Boosting fitness and frame of mind through CrossFit

by Marc Gupilan ’11

Marc Gupilan
2011, bachelor of science degree, major in health science

I moved to China in September 2014. CrossFit was still new in Asia, and there were only three CrossFit gyms (boxes) in all of China. In the two years since I’ve been in Shanghai, I’ve opened two CrossFit boxes for CrossFit Body in Motion and helped spread the CrossFit movement as a coach, competitor, and Lululemon Athletica ambassador. There are now more than 150 CrossFit boxes in China!

CrossFit is a style of training. The book definition is “constantly varied, functional movement, performed at high intensity.” CrossFit is my happy place. It allows me to challenge myself to become a better version of me. There are days when I accomplish a personal goal like squatting 300 pounds over my head, and I feel like I’m on top of the world. Then there are days when the little voice inside me tells me to quit. It’s a game of ups and downs, but it gives me so much joy to constantly feel challenged and to improve myself as well as the people I coach.

I start my day at 4:30 a.m. with a five-minute cold shower to build immunity and fire up my central nervous system. I either teach a group class or private clients at 6 a.m., and then around 7:30 I do my morning training session. Then I check in with clients whom I program training for remotely, work on training programs for group classes, or coach new clients. Around 3 p.m. I do my own afternoon training session. Then in the evening I coach group classes or personal clients.

Sharing the joy of fitness

I love when I walk into work and see a different kind of confidence on the face of one of my clients. People can feel so much personal pride from feeling healthier, stronger, and more fit. Knowing that I had just a little to do with that confidence boost is one of the best feelings in the world.

I was an Asia Championship Finalist in 2015 and 2016, and I’m looking forward to making my third appearance at the finals for 2017. I placed second in China in the 2016 CrossFit Open.

The most important lesson I took from my professors at WWU is that people may not remember what you said to them or how many drills you made them do, but they will always remember how you made them feel. That’s what the Health and Physical Education faculty demonstrated for me. They made me feel happy and showed me that exercise can really be a lot of fun if you make it that way for people. Through them I realized that I didn’t just want to be an athlete but that I wanted to share my passion for fitness with the world.


Marc Gupilan was a programming director, and senior health and athletic performance coach in Shanghai, China, when he wrote this piece.

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Westwind.

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Mark Gupilan jumping
Mark Gupilan in gym

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