Singing The Praises Of CrossFit

At 35 years old, Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning singer Maila Gibson-Bandmann says she feels stronger than she has ever felt in her life since discovering CrossFit four years ago. And she has the body to prove it.

“(Before CrossFit) I enjoyed working out but never did it regularly, and I didn’t play any sports growing up,” she says. “Then in 2008, one of my co-workers (at Marriott) was practically limping down the stairs. I asked her what she did and she said a CrossFit workout.


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Maila Gibson-Bandmann at the 2012 Showdown for Operation Homefront CrossFit competition; and (at right) with husband Kelii Bandmann. Photo courtesy Boysie Koga

So I went and tried a workout (at CrossFit Oahu) and immediately loved it.

“I loved the challenge. Also, when I looked around the room, I saw girls who were strong but not beefy, bodybuilder type of bodies. They were lean, they moved quickly and they lifted a lot of weights, and that inspired me, on top of me almost throwing up and being sore for a week.”

When she started, Gibson-Bandmann admits she could-n’t even do one pull up. Now, she can rip off at least 20 in a row. She also could hardly jump rope, but now she’s at almost 100 double-unders (when the rope passes twice under your feet instead of once) in a row. She also can clean and jerk 25 pounds over her body weight. “I couldn’t even run the mile in high school, I almost flunked P.E. because of it,” she adds. “Now, my fastest mile is 7 minutes and 41 seconds.”

In the process, she also lost eight to 10 pounds and dropped one clothing size. She also has abs, something she says she’s never had before, and developed muscle tone in her arms.

She also got husband Kelii Bandmann hooked. “His body is insane,” says Gibson-Bandmann, who trains four times a week at CrossFit 808. “He lost maybe 20 pounds, and he looks younger than he looked three years ago.

“One of the best things about CrossFit is it brings my husband and I together because it’s something we enjoy a lot together. But also I love that it has challenged me in every way. I feel like it’s made me better at everything I do.”