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If you’ve ever been to our 8am class, you know Wendy. She’s the one cheering you on, pushing you past your goals, and lifting incredibly heavy while doing so. But, as with all of us, life isn’t all roses and butterflies. She has been challenged in many aspects, but always tries to turn it into a learning experience. Here’s her story:
1. What do you love about CrossFit London?
The community! The commitment I have to training has changed a lot since starting in 2012, but the coaches and members have always kept me coming back for more. When I first started I was only doing private training with Dave, since that was all I knew about CrossFit at the time. I was terrified to join the classes, thinking I would be judged and left behind – boy was I wrong! After progressing into my now 5 mornings/week training schedule, my 8am crew is something I look forward to each day. Even as the 8am crew changes periodically, the interaction with them is something I truly miss when I am forced to be away from the class.
Another thing I love is how varied the training schedule is, and that it’s always unknown. This has forced me to work on things that I hate, like running. I hated running A LOT… But over time I have come to enjoy it and use it to challenge myself into doing things I wouldn’t typically do. I often run on my own at home now, which is crazy, because I would have never imagined it being something I would do for “fun”. The programming also allows me to do the things I love, like lifting. I love to life heavy things and test my strength. It has helped me be a better RMT. One of my all-time favourite workouts is “Grace – 30 clean and jerks for time” I saw the fasted change in this one. I went from doing it in scaled 25kg in 5:20, to my current Rx time of 3:27 at 43kg! We don’t do it that often, but when we do it’s quick, hard so satisfying!!
2. How has the mental aspect of working out changed for you?
When I first started at CrossFit London, I was not in the greatest place mentally. I was dealing with postpartum depression, and finding a good exercise outlet was my last option before being medicated. When I walked in I was looking for a “quick fix”. I knew about CrossFit from personally training 3 years prior, where I was able to lose weight quickly. I thought this was all I needed. In my first session with Dave we did a baseline. When I saw it I knew it would be hard, but it just about killed me physically and I felt completely defeated. Dave reminded me that we have to work on the now and not compare myself to what I did or was in the past.
For the first couple of years my training was inconsistent. I was trying to juggle so much with work, motherhood, managing our home… I always put my needs last. When CrossFit London posted about making exercise a non-negotiable appointment in your calendar that is exactly what I did. I made my workouts a priority, put the “8am Workout” in my schedule, and committed to it. I went from looking for a quick fix to committing to my new healthy lifestyle.
I have noticed a huge change in my emotional and mental health. I was a very anxious new mom and felt a lot of mood swings and irregularities in my coping abilities prior to making CrossFit a staple in my schedule. I have gone from not believing in myself to knowing anything is possible when you put your mind to it. That “quick fix” I craved so very much for the physical change is no longer what I look for as I believe that I have had quite the transformation in my life. Yes my body has changed a bit, but more importantly I have learned how strong I really am. Being part of the CrossFit London community has pushed me to believe in myself and take on challenges I wasn’t sure were possible.
I not only have participated in CrossFit competitions outside of our location but I have followed a dream and turned it into reality by opening my own clinic as a Registered Massage Therapist. I have also completed more education to better myself as a therapist and person, and I feel more present in my home as a mother and a wife. I have gone from trying to survive life to thriving in it. And although there are challenges that I continue to face on my “best version of me” journey, I know that the mental and emotional changes I have had have made me strong enough to take them on and crush them when they come. The physical changes will happen no matter how slow or fast, but the other changes that have occurred for me have been absolutely life changing and I couldn’t be happier about it all!
3. How has working with a Registered Dietitian influenced your training and lifestyle?
As I said I was originally looking for that “quick fix”. When I started working with Jen at NutritionRx I thought that would be exactly what I would get…. Again, I was wrong. Jen and I have been on this journey for a while now and I couldn’t have asked for a better person to help me along the way. The work I do with Jen has had a ripple effect on my entire family- because let’s be honest – I’m the one doing all the meal prep! I feel like working with a Registered Dietitian is the only way to go if you want to excel in your sport or life nutritionally. There are so many “quick fixes” out there and not one of them will really help to get to the root of the issues and force a total lifestyle change that is safe, healthy and effective.
