Athlete of the Month

November 2017 Athlete of the Month: Keren Kurtz

I was born and raised here in Toronto, and work as a Digital Artist artist on feature films and television.

Back in 2013 when my bootcamp gym was closing down, a friend mentioned a crossfit gym that she would walk past often (CF416 specifically), which was very close to my home. So I became immediately interested in trying something new, and signed up for the elements classes. My goal was to find classes that would kick my ass. I found that here and never looked back.

From Day One, I was very impressed with the coaching. I felt very comfortable and welcomed and I was pushed to my limits, while being shown good form, in every single class. Not only did I find a great place to workout, I also found a community, some great friendships and inspiring motivation.

I’ve had several proud moments at CF416. One being hitting a PR of 215 in my back squat. That being my favorite lift, I was devastated when I hurt my knee a year ago in a bike accident. I’m now almost completely recovered from it, and am trying to work my way back up there. A more recent proud moment is when Dan asked me to be athlete of the month. It really is a great honour!

Something else I love about CF416 is everything else they have to offer, aside from simply being a box with regular classes. For example, Grit class (or Endurance, last summer) is something I’ve been taking full advantage of to become better at running. Running is something that I’ve always dreaded, but the classes have allowed me to find enjoyment as I’ve improved. It is something I will continue working on through the winter, and in turn I expect it will continue to show improvement in my WOD’s.

If I were to create a WOD it would be called “Keren With An E”, and it would consist of:

5 rounds:

30 wallballs

20 box jumps

10 back squats 135/95

(I do love lower body workouts)

One of my favorite memories is when my team won the Crossfit Comp 2 years ago. It was great knowing that I made some contribution to that achievement, and made me feel super strong!

Thank you to the fantastic coaches for keeping my motivation high to continue coming to class regularly, and to the wonderful people I’ve met in these past 4 years and change.

October 2017 Athlete of the Month: Kyle MacKenzie

I grew up in Calgary and then moved to Guelph for university. It was actually my first time in Ontario moving into residence that first frosh week 5 years ago so everything was new to me. This past month I completed a masters in financial Economics and permanently moved to Toronto in May. I w

as on the varsity swim team for three years and swam competitively for four years before that. On the recreational side I now enjoy tennis, hiking, soccer, skiing, among other things.

While swimming at Guelph we had a strength and condition coach that had a box in Guelph. Since meeting him I’ve been interested in joining a CrossFit andfinally bit the bullet this summer after getting rather bored with going to a regular gym. It has been a great choice, I enjoy the competitive aspect and how you can always find ways of bettering yourself no matter how good you become.

My first impression at 416 was that the coaches were all very welcoming and focused on your improvement as a CrossFitter. This hasn’t really changed; I still think that the coaches really care about your performance and improvement not only in how much you’re lifting but also your technique, alignment and fitness overall.

While competing at this past Classic I realised that this was the first actual structured athletic competition I’ve done since finishing swimming over two and a half years ago. This made me realize how much I enjoy focusing in competition and competing to do the best I can.

Now that the cycle prepping us for the Classic is over I’m looking for improvements in my squat and deadlift strength, I know it’s basic but I want see these weights go up. I also want to increase my competency in kipping pull-ups and muscles ups. Lastly I’m looking to improve my overhead strength and stability.

If given the chance here is what I would program as a class WOD

3 rounds of

5 deadlifts @225

10 Pullups

300m Run

It’s short and sweet so you had better sprint the runs.

Looking back on my short time at 416, so far my best memory was the atmosphere and support at the Classic.  Everyone was cheering each other on and competitors were pushing their limits. I wanted to break 200lbs on the clean and jerk but unfortunately I only got the clean but I think this is a bit of a milestone for me. But I want to continue getting stronger and make 200lbs look light.



September 2017 Athlete of the Month: Meaghen Vydelingum

Hi, I’m Meaghen. I was born in Ottawa, raised in Toronto. I’m currently finishing my last term as a math undergrad – majoring in Statistics and minoring in Computer Science – at the University of Waterloo.  I’m interested in pretty much all things data. I was in Toronto on co-op this past summer, where I officially finished my last co-op requirement. Goo Me! Oh, and I have an amazing twin sister, Emilia, who you might be seeing around the gym so say HI!

