Athlete of the Month

April 2017 Athlete of the Month – Joe Vukovic

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?

I was born and raised in Ottawa, the beautiful capital city of our Nation. I moved to Toronto in 2012 to complete a B.comm in Retail Operations Management. I currently work for TJX Canada the parent company of Marshalls, Winners, and Homesense as an Allocation Analyst. I started with the company back in May of 2016.

Fun Fact: When I lived in Ottawa I was a part of the Ottawa Croatian Folklore group for 13 years. I used to play different instruments and had taught beginner and intermediate students in the organization. The group would frequently travel across the GTA, USA, and Quebec to perform in different international festivals.

 

Tell us a little bit about your fitness history. What were you doing before you joined CrossFit 416? How did you find out about us? How was your first class here? How long have you been coming here? What has been the biggest factor in keeping you hooked at CF 416?

Before I started Crossfit I played soccer most of my life getting up to Men’s Competitively Level One. I was always one of the fullbacks on the team because of the height I had. I started my official Crossfit career at NCR Crossfit in Ottawa, but I was introduced to the sport during my University days by another fellow 416 member, Igor Mnich. I’ve been with CF416 since May 2016. What drives me to Crossfit is the sense of community you share with all members.

 

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

Pace, pace, pace. Know your strengths and weakness and know when to push and when to scale back in a workout.

 

What is your favourite movement in CrossFit? Why?

The Snatch. It’s a thing of beauty. Pick up some heavy weight and drop your ass to the ground and drive up like a rock star.

 

Aaaand your least favourite movement and why?

The Deadlift. I find that with a low weight and high reps my form goes to shit. And having long levers doesn’t really help with proper positioning.

 

If we could create a Hero WOD named “Joe”, what would it be? Movements, rep schemes, rounds, length of time, etc. all variables are yours to unleash your programming creativity here!

21-18-15-12-9-6-3 – Row for cals and wall balls. Similar to 14.5

 

List three things that can almost always be found in your fridge.

Greek yogurt, Egg whites, All natural peanut butter.

 

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

Creating a new life in Toronto.

 

Who or what inspires you on a personal level?
My mom.

 

You just came back from a vacation. We hope you enjoyed it. What is the favourite place you’ve travelled to? Why? Where are you planning on going next?

Costa Rica, I went with 12 friends from University and by far this trip was the best experience I’ve had abroad. Next trip is to Vietnam in September or October.

 

How do you like your toast? (The more detail the better—think specific bread, butter, condiments/toppings, shade of colouring, etc. haha)
Toasted on level 3. Lots of butter and strawberry jam.

 

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

I love to dance and cook.

 

If you had to pick a song as a walkout theme, what would it be?

M.O.P. – Ante Up Remix ft. Busta Rhymes, Teflon, Remy Martin

 

What is your most embarrassing childhood/teenage infatuation/trend/fad, etc. that you wholeheartedly prescribed to (favourite bands, fashion styles, haircuts, accessories, etc.)?

White belt and a white pair of aldo dress shoes. Bougee AF.

March 2017 Athlete of the Month: Jax Mattioli

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, hobbies, fun facts, etc. anything goes! The more the better! What would you like people to know about you?

I grew up in Dundas, Ontario and still consider myself to be a small-town girl living in the city. I am fortunate to be able to spend most weekends at the cottage on Georgian Bay to keep me balanced with the chaos of city life. I love a new challenge, and spending time outdoors – I generally look for new sports to try, but prefer team/social sports to individual. I also love checking out the local dining scene in whichever city I am in, and love finding the hidden gems. I literally have a notepad in my iPhone with a list full of my favourite restaurants and those I still want to try across North America. Otherwise, you can find me playing ball on the beach with our dog Oban, Sailing or Cycling.

Life is extra busy right now as I am counting down the days (and $$$ L) until my wedding, this June, just outside of Charleston, South Carolina. I’m grateful for the support of all the coaches, especially Rachel, as I try to keep focused on regaining my pre-travel body and lifestyle habits, and to look good in my wedding dress of course J.

