Amy Barbarie took the fast lane into CrossFit: she did Personal Training sessions, and then jumped right in. Her excellent fundamentals are obvious when you see her move, and though still a relative newcomer, she's coming along very quickly. This is Amy's story.
In the fall of 2008 I took a couple of Intro to Running sessions with Mike Watson and I remember him trying to convince us to give CrossFit a try and thinking at the time “there is no way I will ever be able to do that!” In 2009 I was working in Afghanistan when our Canadian Gym was given official CrossFit status and watching Soldiers do the WOD’s thinking that “it was definitely not for me, it was too hard and I’ll stick to my treadmill and exercise ball thanks”! I was convinced that CrossFit was only for the US Marines, the physically fit, elite athletes and of course for the foolish.
Fast forward to the fall of 2012, in anticipation of an upcoming milestone birthday I knew I wanted to commit to some kind of “exercise regimen” and my friend Stephanie Mick strongly urged me to try CrossFit. She promised that I wouldn’t regret it and that I would become an addict. I was terrified but talked with Chris briefly via email and then set up an appointment with Mel. I worked a couple of days a week with Mel for a couple of months before I was brave enough to jump into the Noon Group Classes. In January 2013 I started Noon Group and I am loving it. I miss my one on one with Mel so I still throw one in now and then to shake things up and work on my technique.
I have always had lower back issues and am so happy that they are starting to subside due in large part to my core getting stronger and the introduction to foam rollers and softballs! I find that I’m not scaling as much as I did when I first started and the urge to want to vomit does not happen as often as it used to! One of these days I will do a full HSPU and toes to bar – they are my ultimate goals. It’s exciting that everyday I’m a little stronger than the day before.
The Open started this month and because I was doing the workouts anyway, there was no real reason not to sign up – at least that’s what Mel said! I am excited that I am experiencing this at the beginning of my CrossFit journey so that next year I can look back and be amazed at my progress.
The comraderie within the group is amazing, I like to see other people achieving goals, I love hearing everyone cheer for everybody else, the high fiving and “good jobs” at the end of every workout make finishing so much easier. Every day at 1:00 I am completely exhausted, sore and so proud of what I accomplished. I love the feeling of pushing myself beyond what I think my limits are and finding out that you really can do anything you put your mind to. The workouts don’t ever seem to get easier because you just keep pushing harder. That is a very empowering feeling.
I worked in a war zone for a year and thought that was life changing but walking into Catalyst in November has truly changed my entire life. I am healthier, happier, more confident and so much stronger than I have ever been – mentally, emotionally and physically. I love that this is something that I see myself doing for many years, I love that I miss it when I don’t go and I love the feeling of being a part of this team. I will celebrate that milestone birthday soon and I am so happy with the gift that the entire Catalyst Family has given me. Thank you!!
I started going to see Joanne Bailey in 2008 for therapeutic massages. I was in a car accident at 18 and damaged the upper cervical spine so have had neck issues for many years. Since I am an accountant, and sit most of the day in front of a computer, I need to keep those muscles loose. So for two years, I went to the Catalyst Queen Street location and felt intimidated by the athletes and thought I would never be where they were. After many talks, Joanne convinced me that I could and recommended that I take OnRamp. I never belonged to a gym before; I only ever played sports, took yoga classes at the Yoga Door or exercise classes at the Y. So this was a large step for me and I am so grateful for Joanne for opening that door.So the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in 2010, I began my crossfit journey.
I remember Whitney trying to get me to run around the Queen Street block and I thought I was going to DIE! I was sore for three weeks and could barely walk up and down stairs or sit down. Whit, you were a great coach and your encouragement is the reason that kept me coming. I started going twice a week and met the most wonderful people, Boo and Laurie! They were another reason that kept me coming and they convinced me to do Murph with them. I could not believe that I finished it and had a beer with Boo after it was all said and done. After Murph, I realized that I had to improve my running skills and took the spring running course with Mike Watson. I wanted to not hate running and I accomplished that. I would have never, ever thought that I would become a runner. That year I ran three races, the Mountain Maple, the Terry Fox run and CIBC run for the cure. The next spring, I convinced my family to take the running course again with me, this time with Cam Wilson. I am not a fast runner, but I can say that I am a runner now.
My mobility has increased tremendously and if I miss going even one week, I began to feel pain in my neck and shoulders. I would like to come even more than twice a week, but I have a very busy life trying to balance work and my family commitments. I feel the best I have since I was 20 years old and love how strong I feel. The power I feel when I am asked, Mam, can I carry that out for you? And I can politely decline. And the fact that I can out drive Paul on the golf course is an added plus!
Jacob started to going to Catalyst Varsity and Riley went last summer too. They run an awesome program and last year Jacob got the gym record for 117 burpees in 7 minutes. I haven’t convinced Paul yet, but I am sure someday I will.
I am totally amazed at how the gym has expanded over the years and how the nightly crossfit classes attendance has dramatically increased. I remember being the only one a few times going to a 7pm class. Now my crossfit partner is Deb King and we motivate each other to come even when we are so tired from the day’s work. I am so glad that Boo and Laurie are going to come on Monday nights with us. I really did miss them this past year. The people and coaches are really the best and it’s what makes Catalyst the most awesome place to come.
I always am working on my overhead lifts. I have mobility issues due to my neck problems and would like to be able to do an overhead squat without any pain. And I really need to master double unders, I can’t link them yet, so this is a priority for the next year.
I won’t be doing the open, as this is the busiest time of the year for me, and with working 50+ hour weeks and running to the hockey rink and dance classes for my kids, I just don’t have the time. Someday, when it’s all about me, I really would like to. This might be a couple of more years before that happens.
I have so many favourite crossfit memories, but they one that always comes back to mind is the first time I did Murph. This was a huge feat for me, and I will never forget Sally Moore trying to encourage me to continue running my last mile. Hopefully I will be able to do it this year!
Two weeks ago, Will sent an email thanking Jarret for encouraging him to do lateral jumps over a bar. He'd had a double-hip replacement, and thought he'd never do lateral jumps again.
He signed up for the Open. Before 13.1, he mentioned to Mel, "I haven't done 95lbs over my head before." Mel told him to try it anyway.
It's hard to call a bald guy in his 50s a wunderkind, but if you know Will, you know what I mean. Clever, funny, and outwardly calm, Will brings a LOT to the noon group. This is his story.
What brought me to CrossFit in the first place? Maintaining a good level of fitness has always been important to me. Martial arts, running, cycling and just participating in "bush" work, kept me fit and alleviated the stress of everyday work and life. Several years ago I began to weight lift enjoying the physical challenges greatly. As I grew older (not necessarily wiser), I found that I had to start to change my routines to facilitate my changing body (and major operations on hips) , and felt that although I still had strength my physical endurance was lacking. At that time, my long-time workout partner and I briefly investigated CrossFit training as a true total body experience. Geography stopped us from trying CrossFit since I worked out in Michigan at that time.
In January, changes in work schedules greatly
reduced our workout periods. Maybe those who have had great workout
partners would understand the grieving process that takes place when routines
change but the change was difficult. To combat this, and to fill a
burning desire to keep fit, I finally contacted the CrossFit gym here and began
to work out. I am still a neophyte in the gym, being shy and often
confused by the acronyms used but working out. I am amazed at the support
and friendliness in the gym.
I joined early January,
2013 with my trainer Melanie Rose taking me through the first routines and
familiarizing me with the facility. After attending several CrossFit
classes at different times, I am now pretty comfortable with each class.
Presently, I am trying to develop a routine of classes and free gym to
better experience CrossFit and meet my goals. As important, I have
convinced my workout partner to cross the bridge and try out CrossFit knowing
it will really benefit him.
Recently, I have began to
be able to finish each class. My aerobic capacity has really increased.
I have experienced weight loss with the diet and increased physical
strength already. There is a lot to learn and I am trying to great it all
in. I am trying to lift weights more correctly and gain upper body
strength. To this goal, I try to practice each lift as
"homework" each time I am at that gym. Getting into a correct
routine is my first goal right now; the most important point here is to be
comfortable enough to do the daily workouts on my own! I am getting
there. Remembering names has always been a problem with me, faces I can
recall, names not so good. To repay all those who have helped me in the
gym, I am concentrating on knowing all those names.
Two years ago I had my hips replaced along with many warnings about what not to do in life. Each class in CrossFit brings with it new surprises in mobility which I thought I would never have. The box jumping was the best so far! One routine had us side box jumping. Never would I have thought that I would be able to do this; I was genuinely frightened when I stood beside the box thinking of the consequences of smashing my hip. It was like looking down at the water trying to get up the nerve to jump off one of the cliffs into Lake Superior. I did it and it felt so good! Maybe those around did not realize the significance of the jumps but I did; it gave me the greatest smile. Right now I want to get more fit and try more things, challenge my body and mind. I may be getting older but I am not going to be one of those Ontarians who spend the last 10 years of their life in illness.
I was introduced to CrossFit by Jory Kettles, at the time he was also doing it. He told me that they do a lot of rowing, gymnastics and Olympic weightlifting. I was intrigued because I previously struggled to find a workout that fit me. I tried many different things but I just couldn’t stick with it or I got bored. But now I am completely hooked and I can honestly say I’m a CrossFit junky! The coaches and other athletes made a huge difference for me as well. They all really know how to motivate you and help you push even further!
I started at Catalyst in October of 2012. My first workout was BRUTAL! I think it took me 30+ minutes to finish and I finished dead last, but I had a huge sense of accomplishment and a satisfied smile on my face. I remember Coop asking me “how was it?” and all I could say was “where do I sign up?” Oh yeah, I was sore for days after that WOD but I was excited to do it again. Now that I’m a few months in I can really feel differences mentally and physically. Every day I get a little stronger and I’m not scaling as much as I used to. But the changes aren’t just physical, I am much more confident, happy and zoned in school than ever before! I can see myself doing CrossFit for a long time!
I am working on improving my handstand; I’m still a little tippy, haha. But I also want to get my handstand push ups and a muscle ups. I also struggle with my overhead squats so that’s something I’m trying to better and watch my form on.
I will be competing in the open and I know it’s going to be fun! I’m just using this year as a learning experience and I plan to have a good time with it. So when next year comes around I will be more prepared and know what to expect. I’m also hoping there won’t be another seven minutes of burpees again…….burpees suck.
My favourite CrossFit memory would definitely be “Filthy Fifty”. It has 10 different exercises’ at fifty reps each. It has a lot of exercises’ to it that I really like. It definitely requires some mental grit because fifty burpees at the end really knocks’ a lot out of you! After I finished I felt relief and a sense of accomplishment. That’s when I realized I loved CrossFit!