I looked at CrossFit as a transition activity for a continued active lifestyle after being a varsity swimmer. I swam for four years at university, but when my dadhad his heart attack, it created different family dynamics. I lost my motivation for a period of time and thought that Crossfit could put me back on the right track. I definitely didn’t come to CrossFit because I liked the gym, in fact, I hated going to the gym. However, CrossFit introduced me a community of fitness-lovers, a new lifestyle, and a chance to get healthy again.

When looking at CrossFit gyms in Toronto, I wanted to find a box that felt right. I looked at many CrossFit websites, but I kept coming back to the CF416 website. It had a group basics class, which made joining seem easy. I didn’t have to talk to a coach one-on-one, so that meant that I could blend in. Also, I am super directionally challenged, so I would walk towards the CN Tower after work in hopes of finding CF416 (this worked every single time).
The first time I walked into CrossFit416, I was very intimidated, felt out of place, awkward, and nervous. I also thought Dan never smiled. Now, I can’t see myself not coming to CF416 when I’m in Toronto. It has become part of my routine, my de-stressor, a happy place where I found my motivation again. I found out that Dan does occasionally smile, although I still think he should smile more! 🙂
My proudest moment at CF416 was getting my first strict pull-up, but it was when I decided to come in before class to work on my strict strength. Up until that point, I had never actively sought to work on any personal goals, so this seemingly small step was more of a leap. Special thanks to Rachel for goal setting with me!
Goal setting has helped me focus on improving my strict strength with pull ups and handstand push ups. I’m going to start working on my wrist mobility for a better false grip. The end goal is to be able to complete a ring muscle up.
If I had the chance to create a WOD, I would have to create a partner WOD for the gym called SWOLEMATE.
1000 M Run
50 Wall balls (14lbs/20lbs)
50 Med ball Sit-ups (14lbs/20lbs)
50 Box Jumps (14’’ / 20 ‘’)
50 Front Squats (50 % of 5RM)
1000 M Run
There has been many happy/proud moments that I have shared with members and coaches of CF416. Some of these moments include Robyn’s and Rachel’s amazingly random dance moves, the PRCity test week with the 4:30 PM crew, the high fives/ fist pumps at the end of all workouts, as well as, the jokes and laughs with constant encouragement to push harder in any workout.
Thanks again,

August 2017 Athlete of the Month: Levi McCulloch

I grew up in the sweeping metropolis of Shubenacadie Nova Scotia which is famous for not very much. However we do have a wildlife park, tidal bore river rafting and lots of dairy farms. For the past 7 years I’ve worked as a Software Developer at Porter Airlines, but will soon be leaving to live in New York City and taking up a new opportunity at Amazon.  It’s bittersweet because I love this city (and this box), but I’ll be back ….this place has become home to me.

Before CrossFit I was basically dicking around with dumbbells in the condo gym. I decided to take the intro classes at Crossfit 416 with the objective of getting comfortable with a barbell. I’m obviously still not comfortable because I haven’t left. 😉 In reality the programing and community keep me way more motivated then I could be at a traditional gym. Coming to CrossFit has become a core part of my day. When 416 first opened on Queen’s Quay I noticed it on my walk to work. I always thought to myself “I should check that place out” and eventually I did.

I actually have an accurate record of my first impression at 416…. Well more my first impression of the WOD. I was pretty religious about writing in my book until the we got wodify, this was my first entry after my first regular class.

My proudest moment at 416 had to be breaking 200 lbs on my clean was super important to me at the time. That number seems light now, which I guess makes it even more memorable. I remember that was about the time other members would compliment my form as it was starting to resemble something graceful sometimes. Right now, I’m close, I’m so close to reaching crossfitter puberty getting a ring muscle up. I almost don’t want to admit that’s what I’m working on because I crack under pressure and do worse when people are watching. It’s hard being tall, or at least that’s the excuse I make for everything in crossfit that doesn’t include a rower.