Tell us a little bit about your fitness history. What were you doing before you joined CrossFit 416? How did you find out about us? How was your first class here? How long have you been coming here? What has been the biggest factor in keeping you hooked at CF 416?

I played competitive softball for over 20 years at a provincial, national, and varsity level. I used to train and play 3-5 days a week, plus up to 8 tournament weekends. It was my life for a long time!!! Until I tore my shoulder playing for McMaster University. I trained and played one more season before deciding it was time to retire. After a year of physiotherapy, it was clear weightlifting was no longer an option, it was going to be a critical part of keeping my shoulder strong and pain free. So I replaced my 3-5 days of softball training with 3-5 days in the gym, obsessively reading about training. I added Cycling, Golf and Yoga and actually came to a place where I was the fittest I’d been since I was a kid.

Things all got complicated when I was promoted to a national role that had me travelling 3-4 weeks out of a month. That’s when I discovered CrossFit. I met a man in a hotel gym training a client; turns out he owned a box in Alberta. After I told him CrossFit wasn’t for me, he invited me to come to his box for a WOD, I declined, but accepted his dare to find a Box in Toronto and give it a shot.

My first class was BRUTAL—thanks, Luke!. Lol. I will never forget the 20 minute AMRAP: Push Ups, Sit Ups, and Air Squats. I remember leaving the class and texting a note back saying: “Thanks, but no thanks.” The next day, when I woke up, and EVERYTHING hurt – I wrote back and said “I think I’m in love…” That was it for me. That was before I fell head over heels in love with the amazing coaches and people I’ve met – of course now I could never leave.

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

The only person you are ever competing against is yourself. I think any athlete would agree it can be difficult not to feel the nerves and pressure as barbells are smashing down around you and people are moving so fast. Also – mobility. I think I always went through the motions with softball warm ups, but really learned the importance of it in CrossFit – this sport will take your ego down a few levels and highlights every weakness you have!!! Lastly, leverage the coaches. Whether you are new to CrossFit or a veteran, CrossFit 416 is stacked with some amazing people who can quickly assess your form and help you work with your body to get the most out of your workouts and improve faster than you will on your own. Even when you think you’ve mastered it, bad habits are easy to build. Ask for a form check from time to time, you won’t regret it!

What is your favourite movement in CrossFit? Why?

I actually have a love/hate for Wallballs. LOL I hate them while I am doing them, but honestly, I can’t get enough of the pain in my butt and legs the next day. I know they work! Also, I love lunges and have come to enjoy rowing. Did I actually just say that?

Aaaand your least favourite movement and why?

I would trade Thrusters for just about anything else. They are my sore spot for sure. Barbells, dumbbells, doesn’t matter, I have a big time hate-on for Thrusters. Showing up on a Thruster day is hard.

If we could create a Hero WOD named “Jax”, what would it be? Movements, rep schemes, rounds, length of time, etc. all variables are yours to unleash your programming creativity here!

Let’s Tabata all my favourites!!!

8 Rounds of each :20 on :10 off

Overhead Plate Lunges

Ball Slams

Rowing

Toes to Bar/Post

Wall Balls

Ring Rows

Ring Dips

 

Is that too much? J
What is the favourite place you’ve travelled to? Why? Where are you planning on going next?

Gosh, I have travelled a lot but will say there are still so many places I want to see! One of my favourite places, however, is a little barrier Island outside of Charleston, South Carolina called Kiawah Island. It is part of what they call “Lowcountry” and rich with history, architecture, and some of the most amazing food in North America. There is something about Southern Hospitality and charm that makes you feel worlds away, or as if you have stepped back in time.

Kiawah Island itself sits on the Atlantic Ocean, it is a private residential island about with a beach strip 10 miles long. Once you arrive, you can literally park your car and move about the island on bicycle. One of my favourite things to do is ride through the streets admiring the multi-million dollar plantation style homes on the way up to the Ocean Course Golf Club, enjoy a bottle of our favourite wine and some lunch on the patio before letting the wind push us all the way back down the beach on our bicycles.