My story has come with a multitude of challenges, but the habits I have formed are forever. I never feel deprived of food, and I have learned that food is my fuel for life, not my enemy. I meet with Jen 2X a month- this may be more than the average, but it is what works for me. She has helped me prepare for my workouts and competitions, taught me little tricks to make life at home easier when it is a chaotic disaster, and identified nutritional imbalances and intolerances not only of me but for my son. I still remember when she asked me “Why don’t you eat breakfast in the mornings?” My reply was “I have to make sure my son eats breakfast.” Her response (eye opener) “Can’t you eat with him?”….”Um yes I can, why did I not think of that”
Our family eats more together now than we ever have and my son who was not even one when I first started with Jen is one of the best eaters I know, and I think it’s from the examples I have learned and passed on to him. I think that we often think that good nutrition is a temporary diet and it’s not at all- it is a complete love affair with food, good food and good habits- And only a Registered Dietitian will get you to this mindset. My relationship with food has definitely been impacted by my work with Jen and that has rolled off into a better lifestyle and training program in the end.
4. What would you say to someone thinking about trying out CrossFit for the first time?
Just do it. Don’t wait to get “in shape”, or until Monday, or next month. Do it, and do it now! I have never regretted my choice to start at CrossFit London, but I have regretted waiting so long to do it. Make the call or show up and check the place out. Whatever works, just get there. CrossFit London is so far beyond any kind of gym or activity that you will ever do. The community will keep you focused on your goals and motivated to be the best version of you completely judgement free, just check your ego at the door. And if you are coming to CrossFit London, come to the 8am class….it’s the best. I’ll be there Monday – Friday cheering you on as your crush your goals!!!
It’s never too late to change your lifestyle, and there is no better time than now. Contact us today to book a FREE Meet-and-Greet appointment.
Click HERE to learn more about CrossFit London and how to get started.
Click HERE to learn more about nutrition counselling at NutritionRx.
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Yesterday we had the opportunity of coaching the London Police Services 2017 P.E.A.C.E. team through a CrossFit London workout.
The P.E.A.C.E. team (Police Ethnic and Cultural Exchange) is a summer job opportunity for high school students of all cultures and backgrounds. It focuses on developing strong life skills such as communication, motivation, teamwork, and leadership through diverse and rewarding experiences. This includes the importance of physical activity and living a healthy lifestyle.
Yesterday we focused our workout on teaching proper form and technique. We are thrilled we were able to help the youth in our community develop healthy habits, which lead into healthier lifestyles.
Thanks P.E.A.C.E. Team!
To learn more about us, our team, and how you can achieve a healthier lifestyle, book a FREE meet-and-free appointment!
This article was posted in: Blogs
What got you interested in CrossFit in the first place?
I was introduced to CrossFit via YouTube. I remember watching CrossFit Games clips and a sense of intrigue and awe washing over me. I had struggled with gym consistency for years during university and medical school, often gaining some reasonable strength and conditioning, then falling off with a waning motivation leading to weight gain. I was tired of this cycle and specifically working out mostly for vanity. I was impressed with how CrossFit incorporated such a broad range of athletic movements and training modalities; athletes in the YouTube clips were Olympic weightlifting, power lifting, performing gymnastic movements, running, biking, swimming, climbing amongst other movements. I remember the rush of excitement to wanting to try CrossFit despite some of the workouts looking intimidating at times. I used to play basketball at a high level when I was younger, amongst other sports such as cross-country running, and had lost some of my “competitive-edge” given I no longer competed. Many CrossFit workouts are “for time”, pushing yourself to your physical and mental limits. This really resonated with me as it reminded me of the time I was in a finals double-overtime basketball game in high school with severe cramps in my legs but persisted or that final sprint of a cross country race where I won by inches falling over the line in exhaustion. Both reminded me throughout my life of the physical and mental extremes I was capable of performing at.
