I’m a 20-something crossfitter living in Calgary, Alberta. I bean count for a living, but certainly avoid fitting the mold for that title. My husband, Dana, and I have been together since I took grade 12 French class with him in high school. He is my best friend and quite entertaining.
Growing up in Grande Prairie, I was pretty unathletic and ate a few too many cookies from Starbucks. I had a few emotional years in high school, and my doctor recommended I start running a couple of times a week to see if it would help me feel better. So I started running. I also did a brief 3 month vegetarian stint which was poorly organized and quite unhealthy.
When I moved to Calgary to attend university, I also started taking group fitness classes. Yoga and spin classes were my jam. These were also my low-fat/no-fat food days, so I ate a lot of “healthy” lean cuisines and granola bars. There was also the Ab Diet phase.
In my second year of university, I started working for the rec center at the university for the group fitness department. I didn’t teach (although I did take the AFLCA courses), but helped run the classes. This meant a lot more hours in the gym and access to free classes! My then-boyfriend Dana suggested we do the West Coast Trail that summer, so I hired a personal trainer to help me prepare. She was great, but it was when she went on mat leave that I was introduced to my most influential trainer, Michelle. Michelle baptised me with the crossfit koolaid, and I was immediately hooked. I’d do a session with her, and then she’d write me a month of programming I’d do on my own, and then we’d meet up again each month. I worked with Michelle through third and fourth year, mixed in some hot yoga, and then graduated.
Not having access to a gym or a trainer post-graduation didn’t seem so bad at first, but combined with living within walking distance of an ice cream parlour, amazing pizza, and a bakery – I put on weight rather abruptly to say the least. I started working out at a boutique gym doing crossfit-style workouts, but nothing could redeem a bad diet. The cherry on top? Dana and I got married in August that year so I was a more robust bride than I’d imagined I would be.
After our wedding, I decided hot yoga was the bomb. I did tons of classes and felt beautiful and at peace with myself; however, I continued to put on weight. After my annual physical with my doctor declared me obese, I was outraged! How could I be obese when I felt so good about myself?
In November 2012, I saw a naturopath because I hadn’t been feeling well for years. Years of no-fat, low-fat food, with lots of chemicals and sweetners added in to make my food taste good, had done me no favours. He suggested I cut gluten and start buying better quality meats and dairy. I noticed a parallel between his recommendations and the paleo diet, and started eating primal/paleo. Then in January 2013, I started going to group fitness classes (crossfit-style) at another boutique gym, near my work. I’d go Monday to Friday, and sometimes Saturday, and loved the variety. We did box jumps, weight lifting, agility work, sprints, skipping, kettlebell work, and the list goes on. Every day was different! And amazingly, with the combination of eating clean whole foods and varied HIIT exercise, I lost about 15 pounds. My wedding dress slid off my body when I tried it on!
After 3 months at the boutique gym, I talked to the owner about goals. I’d never had fitness goals because I’d never been athletic. He asked me if I’d ever heard of the CrossFit Open. I’d read about it on various fitness blogs, and had a vague understanding that really strong people did the Open. I wanted with all my heart to be one of those strong people. The owner started programming workouts for me and I got stronger every month. Another trainer at the gym started programming for me, with the Open in mind, and I did crazier workouts than I could ever have fathomed. Keep in mind, I’d never done anything very athletic before – no weightlifting training – so sometimes I got pretty sore from having bad form. In the back of my mind, I knew that if I was going to truly get strong, I needed more structured training on the basics of CrossFit.
When I saw that a local CrossFit box in Calgary was opening a new box downtown, Dana encouraged me to buy a founder’s membership and pursue my dream of getting strong. We took the beginners’ foundations course together in October 2014, and then started doing CrossFit classes at our box, Sunalta. With a better understanding of technique, Dana and I did the 2015 CrossFit Open. Completing 15.5 was a huge personal victory and I was so proud to have come so far in my journey.
Glad to have you along with me as I continue on my path to greatness! Thanks for reading!