Athlete of the Month

January 2018 Athlete of the Month: Laura Beckford

I grew up in the Boston area, but to most Canadians’ disappointment I don’t have a wicked thick Boston accent. My Dad lives in New Hampshire in the middle of nowhere, so I’m a little bit of a country bumpkin. Maybe like, 25% bumpkin. When I’m at home we ride dirt bikes, shoot guns, and feed our chickens sugar cookies. The other 75% of me loves living in the city and pretending to be cool by hanging out at hipster bars with arcade games in them.

I’ve been working as a Project Manager at a digital agency for the past 5 years. I spend my time leading a team of creatives and technologists that design and build things (mostly websites) for large companies.  Think “Mad Men”, but with the internet.

My grad school program involved a lot of traveling; we lived in France and China for 4 months each and most of my classmates were not from the States. I ended up moving to Toronto 2.5 years ago as an indirect result of that program and love it here!

I tried Crossfit because a former roommate of mine in Boston convinced me to check out her gym during a particularly snowy/boring winter. I never played a sport before, yeah I know what you’re thinking, “She looks like an elite Olympic athlete, there’s no way she didn’t play for a D1 University at least”. Believe it people. I would have been too intimidated to try Crossfit so I’m really glad I joined her.  

When I moved to Toronto I started working out at CF416 because it was the closest box to my office, and I was hoping to find a community as fun as the one I had in Boston. My first impression of it was that it was a little small and the group was kind of intimidating. The gym has evolved A LOT since then. The larger space was a game changer, and ever since we moved to it the vibe is more open and friendly. I feel like CF416 is way more social now, and members are very open about giving each other advice and support. I also love that there are two coaches for each class…we have some amazing coaches and their passion adds a lot to the atmosphere.

One of the first times I was really proud at CF416 was the day I got 30 unbroken doubleunders, those things are so frustrating. A more recent one was when I ran by first sub 8 minute mile at GRIT!

I just spent 3 weeks on vacation in Thailand in November, and then went home for Christmas so needless to say I have been eating and drinking a lot. Right now I’m focusing on losing that extra fluff and eating healthy. I really want to do well in this year’s lifestyle challenge, maybe even win. Watch out everyone!

If I were to create a WOD:

“Bieber Fever”

AMRAP: The length of 3 Bieber songs (coaches choice)

10 KB Swing

10 Power Clean

10 Bar over Burpee

Something that sticks in my mind as a great memory at CF416 was the day I walked in and there were soft boxes. I fell on a wooden box a long time ago and was scared to jump on them after that…I always felt stupid during WODs with box jumps. I did my first box jump in 2 years once we got the soft boxes.  Thanks for investing in those, Dan!

Generally, what I love about CF416 is that even when I show up grumpy after a crappy day, I never feel like that after the WOD. Thanks to everyone who encourages me, you guys are great!


December 2017 Athlete of the Month: Jed Perez

I was born and raised in the Philippines. My family and I moved to Canada in May of 2000. I then moved to Waterloo to pursue my studies in Biology and Psychology.  I realized after doing my undergrad that I enjoy interacting and helping people in need, which is why I got into nursing. After getting some experience in different areas of healthcare, I decided that I would want to work in a fast-paced, high adrenaline environment. I currently work in a very busy emergency/trauma department in downtown Toronto as a Registered Nurse.

Crossfit was something a friend recommended to me few years ago. I was always skeptical and for the most part nervous about these new waves of physical fitness and workouts. After a long and careful consideration, I decided I would like to try something new. I started doing drop-ins in a CrossFit gym in Brampton where my parents live in the fall of 2013 and later settled in a CrossFit gym in downtown Mississauga.

Nearly a year into my regular membership at Square One CrossFit, I met my partner Ralph and we adopted our first fur baby Charlie.  It was a challenge co-parenting an innocent cute little yorkie while living in 2 separate homes, so Ralph and I decided to move in together in King West. I wanted to continue my CrossFit journey and after checking out different CrossFit gyms in the city, I chose CF416.  I had heard good things about the gym from other CrossFitters, particularly in regards to the coaching style and programming. I remember doing a drop-in at the old gym with Ralph before it closed down. I thought I needed to look for another gym, only to find out that the gym was relocating at the other side of the building.

My first impression of the gym was that everyone was strong and seasoned athletes. I worried that I would not fit in and I would just have to get used to the machines at Goodlife. I would often compare myself to other guys and ended up having unrealistic fitness goals. I thought the heavier the weights I use in the WODS, the better the outcomes. That has all changed throughout time. After being coached under the watchful eyes of the fabulous team at CF416, I have gained much more confidence and performed better in the workouts. I learned to focus on myself and not get into the hype of being ‘the best’ in the class. I learned that you are allowed to have good days and off days at the gym. I learned to put importance on recovery and rest days, and to indulge in moderation. I learned that with practice and knowledge application, I am able to utilize my strengths and turn my weaknesses around.

Any time I hit a PR or finish a WOD successfully is a proud moment for me. I believe in positive reinforcement. Treating a small 1-5 pound PR as an accomplishment goes a long way to achieve my personal goals.  As a result, I am in better shape than I was 10 years ago. I have more energy, I feel good, and I owe these to CF416. Every time I come to class I always tell myself that I am doing something many people are afraid to do or would not even dare try. I get into this mindset to get through each workout and often surprise myself with how well I did afterwards.

I am currently working on putting more gym time to practice various bar and gymnastics skills. I want to sharpen my techniques in weightlifting so I can perform better and lift heavier. I would also like to work on some strongman movements. It is still an unfamiliar territory and a work in progress. The one thing I am doing differently lately and would like to do more of is joining other members for a post WOD workout. I get inspired watching members stay afterwards and do a ‘mini-WOD.’ So if you see me (usually at noon) and would like to put in extra work, do not hesitate to ask (nothing too crazy tho).

If I had to create my own WOD for the class it would be:


AMRAP x 15min

6 Squat Cleans (135/95)

9 Hand Release Push Ups

12 Box Jump Overs (24/20)

Aside from the little victories I have had at CF416, my favourite part of this gym is the people. I have had the pleasure of getting to know a number of its members and am proud to call them friends. I can honestly say that I am grateful to be in the presence of CrossFitters from different walks of life and diverse backgrounds. I would like to thank the coaches and members for your encouragement and ongoing support. There is nothing like a good camaraderie during a tough WOD and going for mimosas afterwards (PS I love brunch).


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!