By Hannah Stevens @Hannahshewans
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Videographer / director: Joel Forrest
Producer: Hannah Stevens, James Thorne
Editor: Sonia Estal
Prisais Brooklyn Townsend did her first CrossFit workout at just 10 months old when she started copying her dad’s moves in the gym.
The tiny spitfire has been hooked ever since and practices with her trainer and father James at every opportunity.
James told Barcroft TV: “Her first workout when she was 10 months and she picked up two and a half pound dumbbell and started doing snatches - never showed her!
“People’s reactions to Prisais’ videos online are like: ‘wow, oh my god, she’s inspiring! Look at her, what am I doing with my life?’
“It inspires people to be active with their kids. This country is riddled with childhood obesity, you know.
“She is empowering other women because other people, other young girls, other women see the fight and see the determination in her.”
Prisais’ promising career in CrossFit began when she started copying her father’s moves after he discovered the sport in 2014.
An average workout for Prisais includes gymnastics routine on floor, beam sandbar, push-ups, handstand push-ups, pull-ups, burps, box jumps, and air squats.
The tiny strong woman can also perform barbell back squats, deadlifts and full cleans, as well as 20 straight pull-ups, lift a 50lb back squat and a 65lb deadlift.
James said: “I had found CrossFit in 2014 and I fell in love. Prisais got into CrossFit by just being in a gym. You know, mimicking what her father is doing, what grown-ups are doing around the gym.
“The gym was her playground!”
Even though James is careful not to push Prisais too hard, she loves working out any chance she gets, sometimes even doing 10 workouts a week.
James said: “I always try to stress her with that - 'you don’t want to burn out. You just came back from two and a half hours of gymnastics. Why you still want to keep going?’
"But she does. I guess that’s just the fire and determination. She is a hard working kid, very hard working.
“She balances CrossFit and gymnastics with schoolwork and playtime. Right now she’s ready to go to kindergarten, so it’s a bit of a challenge.”
Prisais often works out with James’ clients, including Maddy Espinoza who says the little gym bunny pushes her to be her best.
She said: “Her being five-years-old and be able to do what she does, it’s impressive and makes you push more because she can do what I can do too.”
James believes that by developing a strong athletic foundation Prisais will be able to do anything she sets her mind to.
He said: “It’s a great feeling for a dad to see their kids doing something that they love and me being her first role model, to show her that she could empower herself but more importantly, empower others to be strong.
“I’m teaching her to be strong at whatever you put your mind to. Strong could be intelligent, strong could be confident, strong could be determination, your will.
“That’s what strong means, strong is not about muscle.”
Although James has received some criticism online for allowing Prisais to start CrossFit so young, he believes that the only way it could impact her negatively is if her training regime was wrong.
He explained: “A lot of people always say, ‘hey - it’s going to stunt their growth’. The only way it could really stunt her growth is if I allow her to do a 200-pound back squat.
“But it’s not liftings fault. It’s the coach’s fault. It’s a programming fault. It makes her bones stronger. It creates better long-term athletic development.
“It comes down to doing it right, adding the weights on that’s appropriate for the kid’s size, proper programming, and strict supervision.”
Prisais also has her eyes set on a gymnastics career and she’s already achieved Level Two and outranks all the kids in her group.
Proud dad James said: “She’s on Level Two right now, at her present gymnastics gym, and she is the youngest out of eight to seven-year-olds and she is the strongest.
“I see her making it into the Olympics around, I think 15-16 is the Olympic age. If she wants to do it, I know she could.”
Although James has invested a lot of time into Prisais’ training, he would not be disappointed if she decided to give it all up one day.
He said: “I’d never want her to feel that pressure. I want to support anything that she wants to do.
“If Prisais decides, ‘hey dad, I don’t want to do CrossFit or gymnastics anymore, I am fine with that.
“She wants to be a doctor, whatever she wants to do because I was that type of kid.”
Prisais said: “I am going to be a doctor and a nurse."