We love it so much we will be heading back in just a few short months for our own low-country intimate seaside wedding in June. After that I will go back to my bucket list and pick another spot.

How do you like your toast?

I like my toast thick and crusty, golden brown like it’s been meticulously torched by a fine dining pastry chef, topped with crunchy peanut butter and a thick layer of creamed local honey. YUM!

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

I am bizarrely shy and hate being the center of attention unless it’s part of a team, and I’m not big on surprises, hahaha. Yep, my nooners can attest I would kill myself in a WOD just not to end up having a crowd around me cheering me on. I once followed the office crowd into the office they planned to surprise me in for my birthday, and yelled surprise before they even knew I was in the room. The only surprise I liked was when my fiancé proposed, because he kept it simple and private on the beach at our cottage. Trust me, I was still awkward!!!

What are three things we would always find in your fridge?

Multiple Nut Butters, Eggs, Maple Syrup

Who inspires you?

My fiancé Cameron. I met him as he was training for an Ironman Race. A gruelling 140.6 miles of Swimming, Cycling and Running. He encouraged me to run a 13.1 mile half marathon, I don’t think I ever did a single training run I didn’t complain about. I don’t know how he ran a 26.2 mile marathon after 7 hours of swimming and cycling. He never complained when training, just just got up and got it done. It definitely hurt, and it wasn’t easy, so he either has the pain tolerance of a god or the focus and determination of a first class athlete. That is inspiring.

Otherwise, it’s the members at CF 416 who push themselves every day. I would probably take the slacker way out if Coach Derya wasn’t watching and pushing me on my weight selection each day.

What is your proudest accomplishment thus far in life?

Realizing I can survive just about anything and that I can find gratitude even in the worst times. I would have to say I’m also pretty proud of my people collecting skills – I am surrounded by some of the most diverse and amazing people who have been a greater part of my journey than they will ever personally know. I have learned a lot about life, the ups and downs, the ins and outs, but mostly – the importance of people. You never know how you will touch someone’s life, what they struggle with, or how you might affect their journey, be kind, be true, be open. We are all in this together.

What is your most embarrassing childhood/teenage infatuation/trend/fad, etc. that you wholeheartedly prescribed to?

Geez, that’s a tough one. I generally hate fads. I am plain Jane and could probably pull something out of the closet from 15 years ago that wouldn’t truly show its age. LOL But I will admit, I was a boy band kind of girl and sucker for a love song. Still am, hahaha

February 2017 Athlete of the Month: Ryan Fardell

Ryan is a long time member of CrossFit 416, and continues to put in hard work when he is not protecting the streets as a Toronto Police Officer.  We were lucky enough to sit down with Ryan to get to know him a little more.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do when you aren’t at CF 416?

I was born and raised in Toronto. Outside of the gym I enjoy snowboarding, travelling and heading to cottages in the summer.  Luckily, I get lots of time away from work, which allows me to get away a fair bit.

I recently travelled a large portion of interior BC in an RV, snowboarding at multiple resorts. That was a great experience.

How were you staying active before you decided to join 416?

Before becoming a member at 416, my gym routine, for the most part, was pretty average. I was member at a regular, boring old gym, and did a pretty basic cardio and weight routine. I really can’t imagine going back after multiple years at 416.

I originally found out about 416 through a friend at work and have been hooked ever since. I have been a member since the original gym. The main thing that keeps me coming back is the coaching and fun atmosphere. Both the coaches and members constantly keep me motivated, and have assisted in improving my overall fitness.

If you could go back and give yourself advice prior to your first class, what would it be?

If I could go back to my first class and give my self some advice it would definitely be to focus more on mobility, stretching, foam rolling, lacrosse ball work, etc…, both pre and post workout.  its amazing how much it helps with injuries and better function during any physical activity.

What is your favourite movement?

The deadlift is the lift I enjoy most.

And your least favourite?

Double unders, I have horrible coordination and can only string together a few at best if I’m lucky.

If we could create a Hero WOD named “Ryan” or “Fards”, what would it be? Movements, rep schemes, rounds, length of time, etc. all variables are yours to unleash your programming creativity here.