“A person possessing the natural or acquired traits, such as strength agility and endurance that are necessary for physical exercise or sports, especially those performed in competitive context”.
Well an athlete I am not. It was the summer of 2006 that my BFF (Betty-Lou Mancuso) came up with idea that we should play outdoor soccer in a league run by Catalyst ,which at that time was located on Queen Street. I believe her daughter Coco was involved with Catalyst at the time and she was doing a little recruiting for them.
After playing for the summer I realized that I had neither the skills nor the stamina for this sport so it was decided we would start doing Abs every Thursday evening at the Queen Street site. Now this was more my style. Of course this didn't last long. Before I knew it we had graduated from Abs once a week to Crossfit twice a week. I was getting pretty excited because when I first started I couldn’t even do one sit-up and now I could do 50. This was indeed a personal milestone for me. I was 50 years old and could do 50 sit-ups.
Chris recommended to us the Saturday Group, and said we would really enjoy the workouts as well as the people. Well if anyone knows me you know how much of a people person I am not.
But once I gave in and started going to Saturday group I have never looked back. The people are warm and friendly and no matter what night I went, there is always someone cheering me on to finish.
I will always remember the day I walked in the gym and read that the workout was "Murph". I almost turned around and went home. There was no way I could do this, I would have to make a deal with Chris. Maybe I could do half but of course Chris would not agree to this. 3,2,1 go…….I started jogging, jogging, jogging and before long I had finished my first mile - wow I really finished it…..then came (100) pushups (200) sit ups and (300) squats….. finally finished…. now only 1 mile left. I just kept telling myself it was only a mile you can do it, yes you can do it…..as I rounded the last corner to the home stretch with no feeling from my waist down there was Mike Watson running towards me. When he reached me he turned around and started running to the finish line with me, I think he though I had gotten lost somewhere or perhaps stopped for a drink. He kept telling me, your almost there, don't quit now. I ran into the gym and all the participants cheered me on. I may have been way behind but at that moment I felt like I was the number one WINNER.
I will be doing the various work outs for the Open, but unless they have a category for over 80 I think I will just try to do my own personal best. Chris has persuaded me to compete in a couple of the competitions, but I am more comfortable just going to my weekly classes, with no pressure. I’m sure this doesn't mean that Chris won't stop asking me to compete.
I originally heard about CrossFit when I was living in Ottawa. At that time though it seemed like a thing only meant for hardcore athletes and those that were already extremely fit (I remember hearing about how it was the kind of thing that Navy Seals do). It wasn't until I moved back to the Sault that my CrossFit education truly began. I work with fellow CrossFitter Andrew Oliver, and it is through him that my perspective changed. I would hear him talk about all the different types of things that he was doing; cleans, snatches, thrusters, etc, and wonder, "What ARE all of those?!". The best part of hearing about it through him was the undercurrent of satisfaction/contentment in his voice at rising to meet the challenges that he was facing, or in attempting to meet them. It was then that I knew that I had to try CrossFit for myself; no more with the daily monotony of curls, treadmills, and machines.
I first started at Catalyst in June of last year (2012) during Baseline week. Before I even started my first workout ("Grace") I saw on the website the kind of difference I would be seeing between what I was used to and what I would be facing. Chris had posted an Output Calculator that showed the difference between a typical workout and a CrossFit workout. The difference blew my mind. Before I even got to Grace I was drenched from the so-called "warm up", and wondered if I would be able to get through the ACTUAL workout. Needless to say I made it through, and continue to do so to this day.
This year will be my first Open. I look forward to it with more than a little trepidation, but it should be fun experience.
I don't think I could pick just one "best" memory for CrossFit. Every day that I come in I either accomplish something for myself or I witness others doing the same. I have become an addict, and CrossFit is my fix.
In October 2009, a friend and I enrolled in On Ramp and stayed committed to the morning CrossFit group for about six months until an unrelated injury and a new role at work ‘got in the way’. As much as we can pretend to understand the need for balance in our lives, finding it is sometimes easier said than done and it took me until January 2012 to once again make myself a priority and find my way back to Catalyst and the 7AM group.
One year later, I am working on getting faster and stronger in all areas. More importantly, I am working on getting Chris Hicks (my husband) to walk through these doors and learn to love CrossFit as much as I do. I will sign up for the Open because Coop says that I “will be doing the workouts anyway”. One of the many things I have learned at Catalyst is that there is no point arguing with him (he just reframes things to fool you into thinking you are winning) and he and the other coaches are people you just don’t want to disappoint…even when they use the words ‘seventy’ and ‘burpees’ in the same sentence!
My favourite CrossFit memories come from the personalities and qualities of those I share my morning blood, sweat, tears and snow angels with: Neil’s quick wit and the gun-show t-shirt his children gave him; Ann’s courage and ever-changing ‘tats’; Bridgie’s perseverance and the look on her face when she accomplishes something new; Jess’ contagious smile and mismatched socks which she says make her stronger; Linda’s ‘recuperation’ from injury which translates into ‘coming back soon to kick your butt daily’ and; Fran’s commitment, precision, attention to detail and ability, without knowing it, to push me to do my absolute best. I feel so privileged to be a part of something truly awesome-there really is no better way to start the day!
My Catalyst journey began at the downtown location a few years ago with a ladies group that met once a week. Our coach was Mike Watson. His mission was to make you awesome and that he did. Tuesday nights were our Watson nights and we loved him! He gave us all the training and strength you needed for CrossFit. After almost a year and a half our group was moved to 'The Park'. At first I thought, WTF? but it soon had us making PRs, getting pull ups, doing DU's and flipping tires; getting the true CrossFit experience. We had to say goodbye to Watson but hello to our new leader so fearless, knowledgeable and perfect, she is our Mel Rose. It is because of her I now jump when doing a clean and I know the hollow rock position. Everything she learns she is eager to teach us which makes us better.
I love getting PR's and the excitement you get in pushing yourself, conquering that fear. I love watching the other ladies on the group doing the same.
One thing that Catalyst did for me is bring my sister and I so close that it tears me up with happy. She is the greatest thing I got from CrossFit! I am her biggest fan and I love saying 'SFM', that's my sister!
As for the future I want to feel this way for a long time; to be this healthy person in this great family at Catalyst. I love being able to run, lift heavy things and live life.
Last summer, on a scorching hot Saturday morning, the 9am crew had just finished their warmup when two newcomers walked in for a tour.
I showed them around, and invited them to stay after warning them that the workout was particularly arduous. They stood on the sidewalk, just beyond the giant door, and watched for a half hour. They passed me as they drove away - my face purple, my stride failing as I waved to their car. I thought, "If they come back, they've got guts. This is NOT what I want people to see on their first day!"
They came back. This is Bridget's story.
It was about this time last year that I made the decision to apply to become an officer with the RCMP. Both my husband and I had found out that our respective places of employment were going through structural changes and job opportunities in the Soo were becoming increasingly limited. Becoming an officer is something that I’ve always thought about but I always pushed the idea to the back of my mind or had other dreams I wanted to pursue (like having children). My husband and children have been very supportive of my wish to become an officer and have given me the extra push and guidance I needed to make the commitment to pursue this dream.
I began training at Goodlife but after only a few months it became very clear that I would not reach the fitness level that I needed to in order to meet the physical requirements of the RCMP. A friend of ours is a firefighter in Southern Ontario and suggested we look into crossfit. He and his co-workers were doing crossfit and he told us about some of the advantages it had, especially the group workouts, where you are pushed to your limit.
My husband and I attended at the gym on a Saturday morning to see for ourselves what it was all about. The staff were all very knowledgeable and welcoming and answered any questions that we had. I remember just being amazed watching those who were doing the workout and thinking, OMG I’m never going to be able to do that. I started the very next week and have never looked back.
One of the things I love most about crossfit is how welcoming everyone has been. I have never once felt out of place or have been made to feel that I couldn’t do something. The 7:00 am group pushes me more than they know. When I see them lifting a certain weight or doing an exercise that I’m not sure I can do, I become more determined to try harder and push harder and for that I have to thank them.
I recently completed my first RX workout and that was a big accomplishment for me. Every day I feel stronger, more fit and I cannot believe the amount of energy I have now compared to when I first started. I am going to continue pushing myself, continue working on my endurance and try to perfect some of the skills I have just recently learned (like how to do a double under) and when it is time for me to complete the physical abilities test for the RCMP I will be ready.
One of my favorite crossfit memories so far has been participating in the Crossfit games. I’ve never considered myself an athlete and I had a lot of fun on the team I was with. I don’t think I will ever forget hearing my daughter’s cheer for me, “go mommy, go mommy”. My oldest daughter now wants to be “muscle girl” and I love that they see me as being strong and full of energy.
Note: Mike is now a regular at 7am, too. What a couple!
I would come home and tell Matt how the workout was and what we did and eventually I got him to join me one Saturday morning and he liked it from the beginning!
So far my favourite memory has to be the first time I went. I felt like 'family' right from the start. It was like I had known everyone forever!
As for Matt, his favourite (or not so favourite) memory has to be waking up the next day after the first group workout realizing that he may not be in as good a shape as he perceived himself to be in :)
I am working to improve my overall strength as I am getting ready to return to work from a year of mat leave. My job is physical and I like to feel prepared for whatever is thrown at me!
Matt is working to gain strength and just an overall better fitness level in general.
My goals for the year would be to keep up and hopefully improve my fitness level and maintain a healthy lifestyle. And maybe one day top Matt's personal bests :)
Matt's goal is to establish a workable routine into his schedule to continue to build up his fitness level - and to always stay one step ahead of me :)
I started CrossFit while I was in Thunder Bay this past year completing my MBA degree at Lakehead University. One of my friends had told me about this new workout that he had recently began and how he was really enjoying it, was faced with a different physical challenge each day and how he was getting into really great shape. After my first workout at Superior CrossFit in Thunder Bay I thought I would never be able to walk again. Despite this, I knew I was addicted and that this was a workout regime that I would keep up. Although the pain and physical exertion during each WOD can sometimes seem almost unbearable, I enjoy the fact that I am always surrounded by great people who encourage me to keep going and do my best. I really like the sense of equality and community in the gym; it doesn’t matter if you finish first or last, everyone is there until the end, encouraging others to finish the workout.
Born and raised in Sault Ste Marie, I left the Sault four years ago to pursue academic interests in Thunder Bay. While there, I completed both my undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and most recently my MBA, which I completed this past summer. I’m really enjoying the time that I’m spending in the Sault right now while I search out future career opportunities. I’m very glad that I have had the opportunity to be a part of the Catalyst gym and meet the passionate and energetic people that make this gym a success.