So..if given the chance, this is what I would program for the class:

“Short (wo)man’s Hell”

For Time

Row 500 m

Double Unders – One for every second in your split time

(eg: 1:30 split = 90 reps, 2:00 split= 120 reps)

Row 500m

Burpees  (One for every second in your split time)

After being at 416 for long time my best memory(and I genuinely enjoy making others smile) was the time I told the entire class about my vivid Coach Andrew dream. (No…. not that kind of dream!). In this dream I was visiting the dentist, and after I got into the chair the lady there told me my regular dental hygienist was sick and a someone else was filling in for her. Next thing I know Andrew is standing over me with a face mask and sharp instruments in hand. He’s shouting “WHAT THE F*CK IS THIS? You aren’t even flossing here! … Listen up everyone, this man’s mouth is disgusting”.

 I am moving, it’s bitter sweet. CrossFit has been a big part of my life these past 4 years, butI’m looking forward to dropping in when I’m back in Toronto to visit.
I’m honored to be the athlete of the month!

July 2017 Athlete of the Month: Regan Bradford

I was born and raised in southwest Saskatchewan just outside a town called Lancer,  population 75 (I even checked the 2001 census) on my family grain farm.  Yes,  I’m a prairie boy and every year we grow a variety of green lentils, canola, wheat, barley and rye which is then sold and shipped away to feed everyone!  My grandfather while he was alive and my father had pilots licenses and flew recreationally which lead me to pursue my career as a pilot.  In high school I spent my spares in high school getting my private pilots licence and after graduating high school went straight into commercial flight school in Saskatoon.   My early 20’s were spent flying float and ski planes,  cargo planes and small commuter type aircraft in Saskatchewan’s north.  I moved to Toronto two years ago to fly for a travel airline called Air Transat currently as an A330 First Officer.   My routes are primarily southern destinations in the winter and Europe during the summer months – I wont explain my random schedule however if I’m not at CF at Noon or 4:30 or if you look up and see rainbow contrails –  I’m working 🏳️‍🌈

I’ve always enjoyed being active –  I spent my time playing hockey in the winter, and competed in track and field throughout high school –  now that I’m old I much prefer sangria, patios,  boys and carbs after CrossFit or beach volleyball.   

When I moved back from my rotation in northern Saskatchewan to Saskatoon I joined Motion Fitness ( basically Saskatchewans GoodLife ) and started my progression in fitness. I’ve always been active, I enjoyed movement and team sports but finding any kind of dedication to bicep curls and calf raises was a big challenge for me.   CrossFit came to me via an ex boyfriend actually – I was very bored with my routine at my regular gym and wanted a new challenge.  I started with CrossFit BRIO in Saskatoon.   I actually went digging and found my CF Journal from when I started.   

My first impression of CrossFit was unfortunately very negative and highly uneducated with presumptions of what this new fitness “trend” was –  my impression has now since drastically changed.     Im the first to recommended trying CrossFit to anyone asking for suggestions in improving their own fitness.   I think CrossFit is hands down the best avenue for anyone wanting to improve their fitness.  I can’t stress enough,   ANYONE can do CrossFit –  Don’t be intimidated – Don’t compare your chapter one to someones chapter four –  You willy quickly learn that respect here is earned by hard work, determination and resilience – all things that are can’t be reflected on the leaderboard.   


My CF totals on July 10/ 2014 : BS – 225 ; Deadlift – 305 ; Press – 135 and my first workout was fifteen thrusters (65#) and fifteen box jumps for three rounds.   

I definitely found the challenge I was looking for.   I’ve been doing CrossFit now a few years and I’m still getting my a$$ kicked on a daily basis –  the workouts continue to get harder and more challenging and we always seem to come back willing the next day for more.    Personally I don’t see an end in sight.   

When I applied for my job here in Toronto I wanted to make sure I found a CF gym I could go to living downtown –  at the time it was

 just a different CrossFitgym that made me miss my old gym.   After months of training with work and slowly getting settled into my new life in Toronto I was able to really commit to getting back into fitness which is when CF416 really started to grow on me.  You could say location got me to CF416 however the people – coaches and members, the programming and constant positive reinforcement are keeping me committed to coming back day after day.   Even if it was the loneliest, dreariest day in the middle of winter here in the city there was always a big smile from so many people that shared the same fitness dedication I do.  I’m sure it’s the same at other gyms but I’m part of the CF416 crew and I wear it with pride.

