Jonne Koski - the life of a professional CrossFit athlete
Jonne Koski is a seven-time CrossFit Games athlete and CrossFit coach from Pori, Finland. Jonne first got into CrossFit at the CrossFit Pori gym in 2012 – before that swimming was his thing and something he practised until the age of 16. Now he lives in Finland with his other half Emilia Leppänen – also a CrossFit athlete. The couple has been dubbed the “Fittest couple in Europe”.
Jonne joined the Gymnation Ambassador team to represent a Finnish sportswear brand and responsible values. Below you’ll find a short interview, in which Jonne opens up about the life of a professional athlete, his everyday routines and goals for the future.
Why CrossFit and what is it about this sport that fascinates you?
From the beginning I was captivated by the versatility of CrossFit – especially after my swimming career, during which the training was pretty one-sided. I’ve always had an innate competitive drive, so I naturally got interested in competing in CrossFit. I had success in competitions pretty early on, which motivated me to train.
Mention 3 things that you need to reach the top internationally in CrossFit?
What I think is important and necessary for an athlete is to learn to be humble. I got into CrossFit at a very young age, and in the beginning I was lifting weights that were too heavy and pushing myself too much – so the biggest lesson for me was to learn to see the big picture and look at the sport more humbly.
A big part of competing at this level is listening to your body. You have to learn to read your body’s signals and to make changes to your training routine if necessary, in order for it to be effective in the long term. In addition, being a professional athlete requires perseverance and determination. You need to be ready to work hard also when you don’t want to. There has to be a passion for it.
What are the 3 most efficient ways to recover and how important is recovery for a top athlete?
There are no shortcuts to recovery. The most important tool for recovery is good quality sleep. The importance of sleep has been emphasised more and more in recent years and it has a direct impact on my performance. When I sleep poorly I can’t perform as well as I would like. Another cornerstone of recovery is to eat the things that work for me. The most important thing is to get enough energy. In some situations, the quality of the food is less important than the quantity. Also the different body maintenance tools, such as stretching and regular massage, are key to recovery.
What is the most unforgettable moment of your career?
Two events come to mind, of which the first one is when I made it to the CrossFit Games finals for the first time in 2014. It was the biggest achievement of my career and I felt very proud. Another major milestone was the rehabilitation of my injured knee after 2018. I underwent three surgeries for which there was no certainty of recovery and the healing process was difficult and frustrating.
All that hard work was worth it when in 2019 I was able to compete again and thankfully my knee doesn’t cause me any issues anymore.
You recently moved back to Finland after having lived abroad for many years. Is this a permanent move, or are you planning on moving abroad at some point again?
I lived abroad in Dubai and Switzerland for six years and it was an unforgettable experience. I do miss my friends and the Swiss mountains and nature, but we’ve also been very happy here in Finland and see our near future here. We’re not ruling out any options though ;)
What dreams or plans for the future do you have?
My goal is to win the CrossFit Games. I feel like I haven’t discovered the limits of my performance yet, and I want to find out how far I can go. At the moment my focus is entirely on CrossFit, and I believe that this sport will always be a part of my life. It’s also important for me to get better as a coach.
Why did you choose Gymnation as a partner?
When we moved to Finland, there was a nice buzz around Gymnation and and they had a significant foothold on the CrossFit scene. I had heard many good things about the brand, and the products are high-quality and durable.
I think it’s amazing to be able to collaborate with a Finnish sportswear brand and help the brand grow and succeed. The values behind Gymnation are the same as mine and after having met the founders and the employees I felt like we were on the same wavelength.
It’s also really great to be able to have a say in product development and to bring out my own ideas.
I want to wish everyone a great summer and successful workouts!