My favorite part of CrossFit is the sense of community at each gym and the great people with tons of energy and optimism. I also enjoy the challenge of each WOD and being able to see the improvements that I am making – whether it be a better time, a heavier lift or a new personal best, I really enjoy seeing myself progress. Since I began Crossfit, I have seen great results – I’ve noticed that my waist is smaller, I’m more lean and the best part is that I have a ton of energy. I also really like the fact that many of the movements and stretches can be done at home and benefit me outside of the gym.
My goals for 2012/2013 are to stay motivated and keep working hard. I also look forward to working on my form and efficiency during workouts and hope to compete in a few Crossfit events throughout the year.
My favorite memory of CrossFit so far is competing in FranFest this past weekend. At one point in my workout, I was so exhausted that I was seeing stars; I thought I wouldn’t be able to continue. If it wasn’t for all the people at Catalyst cheering me on I don’t know if I would have been able to finish that last round of pull-ups. The sense of community at the Catalyst gym is second to none, and I look forward to working out at such a great place each day.
My friend purchased me some sessions as a Christmas gift because she thought I would really enjoy CrossFit. I was extremely hesitant to come out because I hate trying new things and was convinced that I wasn’t in good enough shape. I decided that I would get in shape first and then give it a try. Nearly two years later I was still in terrible shape. My workouts were boring, repetitive and lacked intensity, so I decided to bite the bullet and try a group session. Now am I not only loving the workouts, my friend is no longer giving me the gears for wasting a perfectly good gift.
I really like that the workouts are fairly short, but at the same time very intense. In the past I would spend hours at the gym and barely accomplish half of what I do now, often in well under an hour. I also enjoy the group aspect of the training, as I tend to push myself harder than I normally would.
What I need to work on the most is technique. I haven’t done a lot of lifting in the past and many of the lifts are new to me. When I become exhausted during a workout I think my technique becomes compromised. Although I know this is not uncommon, it is something I would really like to avoid.
Puking after a workout might be my most memorable CrossFit experience so far, although it wasn’t exactly favourable. I can honestly say I have never pushed myself that hard in a workout, so I guess I’m making progress. Also, from what I understand, there is a free hat coming my way.
If you are worried about trying out a new gym or doing something new in general, don’t be. Everyone at Catalyst is extremely friendly and inviting. Don’t worry if you aren’t in good shape. I wasted two years doing crappy workouts because of that way of thinking. During a workout at Catalyst I can guarantee nobody is concerned with how you are performing, but rather each individual is focused on not dying and making it through their own workout.
The reason I joined Crossfit was because I was getting bored of the same routine I was doing at my old gym (goodlife) and realized what I was doing wasn't building functional everyday strength. Going to the gym started becoming more a chore then being fun which is when I new I needed to try something new. I heard about crossfit from friends and online and decided to give it a try.
The thing I like most about it is the intensity of each WOD and workout. I like how it incorporates Strength training and cardio, as cardio was something I rarely did before. Your never doing the same thing 2 days in a row, and every you'll be more sore then your average 3 sets of 10.
Years of working out and I never realized I was so far behind in actual real lifts. But improving everytime. If your stuck in a plateau with your regular routine you will defiantly never have that problem with crossfit. Things I am really focusing are double-unders and snatches.
My favorite crossfit memory so far was getting my first ring muscle up and the Catalyst games. Working out at normal gyms you dont have that drive or need to push harder. Crossfit you get to go in events to compete against other crossfitters, its the biggest adrenaline rush to show off your hard training.
My advice for newcomers would be to never get down on yourself or give up. It will seem different to you at first and you may feel out of your zone or routine, but you will pick it up fast it is definatly worth it. When I first started I told myself I was going to do 1 week crossfit 1 week at my old gym, and I haven't been back to my old gym since the day I started crossfit 4 months ago, thats how much you become addicted!
Any surprises at the Games? Were you prepared to finish 2nd?
Overall biggest surprise of the Games was seeing the 55-year-old Spirit of The Games winner [Betty-Lou Mancuso] hold her chin-up for 2 fricken minutes! When I saw her casually chatting with her judge as she passed my max-effort 53 sec. mark I was stoked!
I didn’t have a certain spot I wanted to finish overall. My focus was definitely just more on trying to do my all-out best on each individual event, having a blast, and participating to help the Northern Ontario CrossFit community grow. The thought of finishing top 3 didn’t even cross my mind until Jon (1st place) told me I was going to win, about 2 weeks before the competition. I guess he forgot about how well he was going to do, hah.
What brought you into CrossFit, and when?
Jon [Balfe] got me into CrossFit in April 2009 when I was toward the end of Grade 10. For me, in public school I could play as much sports and wipe out skateboarding and snowboarding as much as I wanted to and I would never get hurt for longer than 2 minutes. Then when I hit high school, suddenly a bad fall on a snowboard meant a broken wrist or a separated shoulder, and jumping in cold to a track & field practice maybe meant a pulled hip flexor. Grade 9 and 10 were really fun, but physically they kinda sucked because I’d always have something hurting (back, hips, shoulders). I was going to physio twice a week and my body was “a mess” for a 15-year-old.
Then one day after math class, Jon (also my math teacher) said I should stay after school with him and give CrossFit a try. He told me that it would be the best thing I could do for injury treatment and injury prevention, and he was right. Nobody in their right mind does CrossFit just to say they’re doing it. Everybody needs a huge underlying factor to begin it and motivate them to keep doing it. For me, it’s injury prevention. When I’m injury-free, I’m often very happy. When I’m injured, I’m often very grumpy. That’s just the way it is for me. All of my old problems just slowly but surely vanished away after starting CrossFit, and my next 3 years of high school turned out to be way more physically enjoyable. Now I’ll never stop CF’ing so I can keep those problems in the past.
How would you describe the training environment at GP?
Very supportive. Sporadic (which could also describe Jon’s lifestyle and mine). Uncharted for many (with so many movements in CrossFit, there’s always a number of people at GP who’ve never done the exercises we’re doing for that day). Knee-slapping (students and teachers are very creative at CrossFit jokes, and we also overuse all of the Ronnie Coleman lines). We usually always do a strength WOD before the met-con (unless the met-con is Fran) and the strength WOD atmosphere is always just jokes and form critiquing and that, but then for the met-cons the Van Halen usually gets cranked up a couple notches and the game faces go on.
What brought you to CF Sudbury?
Laurentian. I wanted to go away to school for Kinesiology and since Laurentian offers a good program 2 hours from home and at the cheapest price, I figured that was my best option. That being said, I probably wouldn’t have came here if there wasn’t a CF gym or if I really didn’t like the CF gym, but like most affiliates, I love it so it all worked out. It’s also very supportive here and everyone’s super nice. I think I’ll have even more nice things to say about if we upgrade to the new place that Adam’s got in mind that’s 3 times the size (nudge to Adam, hah).
What are you working on next?
My workout schedule for the next 3 or so months is going to be CF Football. They follow a 3-on, 1-off, 2-on, 1-off with rest days on Wednesdays and Sundays, which is perfect for me because I have a heavy day of classes on Wednesdays and I also figured I need the steady weekly schedule while I’m in school so I can get a routine going. In the past I’ve done CFFB with the Collegiate SWOD’s but since I’ve never tried a linear progression strength program before, I decided that I’m gonna try the Amateur SWOD’s for a couple months. Up until 3 weeks ago, I hadn’t done strength sets of back squats in over 18 months because of a pulled hamstring from wide-stance box squats (my only CF injury in over 3 years of doing it, and it was because of bad form). So 3 weeks ago I started the 3x5 Back Squats and found a glaring, glaring weakness. I had a hard time getting through with 205#! So I’m excited about trying to build that up over the next few months, as well as my Bench Press, Shoulder Press, and Deadlift, which are also chinks in the armor for me compared to met-cons and technique lifts. I also figured that it’s a good idea for me to follow a program while I’m starting school here because if I did my own programming like I normally do then I’d end up wasting a lot of valuable time here over-thinking the combo of exercises for the next day.
Favourite CrossFit memory?
Team Event 2 (row/pistol/hang clean) at the Regionals last year. I’m bad at rowing, but pistols and hang power cleans are two of my favourite exercises. There was more energy, effort, roaring, screaming, and crowd participation in that WOD than in any sporting event I’ve ever been in. I did that WOD a couple weeks before the Regionals to prepare for it, and I failed about 5 of the cleans and had to do singles the whole time, and my time was about 17 minutes. But with all of the adrenaline and energy of the crowd at Regionals I was able to do doubles with the cleans and I finished in about 9 minutes. This was because the GP team members who were in the stands next to me were working even harder than us, cheering us through it. Jon, Tina, and Erin each put everything they had into that event too, so it was amazing to watch once my portion was done. It was all smiles for the whole team after that.
Goals for this year?
Survive school, and get in 4-5 workouts every week without getting too behind in class. Last year I placed 40th in the Open, so I think it’s a reasonable goal to try to do better than last year. I would love to get Top 30, but I would also still love it to get Top 60. I’m really happy that we went Team last year, because as Jon said, it was like our culminating project. But obviously now I’m really hungry to try to qualify individually again and actually compete as an individual at the Regionals. But even if the events don’t go my way (like a 5 min. AMRAP of 315# Deadlifts) and I don’t end up placing where I’d like to then that’s fine. If I put everything I’ve got into it, then I’m happy. I’m learning that there’s only one thing in your control in CF competitions, effort. So this year I’m gonna make it a habit of only being truly concerned with doing my own best at all of the Open WOD’s, and hopefully the Regional WOD’s. I see myself performing better with that mindset.
Surprises this year? Jessica [King] was a big surprise. She had finished behind a few of us in the open for the past two years. I was blindsided by her. Sally beating me by a lot in the last wod also was a surprise. Lisa Porco, that girl is strong! There are so many strong women at Catalyst, you never know who's going to step it up.
Three years ago my friend Stephanie kept trying to convince me to try out this really fun gym. We did the "Cindy", my least favourite wod. I was hooked on the first day, there was no turning back.
I love training!! No WOD is too hard unless it's rowing. When a coach says he's going to kill us, I'm thinkng "Oh yeah!" I take two rest days a week, working hard on the other five days. Training with my family makes it more fun and is great conversation around the dinner table.
I'm doing the Green Army training for the next 6 months. The training will be intense but rewarding. Working on my weaknesses will also be a big target.
Fave crossfit memory. Jessica and I fighting for third in the hill run, we were passing each other but she had more fight in her in the end and beat me to the top. We had a good laugh over that.
My goal is to make the team this year. I actually would love to go Individual, l but at the age of 43 I'm not sure I'm being realistic LOL. So I'm aiming to make it to the world games in the 45 year old division in 2014. That means I've got to build great strength and learn to do all my WODs unbroken. Regardless of where I end up, being part of the Catalyst family has been a great journey.
I was very surprised that I came in 2nd.
