It’s not often one of your own makes it to the CrossFit Games.
It’s even less one stands on the podium at that stage.
Jolaine Undershute, owner of Endeavor Fitness, has done both.
Undershute is now back in Invermere with a medal around her neck and her name eternally etched on the podium she’s always dreamed of.
“I feel it’s a goal that has never been completed until this year,” she said. “Goals give me an opportunity to channel my energy and learn valuable lessons from the journey towards reaching them. Every goal I have set I have achieved with in a few placings. Now I just need to be more specific with the universe.”
She said it with a laugh but her road to the third place finish in this year’s Master’s Women 45-49 division was not a traditional one. With hopes of once again returning to the Regionals Competition this year, Jolaine had to get back on track after several hiccups like this year’s Open that unexpectedly changed the handstand push-up standard to turn her strength into a quick weakness.
Still she was able to overcome those obstacles to finish in contention for the age qualifier after the Open where she was met with further roadblocks. It was for these reasons she hired several coaches to help improve her mental game such as her sister Luriana who owns Heart and Soul Medicine.
“One of the reasons I sought help from energy workers was to overcome the overwhelming amount of doubt especially leading up to a competition,” she said. “I had to overcome this hurdle and put my pride aside. HSPU came up again in the masters qualifier but my biggest weakness was the rope climbs to ‘15. I honestly wasn’t even sure if I was going to make the top 20 in the masters qualifiers.”
Still she did, qualifying for the Games with the opportunity to make it to the podium for the first time ever and her first time competing at that stage since 2016. One thing was different though–just one week prior to entering the Games in Madison Wisconsin, she injured her shoulder in a biking accident and was unable to train right up until Day 1 at the Games.
“I was super cautious as I sprained my AC joint 10 days prior and my physiotherapist told me I’d probably only be at about 80% because there was just not enough time to heal. I went into it telling myself just complete it with no goals of placing just completion,” she said.
It wasn’t her best placing of the weekend, but she was able to walk away with a strong placing of 12th of 20th. Her placings would get stronger as the day went on though as she continued to improve despite her shoulder ailing her with each rep and workout. Event number 2 saw her place 9th before she claimed her first event win in event three which were two of her favourite movements: barbell snatches and double-unders.
“If there was an event I was going to win it was this one. I told myself if I could snatch more than 155 pounds I was going to be ok,” she said. “As I watched the girls in the warm up area I started to gain more confidence that propelled me throughout the remainder of the games.”
Jolaine woke up Friday and wanted nothing more to continue her tear and run for the podium. She followed her first event win of the 2018 Games with a tie for first and then second event win.
With that being said, she was tested in the final workout Friday which included running and high rope climbs–two former movements that Jolaine was not confident in.
“I missed the podium in 2013 because I failed my last rope climb and they have haunted me every since. Combine that with running= nightmare!” she said, thinking back to the event.
With all the work she had done running around the building at Endeavor and the rope work she had done since the qualifiers, Jolaine was able to turn a weakness into a 9th place finish. Not good enough to overtake the podium place, but limit the damage to her chance at accomplishing her goals.
Saturday Jolaine continued to show that she belonged as she ran up two second place finishes to go with a fifth place finish and had a comfortable podium position heading into Sunday. Jolaine was able to claim second place in the second last event, with Amanda Allen taking seventh place to allow Jolaine to narrow the gap.
The last workout was a Jolaine wheelhouse workout too: complex Fran. Pushing hard for the top position on the podium, Jolaine was at a crossroads when she began failing bar muscle ups, a movement she was very familiar with.
“I kept turning to my gymnastics coach and praying. Why me why now when I was so close. I honestly thought it was over again and I was going to miss the podium. Then I calmed down took a little break listened to the advice of my gymnastics coach and tried again,” she said.
Slowly, she broke her muscle ups into sets and was able to get the work done. It was one of her better placings from the weekend, coming in in third place, but after long consideration, it was not enough to overcome Allen for the top position on the podium. Still, she was able to accomplish her goal of reaching the podium with a medal around her neck for third place.
“After all was said and done I’m still in shock I made the podium with one shoulder and being 200 points down after Day one,” she said. “Miracles do happen!”
Now back in Invermere, she’s slowly getting back to training while coaching at the gym she calls home. With the potential changes being made to the CrossFit Games season including the axing of Regional competition and the CrossFit Invitational, Undershute isn’t certain on what the future holds for competition and for herself.
