Athlete of the Month

August Athlete of the Month: Adam Brady Brown!!

       I was born and raised in Ottawa.  I moved to Toronto about 7 years ago after spending five years working as a tower climber all around Canada and in the Arctic.  I now live with my girlfriend Beverley and our fat cat Winston on Toronto’s waterfront.  I currently work for Ink Entertainment as their Director of Digital Media.  If you see any ads for clubs, parties, raves, hip hop concerts, or festivals, that’s my fault.  I’m sorry.
       Before Crossfit I would go to the gym and focus on the glory muscles.  Pipes and pecs.  It was during a party at a friends house that someone cracked a joke about how top heavy my body was.  I decided two things after that night, I needed to change my workout regimen and I needed to hang out with nicer people.  After a bit of research, Crossfit appeared to be the solution to both of those problems.
        I was going for a run along Queens Quay and Lakeshore when I saw a group of people leaving Crossfit416 covered in ten times as much sweat as I was and looked twenty times more fit.  I popped my head in and set up a meeting with Robyn and the rest is history.
       I was naturally a little bit intimidated when I went to my first class, but during my training sessions Robyn and Rachel were really welcoming and had a good sense of humour, so I figured I had nothing to be afraid of.  Now that I’ve been a member for almost a year, whenever I see or hear of a new member I try and welcome them and partner up.  I’ll also go on Wodify and give a thumbs up for peoples results on the whiteboard.
          After only being a member for a few months I participated in  the Crossfit416 Members Open.  I don’t know how it happened, but our team ended up winning.  I really didn’t think we’d have a chance but we did it.  I’ll never underestimate anyone at 416 again.  It was an amazing event and I can’t wait to do it again this year.
        I’m currently aiming to get my first successful muscle up.  I’ve been practicing at the gym after classes and in the park when I’m out for a run.  When I’m confident enough to do a successful attempt I hope to get it on film so I can share it with my friends, family, enemies and ex girlfriends.
          If I were to create a WOD  it would be called the Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson’s character in the film White Man Can’t Jump)
15 MIN AMRAP
• 20 over the box jumps
• 15 chest to bar
• 15 front squats
• 20 toes to bar
       My favourite 416 memory would have to be coming in on Saturdays and partnering up with Frederico for WOD’s.  He would always push the pace and I would realize how much more I’m capable of achieving.  Have fun in Spain dude!  Adios amigo!
      Thanks again guys.  I can’t believe I get free Crossfit for life! (nice try, Adam!)

July Athlete of the Monty: Alison Boyd!

I was born and raised in St. Catharines where I lived with my mom, dad and brother. I had the opportunity to play a lot of different sports growing up, but by high school nearly all of my time was spent at the track.  I then studied Business at the University of Windsor and in January 2018 I made the move to Toronto for a new job opportunity as a Billing Administrator.

After moving back home after graduation, my dad, who had been doing Crossfit for a few years eventually convinced me to give it a shot. We would go the the YMCA everyday and complete the WOD from the Crossfit main site (this meant a lot of weird looks from the people doing biceps curls in front of the mirror), after some time we joined a Crossfit gym in town.

When I moved to Toronto, my first step at getting settled into the big city was to find a gym close by. I planned on visiting a few different gyms before signing up, but right from the first class at 416 I felt so welcomed by the wonderful members and coaches and knew I found my home.

The coaching at 416 really is the best. Even with classes of 22 people they are able to make everything run so efficiency. They are encouraging throughout the workout and more than willing to help whenever necessary.  I feel so much stronger now than I did when I walked through the door 7 months ago.

One of my favourite moments at Crossfit 416 has to be 18.1.  Leading into the open I planned on completing every workout scaled, but when I walked into the gym that night the coaches and my peers pumped me up to try it Rx.  I am so happy they did, and now I know I can in fact snatch with those 35 dumbbells. As for my next goal hmm… something I’ve been avoiding for a long time is handstand pushups, so I guess I should get working on that. Maybe some triple unders too!