I hadn't thought about where I would place going in to the Games. A couple of people had asked me over the summer if I was working towards a podium finish and I was caught off guard because where I would place hadn't entered my head at all.
How would you describe your training mentality? I trained hard just for the joy of training. I would have trained this summer even if there were no Games but they were an incentive to stay focused. I definitely would have skipped more work outs if it weren't for the Games. I didn't enjoy every WOD but I really enjoyed my training. I was pretty relaxed going into the Games. My biggest fear was being disappointed with my effort. I didn't want to do less than my best.
What are you working on next? The list of things I want to work on seems endless: strengthen grip, ring dips, strict hspu, burpees, wall ball, thrusters...I want to get more efficient at everything and getting stronger would be great!
Favourite CrossFit memory? I love how CrossFit improves the quality of life for people. I know that it made my life better but seeing a close friend have their life improved over the last year has been really nice.
Goals for this year? I really want get better at running this year. I'd like to get muscle ups. I want to get good at everything!
On July 3, 2009 my 39th birthday I sat contimplating all that I had accomplished in my long list of life goals. I also thought what am going to do with the next 40 years of my life? How am I going to live my golden years? As I thought about my kids growing older I decided that I wanted to demonstrate to myself and my family that I was able to be an ACTIVE participant and not just a spectator in life. I decided that I wanted to learn to get active again. Then came the thoughts about how I would get myself from couch potato to being able to get active.
I was in the lunch room at work the next day and I was explaining my epiphany to my co-workers, Jessica and Trish. They had been working out at Catalyst and really enjoying the pain! Jess was working with Mike to organize a group of co-workers to do a cross-fit class after work twice a week. My interest was peaked, but I had serious doubts about my athletic ability.
After I finished my first class, despite the tremedous pain, I was hooked! Although I must have looked like a fish ot of water, I knew that I could do this and that my future depended on it. I began setting small goals for myself. Mike Watson, was strict and relentless, but his encouragement and weekly challenges were enough to keep me coming back to show him and myself that I could do it. My first goal was to be able to do a real sit up, it took my months to do it but, nothing can describe how exstatic I was when I rocked situps.
By May 2010 I participated in the Mount Maple 5 km walk and to my surprise I finished the whole thing.
After two years doing the modified group with my co-workers, friends and all the family I could recruit, the group was exhausted and Cataslyst on Queen closed. :(
I remember being very sad thinking that I faced going back to being sedentary not having my groups to look forward to. I was forced to make a decision. Do I stop and go back to the couch potato me or do I brave the Industrial Park location where all the the extremely serious, overly fit, and excessively strong cross fitters hung out?
Well with Coop's encouragement, ( the little voice in my head heard saying you can do it), the desire for remaining a part of the Catalyst family won out in the end and I went to see what "the Park" was all about. To my surprise there was a lot of laughter, so much encouragement and support that I soon felt just as at home as I was in our little "special Queen street group".
Before I knew it I was attending the park regularly, meeting all kinds of wonderful people, and my kids felt like they own the place when they walked in. I was back to setting my own small achievable goals and conquering my fears. I was able to lift weights even though my left arm had not functioned since an injury at birth, Whitney came up with a tool to get me doing back squats.
I remember watching my new friends running, lifting, and squating. I would think to myself that will be me too!
Then on Saturday May 18, 2012 I DID BOX JUMPS!!! Real box jumps.
My next mountain to conquer? I want to run the full 5 km run for the Mount Maple and of course I really want to get those Burpees just right.
Really the sky is the limit. I know that I can do what I set my mind to as long as I keep working hard and persevere I can accomplish just about anything.
I would have to say that my best memory would have to be the day I did box jumps, I was struggling at the 12 mark in the 15 box jumps I was supposed to do with my team, I wanted to quit but with all the cheering and chanting I squeaked out the 3 more to get my 15 count for my team. What a feeling, all the positive energy focused on encouraging me and pushing me to continue past the point of exhaustion, I still get chills when I remember this work out.
One thing I want everyone to know is that the Catalyst environment is truly a family adventure and I can't think of a better group of people that I want my children to have as role models than the Catalyst team!
My Catalyst story starts about 4 years ago, after the birth of my third child. I was carrying around extra weight and feeling completely unhealthy. I had tried other gyms, they didn't work for me, I was looking for something else. In the Spring of 2008, I joined a running group at Catalyst. I loved it. It led to my first 5k race and later that year my first half-marathon and sprint duathlon.
The same spring I signed up for personal training and eventually participated in Crossfit classes.
I look back and and realize how far I have come - it really wasn't that long ago that I was scared to do a box jumps; running 400m seemed hard and pull-ups, well they seemed impossible! I love that I see progession in myself from one week to the next, recently I practiced HSPU for about a week straight until I finally could get up on the wall and then begin to complete the HS movement.
I have a long way to go and hope that linking pull ups and conquering double unders are in my near future. I love to push myself hard and to do more and lift more then the time before. I love the feeling of being in the zone during a workout, you know the one where it's about completing the workout and nothing else.
I think the one of the most important things that Catalyst has taught me is to just try things, whether I am good at them at not, try them, practice and get better. Too many times before I wouldn't do something because I might not be good at it. This is only the beginning of my story. Catalyst has introduced me to so many things I would never have thought possible for myself, I'm excited about what the future holds.
The next mountain I want to overcome? 50 double-unders in a row and convince my husband to drink the Catalyst kool-aid.
He has several nicknames: Mule. Theo's Dad. Philsy. Doesn't matter what you call him: you know him. He was our first "Fran" recordholder, and one of the Original Eight along with Whit, Kube, and other future stars. This is his story, in his own words:
Six years ago I had the greatest day in my life, I became a dad. When I was at the park with Theo I started to notice how parents just watched their kids play and didn’t join in. I wasn’t going to be a sideline parent; I wanted to be in the mix. A friend was telling me about Catalyst and how they were starting up a new program and was looking for volunteers, so I made the call and signed up. I don’t remember my first WOD but I do remember how much I hated running up those stairs. So when the Park opened its doors I remember thinking this place has the potential to be something epic, hated or loved, it would be talked about. Saturday morning was the highlight of my week, the group was small and quiet but in time we became known as the Mules. The perfect name for a group that were too stubborn to quit and a force you would have to compete with. This would be my new extended family. It’s what Catalyst is known for, and it’s why I keep going back. The support and encouragement is like no other gym.
If Coop would have said that in just a few years I would be competing in the Ontario Regionals I would have laughed it off saying” it’s not for me”, which I was still saying this year even up to the last event. At thirty-eight years old I’m not
getting any younger but I do feel that I’m getting closer to my potential. Working out for me at the beginning was hard, but once I saw my progress it became addictive. It also helps when you have a training partner with the same goals and motivation, someone who won’t let you get away with a half ass effort or an easy way out, and I thank Eddie for that.
This past year has been my bright spot with my personal accomplishments 2nd in defiance, 2nd (again) in Fran fest, PR’s in my 5k run, and Murph (thanks due to chasing Cam),and of course making the regional team on my own accord. I guess I’m doing something right.
Asked what I want by summers end? I would love to get my 415 lbs. deadlift back. I know my real weakness to overcome is my shoulder flexibility having that would bring my game to the next level.
Friday May 11th Canada East regionals in Toronto will be my pinnacle of 4 years of Crossfit, “Once more into the fray, into last good fight I’ll ever know”.
What brought me to Catalyst? It was the culmination of a lot of things. First off, I just wasn't as healthy as I used to be. I used to consider myself "in shape" (Note that pre-catalyst definition of "in shape" vastly differs from my current definition) but found that I couldn't run as far or as long as I used to. Biking and hiking (activities I enjoy in my spare time) took more out of me than they used to as well. 7 years working a desk job and eating crap all day were taking their toll. A good friend of mine (Richard Belair) was getting married to Allison Dalton. We had been talking about getting a gym membership in order to get 'in shape' for a while (work gives us a discount at Goodlife) but motivation was hard to come by. For myself it was because I'd never really been to a gym... ever. I found the idea of trying to do something I had never done before, in front of a tonne of people I didn't know intimidating to say the least. Allison had tried crossfit before and recommended the OnRamp program. We figured we didn't really have much to lose so we gave it a shot... I've been hooked ever since.
My favorite part of Catalyst has got to be the community. I think everybody feels this to some degree. I remember the first Saturday with OnRamp. The entire week we had been at the gym on Queen street with just the six of us. Saturday was our first day at the park (well for me anyway). I was surprised that everybody was just so normal... I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't this. Everybody was just kind of hanging around, chatting about regular things. As expected Mel broke us all up and mixed us in with the regular group. Goodbye comfort zone. But when the WOD started and everybody was yelling for everybody else, you just felt like the whole box was behind you. That kind of motivation makes you forget all about nerves.
OnRamp to Crossfit just seemed like the next step. I remember doing a lot of reading. The philosophy was sound and I liked learning about everything I was doing. I noticed a huge improvement in my endurance just in those first few weeks, recovery time was getting faster (the near-crippling pain wasn't nearly as horrible as it was the first week). It seemed silly to just go back to my regular sedentry lifestyle. I guess what it all came down to was that I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the challenge, the competition (even if it was mostly with myself) and I enjoyed the results. As for competing in the open there was never any question. I started OnRamp in July and everybody was still talking about the 2011 Crossfit Games. A month and a half down the road and we had our own catalyst games locally. I had the good fortune of hesitating when Coop asked me if I was in (I was considering just coming to watch) and he said "If it takes you that long to think about it, you're in". Challenge accepted. When the time for the 2012 open came about, I knew I was going to compete. I saw this more as an opportunity to learn about my weaknesses in a competitive environment.
I was going to say linking pullups, but I think the biggest highlight so far is HSPU. The first time I touched down and actually came back up to full extension without falling down was great. Hell, the first time I could actually spring into a handstand against the wall was almost equally fantastic. I'm still not good for that many in a row, but it's something I work on in fairly regular intervals.
Something I want to do at the end of the summer? I bet you think I'm gonna say "muscle up". Well, I do want that muscle up - but I also want unsupported handstands and handstand walks. Everytime I think of something I want, there's another two or three things that come to mind that I also want. I guess I'm just not good at setting goals. Either that or I'm greedy.
There was once a commercial with the line “You were in my class”, “No, I was your teacher”. That’s where my Catalyst story begins. Tyler was enrolled in an Additional Qualification course for teachers for which I was the course director. One day I asked him for some basketball pointers. In reality, it was an interview of sorts. He passed the test and so began my adventures with Catalyst. After a few e-mails, he became my trainer (or Captain Motivator as he referred to himself at one point).
