro Rizzo, worked with Basketball Team Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal at that time and other top athletes in all different kind of disciplines. This man knows his stuff deep down to cellular level on what strength training does to your body, immune system, bone structure and connective tissue and he is one of my biggest teachers ever. 

Squatting, Deadlifting, Kettlebell work, doing WODs, building athletes, I wanted the real deal and share my knowledge!

2. How did you start CrossFit Amsterdam?
Started unofficially in 2009 in a dojo in Amsterdam Zuid with approx. 10 m2 around a boxing ring. Which was not ideal but a good opportunity to start! 

I brought my own training gear to the dojo and started training and teaching free of charge to whoever wanted to join. And guess what? Coach Perry was actually my very first athlete.

After growing up to 8 members the dojo didn't really work out for us anymore... lack of space and in a dojo there are certain rules which were hard to comply to when being a crossfitter. Meanwhile I ordered a container full of gear from China.
We left the dojo and started training outside in the Amsterdam Forest and were searching for a space in the city. But it was undoable at that time. With just a handful of athletes I simply couldn’t afford renting something
Through an anti-squat agency we found a warehouse in Nieuw Vennep (NV) which was great but it was outside of Amsterdam. I really didn't wanted to go, but after having a chat with Nolan Mooney our friend from CrossFit FSF (third box of Benelux) who told me to make it a destination instead of a location, I decided to go for it. From then on I didn't look back and went for NV. Together with a friend we officially licensed as an affiliate in January 2010.
We grew up to 48 members, including Marlene :), at the Roggestraat, our first location in NV. Until suddenly we had to get out within 5 days because they had a different plan for the location. Man this was stressful, but I managed to find another warehouse in Nieuw Vennep through a broker on the last day... we moved with help of all the members and Madeliefstraat NV was now our new location. Here we grew to 98 members, including some that are still training with us today.

I always wanted to go back to Amsterdam, but I just couldn't find the right spot. And nobody knew about CrossFit back then which made it even harder. It took us a couple of years and finally we found our current location. Which was nothing compared to what it is right now... but again with help of the community we made it work and rebuild everything! And still to this day we will always try to improve and make things better every day in anyway! I feel blessed that we have such an awesome community of people here at CFA, who make it all happen day in day out. I am very grateful for that.

3. Did you really sell your Harley to start CrossFit?
Yesss, and I still miss him. I sold my fully tuned up Buell Lightning 1200 cc for a little less then 10k and for that money I ordered equipment in China. Rogue or Eleiko was way out of my league at that time. But "little" did I know back then that the Chinese made equipment based on their height standards… Meaning, we got the tiniest GHD and Squat Racks that I ever saw in my life! Us Dutchies are a bit taller, even though I was one of the shortest in my basketball team, we had to weld rectangular iron profiles inbetween to make it work. ;)

4. Since when are you bald?
At the age of 12 my grandmother (my second mom) died, and she loved that I was having this long curly hair... When she passed away, I was into basketball and Michael Jordan, by the way go on Netflix and watch the documentary about him, The Last Dance, it's great! 
I was a kid and wanted to be like Jordan, so I bought the clippers and within 5 minutes everything was gone... Never grew it back, only once for a bet that I lost when I was 16 years old... had to grow it for a couple of months, which I did and after that I went to an actual barber to have a trendy haircut at that time, with highlights and shit, luckily there was no social media early in the 90's! Had the haircut for a week or so and thought; “Fuck this, I am a baller!” and shaved it all of again. Later on I shaved with a razor, also because I lost a bet, and never went back to grow hair again and these days nature is helping me out with that as well ;)

5. Why the beard?
To compensate the loss of hair of course! Even a kid told me: “Hey mister your hair is growing upside down!”

And ofcourse it's my secret weapon, that when I actually become old, I can shave it and suddenly look way younger!

6. How many tattoo's do you have?
Hahaha I don't even know! What I do know is that it has been years since I had new ink done. My first one was actually not one, but two stars on my wrists, at the age of 16. Which caused some fuss at home. But now were talking about it, it might be time again to get some new ink. So much space left...

Funny fact; When we had our box in Nieuw Vennep we had an inhouse tattoo studio for a while and sometimes in between classes I would get something to eat and get some ink done whenever it was possible. Good old times! 

7. Previous Sports, and current sports?
I played Basketball at the highest level in the Netherlands, in which I started as a point guard but when I started to grow physically (lot of strength training, with not so good guidance at that time...) I quickly gained a lot of muscle but lost a lot of finesse and control. So I went from being one of the fastest to one of the slowest players in just 1 summer break. I ended up becoming a Power Forward, who's job was mainly to do the physical so called “dirty work”. Which actually suited me quite well. ;)

When I joined the Marines at 21, I had to give up on Basketball. After that I picked up Kick Boxing and did some Windsurfing. Kick Boxing is still one of my favourite sports ever and when I get the chance I still throw some punches and kicks on a heavy bag. Sparring is not for me, just because you’ll easily get injured. 

8. Hobbies
Photography and working with wood. I live in the forest so I chop wood but now that we have enough firewood to keep us warm for a couple of winters (when you do something do it right and if you love it a lot ;)) So with having enough firewood I thought what else can I do,  and so I recently started with a woodworking education how to make furniture by hand and later on with machines. Really fun to do, even though I am not so handy, and great for the mind!

9. Favourite workout
I know what my favourite part of the workout is... the after part! No really, it is.

I can look forward to a workout and have a love/hate feeling while I’m in it, but I just love the feeling afterwards the most! What it does to your body and your mind, your mental state.
It's like therapy for me. If I don't train I become grumpy, quickly irritated and not a nice person. For me it is a way to get rid of the fire I have inside of me and it keeps me sane. Oh and my punches and kicks are just way harder when I’m strong, so it definitely compliments kickboxing too.

10. What is the goal of CrossFit Amsterdam? 
We strive for a continuous pursuit of excellence by teaching our athletes to become as fit as possible within given limitations. Doing so with like minded people to create camaraderie/ a bond, that helps the athlete in numerous ways to become a better athlete and person in general! And all this in a fun, safe and creative way!