Here would be a WOD with my favourite things:

12 Min AMRAP

50 double unders

15 toes to bar

9 hang power cleans

Every workout at Crossfit 416 is humbling and I love that. There will always be something to learn or improve upon, and 416 continues to be the best place to do that.  Thanks to everyone at 416 for welcoming me into the family and making me feel at home!

June Athlete of the Month: Max Parisien- Lasalle!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was born and raised in Montreal, I have 2 sisters and 1 brother that are my everything and in my household growing up sports were law.  For example you didn’t plan anything on Sunday because that was football day and football day was sacred.  I went to university in beautiful Peterborough, Ontario and moved back to Montreal after to work for National Bank Financial as a stock broker.  About 2.5 years ago I got transferred to the Toronto office to help grow our U.S. business  …  and here we are today.

I think like a lot of people I got drawn to CrossFit because of the competitive aspect of it. Once you’re done with University it’s harder to stay in competitive sports and CrossFit filled that void for me. Also, working in finance doesn’t come with the healthiest lifestyle so I was in desperate need of some balance.

Google maps brought me to 416 …   I had 2 weeks’ notice when moving to Toronto so I googled: CrossFit Gyms Toronto. Found the closest one to my work and showed up my first day living here.  I’ve been coming back ever since.

Back in Montreal I coached at my old gym (I do have my level 1, I know my flawless technique gives it away … it’s all about that early pull in the snatch …) so the first thing I noticed when I go to a new box is the coaching. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality here at 416. The attention to detail is extremely high and you can tell that this isn’t just a job for these girls and guys, it’s really a passion. In the 2.5 years that I’ve been here the coaching has only gotten better… weirder for sure… DK!!  but better.

I think the open this year was my bright spot at 416. For me personally, it went very well. I completed all of the 12 Muscle Ups in 18.3 those for sure were a challenge. But just the atmosphere in general was amazing.  Also judging people, encouraging them during workouts and seeing them going above and beyond what they thought they could do made the experience unforgettable.

I’m currently working on getting as jacked as Bilal all while trying to catch the athlete of the month of February. Jokes aside, I think my goals have changed a lot recently especially post the opens. I’m trying to make sure that every time I’m in the gym I’m enjoying myself and making sure training/going to the gym doesn’t feel like a chore. For me when I start taking it to seriously I lose focus as to why I do this and it sucks the fun out of it. Also, staying injury free is a big one, not overdoing it and knowing my limits.  No need to be a hero.

Well, since I don’t know how to pace myself and I’m all about redlining my ideal WOD would have to be a sprint. Maybe something like 30-20-10 burpees and box jump over. The kind of WOD where the shoes need to come off as you drop to the floor and adopt the fetal position. Actually Fetal Position would be an awesome name for it!!

I’m going to wrap this up with my favourite memory at 416 which also embodies the reason why Crossfit has become an integral part of my life. That memory happened while judging Matt Penny on 18.4 and he got his first Handstand Push up ever (even with the very challenging standard). Matt proceeded to come down from the wall and jump into my arms, it had been a long 3 years in the making for him!  The joy you get just from being present when someone PR’s or accomplishes something new is a feeling like no other and one of the reasons why I continue coming through that door.

 

May Athlete of the Month: Simone van Gaal!

Last year at the end of March we moved from the Netherlands to Toronto for my husband’s job. We always said if we had the opportunity to move to Canada or America we would do it. And then came the opportunity to go and we decided real quick but without any doubt because my gut immediately felt it was good.

It wasn’t always easy everything was new and it was a whole different country. But it is an adventure and we love it. Canada is such a beautiful country, the people are very nice and helpful. So much to see and explore.

After a few months getting settled down I was looking for a job in retail fashion . I have worked all my life in retail but as a manager of small and bigger companies. I didn’t wanted to work on the weekend because we want to explore and go hiking and enjoy everything Toronto brings us. So, it took me a while but since March I am working in a high end store of women’s clothes in the financial district. They are closed on the weekends, I can walk to work and I can work with people. No big responsibilities but I get to do something I love.

I learned a lot about myself the last year and still have things to learn. I always set the bar very high for myself and am a perfectionist. These things have brought me a lot in my life but sometimes they can also stand in my way.