My journey began in May 2010. I have to confess, the idea of being at “the Park” freaked me out a lot. That’s where the real athletes trained, not someone like me. I began personal training with Ty. No gym membership for me. I wasn’t brave enough to go there all by myself. Ty e-mailed me homework and I would do it at home or in the weight room at school when no one else was in the building. He noticed that I really liked lifting and during the summer asked me about participating in a virtual meet the following November. He also told me about “Barbell Betty’s” that was going to begin in the fall, leading up to the meet. This was my first group experience. (I felt like the smart kid in the class, skipping Betty’s 1 and 2 and jumping straight to 3!) Up until then it was one on one only for me. I met so many great people and used the gym membership that came with it to complete my homework. I was now part of “the family”. Betty’s 3 focused on powerlifting and although height wise I fit with the ladies, weight lifting wise Ty placed me with the guys. November 2010 was a big month for me. I competed in a virtual meet (something I never in my life would have thought of doing) and had my heavy back squats DQ’d for depth. As disappointing as that was, the following week I beat it anyways. 330 deadlift, 300 back squat, 135 benchpress all in 6 _ months. As I think back those were my best 6 1/2 months at Catalyst. When I say that, it’s from a physical perspective. In those few months my body changed a lot. I was building muscle and dropping clothing sizes. 3-4 sizes! I felt great mentally and physically! I had found that sense of balance and was no longer a “work-a-holic”. I was on the road to discovering the new me and finally winning the battle of weight loss.
And then came December. Turn the Tide was a blast even with a nasty chest cold, which I later learned was pneumonia. This is where the easy road changes into one full of bumps. In the 7 months that followed I was treated for pneumonia twice and battled a lingering illness until June. During that time the people at Catalyst and Coop specifically, were more important that ever. They were my emotional support and helped keep me going. I still made it to the park when I had enough energy and Kath Fryia (my CrossFit hero!) was my partner for Fran! (Another step outside of my comfort zone). In March came Murph. Still under the weather, I completed Murph running/walking on the treadmill and with peppermint tea by my side. Doing the modified workouts were a real mental challenge. I had to do everything in my power not to beat myself up over how “wimpy” I felt they were. I remember an e-mail from Coop, helping me through it. He began with an analogy about rats in water and linked it to competing in an internal powerlifting meet/marathon every day just to survive physically. It was difficult for me to drag myself to the Park. The wall where my records were written tormented me daily and reminded me of what I could no longer do. There were many days where my goal was to hold back tears of disappointment and frustration and other days where I just lost it. (Thanks to all of you who have been there for me over and over!) That’s when the camera came out! It started with the Open and then anything and everything going on I was going to capture – Defiance, Regionals, Fight on Friday, Catalyst Games … If I couldn’t compete I was going to capture the moments for those who were. Everyone loves seeing pictures of themselves doing awesome things and that’s what goes on at Catalyst. Pure Awesomeness!
As my energy returned so did the intensity and weights of my WODs. I was back at it! I was hitting PRs with bench press, front squat, overhead squat, clean, snatch … I was back!!! In University I participated in a running clinic and had always wanted to run again so when spring came I joined the running group that Mike was coaching. Sadly, I had to bow out because of illness …. again. That was tough and I had to convince myself that I was not quitting or giving up. On a positive note, it helped me to be ready for the Non-Annual Bar River Bucketlist Marathon where I ran-walked the 6 km loop on July 1st. Once again I was winning! (Thanks to Meagan for the pat on the back during one of my walking breaks and the encouragement to keep going!) The plates were back on the bar and I was finally feeling strong again. Then comes August. Walking in the sand after a great summer paddle, I twisted my knee. The more I did the less I could ignore it. Can you imagine my reaction when my physio said “No lifting, no carrying weights, no extra weight on the knee for a few weeks!”? I mastered the art of all things seated, including shoulder press and one legged KB swings. (Thanks Esther for the tips!) I even participated in the Catalyst Games! Instead of participating in all of the events I participated in only one, but it’s more than all of those people who did not participate at all! And who can forget the 1889 pictures!!!
Reality has set in that the knee is not going to get better on it’s own and now I wait for it to get “fixed”. Much has changed since those “glory days” of heaving lifting. The weight once lost has been found again and those 4 sizes of clothes now sit in bins waiting to be worn again. It’s frustrating and disappointing, especially when I look back at the pics from Fran 2010 vs Fran 2011. But I’m not ready to throw in the towel. In the mean time, there have been so many things at Catalyst for me to do and to continue making me feel like “an athlete”. Tag Team Fran with Charity, the Women’s Only Clinic at SSMMA, kick boxing for martial arts (way outside my box and I often felt like the slow kid in the class, but fun none the less), spending a lot of time working on upper body strength and building strength in my legs to make rehab easier after surgery. I’ve hit new bench press, snatch and shoulder press records. I’m helping out with Move-a-matics, implementing Ignite in my classroom, heading to Regionals again to cheer (and take pictures). I’ve started participating in CrossFit groups, often modified, starting with the quiet Friday night group and moving on to the rowdy Saturday Morning group WODs.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the family at Catalyst it’s that everyone accepts you for who you are and genuinely cares about you. You’re not a membership number or an unknown. You’re tagged with a nickname, or many, out of affection (Parnz, Parnzy, Parnz and Noble …). The family has stood beside me through thick and thin (literally!) I can’t imagine not being around the amazing people at Catalyst and some days I go more for the socializing than the workout. I still HATE doing WODs for time and AMRAPS but I’m doing them more and more. I even did my birthday WOD “Parnz” rx’d and for time (men’s deadlift weight – perhaps I should follow the advice I give students to read the instructions first …. Oops!). I continue to grow and learn more about myself and the person I can and want to be. Catalyst is so much more than a gym. I can’t imagine being anywhere else!
When you're starting on your fitness journey - or looking to progress from P90X or bodybuilding routines into CrossFit - a solid foundation is critical.
Our mission at Catalyst is built around teaching: proper technique; proper use of your own body; proper eating to fuel tough workouts and help you get leaner and healthier.
We've earned the trust of physicians, chiropractors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, professional athletes, their coaches...and hundreds of local people who want to make long-term change in their lives. That change starts here: with a new perspective, a new expectation, and a new exercise habit that you won't want to quit.
Most of our clients start with Personal Training. One-on-one attention is the best value for your time (and money) spent. An elite Catalyst Trainer has years of experience; a minimum four-year degree; and the right tools to get you to your goals as efficiently as possible. In any case, it's free to chat with a Catalyst Trainer, and review all the options open to you in person. Feel free to choose a time that matches your schedule, using the link above; browse the credentials of the Trainers, and choose your preference. We're ready to help.
For some, change starts with OnRamp. In small groups of three or four people, you're rebuilt from the ground up. On the first day, you'll learn how to squat properly - the most basic of human movements, but still performed incorrectly by most adults. If you've ever heard the phrase, "squats are bad for the knees...." you can take comfort in the knowledge that it came from someone who hasn't yet learned to squat properly. Good squatting comes from the hips, and can SAVE your knees: just one small example of the treasure trove that is OnRamp.
Over six one-hour sessions with an elite Personal Trainer in a private space, you'll progress from a basic squat to the full-on calorie-spitting, energy-busting, graceful ballet of the barbell that is the Clean. You'll learn new exercises each day; do a tough (but short) "boot camp" style workout; talk about nutrition, physics, and our philosophy of exercise; and progress at the speed of the group.
We keep group sizes small and affordable so that we can get you started the RIGHT way: with good habits, a huge knowledge bank, and in a space where it's okay to make mistakes. Coaches Coop, Whit, and Mel have years - decades, in some cases - of experience with all manners of future athletes - from the very beginner to the very advanced.
This isn't CrossFit. If you want it to be, though, it's the best starting point to CrossFit you can find. From OnRamp, you can easily go right into our mainstream CrossFit program; find an area of specialty that you enjoy, like Barbell Bettys or Enduro; continue with more Personal Training; or, simply, repeat OnRamp again and again for half price!
Three weeks. Solid habits. A (very) different outlook. Book your sessions to match YOUR schedule.
You may register online here. Or give us a call, anytime: 705-256-1344. Don't have anyfriends to join with you? We'll provide them (and they're yours to keep forever!) Email email@example.com.
Below: a video of Chris Cooper talking about the start of Catalyst; our philosophy; and a bit of our history:
Ready to start? You can download a printable waiver and bring it with you, if you like.
Would you like a preview of our food guide? It's downloadable, too:
On her first visit, things didn't go too well. She hated CrossFit.
On her second visit, we talked a bit about Bright Spots, and the Zone, and Paleo, and other stuff that fills the spaces when you're working with a Personal Trainer and struggling to breathe.
On her third visit, she brought a picture of her wedding dress. Also, a couple of friends. We stuck the dress up on the wall (you likely saw it.) We reviewed Bright Spots (Sarah's first was kipping!) and chose a few for the future.
She's different now. No longer the scared blonde with a stiff back, Sarah's a genuine leader among her friends. She was the first to get double-unders; the first to triumph over the brain-tripping plyo box; the first to have a great deadlift; the first to show for a Catalyst event; the first to call the others and drive them to the gym. Tomorrow, a new exercise: Aisle Walking. She'll make that slow trek to meet Eric (above, all-around nice guy and fast squatter!) and complete the trip to her NEXT starting line.
Great finish, Sarah. Happily ever after!
Skill: kettlebell snatch
Strength: Deadlift 5-5-3-3-1-1
If you've never met Shane Gillespie, you soon will: he's the always-smiling post-WOD greeter around the Park. He turns up in the midst of every event, and it's easy to mistake his relaxed attitude for one of noncompetitiveness. That's usually why you don't anticipate him passing you...until it's too late. Behind the grin is a steel will; he just. doesn't. stop. ever. This is his take on the Catalyst Games 2011:
My start at Catalyst was to a group class in January 2010 and I had bought a 16 class punch pass. My wife and some of her friends had joined a group coached by Watson and she said I would love it, it is so much fun! I managed to convince a friend of mine to try it with me and I remember Tyler punishing me with a smile for an hour. It seemed so much easier on the wall then when I was gasping for air in the end. I went off and on through the year, participated in Fight on Friday 2010 and the Midnight 5k run but didn’t make Crossfit my top priority at the time. I remember at the end of FGB think to myself ‘You are in terrible shape!’ That was the wakeup call and I started working out with my wife a few days a week. In December I started the monthly membership and attending a group class once a week. The coaching at the group classes is amazing, I think the individual instruction and corrections help me learn movements correctly and the people in the group make it fun. I am also in the Running Group where I think I have made huge gains in running ability and endurance.
This is my first year competing in the Catalyst games and I am excited to give it a try. In preparation for competition I have competed in Defiance,Murph, Fight on Friday, the Mountain Maple, Midnight 5k run and Ray’s marathon.