Run 800

30-20-10

Deadlifts, front squats, Push Jerks @ 135

Run 800

What are you most proud of accomplishing in life thus far?  

My proudest accomplishment would be becoming a Police officer. That took lots of hard work, patience and dedication.

What is the favourite place you’ve travelled to? Why? Where are you planning on going next?

My favorite place I have travelled to would be St. Anton, in the Austrian Alps. The snowboarding and the partying there is unreal. My next destination will likely be somewhere hot with a beach.

What are three things we would definitely find in your fridge?

Beer, chicken and steak

If you could play DJ during a class, what would you like to play?

Likely lots of 70’s,  80’s or 90’s rock – Metallica, Sabbath, Motorhead, Guns ‘n Roses etc.

What is your most embarrassing childhood/teenage infatuation/trend/fad, etc. that you wholeheartedly prescribed to?

In my early high school years, I wanted to be just like Eminem. Extremely embarrassing looking back now.

January Athlete of the Month: Fatima Cedeno Pena

Fatima, congratulations on being our athlete of the month for January! We’d like to put you in the spotlight through a little interview to help others get to know you a little better.

 

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, hobbies, fun facts, etc. anything goes! The more the better! What would you like people to know about you?

I am from Santo Domingo-Dominican Republic, where it’s summer the whole year long. I was actually in my country when I received this nomination. I came to Canada almost 3 years ago with my husband and my daughter. It was a life changer for us since we came here without knowing anyone; no family or friends but we are very happy we made that decision.

My daughter Emily is 3 years old now; she was only 6 months when we landed. My priority is my daughter and I spend most of my time with her. After work I do CrossFit and then pick Emily up from daycare and after that I’m a chef, cleaner, wife and of course a 24/7 mom… you name it. My days are really busy.

 

Tell us a little bit about your fitness history. What were you doing before you joined CrossFit 416? How did you find out about us? How was your first class here? How long have you been coming here? What has been the biggest factor in keeping you hooked at CF 416?

My fitness journey started a few years ago at a regular gym and I came to Canada I did the same and started going to my building gym. At that time, I was working to lose the baby weight and I wanted to lose it fast so I decided I needed something different.

One day I went to Shoppers Drug Mart and saw CrossFit 416. All those people looked so fit and strong to me that I started researching about it and decided to sign up; best decision ever!

I have been doing CrossFit for 1 year and 3 months now and I just love it. My first day was really scary; I didn’t know for sure what to expect and I didn’t know anyone either. I am a very shy person at the beginning so, going to a Crossfit class without knowing anyone was very challenging for me.

 

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

If I could go back in time I would tell myself to be patient and enjoy the journey. It takes time to master the movements and everyone has their own pace and skills; so do not compare yourself with others. Changes do not come overnight so again; be patient.

 

What is your favourite movement in CrossFit? Why?

I like everything related to squats! Back squats, front squats, overhead squats ha-ha—and also push jerk and clean because of the complexity of the movements.

Aaaand your least favourite movement and why?

I’ve been having a lot of trouble with double under. I’m just not good at it

 

If we could create a Hero WOD named “Fatima”, what would it be? Movements, rep schemes, rounds, length of time, etc. all variables are yours to unleash your programming creativity here!

 My own Hero WOD! Nice! It would go as follow:

Three rounds for time of:

15 back squat (175/115)

30 box jumps

20m handstand walk (I don’t do that but I would love to)

 

What is the favourite place you’ve travelled to? Why? Where are you planning on going next?

I found my favourite place in my country. It is “Bahia de las Aguilas beach” Literally “Eagles Bay” is an 8 km long beach along the southwestern coast of the Dominican Republic. The water is so clear that you can see your feet in the water. Next time we are planning to go to Europe.

 

How do you like your toast?

I love my toast crunchy with peanut butter.

 

Next year, when you compete in the CF 416 Classic, what will your walkout theme be?

As a proud Latina woman; my walkout theme would be a “bachata” or “merengue”

 

What is your most embarrassing childhood/teenage infatuation/trend/fad, etc. that you wholeheartedly prescribed to?