Whether that’s continuing with CrossFit or venturing into powerlifting or competing at the World level in Olympic Weightlifting, it’s a decision she will be looking at in the future.
One thing will remain etched in history no matter what though–she’s the third fittest woman on earth from ages 45-49.
No one is taking that away from her.
One of the best things about Endeavor Fitness is truly the inspiration coming from all shapes, sizes and yes, ages.
While there are people in all age groups absolutely smashing weights inside the gym and accomplishing astonishing athletic feats outside of the gym, one of the younger competitors will be one that inspires for days and dazzles for decades.
You may have met her. Her name is Cassidy Gray. The 16-year-old young woman who was just named to the Canadian Alpine Ski Team.
Cassidy first came to Endeavor eight years ago as part of the Panorama Ski Team who was taking part in dry land training under Jolaine Undershute. The daughter of member Joanne Gray, Cassidy walked through the doors, put her head down to work and never looked back.
Quite honestly I can remember the first time I had the chance to coach Cassidy. Not only was she one of the strongest in nearly every room (she’s probably close to stronger than me in a lot of movements) she was also one of the most coachable people I have ever encountered. When it came to going through movements for new students, she listened intently in the event that she’s able to pick up something new. When you give her a cue to fix something with her movement, you give it once and she takes it to a level you hadn’t even prepared for.
Jolaine had to agree with me, calling her, “one of the most humble athletes I know.”
“Fiercely determined and self motivated, Cassidy is proficient in Olympic lifting and gymnastics plus she has a diversified background in sports,” Undershute said. “Cassidy had a very successful first year in FIS this year, earning a top five world ranking and making the Canadian Alpine Development team. I’m so proud of this girl and I hope to see her on the Olympic podium one day.”
One of the things she said she enjoys about training at Endeavor is the variety everyday always keeps her going.
“I really like CrossFit because there is never a day when you find yourself bored,” she said, humbly not wanting to take all the credit for herself. “Jolaine always manages to help me find a new gear that I didn’t know I had.”
“I prefer CrossFit over going to the gym because it incorporates everything and it also builds mental strength. The community at Endeavor is completely different to anything you would ever get at a normal gym. Not only is everyone there to improve themselves, but they also want to see you improve.”
Cassidy lives by her words every day she’s putting in the work. She gives you everything she has in the workout and when she’s done, she gives it a 100 per cent in cheering on everyone around her.
It’s no surprise that these fundamental traits are carried forward when she competes on the ski hill. While she’s relentless with her work ethic and devotion to her craft, she works harder than everyone to ensure she can make it to Canada’s best stage and ultimately stay there.
While she’s a phenomenal athlete, she says she is surprised that she’s already at the level she is where she’s competing on a national level. When it comes to her recommendation for another athlete looking to join the community at Endeavor, her advice is pretty clear.
“With that being said, I would tell another athlete that Endeavour is going to help you in whatever sport you do,” she said. “You build a strong base that is able to transfer to any sport you could think.”
The CrossFit Open is behind us. Thank gosh. It was horrible, it was fun and it was also an incredibly humbling and learning experience.
For myself, it was a chance to learn a little bit more about my current fitness level as this was my second Open. While I had my setbacks (WHAT WAS WITH THAT NEW HANDSTAND PUSH UP STANDARD) I finished far higher in the standings than I did last year.
For other people in our gym, it was incredible to watch weekly as people came in and threw down their best efforts, received their best scores and sometimes even PR’d.
For most of us, it was just a test to see where we were at but for at least one of us among the group, it was a chance at redemption to return to the coveted CrossFit Games.
Through qualifying for the online master’s qualifier and then subsequently the Games themselves, Jolaine Undershute is well on her way to putting a stamp on Madison Wisconsin this August. It was truly an inspiration to watch her achieve that this spring.
“I am extremely grateful to have qualified for my fifth CrossFit Games,” Undershute said. “As a single mother and a CrossFit affiliate owners, it’s challenging finding the energy to fit all the volume of training required. I took a different approach in 2017 by hiring an Olympic Lifting and gymnastics coach which paid off as all of my skills and lifts have improved. Taking a year away from Games competition also solidified how much I miss and love the sport and I thank all my supportive community of students, coaches, friends and fans.”
That being said, it was also an opportunity for the newcomers who participated in their first ever Open or were just looking to do it for fun and maybe even a cold beverage.