After my first devastatingly soul-crushing trial workout in August 2014 at CrossFit London, those past challenges seemed almost average. I was hooked. My interest in CrossFit also stemmed from a desire for weight loss after reaching the heaviest I’ve ever been at 220 lbs. It was time for a lifestyle change. I began trying CrossFit style workouts at another gym awaiting the time my wife Leanna and I could finally begin introductory training together at CrossFit London. She was very motivating and her aligned serious interest led us to sign up for the introductory Bootcamp together in June 2015. We’ve been members at CrossFit London ever since!
When it comes to training, many people start strong but eventually lose motivation and fall off the wagon. How do you stay motivated to consistently train?
A CrossFit box is not just a gym you go to. It is a community of people that you know, encourage and workout with and in the process improve mentally and physically together. CrossFit London is no different. It is a vibrant social place where people have fun and work hard in a cathartic before-or-after-work experience. This draws me there daily. Often if I’m tired and have a thought of not going, I know that if I simply show up I will undoubtedly be energized. My wife Leanna’s encouragement really helps on those days that I’m more sore than usual or am simply being lazy and vice versa. I also remember those days at 220lbs feeling sluggish with poor energy and overall low mood at times – never shall I return there. Small personal goals keep me motivated as well and the ability to “play” after the workout doing handstand or parallel ring work is fun.
It is very convenient to not have to program/decide what to work on every day as well. You just show up and complete the workouts programmed by Head Coach Dave. There is always some excitement not knowing what is in store for you daily as the workouts are not posted online and only revealed on the whiteboard in the morning. I know how much mental fortitude I have developed over the past two years as a consequence of being consistent with these workouts; Meeting the old friend Dark Place in a controlled environment where physical pain (not injury) meets mental suffering must be one of the best ways to cultivate resiliency and perseverance.
How have your health/fitness goals changed over the past 2 years?
My initial CrossFit experience was pure fascination and all-encompassing. I wanted to lose weight, improve my strength and conditioning and learn and master all the new skills that I wasn’t able to complete. Since beginning in earnest in June 2015 I have lost 30 lbs, can now front squat 90lbs more than I used to be able to back squat, have corrected some muscle imbalances and hit many strength and skill goals like achieving a 400lb deadlift. I have had some small injuries working out 5 days a week over the past couple of years and my overall focus these days is to ensure consistent strength and conditioning while minimizing injury to ensure longevity to my fitness. I have some small specific goals that I still want to achieve that I am working towards including a sub 1:30 500m row, 200 double-unders in a row, to back squat 300lbs and complete a gymnastics handstand. These small goals help to motivate and continually push me forward. As Tony Robbins says “If you’re not growing, you’re dying”.
What is one health/fitness related goal that you have recently accomplished?
I recently completed a strict ring muscle-up! Now I’m working on a pull-up progression to achieve 20 pull-ups in a row and subsequently a strict bar muscle-up. I remember when 5 muscle-ups would be all I could muster.
For those of you who are considering trying CrossFit and feel intimidated by some of the movements or workouts, remember, I did as well. Every single movement is scalable to your strength/skill but it is only by leaving your comfort zone and pushing your boundaries outward that you will ever reach your true life-changing potential.
Are you ready to get started? Register for one of our FREE meet-and-greet appointments. See the gym, chat with a coach, and see if we’re a good fit. Reserve your spot HERE.
This article was posted in: Blogs
Prior to joining into our community, Jonathan already had a steady workout routine in a typical gym, plus running on the side. Although he never really enjoyed it, he would push himself through workouts to keep his body healthy. Since adding CrossFit into his routine, he has begun to actually enjoy exercise and fitness – this is now a lifestyle for him. His endurance has increased, he is learning new lifts, and he is becoming more confident in his own athletic abilities.
What got you interested in CrossFit?
I always had an interest in CrossFit but never felt like I had the time or the motivation to commit to joining a box. Back in December, I stated dating Shandra who was a member of CrossFit London. She sold me on how challenging the workouts were and how good the community was. After doing one trial workout, I was hooked.
What did your training schedule look like prior to joining us here at CrossFit London? What does it look like now?
