Where are you from and what do you do?
My name is Daniel. I was born and raised in Denmark and I’ve been through a lot of stuff in order to figure out what I wanted to do. After high school and formal education I struggled to focus and to decide what I wanted to do. Regardless, I managed to complete my education. I then started a job here in Aarhus as a sales rep, so my life was to work hard to earn money and every weekend I would party like crazy spending the money. I just got caught in a vicious circle where I wasn’t feeling good about myself.
Later I moved on and I joined the army. The process is somewhat similar to the lottery, if you pick a specific number you need to serve between 6 to 12 months in the army. I got 9 months and I got trained as a fire fighter. I got to practice firefighting and fire rescue, I didn’t serve abroad but in local fire departments. I admit I enjoyed the discipline while I was at the army, I decided to become the strongest man at the army. I started doing cross-fit for the first time, while I was there, I started to do things that I was never able to do before.
I trained super hard in order to become part of the Danish version of the Navy Seals, which consists of a set of several tests. This training almost destroyed me. One of the tests was so intimidating, you are entering this sort of old school facility where you have several people watching every move that you make. I didn’t pass the physical test and also I didn’t pass due to a small fracture in my inner ear, so I was dismissed after the first test. My whole dream of becoming a navy seal crashed in less than 4 hours. On top of that, when you fail the test, you have to stay facing a wall until the rest of the candidates finish their test. I remember staring at the wall while I was processing the fact that I had just failed at achieving one of my dreams. I was really sad and I went home with the train the same day. This was the same day where there was a massive storm crossing Denmark, almost like a hurricane.
The train stopped in Odense and I was stuck there and I had to take a bus to Fredericia where I was stopped due to safety issues because of the storm. In Fredericia I was sent to a school along with 200 people that the City Council had made available as a shelter until the storm was over. I had to wait almost 24 hours until I could get home. During all this time in such dramatic circumstances, I couldn’t stop thinking about my failure and what to do in the future, what to tell to my parents and what to do next. I was ashamed because I didn’t make it.
Later on, all this, turned out to be part of what I am today. I started to question myself, what is it to be fit? I found out that there was more than training for the sake of training. I started gymnastics, I wasn’t really a gymnast myself, I came late to that (I was 23-24 at the time) but I learned the movements and techniques. Soon after I started to teach at Cross Fit here in Aarhus. That started a dialogue with my American friend and partner, Carl Paoli (www.freestyleconnection.com). He was running a seminar that I attended around movement, and it blew my mind and became the next thing! So now I teach movement for a living here in Aarhus but also internationally.
What do you like the most from Aarhus?
I think the coffee at RS28 is one of the things I love the most (laughs, as we are sitting at the RS28 terrace). Aarhus is perfect for exploring facilities, people, different mindsets and crazy ideas. I think Aarhus is very progressive and innovative, Aarhus has recreated itself in different ways.
What would you improve in Aarhus?
I don’t think there are too many local problems in Aarhus. I think there are misalignment in terms of leadership and what needs to be done. The new train track has created a lot of friction between people, it is tax payers money and some people don’t really see the value in it. The European Capital of Culture program is probably another of example of that, but all in all it's very difficult to improve this city, it's a super cool place to live in.
What would you like to do in the near future?
I teach a lot and would like to do more of that in the future. Even though I am a teacher in the fitness community I’m not limited by cross-fit or any other discipline or sport. I try to stay open minded. I teach everything from learning how to stand, getting down to the ground, squatting or even how to become better at hand balancing. For my own sake I think I need to find a way to do better things. I’m also doing international coaching, I’m coaching a guy in New Jersey, and that’s very exciting. Then I’m creating a new workshop and I would like to test it out in the short term, just to understand if I’m completely nuts or somebody likes the idea (laughs).So in the future see if I can recreate myself and teach in more than one aspect of life.
In reality, I just want to be able to communicate and connect with even more people, I’m working on a website at the moment that I hope will play a part in that.
What would you do if you had all the money/power or resources in the world?
I don’t think I will do anything much more differently, I like my life as it is today. I will probably invest some time/resources in a better, bigger website full of nice quality videos and I will invest most of my time on that.
Also I would explore more of the world as well as make my findings and exploration accessible for people who are curious on life and themselves as human beings. So do myself just on a bigger scale than the one I have access to now.