Lindsay McPhereson, Jaz Bernier, Nancy Hugunin, Kyra Warren, Eric Elliott, Lainey Wilson, Tammy Eccles and Taylor Lightfoot all did amazing as official participants in this years Open.
For Lindsay as a last minute registrant, the motivation was a cold beer promised to her from her workout friend Jaz that pushed her over the edge to competing.
“Motivation is key I guess,” she said. “For me, competing Rx was a way to see how I really measure up world wide. It also gave me the push to PR my overhead squat by 20lbs for 18.3.”
For someone like Nancy, this year’s Open was a chance to start fresh after joining Endeavor at the start of the 2017 Open.
“This year, I was away for the first workout but the second one was on my first day back,” she said. “What fun! It was intense, it showed me my strengths and the things I needed to work on. Each of the last three workouts were challenging but doable.
No matter the person, that was a unique element among all the members at Endeavor this Open. There were workouts where everyone had a strength they could showcase but that dirty Dave Castro will always find a way to expose you in the Open.
For many like Jaz Bernier, it was 18.3 with the hundreds of double unders and muscle ups. While she said she knows her double unders could improve, she would really like to get a ring or bar muscle up in next year’s Open.
And really that’s what this season now is all about—spending the time necessary to work on filling the holes that were exposed in last year’s Open. Even after a first place finish in the world in 18.1, Taylor Lightfoot is getting to work for 19.x.
“I loved it all,” she said. “It is such a great chance to show yourself how good you are but also find weakness that you can learn from and get better from. The open almost gives you a sense of a global community, everybody is doing the same thing you are, wanting to get better, trying something new, something maybe out of their comfort zone.
As she puts it, the 2018 Open was awesome. Almost indescribably awesome. I wonder what that means for 2019.
“It’s hard to put into words, how five workouts changed how I look at the gym and what I do there,” Lightfoot said. “I’m just happy I did and got to share it with so many wonderful, helpful,supportive, people.”
I remember the first time I walked through the doors of Endeavor Fitness after moving back here from Ontario. It was the 9 A.M class, most of the people I would learn are regulars at that time were working out. I knew of some of them by name, none of them more than that.
After exchanging a few words and a hug from Jolaine, I was met by a woman with a smile on her face who told me her name was Bailey, “like the alcohol,” she told me, but don’t call her Brandy.
It stuck with me. I knew I was already a member of the gym there and would soon be a coach too, but that automatic welcoming attitude I saw from Bailey that morning was something I would see countless more times over the next six months from her and is one of the reasons why she’s finally being recognized for being the member of the month at Endeavor Fitness.
Bailey first joined the Endeavor Fitness family in November of 2015 when her mutual friend Christine Nyuli helped bring her through the doors to meet Jolaine. A fan of powerlifting (also known as picking really heavy things up and putting them down), she was quickly surprised at the progress she made as her numbers continued to climb, asking Jolaine for tutelage on which stars she should shoot for along her fitness journey.
The answer was powerlifting.
“My original goal was to achieve a 300 pound deadlift and my secondary goal was to attend a powerlifting meet,” Yeats said.
Nearly everyday you could find Bailey on the platform inside the gym working hard to achieve those goals. There were good days when everything was going right, but there were also bad days when bars felt heavy, missed lifts were frequent, but one thing stayed the same. Her attitude never wavered. Never.
Even when she was missing lifts, she was always cheering on and motivating EVERYONE else around her.
“If you know me at all on a personal level, you know that you get what you and you don’t get upset,” she said. “I am who I am but Endeavor has certainly helped shape that. It has impacted me in both a mental and physical way that really helps show my most authentic self because when you feel good, damn you feel good.”
Despite her lofty goals to compete in a powerlifting meet, she said she had no idea she had the muscles growing inside of her nor understand her true potential for quite some time.
“I didn’t realize my true potential, in regards of strength, for a very long time,” she said, shocking herself to tears when she did things like handstands and rope climbs. I am doing things that I couldn’t ever do, even as a child.”
Entering her competition, it was a devotion to living her life without regrets saying, “I refuse to lay on my deathbed saying, ‘I wish I would have…’” that ultimately made her bite the bullet and enter the completion.
While she didn’t win the competition, she did set all time personal best on her back squat which she considered a huge personal victory and learning experience that she looks to carry forward on her fitness journey.