My goal is simply to compete at the Rx level and complete every event. Sounds simple, but depending on the events, it will be challenging.
I love events with running, three rounder’s and WOD’s with 3 or four movements. I have achieved many PR’s in the past few months being in my infant stage of Crossfit and I love the challenge of trying to beat my previous times and weights. I still find the five round WOD’s and the 30 minute plus WOD’s a mental challenge. I am still chasing my first elusive muscle up, still fighting with over head squats and slowly getting better at handstand pushups.
My perfect day at the Catalyst Games 2011 will be finishing every event at the Rx level. I am my only competition and I will challenge myself to achieve my best results possible.
I wasn't an athletic kid.
Sure, I played sports. In an elementary school class containing 17 boys - of which 16 were on the St. Joe hockey team - you didn't spend a lot of recesses reading in the library. But I had close to zero hand-eye coordination. I was weak. I preferred to spend evenings playing computer games, rather than practicing hockey in the yard. My parents weren't unsupportive; they dutifully drove me to hockey all winter, and baseball in the summer. We had a driveway that was nearly a quarter-mile long, and I rode my bike all over the place. But I was never a risk-taker. I never tried out for elementary school volleyball or basketball teams. I never pursued hockey past the point when making the team was an automatic.
CASS has an unbelievable intramural program. On your first day of high school, you're 'drafted' to one of four houses: Kings, Knights, Aces, and Panthers (I was a Panther. So was Robin.) After a quick tour of your classes, you were drug into the gym for a pep rally for your House; you were told the traditions; you were sold the Story. Panthers, for instance, win by attrition: since Intramural points are accumulated by attendance, not just wins, we simply overwhelmed the other Houses with our attendance. That meant peer pressure to show up, no matter your competitive showing.
Every morning in homeroom, a House rep would visit and post the day's Intramural events on the chalkboard. They'd push you to sign up for next weeks' Intramural events. They honestly CARED if you showed up or not. Early on, I had a habit of signing up for everything and showing up for nothing; I was berated in homeroom for losing points for the Panther House. So I showed up.
Gradually, I overcame the fear of not winning: of losing in front of friends, girls.... I didn't train myself to lose, but I became adept at handing loss. This is maybe the most important part of Intramurals: frequent exposure to stuff you're just bad at. And I was more exposed than anyone, believe me.
There are a thousand years between here and there, spanning different athletic pursuits (racquetball in college, racing mountain bikes afterward, competing at Powerlifting for 4 years after that) but I never felt like an athlete. The 'team' aspect aside, none of those sports produced the type of well-rounded athlete I desired to be: ready for anything. Even while I was training on the mountain bike and THEN "working out" for up to 2 hours a day (doing a typical bodybuilding program - useless) I was never really "in shape." Powerlifters are incredibly strong, and I may never be that strong again; but even at 205lbs, I couldn't run 400m. Even though I had been a 'personal trainer' for twelve years, I had no appreciation for REAL fitness when I started CrossFit in 2008.
In 2009, we competed at the CrossFit Ontario Challenge. This was before the 'Sectionals' qualifier for the CrossFit Games. It was NOT a normal athletic competition. This is form, function, and fear tossed in a blender an set on 'chop.' Equal parts ballet and bulldozing. The precise art of the wrecking-ball.
These were honest-to-God athletes. Kickboxers, rowers...all united by the commonality of CrossFit. Fitness, stripped down to its rawest form, and pushed into the margins of "too much, too far, too fast." They were strong - a 255lbs deadlift, done 80 times in 10 minutes, is strong. They were fast - we saw a 400m rip that took around 1:00 flat in a WOD, done in tennis shoes. We weren't the first ones to ask about the puke bucket. We weren't last place; thank heaven; we weren't even out of place.
If you've never been a competitive athlete before, you can. That door is open again. There's a new opportunity to develop, dream, strive, reach. There's a whole new playing field. Best part: we have intramurals three times per day. Something different every day, but always an event; always an arena, not just a fitness centre. Catalyst has built me as much as I've built it, and more.
If you could go back.... if you could start over, in a NEW sport, and become a force; would you do it? Is it enough to push hard in the Mens' Beer League and relive old glory in the changerooms? Ten years from now, will it be "okay" that you let your youth slip, when you could have maybe run a mile in 5:00, or deadlifted 400lbs, or learned to do a handstand?
Hey, I started late. If I can do it, you can. I'll prove it to you: if you're doing CrossFit now - even if you've just begun - sign up to do the Intergalactic Throwdown or Defiance in February, and Murph in March. Chances are, you won't finish in first place. But chances are equally good that you won't finish in last place, either. And you'll be hooked. You'll have cleared a bar that most don't dare approach, and THAT is successful. Showing up an athletic event MAKES you an athlete, not the other way around.
CrossFit Ontario Challenge 2009. The guy in front of me is Cris Cristini, who did 17 rounds of 5 deadlifts (255) and 5 burpees in 10 minutes to win the event.
By the way, our House still wins because we show up with the most people!
Coach Whitney is at CrossFit Regionals competing today! CrossFit Regionals is a national-level competition of the fittest athletes in the world. She qualified at CrossFit Sectionals in Toronto in March; if she's one of the top two fittest females in Canada, she'll go to the CrossFit Games at the Home Depot Centre in California at the end of June.
The athletes she'll meet are among the most elite 60 women in the nation. While the sport hasn't yet hit its popularity peak, it has grown exponentially since 2007, when 70 athletes competed in Aromas, California. This year, over 30,000 athletes will compete just to qualify; three years ago, you could have merely shown up.
The movie, Every Second Counts was about a half dozen athletes as they trained for the gruelling 2008 CrossFit Games. Of those athletes - many of whom finished in the Top 10 - only two have qualified for the event this year. The calibre of competition is rising with the sport's popularity, and athletes from other disciplines are being attracted by the promise of the best test of all-around athleticism in the world.
CrossFit Games 2010 has attracted some major sponsorship, landed a massive venue (it was the original site of the X Games,) and wil be streaming live over the internet.
Athlete profiles, standings, live streaming events from various qualifiers, and results are all available at the CrossFit Games site. This weekend, several of us will be doing the same challenges as Whit, just to see how we'd measure up. One more note: Catalyst Athlete and summer Intern) Josh Deluco finished third in Ontario, but was unable to attend Regionals because of a tight football schedule. Not to worry - he's onl wenty - he'll be back in 2011!
Wanna think about competing? The Catalyst Games is Sept. 11, 2010, at the gorgeous Roberta Bondar Pavilion on the waterfront in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
Day Two of, "A Day In Whit's Shoes!"
4 rounds for time of:
35 wall balls (20/14lbs - to 10 foot target)
20 chinups - chin over vertical plane
"You can listen to me, or you can die."
Those were her doctor's words. But now, hunched over her collapsed body in her tight hallway, her doctor was far away. I made eye contact with one of the Paramedics: he knew the truth, too.
"Your doctor told you to drink that?" he asked, drawing a curtain of professionalism over his incredulity. He nodded toward her jug o' juice, the main part of her diet for the last two weeks. To her, it was medical science: 1000 calories a day of Space Tang, a mathematical miracle. To us, it was a Carbohydrate Cowboy with an itchy trigger finger. Having a diabetic lose weight on a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet seemed to defy logic. But, then again......doctor said!
They took her away in an ambulance. Again. To Big-E Emergency. Again. Protesting, again. To be prescribed few calories, no fat, and rigid adherence. Again. Hey, it works for everyone else, right?
On the porch with her son and grandson, I couldn't hold my tongue. Maybe my message of research and logic and overreliance on 1970s technology was lost in my shocking use of profanity. Maybe, but I'd had enough. After sprinting my fastest 400m ever to find my mother-in-law, sweating and fighting for consciousness on her low-pile carpet, I was ready to say my piece.
Patricia's doctor, you see, had never told her there was a third option. There's always a third option. In this case: 3) ...or you can do something else.
They'll call it improving impaired glucose sensitivity. They'll call it improved glucagon/insulin balance. They'll call it restabilization of fasting blood sugar. We'll call it walking. For now. Later, we'll call it walking with a little more.
They'll call it a low-carb diet. We'll call it better balance of protein, carbohydrate, and healthy fats.
It's clear, now, that it won't be possible to change the medical system from the inside. You'll need to look outside the traditional 'medical' world for help: and that's scary, isn't it? There's just as much bad information out there as good information. But we're going to help, and we're going to do it in a big way. More on that tomorrow.
Today, though, Patricia is still using a hospital bed. After spending her first night in a hallway, alone, she was finally given a room. The next day, Grammy's shoes were stolen. Yesterday, doctors gave her medications checklist a serious overhaul......and no one mentioned exercise. Dietitians visited last week, and gave her a book about the DASH diet (low sodium) - an excellent idea to treat the symptoms of congestive heart failure, but not the causes.
Who's at fault? The system. The 'funnel' paradigm - intake, process, output - is a defensive model. It's reactionary. To make it worse, the funnel's overflowing. Your best bet is to avoid the process. We'll talk about that tomorrow, too. "Get Well Soon" is can't just be a greeting-card cliche anymore; it's a social imperative.
She thought she was a beginner.
She believed that, as a novice, she was starting from ground zero. That she'd have to learn everything from scratch.
But she's been doing "from scratch" for a long time already. Jessica King, non-exerciser, already had all the habits of the elite: dedication despite boredom. An expectation of hard work, not perfection. The ability to shrug off the previous day's win or loss, and focus on the task at hand.
Jess had to follow the "specific carbohydrate" diet for over a year. Visiting friends for dinner, she'd pre-cook her own meal and carry it along. While others dove headfirst into the Carbohydrate Culture of Sault Ste. Marie, she settled for spaghetti squash.
We didn't turn Jess into an athlete; the pump was already primed. The lid was loosened. The engine was revved. Rather than give a push, we just released the clutch. In her own words:
Honestly, I can’t say I really had any intentions when I started. I’ve always been pretty low energy and I was tired of feeling tired. Since I was already very diligent about my diet, the only thing left to try was exercise. I had no desire to join any of the other fitness clubs and Bryan was already a member, so I ended up at Catalyst.
2) what's the hardest part?
The hardest part for me is breathing! I also really struggle with kips and I hate the blisters I get. I have a really hard time with pullups (prone rows). I also find it difficult to organize my schedule to make sure I fit in all my homework. Whether or not I fit my workouts in depends on the night before. I need to be in bed early and I have to get everything ready before the morning or I won’t make it.
3) where have you excelled (for instance, what came easy to you?) Since I am new, I don’t feel that anything came easy to me. Some things were definitely harder than others. The squats killed me at the beginning but they are definitely getting easier. I don’t really know if I excelled at anything in particular.
