February Athlete of the Month: Mary Kate Gleason!!
I grew up in Schomberg, ON, where my family had a small farm. I then attended the University of Waterloo, where I got my Bachelor of Accounting & Finance and Master of Accounting and found myself moving to Toronto for work. It was quite a shock coming from the country to the city, and I still find myself getting lost in its pace. I currently work as a Financial Analyst within the Investment Accounting team at Fairfax Financial, so much of my day is spent sitting at my desk and crunching numbers.
I used to be quite into powerlifting, but due to some health reasons, I ended up needing to take a break and focus on myself. In 2018 I took my first stride into becoming a healthier person and began to focus on nutrition rather than on exercising. After losing 120lbs, I still wasn’t happy with how I looked and decided that it was time to start gaining muscle and getting “beefy”. I tried getting back into powerlifting but found myself unmotivated and distraught that I could no longer lift my old numbers. A good friend of mine recommended that I try Crossfit, as it would be able to provide me with the challenge I was looking for (disclaimer: He was very right!).
The first thing I did was google “crossfit gyms near me” and saw that Crossfit 416 was just down the street from where I live. Okay, convenient. The second thing I did was check out any social media accounts I could find and read what people were saying about it. From my quick research, I was able to determine that this gym was highly valued by its members, and so I decided to bite the bullet and sign up! My first impression: Terrified. I will always remember vividly my first class. It was a Monday at 6:30pm with Coach DK, the workout was to run a mile and then 1 rep max back squat. I absolutely botched both and almost broke down when I failed my back squat. It was a hard reality for me that I was not as strong as I once was, but I know that I can get there again! After continuing to attend the classes, my impression has drastically changed for the better. I absolutely love going to classes and thrive on the challenge being provided. I used to be scared to go to the classes that had movements/techniques that I had never done, but now I view them as a challenge and learning experience.
Every PR that I have hit has been an incredible moment for me. My favourite was when I PR’d my snatch, as I was not at all expecting to hit it. I loved how light the bar felt as it floated above my head and I someone managed to stand it up. I was so shocked that when I had to put it down it didn’t feel real at all. I am also proud that I have PR’d my back squat 3 times since joining and am looking forward to my next one! I am currently working on improving my Olympic lifts and learning the gymnastic movements. I have never done gymnastics before, so all the movements and mechanics are completely new to me. I would love to be able to do a pull-up, and a bar muscle up! I am so envious watching other members pull themselves up with so much ease. I am also slowly working on changing my mindset to accept that failure is meant to happen. Coach Marino has been instrumental in helping me get over this mental barrier, and I really appreciate his patience and guidance.
I always love it when I see that the WOD has deadlifts or back squats in it, so my perfect WOD is going to have them both!
Death by Deadlift and Back Squat (115/75) [bar from ground for squat]
2 deadlifts and 2 back squats to start, increase by 2 each minute.
Time Cap: 10 mins
My favourite memory is the 2019 Members Competition; shout out to the Super Snatch Bros (see photo above)! I originally wasn’t going to sign up, as I was super intimidated that I would bring the team down, but after continuous encouragement from the coaches, I decided to give it a shot. This was the best decision I made! The atmosphere was just incredible, and it really made you want to put out your best effort. I really enjoyed how encouraging and supportive everyone was, even to their opponents! I am already looking forward to future competitions.