I don’t really have a specific moment at CF416 that shines any brighter then the rest –   It might sound cliche but any improvement even if it’s one pound or more rep should be recognized as an achievement.   I mean we all have our good days and bad days but overall I think any improvement whether it’s my improvement or the person beside improving – I think that’s the best!

I’m just working on trying to keep up with the boys and girls killing it at our gym .  Somedays I think my effort is pretty alright and by day’s end many people have blown my efforts right out to left field – See I totally learned a football term now,  left field , thanks RX+ class!  

My perfect class would look like the following:

Music:  Anything Cher, Lady Gaga or Fifth Harmony 

Attire:   Guys- Shirtless ; Ladies – High Pony Tails 

WOD:   Whatever’s on the whiteboard 

Coach:  Dan.    Solely so he is forced to put up with my music selection.  

*Also can we get confetti cannons or something to start the WOD*

My favourite memory so far at CF416 is when Rich Froning and the CF2016 Invitational Athletes decided to hang out with us, and my least favourite walking into the noon class one regular day and meeting Jaylene for the first time while she’s stretching her groin saying ” what is your problem.. I’m stretching %# #%*+*%?!”   😷😷😷😷

Thanks for the recognition as being July’s athlete of the month –  means a lot.

June 2017 Athlete of the Month: Machteld Gamble

May’s athlete of the month is Machteld Gamble! Known to most members as simply “Mac”, Mac recently gave birth to her second son, Hudson. We would like to congratulate you and your family, and we hope you are all doing well and enjoying life together.

You were in the gym with your fellow nooners quite late into your last trimester. We want to giv
e you the opportunity to share some of your experiences of exercising while pregnant, but first of all, tell us a little bit about yourself—where are you from, what do you do outside of the time you spend here—work, hobbies, fun facts, etc. anything goes! The more the better! What would you like people to know about you?

Born and raised in Mississauga, but my parents moved here from Belgium just before I was born, hence the European name Machteld. I am the youngest of 3 children with 2 older brothers.

Most of my days prior to maternity leave were spent working as a pharmaceutical sales rep, taking care of Logan (now Logan and Hudson), my boxer Gryphon and spending the few moments left in a day with my husband Brett. Weekends included trying to spend some quality time with friends, summer concerts, patios etc.

As mentioned earlier, you worked out until a few weeks before giving birth. How did you manage to continue doing this? What were the biggest challenges?

– With my first pregnancy I worked out until I was 39 weeks.  With this pregnancy I was actually still in the gym Wednesday and Hudson was born Saturday.  I guess it’s really all about commitment.  Commitment I have made to myself to continue to stay fit and healthy to ultimately be able to keep up with my boys in the future.  I know I have to take 6 weeks off after birth so I figure the longer I work out in the pregnancy means the less time off overall.

The way I managed to do this was simple, if it feels good – keep going, if something hurts, doesn’t feel right or is too exhausting gear it back.  I figured near the end it was better to be moving even if that meant scaling all the movements vs not moving at all. I also knew I was preparing my body for one of the hardest WODs of my life when delivering a baby.  The strength and endurance definitely comes in handy!

Did you also continue to work out while you were pregnant with your first son, Logan? Were there any noticeable differences this time around? Did you feel significant differences within your body in terms of ability, recovery, energy levels, etc.?

– Yes absolutely this time around was very different.  Like I mentioned above I worked out pretty late into both pregnancies
which contrary to what a lot of people would think, coming to the gym made me feel better.  All the aches and pains seemed to disappear after being at the gym. It’s like it reminded my body what it is capable of.

This pregnancy I felt a lot more exhausted simply due to the fact that there was less time to relax and put my feet up once I was home.  Coming home after work to a toddler can be quite demanding and some days felt like second workout.