4) What skill would you like to spend more time on? I would like to practice kipping more. I really don’t like it because I find it hard. The only way to like it is to get better.
5) any events you'd like to do in 2010 (Murph, Baseline Week, Heroes Week, FranFest, Fight On Friday, Catalyst Games, midnight 5k?)
I should be able to try Murph and I would like to try Fight On Friday but it all depends on what else is going on.
...what else would you like to add?
I would like to add that I never thought I would enjoy my workouts so much. They are my favorite part of the day. It is something I do for just for me. They benefit no one else. During the 20 minutes or so that I am there, I can’t worry about anything except my next breath. I find it truly relaxing. (I bet no one else told you your workouts are relaxing!) I can’t wait to see what else I can learn to do.
Nearly a year ago, Sebastien Wetzel was the feature of an article in the CrossFit Journal. The essay was a good insight into the training of a high-level athlete who faces a different learning process than most.
But the essay also got Sebastien a lot of fans.
And so, when 'Baba' - to his family and friends - showed absolute glee at a bench press PR in the below video, you could hear the cheering all the way downtown. Kids with autism aren't supposed to care, right? This video shows the pride that can come only from accomplishment. We all feel it; kids with autism aren't supposed to be able to demonstrate emotion Right?
Long before I met Ted, I knew him by reputation: talking to his oldest kid (Brent) about mental imagery years ago, he said, "yeah, my dad did that stuff with us since we were kids." He's produced some of the best athletes to come out of the Sault. He's been a big part of the foundation of Sault wrestling for decades. He's a great athlete (ask him to show you handstand pushups on the parallettes when you see him at the Park.) And he still washes the mats, too.
So when "Coach" Fryia emailed me this essay last night, I thought, "this will be a great post....next week." After all, it's Heroes Week. There's a lot of new content on our site already. But then, as I caught myself changing my facebook status to quote Ted, I knew I had to get it out there today. Enjoy.
When one thinks of an insurance bureaucrat, the picture that often comes to mind is of someone sitting in an office overlooking Bay Street in Toronto in his over-stuffed white shirt. He’s probably chomping down on a jelly doughnut and poking at the number pad on his computer, doing his actuarial duty, creating some new statistical pattern to justify jacking up our rates. Or maybe it’s some other guy who denies payment on a claim because of some missed fine print. But I bet it’s never of someone who might have saved a life.
It wasn’t for me either. Not until recently. Not until my life insurance company informed me, through the mail no less, that they were cancelling my life insurance policy. The reason stated in the letter was something about the presence of an irregular heartbeat, indicated on the echocardiogram I’d had during a physical. That’s ridiculous, I thought. How could they do that to me?! Didn’t they know I was an athlete – at one time? Didn’t they know how many kilometers I used to run every week? Didn’t they know what I once bench pressed when I was only 155 pounds? And even if they didn’t, surely someone who’d never met me didn’t have the right to make such a judgment.
While my wife urged me to call my doctor to get more information and send a letter to the insurance company, I did some digging around of my own. And that’s when I discovered the real reason that doughnut addicted shirt looked at that ECG printout then stamped CANCELLED across my file. It was sloth. Not his – mine! Over the years my inner sloth had convinced the rest of me to follow the path of least resistance. You work hard, you’ve got a family to take care of and there’s no time for anything else, it kept saying. At first I battled. But eventually the battle turned into nothing more than a shoving match. And truth be known, after a while I wasn’t even pushing back all that hard.
In hindsight, I wonder where that disciplined self, the one that used to bully sloth mercilessly, had limped off to. Why didn’t it tell sloth to hit the bricks, and let it be known that to take care of your loved ones you’ve got to take care of yourself. But sloth had teamed with pride. And pride was still living in the past where it was too arrogant to consider what it was seeing in the mirror, and that the lack of energy it was experiencing was only temporary – if it did something about it.
And you’d think living in my house, with sons who are both athletes of some repute, and with who it looks like fitness will be life long, would have motivated some part of me to change course. The constant ribbing about “being on the program”, but not sticking with it, the comments about getting older, then the callouts, “I think I can take you now”, should not even have been necessary. But they had little effect, other than to kick start a volley of wisecracks, usually ending with pride getting in on the banter and telling them how “we might just have to old-school ‘em”. But deep down I knew, if a tournament ever broke out in my house, third place was as good a finish as I could hope for. And since my wife, Katherine, had been working hard herself, beginning a couple of years ago with personal training sessions and recently becoming one of the Barbell Betties, maybe fourth place was more realistic. And of course there’s Lisa, Brent’s significant other, the daughter we never had: maybe fifth place?(right: old-school 'em!)
A terrible family history of high blood pressure and heart disease was not something my inner sloth even cared about. But the wake-up call from the insurance company, to be frank, scared me more than a little. That’s when some other part of me, that old prideful and stubborn part, got into it. There was no way sloth and someone who squeezed numbers for a living was going to make decisions about my future. It was time to push back. Hard!
I was familiar with the crossfit philosophy. It had been a staple of my training when I was young: the intensity of crossfit and its total body concept is just about the closest you can get to high level wrestling training. And my early visits to Catalyst confirmed what the rest of my family had been saying; super staff, the right atmosphere, right approach and a lot of great and inspirational people are what make it the right fit. And the place to old-school that inner sloth.
In the beginning, I started slowly. There was a part of me that was still holding back – not going all out. Knowing myself, I was concerned with starting back with a 20-something year old mindset and this 50-something year old body. And there was the doctor’s warning to, “not overdo it”. I also worked to keep my natural competitiveness in check for the first six or eight months, but as time went on I had sloth on the run, and the hesitation that held me back was losing its grip.
I think I turned the corner on the day of Franfest. Until then I hadn’t pushed to whatever my limit had become. Even getting ready the weeks before – learning and practicing the butterfly kip – I never attempted to hit top end. But that would change.Going in that morning I knew there would be no holding back. Waiting my turn, I was not only caught by the wave of energy in the building, I was truly inspired by the others who went before me, and none more than my own wife, Katherine, who pushed so hard through her sets despite the fact that the weight she was using was too heavy. Even though I was frustrated with not being able to string as many butterfly pull-ups together as I thought I should, I pushed across that personal threshold and to my limit. And my time? I didn’t get a look at the clock before I began, so I might have done Fran in – under a minute?
Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a stolen joke, but I feel as if, with an assist from an insurance bureaucrat, I’ve stolen a portion of my life back – at least a better quality to it. So now I’m planning on making my sixtieth birthday the new thirty. I’ve even got a special 60th birthday workout planned for that day – at Catalyst in 2015. If you’re around, join me.
Her name is Ann Piscopo. This is her story.
A random act committed out of boredom has changed my life - hopefully forever. I clicked on some 'junk mail' I had in my Inbox from some place called 'Catalyst'. I did a virtual tour of the site. On impulse, I booked myself a FREE one-hour consultation with someone unknown to me - a guy named Chris Cooper - nothing to lose right?
Boy was I wrong! After my first personal training session with Cooper I almost lost the ability to move! Every mucle I didn't know I had was burning with pain. That's when I knew - that despite a gentle ackground of joging, cycling, cross-country skiing, and a bit of swimming - I knew there was a looong way to go before I could really consider myself fit.
And at 50, I want to get fit! The results speak for themselves. My general energy level and sense of well being is higher, my eating habits have improved, and I am once again excited about fitness.I'm not going to lie, it's intimidating going to a gym where folks can do handstand pushups, pullups, Olympic style weight lifting, and flip massive tires - for time, but is that going to stop me from getting involved and eating my share of humble pie? No way. Bring it!!
We frequently refer to CrossFit as, "The Sport of FItness." The discipline requires to to think and behave like an athlete; to plan your day and your eating according to the events planned for that day. Like no other fitness model, it requires you to do things on purpose.
This is a major lifestyle change for most people. Most people, for example, don't eat strategically to improve performance. Most people have no reason NOT to eat Shreddies for breakfast and say, "good enough!" Most people have no reason NOT to listen to Dr. Phil, or not to believe the Part-Of-This-Balanced-Breakfast! lie that allows us to fool ourselves to death.
Jeremy Paquin is not most people. Jeremy's an athlete.
Ask him to name his sport, and he'll hesitate. He's an adventure racer, yes; he's also a hockey player, cyclist, endurance runner..... and CrossFitter. I asked Jeremy for his impressions of CrossFit the sport:
1. Most people here know you; can you quickly outline your competitive background?I
played hockey competitively until age 16, went away to play junior only
to return home a month later to focus on my grades. In my early 20's I
began to spend more and more time in the mountains and woods, which
then evolved into a healthy addiction to running and adventure racing.
2. Are you doing mostly CrossFit now, or are you supplementing with other stuff?
I am trying to balance CrossFit with running and mountain biking in the summer months, and skiing and hockey in the winter.
3. Competitive events planned for 2009/2010:I
enjoyed the four major 2009 events that I competed in so much that I
may repeat the same: Run the Great Lakes; Frontier Adventure Challenge;
8 Hours Superior Singletrack; and the CrossFit Games.
4. At CrossFit events, do you feel greater pressure to perform, given your athletic background?
Personally, I find the competitive spirit to CrossFit is greatly internalized. I am competing against myself, the clock, and perhaps with age itself.
5. Do you find that you have to change technique on exercises (ie pullups) to do better at CrossFit?
am constantly thinking about efficiency of movement, whether I am
carrying a sandbag, scrambling to the top of a muddy trail, or throwing
weight around. The thought of "technique" often preoccupies my mind
during the most grueling or mundane activities.
6. What's your opinion on CrossFit as a sport on its own?
I bumped into a childhood friend of mine. I hadn't seen him for perhaps
more than a decade. However, we are friends on facebook so he had
viewed images of my latest endeavours (including the large collection
of Crossfit Games photos). Within minutes of striking up a
conversation, he asks: "So what is this voodoo you've been doing?" I
chuckled, somewhat uncomfortably, to the thought of a long lost
childhood friend viewing me as some kind of witch doctor. Crossfit has
such a broad range of varied exercises and elements, that the average
person does find it foreign. But like all new sports, they initially
appear extreme, foreign, or "voodoo", much like long distance running
in the 70's, triathlon in the 80's, adventure racing and mountain
biking in the 90's, or even mixed martial arts in recent years. In
time, CrossFit will be viewed as a sport on its own.
Jeremy was third overall at Catalyst Games 2009. He was second as Rx'd at FranFest. He's a climber; his running background makes him an early favourite for Murph 2009. Will he be there? Will he finally take home the title? Only one way to find out.
Tears streaming down her face, Nadia tried again. Her muscles flexed just right. Her arms swung perfectly. Her jaw clenched; her abs tightened. But her feet wouldn't leave the ground. She took a step back, and a step forward again. Clenched. Braced. Willed. But didn't jump.