Prior to CrossFit I was training 4-5 days a week at a regular gym, just doing a standard barbell routine. Since joining CrossFit London my routine has become more dynamic based on what my body is capable of handling in terms of recovery. An ideal week is 3 or 4 CrossFit workouts, 2 5-7km runs and 1 barbell workout at the regular gym (usually on Sunday).
How has CrossFit influenced your other activities?
Joining CrossFit London has changed the way I approach fitness. I used to exercise for the sole purpose of keeping my body healthy. It was never something I found great enjoyment in. But since starting CrossFit, exercise and fitness has become more of a lifestyle.
I’ve been entering athletic challenges in my spare time- already completing a Ragnar and Spartan Super this year- and I’m now training for my first half marathon in November. Training for distance running and doing CrossFit have a positive relationship on each other. I found that when I was at the peak of training for my Ragnar with 3-5 10k plus runs a week I had much better cardio to get through my CrossFit Workouts, and likewise the intensity of CrossFit made a 10k run feel very easy.
What is your drive/motivation to stay active?
Aside from placing myself in these athletic events, my motivation to stay active comes from the need to keep bettering myself. CrossFit is still very new to me so many of the activities (such as complicated Olympic lifts) are a challenge, but I can feel myself getting better every class and that feeling is what brings me back.
Are you looking to add some variety into your routine? Want to increase your endurance, power, and strength? Contact us today to get started!
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Our last highlight was on Michelle. This week we’d like to highlight her husband, Devon. Together, these two are one of our “power couples”. Similar to Michelle, Devon signed up to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. He quickly crushed that goal, and now focuses on our more competitive workouts and strength/skill training.
What got you into CrossFit in the first place?
After 4 years of medical school, and 2 years of residency, with day in day out routine changing monthly, I never got a chance to establish routine in the gym. I had tried big box gyms before, but am a very social person and found doing it on my own to not be enjoyable and thus wouldn’t commit. I had gotten to my heaviest at 250lb on a 6’5″ frame. My wife and I were nervous and intimidated even before picking up the phone, but wanted to try something new. I loved the team atmosphere, as well as work outs for everyday functionality. Wouldn’t have hurt to learn some of the more daring moves were also a big drive for me.
What was it like at the beginning vs now?
The intimidation I felt melted away after a couple of classes, along with working with Danielle in personal training sessions to prove to myself I could do most of the movements, if at least modified. Physically I’ve come miles, I’ve learned a ton of new skills, shattered personal records, and now that I’m a year in, working my way over to the group 2 workouts which are more skill/strength intensive.
The biggest shift I’ve noticed is mental. I am far more mentally tough, and able to fight my way through that wall we all hit when we work out, and rewarded with the accomplishment.
Body weight movements are also much easier having lost nearly 50lbs, and now my 202lb body is stronger than it was before.
How have you managed to stay consistent with your training with your own busy schedule?
I now work a more consistent schedule, but am also more motivated so will go in the morning, or evening as the days see fit. My wife Michelle is my partner in crime, and we often feed off of each other, usually one of us is motivated if not both, which helps when the other isn’t. It has carried into our eating habits as well. Chef’s
Plate has been an easy addition to keep meals flexible to our schedule as well.
How have your health and fitness goals changed throughout the past year?
Initially I was focused on weight loss. 45lbs lost at 6 months, meant going forward I am now working towards learning new skills, and breaking my PRs. I love the way I look and am hoping to fine tune things ;)
If you could go back in time, what is one thing you would tell yourself prior to starting at CrossFit?
Don’t hesitate to start, don’t be nervous… the hardest thing is walking through the door on day 1, then it gets easier and way more fun! Plus, 10 months before joining CrossFit I had a dramatic ankle fracture. My foot was facing the wrong way, plates, screws… Worst fracture the specialist had seen. Now I can say my ankle still feels great and I’m in the best shape of my life despite it! Don’t be scared of your injuries just adapt to them.
Are you looking to lose weight, begin a healthier lifestyle, or just looking for a more competitive workout routine?
Sign up for one of our No Sweat Intro appointments today to get started!