Something that I used to do was wear bell bottomed pants! It was the latest fashion trend back then and I was totally in with it! I don’t regret it, I was in style! Hehehe

 

December Athlete of the Month: Steve Cornelissen

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, hobbies, fun facts, etc. anything goes.

I grew up in small town in the Durham Region. If it wasn’t a party on a farm somewhere it was pond hockey and campfires. Between CrossFit and Netflix, a lot of my time is spent at work. I work for the Toronto Police, so anytime I can get to the gym and not think about work, I do. CrossFit has been a great outlet, and the community at 416 makes the gym a second home. This winter I’ve considered snowboarding again, but I say that every year

Tell us a little bit about your fitness history. What were you doing before you joined CrossFit 416? How did you find out about us? How was your first class here? How long have you been coming here? What has been the biggest factor in keeping you hooked at CF 416?

I used to go to a Globo gym, and found CrossFit Oshawa in 2013. When I moved to Toronto I found 416. I played NCAA hockey down in the states, and a lot of our workouts were crossfit”ish” before crossfit became what it is today. I’ve always enjoyed high intensity workouts so CrossFit was the perfect fit.

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

Patience!!!! Enjoy the process and embrace the long road ahead. Each movement takes its own time to develop and understand going lighter but having good technique is most important. The weight will come with time.
What is your favourite movement in CrossFit? Why?

My favourite movement is the clean and jerk. I enjoy the complexity of it, and it’s where I have seen my biggest improvement. I also enjoy a good double under session.

Aaaand your least favourite movement and why?

The burpee… for obvious reasons.

If we could create a Hero WOD named “Steve” or “Corney”, what would it be? Movements, rep schemes, rounds, length of time, etc. all variables are yours to unleash your programming creativity here!

If I had to come up with my own hero WoD it would be as follows:

7 RFT:
10 power cleans (185#)
50 double unders
400m run carrying an object of your choice
What is the favourite place you’ve travelled to? Why? Where are you planning on going next?

My favourite place I have travelled to is Australia. I lived there for 2 years and was able to explore every inch of it. A close second would be India. Between the food and the culture, it was amazing. The next place I would like to travel is somewhere in South America.

How do you like your toast?

If I had to make a piece of toast RIGHT NOW it would be a nice thick piece of Texas bread, medium toasted with a heaping amount of Nutella. The more Nutella the better.

One of the greatest things to ever happen in Toronto was the opening of the Nutella Cafe at Sobey’s in City Place. If you haven’t been, it’s a must see. I recommend the Nutella crepe.

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

I’ve cheated death 3 times. Perhaps not surprisingly, all three happened while living in Australia. Let me explain:

  1. When skydiving the parachute collapsed but reopened after several seconds of free falling.
    2. While surfing I was about 10 ft from a great white shark.
    3. Went swimming in a ravine in Darwin not knowing it was infested with salt water crocodiles. Always read and follow the signs before swimming.

Next year, when you compete in the CF 416 Classic, what will your walkout theme be?

“Homegrown” by the Zac Brown Band.

What is your most embarrassing childhood/teenage infatuation/trend/fad, etc. that you wholeheartedly prescribed to?

As a young teenager the most embarrassing trend I prescribed to was the baggy army pants OR white shell necklaces with frosted tips, those were the days!! Let’s bring back shell necklaces….

November 2016 Athlete of the Month: Shelley Gilroy

Shelley, congratulations on being our athlete of the month for November! We’d like to put you in the spotlight through a little interview to help others get to know you a little better.

  1. 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, hobbies, fun facts, etc. anything goes! The more the better! What would you like people to know about you?

I was born in Vancouver but grew up in Paris, a small town about an hour or so west of the city (not the cool one). I moved to Toronto about five years ago with my boyfriend Craig, and love being in the city, there is always something to do, see or… lets be real… eat. I can happily spend hours walking around different markets and neighbourhoods here… I’m a sucker when it comes to unique one-off items (and my credit card usually shows it) My job keeps me pretty busy but when I’m not there I enjoy coming to the gym, ruining a good book by reading it too fast (yes that’s a thing), cooking and wine with friends. If I ever have the opportunity to be a sloth for the day, I take it and enjoy every second, usually in a onesie or sweats of some kind. I’m fortunate to have had the same group of girlfriends since I was very little so I see them as often as I can, as well as my siblings and their little ones. I’ve also met some great friends at 416!