Unfortunately, the topic of exercising while pregnant remains shrouded in misinformation and misunderstanding. Did you encounter any hesitancy or resistance from loved ones or medical professionals for continuing to exercise as late into your pregnancy as you did?

– Most of my friends and family know the level of commitment I have to crossfit and my health, so it didn’t surprise them that I wanted to continue to workout through the pregnancies.  However I did sometimes post pictures on social media and I would often get asked if it was safe, or if I was nervous I would harm the baby.  To these questions I would simply responded that I was cleared to workout as long as I felt good by my doctor and it would be harder on my body to stop working out instead of continuing. A happy and healthy mom creates a happy and healthy baby,

Tell us a little bit about your fitness history. What were you doing before you joined CrossFit 416?

– Before I joined Crossfit 416, I lived out in Mississauga and worked in an office.  I was fortunate enough that another gentleman working in the office was passionate about Crossfit (He know runs his own gym in Saskatchewan) and he would put together workouts for us.  Obviously equipment was a limiting factor however it was enough to get me hooked.  As soon as I moved to Toronto I knew I had to keep up with Crossfit and quickly found myself at 416.

What do you love most about being a part of the community here at CrossFit 416. What keeps you motivated and coming back to the gym on a daily basis?

– The people and the coaches hands down.  As I type this I have not been to the gym in about 2 weeks and I can’t begin to describe how much I miss the place, the people, the workouts, the coaches. It’s such a friendly inviting amazing group of people that you look forward to seeing on a daily basis.

If you could go back to your first ever CrossFit class and give yourself some advice based on what you know and understand now, what would it be?

– Go slow, and don’t focus on the weight but more so perfecting the movement before starting to think about adding weight.  Crossfit members are naturally very competitive people who like to compete with themselves.  Sometimes we get focused on the numbers instead of perfecting the movements.  The coaches have done a fantastic job at reminding us of this and keeping the weight in perspective.

What is the thing you’re most proud of accomplishing in life thus far?

– My 2 beautiful boys would definitely have to be my greatest accomplishments.  Seeing them grow and develop everyday is so rewarding.  Every time they learn something new you can’t help but be so proud.

Who or what inspires you on a personal level?

– Again as cliché as this sounds my sons inspire me.  I am outnumbered in the household, husband, 2 boys and my dog is a boy.  I know that I have to stay in top shape to keep up with them as they grow up.  I want that, I want them to look at their mom as someone who can play sports and keep up with them.  It motivates me every day.

Coach Robyn recently wrote a great article on organizing your kitchen and fridge. What are three things that can always be found in your fridge?

– I am proud to say that my fridge is filled with a lot of produce (as a family we love salads and eat them with dinner every day), we also have a lot of fruit as well – Logan is addicted to berries, grapes and peaches so never a shortage there.  We also have a lot of condiments – chili oils, hot sauce, mustard etc.  Finally you will always find almond milk and chocolate milk in my fridge – this is usually incorporated into a protein shake after workouts!

What is your favourite cheat meal/food?

– I would have to say Pizza!! However I prefer to make my own pizza at home that way I know exactly what is going into the sauce etc.  We also load the pizza with veggies.  The only room for improvement would be in the dough, I’m waiting on a cauliflower dough recipe to try that out!

What was the strangest craving or food combination you discovered/craved throughout your pregnancy?

– With Logan it was cereal at 4am – Honey Nut Cheerios or Frosted Flakes.  Healthy I know.  With Hudson I couldn’t consume enough chocolate milk, it was actually crazy and some days slightly alarming the amount of chocolate milk I would crave.  Strange thing is the cravings literally stop as soon as the babies arrive.

Tell us something about yourself no one might ever guess about you.

– I am an equestrian at heart.  I rode horses for about 22 years and competed a lot all summer for 10 years.  I owned 2 of my own horses and this was quite a commitment, riding them every day and taking care of them – all while going to University and completing an undergrad degree in Animal biology and master degree in Toxicology. Time management was the biggest factor.  I feel like this set me up for success when it comes to finding time for those things really important to me – Like Crossfit with 2 kids.  If you really want something you will figure out how to make it work! Hopefully this means you will be seeing me back in the gym soon, with Hudson in tow!