That devilish box may only be 14 inches tall, but that sucker grows with every missed attempt. Size it up all you want; it can smell fear. Just high enough to trip over, it's a major barricade for a lot of people at the gym.
Face wet and pink, Nadia kept going. Laughing at herself, swearing like the honest Portuguese she is, she alternated between missed attempts and kicking the box. It was painful to watch; every halted jump made my legs tense up. If I could have done it for her, I would have. But that's not what we're about here.
Holding PVC pipe in each hand, she ski-jumped up - plop! - and landed perfectly. One foot at a time? No problem. A galloping stepup? Easy. Take off on two feet and on two? Incomprehensible.
Diastis Sympis Pubis happens when the ligament between the pubic bone is stretched greater than 1cm. ..to put into perspective a regular gap in the pubic bone is 4-5mm...mine, was 2.5cm, it was now considered a complete separation, a tear. DSP can be attributed to a car accident , or falling from a horse, mine was from childbirth. March 10, 2008.
Laying in the hospital bed I knew something wrong had happened. I had no control of my lower half of my body...to get to my recovery room, i needed a wheelchair. To get into bed I needed my dad, my brother, my fiancé..whoever was there to help. In recovery I noticed that my right leg would involuntarily start moving outwards...i couldn’t stop it. As much as i tried to move my leg back onto the bed, i couldn’t...i had to scream for a nurse to come catch my leg. Looking back I’m not sure why no one thought this strange, why to get to the bathroom took me 20 minutes getting there by dragging my feet...to actually take one normal step was now impossible. My legs didn’t come off the ground more than 1 inch.
The next few months was not what i expected coming home with a new baby girl. I was in bed, my mattress now lowered to the floor so I could very carefully back in. When I did sleep, I could only sleep flat on my back. Rolling or turning in any way was not an option and has only just became an option early this year. I didn’t get to bathe my baby for 2 months. When company came over, we were restricted to the upstairs because I couldn’t walk downstairs...my legs only shuffled....my eyes never left the space where my next step would be for fear that i would slip...this fear still exists. To get in and out of the car, i backed in, grabbed my pants and lifted both legs into the car...i couldn’t separate them. To get dressed I used the aid of a long metal claw thingy that opened and closed in on anything within 3 feet, and if this wasn’t available ... my 5 year old coming over to put my socks on for me when I couldn’t. The worst perhaps was not being able to get down on the floor and play with my new baby girl....because I was by myself at home and if I sat down I couldn't get up. Things that i never stopped for one second to think about were now virtually impossible without help. Months later the pain was still overwhelming, my lower back felt like it was on fire, the chiropractor didn’t help. My physiotherapist helped with the pain and helped with some range of movement. But my strength was gone, & my confidence in the ability to take care of myself and my girls was shattered.. Someone could’ve walked over to me and raised a finger..I would’ve buckled...i went in a lion, and came out a lamb.
Over 1 year had passed and although i could now walk, sleep, sit and drive myself,....I was still very aware of everything i did, things still clicked, popped and numbness in my leg was an everyday thing, fearing a slip or a tear putting me back to the place i don’t ever want to go. My fiancé had done this awesome interview with a guy named Chris Cooper. I looked him up..researched him..read about him...My favourite thing now was to google everything.. since i spent many many hours laying in a bed ,. I was on a need to know basis. I mentioned his name to Dom, and thats about all it took. Dom got the ball rolling for me, apparantly emailing him. I hesitantly added Chris as my friend to facebook...but I never messaged...I was a chicken. He apparently is not. He made our first appointment to meet August 19th, 2009 4:30pm, he had already researched DSP .... To say thank you wouldn't do Chris justice..I haven’t looked back since.
And so, an eternity later, we set the sticks down. We jumped, landing on one foot at a time. Her shoes made a "pat....pat" sound as they landed. "Speed up the feet." I said. She did: "Pat..pat." "Quicker," I said. "Pat-pat!" We were close. "Together!" I yelled. She hesitated once. I had a moment of doubt. And then, she rose.....
Nadia Amaral does box jumps. 10 in a row! Not in picture: cheering women.
...since we're facing 25-30cm of snow, an alternate:
10 Supine Ring Pull Ups
10 True Push Ups
Post total rounds complete in 15 minutes.
*Definition of Supine - The supine position is a position of the body; lying down with the face up.
*To perform Sup Ring PUs, set the rings so your back is off the ground, place heels on a box and pull your chest to your hands.
*True Push Ups are done with both hands and feet balancing on parallets, make sure you get your chest below parallel.
Run 800 meters
30 Hip/Back Extensions
30 GHD Sit-ups
30 Hip Extensions
30 Knees to Elbows
30 Back Extensions
30 Weighted Situps
Fights: This is his first!
Weight Class: 185
Opponent: Eric Holman
Training Regimen: last couple of weeks, has been doing 2-a-days between catalyst and Ho Shin Sool. Combining sparring with cardio conditioning and strength training.
I've been very fortunate training with great athletes/fighters like Jeff Elliott and Adrian. Guys who take time to help out and teach what they know. Having guys like Ray and Trevor teaching with their tremendous experience in ground game has improved my all-around skills.
King of The Cage is Saturday night! 45 Catalyst members will be in the crowd - one big group o' the Green! 4 of us, though, will be too busy to cheer: they'll be in the cage. You may know their faces, but not their names; you've seen them training here, alone, in their own moment.
Fights: 6-0; 4 Knockouts (this fight will be his first as a professional MMA fighter.)
Weight class: Light Heavyweight
Training Regimen: 6 days per week at Ho Shin Sool; 2 days/week at Catalyst Athletic
In my second-ever fight, I was told I was fighting a guy close to my weight of 200lbs, but when I got to the weigh-ins, he was 260lbs. Let's just say he didn't walk out of there with both legs.
Miranda's been a CrossFit fan since she discovered it a few months ago. She ripped up our Murph Challenge in March; hammered Baseline Week in May; even appeared as a 'Guest Coach' in July! Think you know what true devotion means? Top this: September 26 is more than the Catalyst Games to Miranda; it's also her wedding day! She'll still put in an appearance (even if it's only for the first WOD.)
Joe was last year's Catalyst Games Head Referee. He arrived first thing in the morning to help, and was thrown into the job; in most pictures, he's yelling his head off. At the last event, Murph, I jokingly asked why he wasn't jumping into the mix; he did. After a full day without food, Joe hopped in, doing Murph (1 mile run / 100 pullups / 200 pushups / 300 squats / 1 mile run) in an unconventional way: all the pushups, then all the squats, and THEN all the pullups together. He finished ahead of half the Coaches.
Yes, she's our womens' Deadlift Record-holder (300lbs.) Yes, she's incredibly strong; yes, she's done marathons before. She's also a true Leader at Catalyst. She's the first to sign up for anything new; she drives the daily blogs on the tracking software; she researches, reads, and questions everything. We keep her on her toes, she keeps us on ours. Last year, she won the female division in the Fire/Police/Military class at the Games.
Eddie and I are really trying to work on the nutrition end of things. It’s been 4 weeks now that we are trying to stay in the ZONE! I do feel better and my sugar cravings have decreased a lot. This will definitely help with my WOD’s! As for the games, it’s just for fun and I just want to do better than how I did last year. How will I know if I’ve improved? I’ve succeeded if I can finish the games and not want to toss my cookies. Last year, I remember finishing and just sitting on the big tire and telling people not to touch me, I couldn’t move or I would be sick. (Not to scare any first-timers or anything!) The games were quite an experience. So this year… if I can recover and still feel like I can move when it’s all over, I have met my goal.
As for where I am the weakest, that’s about everything else! I’m not a fast runner; I can’t do a real pull-up and I literally whip myself when I’m trying to do double-unders. So let’s just say I have many areas where I can improve.
Phil Strickler (heretofore known as Philsy) is our Fran record-holder. When he broke the record the first time, he had a shirt made up. Then he broke it again and again....and we wouldn't want to sort his laundry!
Phil's greatest ability is to shout at the devil. When the WOD is going long, and voices are silenced by gasping, dry, heaving lungs, Phil's "Whoooooooo!" is the only encouragement you're likely to find from another athlete.
I have been doing some running (I hate running) and stretching at night which I think is helping.
I love doing circuits move from one exercise to another and anything with legs
Weakest link - I would have to say anything over head and running did I say I hate running?
I would donate any prize to the Easter seals my family has helped with this charity since I can remember so I’ll carry on the tradition.
I was part of Catalyst crossfit test groups and was curious about trying something new .I haven’t workout in a gym setting for 5 years so doing 3 on 1 off was tough at the beginning but then you get hook, checking the site late at night, planning strategies and what weight to use it was fun. What I enjoy the most is cheering on other especially new members who never done this before. I can finally say that after 10 years of living in the soo I have a group of awesome people I call my friends and want to hang out with them.
I started my exercise regime with my “trainer extraordinaire Mike” late last summer. My goal was to lose weight believing that losing that extra flubber would make me fit. Although my goal was to lose weight I didn’t want to hurt and I didn’t want to sweat. When I started I couldn’t run up a flight of stairs without gasping for breath! It was a humbling realization to see how out of shape I really was. I quickly started seeing changes in my strength and endurance. Mike would push me to my physical limits and when I wanted to puke or pass out, he would make me do more. I had a like/hate relationship back then, and after many months of cursing, dreading my workouts, and being pushed, I now think of him not only as a kick ass trainer but as a friend.
During my workout sessions Mike would say “You have to come out and do Crossfit”. “I can’t do Crossfit”, to which he would say, “You’re doing Crossfit!” Crossfit was very scary to me, I was really intimidated by it and afraid that I would not be able to finish a WOD and would embarrass myself.
I started Crossfit in March and quickly realized that although I may not be the fastest or the strongest I could complete it, and felt the exhilaration of finishing a WOD. Since March I have achieved many goals I would have never thought possible a year ago: I completed my first Murph in 46 minutes, was one of five to finish Chelsea, completed every workout during Baseline Week, and participated in Mike’s 24 hour challenge.
I’ve come accustomed to the pain, and actually welcome the aches, the stiffness, the scrapes and bruises, and the times I have trouble straightening my arms or can’t sit. As for my reasons for starting, I have lost over 13% body fat, put on 3 pounds of muscle, and can run many flights of stairs! I own more workout clothes than work clothes (does this mean I’m addicted?), and I now book my hair appointments on days that don’t conflict with Chris’ Saturday morning groups so I can come and not be shunned for missing.
Catalyst has become a family affair in my home, my whole family works out with the Catalyst gang and talking about our workouts, our plans, and our fitness goals have become common conversations, while we attempt to eat our Zone friendly meals!