  1. Tell us a little bit about your fitness history. What were you doing before you joined CrossFit 416? How did you find out about us? How was your first class here? How long have you been coming here? What has been the biggest factor in keeping you hooked at CF 416?

When I moved to the city and started working in an office I noticed a big difference in my energy when compared to being on my feet all day. I saw a trainer for about a year and decided I was looking for a different challenge. I’ve never been naturally athletic or sports inclined but became interested in CrossFit after a few friends from home had started and couldn’t say enough about it. One of those friends recently became a coach he liked it so much! I was quite intimidated (insert token CrossFit joke here) but learned pretty quickly the movements could be scaled and there would always be a new way to challenge myself. I found 416 after walking past it a few times and checking the gym out online. When my commute reduced I figured there was no better time to make my move! My first class was with Andrew, who was very welcoming and quickly showed me I’d found the challenge I was looking for. I’ve now been a member for a little less than a year and truly enjoy coming to the gym. The biggest factor in that enjoyment is the people! I’ve made some great friends and have (slowly) gained confidence in the movements. I’ve still got lots of room for improvement but am encouraged by what I’ve accomplished so far.

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

 Hmmmm so much to say to this one! I would say relax, everyone is on different levels so the only person you should be comparing yourself to is your future self (Wodify plug). I would also say that it takes work… I was under the assumption that I would learn the movements and that was that… but there is a lot more that goes into it and it is certainly a process! Form over speed and weight… and for goodness sakes STOP looking down! (Still working on this one… eye contact back squats give me the willies).

  1. What is your favourite movement in CrossFit? Why?

Hmmm ‘favourite’ might be pushing it until it’s all over but I do enjoy box jumps, wall balls and cleans. Still working on those double-unders but get pretty excited when I string a decent number together!

  1. Aaaand your least favourite movement and why?

That would be a toss-up between thrusters (coordination) and snatches (grip)!

  1. If we could create a Hero WOD named “Shelley”, what would it be? Movements, rep schemes, rounds, length of time, etc. all variables are yours to unleash your programming creativity here!

A 15 Min AMRAP of my ‘faves’(because anything longer is kind of cruel):

  • 15 Hang Power Cleans (75/105)
  • 15 Box Jumps (20/24)
  • 15 Wall Balls (14/20)
  • 15 Double Unders (because I can hope to string this many together J)
  1. What is the favourite place you’ve travelled to? Why? Where are you planning on going next?

I just got back from Portugal and the Azores and would highly recommend it… great food, really affordable and a great mix of city and coastal sights. We hiked some pretty cool lagoons and found some beautiful beaches off the beaten path. The driving is also pretty crazy… lots of steep coastal roads with tiny barriers… luckily once we reached our destinations most places sold wine for less than water 🙂 Next I would say anywhere warm and relaxing with really good food and wine. Maybe Southern France?

  1. How do you like your toast? (The more detail the better—think specific bread, butter, condiments/toppings, shade of colouring, etc. haha)

This is an odd question… When I was a kid my Mom used to make us toast with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar… and it was delightful. Now that I’m older I try to limit my toast to when I’m enjoying runny eggs or with some type of nut butter before a workout! That doesn’t mean I enjoy sugar/breakfast pastries any less… it’s a real problem.

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

The sound of people chewing drives me up the wall. I also hate the feeling of chalk which is ironic.

  1. Next year, when you compete in the CF 416 Classic, what will your walkout theme be?

Starboy by The Weeknd ft/ Daft Punk

  1. What is your most embarrassing childhood/teenage infatuation/trend/fad, etc. that you wholeheartedly prescribed to?

Chunky highlights. Way too low-rise jeans. White pointed toe boots. There just isn’t the kind of time to paint a true picture.