June Athlete of the Month: Kailee Cusimano!
I grew up in North York and moved downtown a couple years ago to be closer to the office. I’m currently working as a Sr. Research Manager at a market research firm in downtown Toronto. I basically get to see all the new innovations and ideas that are being considered by fast food restaurants, CPG companies, etc. and stress test them with real consumers to identify whether the idea will actually take off in the market! Number crunching by day always has me pretty eager to expend some energy after work. I’ve always been very active – I played rep hockey and ran cross country until the end of high school. Nowadays I obviously do Crossfit to expend that extra energy, but I also have a small but mighty dog named Nikka (you all know her…) who occupies a lot of my time. She is the canine version of me, kinda cute, kinda muscular, kinda has an attitude and is super loud.
Coming from an athletic background, I felt like I needed another environment where I was surrounded by a strong community that had a competitive element. I had been doing some circuit-style training but I felt like I was ready for a new challenge. In 2016 I joined Crossfit Solid Ground in Thornhill where I trained beside Pat Vellner nearly every day…and had no idea who he was. It all makes sense now why he was so strong…
Fun fact: I’m in the background of his road to the games video on YouTube. I asked the videographer if they were making a promotional video for the gym, and that’s when I found out what the Crossfit games were and who Pat Vellner actually was (hahaha).
After moving downtown I came to Crossfit 416 since I needed a new gym. The walk was about 30 minutes to get to the gym each day. I remember my first time doing the walk I said to myself “OK, this is too far…time to find a new hobby”. To be quite honest, after my first class at 416 I felt scared. There were WAY more talented athletes than at my old gym, and I didn’t know anyone yet. Looking back on it, I can’t picture what my life would have been like for the past couple of years without the gym! I’ve made some lifelong friends and have become so much stronger than when I started. I’m so glad that I continued to do that walk each and every day, rain or shine. In fact, one of the deciding factors of where I recently moved was being closer to the gym since I couldn’t bear the thought of switching.
My proudest moment at CF416 was hands-down getting 10 bar muscle ups in this year’s open. When I had first started, a kipping pull up seemed so far away and I never thought in a million years that I’d be able to do even one muscle up!
Now I’m working on going back to the basics of a lot of movements to become more efficient and move properly and safely. Shoutout to Coach Hannah and her Barbell Breakdown program which really helped me to dial into my technique on the olympic lifts, so now I’m focusing on squat form in particular since it’s my biggest weakness.
If I could create a WOD for the gym, it would obviously consist of the things that I like (aka no squats )….
15 hang power cleans (115/75)
10 pull ups
12 hang power cleans (135/95)
10 hang power cleans (155/105)
3 BMU (I can’t do any more than that)
*30 ab mat situps between each round
I have too many amazing memories at 416 to choose one, but the members competition is usually one of my favourite days of the year. Since it’s just for fun, everyone can let loose and have fun. It’s also great to get to know some people that you might not interact with that often.