Crossfit is something I love and has been part of my life for quite some years now. I did it in The Netherlands and the first thing I said to my husband when we landed was that we have to find a Crossfit gym. There it was Crossfit 416. I saw Dan, Rachel and Hank (I thought they were a couple lol) and even though I am not really comfortable with dogs, my gut felt ok. In the beginning I thought that everyone was a born athlete. OMG everyone is so good. I remember asking Dan if I was good enough to work out with these guys.

I love it so much I go 5 days a week at 7 am. I can get really nervous by looking at the WOD but it is funny to see how you can challenge and push yourself each time.The programming and coaching is very professional and good, what a joy to be a member here. Thank you all for pushing us an make us get stronger in a good and safe way.

Healthy food and living is a big part of my life but doing the lifestyle challenge was still an eye opener. As a gluten-free pescatarian I wasn’t eating enough protein. So with some adjustments and help from the coaches it has made a big difference.

Joining the Open was very exciting. Never in my mind I would have thought I would do it but I did, of course scaled. I was very proud of my first strict pull up.

I really want to learn kipping pull ups and double unders. So that is something I want to work at.

If I had to create a WOD, difficult to say there a couple of things I like.
It would contain Deadlifts/ airsquats/Push ups/ and maybe 2 strict pull ups because that is what I can do lol. I would call it “determined”.

I am really proud of being chosen as athlete of the Month always hoped that it might happen one day but I am not the youngest but here I am.

Big hug,
Simone

April Athlete of the Month: Mark Gallardo!

I am originally from the Philippines and I moved to Canada in my 20s where I quickly realized that it is possible to use your balcony as a fridge during winter, lol. Wanting to go full Canadian and growing up being inquisitive while food was used as a form of greeting, I was determined to eat everything the North had to offer. I got introduced to addictive Timbits, notorious Rocky Mountain Candy Apples, and piles upon piles of Toonie Chicken Wings. It was only a matter of time that the wrong kind of gain train would come barrelling down the tracks.

The same inquisitiveness led me to a career in Process Engineering where the main goal was finding out areas of improvement in a business. Fitness was a clear area that I needed to work on so naturally I used what I learned from work and went on to try out everything I could ranging from insta-fad diets to all the gym apps that would fit in my phone.

CrossFit came to my radar when I was walking along one of the gyms in the city and I peeked inside only to be confused about how can people workout without traditional gym machines let alone have no shirts on. This lead me to YouTube the heck out of everything I could find and saw all these people doing seemingly impossible things. Curiosity turned into researching and eventually signing up for a free intro session in CrossFit 416. I remember how intimidating stepping into the gym was because of music blasting and plates crashing down the mat. That intimidation turned to surprise when I saw the sensory overload was being caused by these regular looking people from all shapes and sizes.

The free session started and it only took approximately the first 10 seconds for me to realize that the coach at the time (Rachel) knew her stuff as she explained the air squat. We finished the the warm up and I just thought we would grab barbells and magically start snatching. Instead we were treated to the unassuming CrossFit classic couplet of dumbbell thrusters and burpees. On paper it looked simple enough and I foolishly thought it would be easy, effortless and CrossFit was a joke. In reality, the 10 minute AMRAP would leave me sprawled on the floor, lungs absolutely burning, and smile ear to ear from the ultimate high.

The WOD I would bring to the gym is called the “Throwback” as a reminder of that first workout that got folks addicted to CrossFit:

10 min AMRAP

10 Burpees

10 DB Thrusters

Since that workout, I knew I was hooked because I loved the challenge and realized how much I needed to work on. I followed CrossFit more and I saw CrossFit 416 evolve alongside the sport of fitness. I would hear people talk about Strongman and next thing I am doing power cleans with sandbags and pushing Prowlers. I would read about the importance of nutrition and there I am knee deep into a gym-sponsored lifestyle challenge. The best thing about the journey in the gym are all the people you throwdown with along the way. Everyone’s hard work is infectious and inspiring.

My best memory of this was when I attempted to Rx the dreaded double-unders. Flashback to the previous Open and it took me 36 minutes to complete the thruster double under couplet that should normally take around 12 minutes (shout out to Gys for judging me). I remember the other athletes cheering me on to complete the workout and it fired me up. After working on double unders for the entire year of hanging back after class and practicing, I was able to string them together for a PR streak and it felt unbelievably rewarding. The Open however would not be complete without a fair share of humbling experiences. This came in the form of 21 reps of a 225 deadlift as an opening section of a workout but it was 10 lbs over my 1 rep max lift at the time. It was ultimately a blessing in disguise because now there is a clear training goal I have my sights set on for the rest of the year.

I have been doing Crossfit for over two years now and it has taught me so many things that crossover with all other aspects of life. Most importantly, it has taught me that hard work pays off both inside and outside the box. There are so many things that initially seem unreasonable as movements in Crossfit but tackling something everyday that’s seemingly scary guided by awesome Crossfit 416 coaches and a community that doesn’t stop cheering makes ordinary people do handstand walks, ring muscle ups, or maybe even a 225 deadlift for 21 reps.

March 2018 Athlete of the Month: Irina Karpenko

I was born in Siberia, Russia and grew up in a place high in the Tian Shan mountains called Kyrgyzstan – a Central Asian country along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean. Almost 20 years ago I packed my suit case, grabbed my daughter and moved to Canada to build a new life. In January of last year, I relocated to Toronto from Mississauga where I lived for more then 13 years. I work for one of the Canadian banks (and, no, I don’t do mortgages). I am one of the people behind the scenes ensuring your invested money does what it is supposed to do – make more money.

I got into Crossfit because when you have friends who are into crossfit, and over the years you observed their body transformation, at some point in time you start asking yourself a question – why not try?… Recovering from a serious illness, and wanting to get back to normal life, I was looking for a type of physical activity that would be different from a traditional gym. Crossfit is the best combination for me in terms of fitness program and discipline. There is a team spirit, competition, friendships and fun – all at the same time.

Even before moving to Toronto I explored the area and came across 416. It was such a convenient location that there were no other choices. But it took me a few more months before I actually pulled myself together and walked in. In May of last year, a week before my birthday, a rotating banner on Facebook caught my eyes.  There was a six weeks challenge for ladies at CF416. That was a true challenge: for 6 weeks 3 times a week lead by amazing coach Derya we all were at the gym at 5am in the morning (!). Considering I’m not a morning person, that was a life changing event.

My first impression of CF 416 was like “a love from the first sight” – I walked in and I remember the smell of the rubber and metal. That was all I needed. I stood there for a minute just inhaling… And almost a year later, each day before I get to the box, no matter how tired I am, once stepped in I get pumped and energized again.

I love people here, I love the atmosphere, I love the sweat I get during the workout, I enjoy the feeling of the accomplishments. It hurts. There are days when I cannot move some of my muscles. But that pain brings me back again, and again, and again…

Proudest moment at CF416? hmmm… I am proud each time I finish the WOD 🙂 Most recent that I am still feeling excited about is my first Open. 18.1 was the highest point of “I can do it!” (Big thanks to DK for pushing through it!). There is still a lot to learn and improve, but it is thrilling. And being part of the team, like being part of a big family, feeling how much every athlete supports one another is very motivating.

I have a list of things “to work on”… Crossfit is still fairly new to me. Continuing with balancing diet, enough rest, and preparing for the remaining Open. Getting my endurance to the next level and improving technique of the exercises to avoid injuries are my priorities.

If I were to create a WOD it will be simple – 9 deadlifts + 12 wall ball shots + 15 kb swings max number of rounds in maybe 12 minutes. I would call it a “hammer”  (wish that was on the Open 18.3 lol).

When it comes to my most favourite 416 memory I have to go with the most recent again –  cheering for my #Gymandtonics team at 18.1 and 18.2. Open occupies my mind these days. 🙂 It is a great milestone. For me it is more like a baseline, but I know now what to work on to improve to get stronger and maybe faster…