When it comes to her goals, Bailey is an inspiration because of the way that they extend beyond the barbell and the walls of the gym.
“I choose to do this so I can become the best version of myself, physically and mentally,” she said. “When I am the best version of myself, I am a better Mom, a better wife, a better friend…a better human being. I have big goals in my life and one of those is to create positive impact to help others become the best version of themselves, what better way to do that then lead by example.”
That’s what makes Bailey inspiring everyday as she helps forge the best part of the CrossFit Endeavor community. When it comes to newcomers who may walk through Endeavor’s doors in the future, it’s a comfort knowing Bailey will great them with open arms, a nice comment and plenty of words of inspiration each and every day.
“If you have ever thought for a second that you might want to try a CrossFit class but haven’t yet due to a fear, I say “f&$@ fear!”, why not give it a try?” She said. “It might be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made for your own well-being.”
Well, the 2018 CrossFit Open is over. What a time it was. High fives were exchanged, smiles evoked, drops of sweat and tears have fallen and maybe even a few choiced words for CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro have been thrown out.
But here we are in April and it’s over. With that, we enter a new month meaning it’s time once again to celebrate one of our brilliant members. In March, throughout the Open, join me in celebrating Tammy Eccles.
Without getting too much into just her Open results, Tammy shone in her first ever Open. Of the 172,002 women who signed up across the world, Tammy finished 123,071 and 13,483 in her age group from women 40-44. This is all while not being able to enter her 18.1 score on time so having entered anything on 18.1, she would have finished even higher!
To truly appreciate Tammy’s hard work in March though, you have to know her from before the 2018 Open and before the year started in general. Tammy works hard every single day she’s in the gym.
Tammy first came through the doors of Endeavor Fitness three years ago after fighting the injury bug for several years of running in hopes of getting stronger. Having had several coworkers tell her about the environment at Endeavor, she thought she would give CrossFit a try, hoping to get a good blend of the cardio and strength benefits afforded through the growingly popular fitness modality.
“What I enjoy about CrossFit besides the coaching and the camaraderie is the mixture between cardio and lifting,” she said. “I also enjoy being pushed all the time because it makes me more competitive towards myself and pushes me on days when I feel really lazy.”
It’s this competitive edge that you can see on her face every time she comes into the gym. While she says she enjoys the conversations, the laughs and smiles she shares with people in class—no matter the class time—when she hears those three beeps on the clock, she knows it’s go time.
Nowhere was that more evident than during the Open this year. It wasn’t until 10 minutes before the official deadline on the first workout that she even decided to sign up for the Open but said at the conclusion that she was extremely happy having made the decision to post her score on the leaderboard.
What truly made Tammy’s effort last month commendable however was her resiliency during a workout that didn’t tax her as physically as much as it questioned her mental fortitude. 18.3. Tammy needed to get her pull-ups, meaning she needed to get her chin over the bar for a rep, during the fourth section of the workout.
As a coach, watching someone work through a technical movement—be it a muscle up, handstand push up, chest to bar or pull up—during a competition can be nerve wracking. Watching someone fail during a test they’re so excited for can be extremely demoralizing never mind what it may feel like for that particular athlete.
Tammy would have certainly been forgiven if she had just got to that movement, tried it a few times and gave up. She could have very easily said, “maybe next year,” and moved on. Instead she fought. She jumped up to the bar, pulled with every fibre of her being, but failed. And again she tried and failed. After finishing 200 single-unders and 20 overhead squats in just 2:28 of a 14-minute workout, Tammy worked on her pull-ups for the remainder of the workout and got one completed rep with over a dozen close reps.
Again, few would have blamed her if she walked away from it after a few tries and gave up but that’s not who she is and that’s why she’s being honoured as the member of the month.
“Tammy Eccles is one of the most determined people I know and a coaches dream student,” Jolaine Undershute said. “When Tammy puts her mind to it I don’t think there is anything that she cannot accomplish. Most folks when presented with a difficult task or challenge are quick to become discouraged or give up. Tammy showed in the open that she is a fighter and keeps fighting to the end. Keep your eyes on her as I see her rocking the open next year.”
Admittedly, she said she knows she has to work on her gymnastics skills over the coming year before it comes time again to make her way through the 5-week Open challenge, but for now she’s happy it’s over so she can show off her fitness outside of the walls of the gym in the beautiful Columbia Valley.
“I have been in sport all my life from competitive swimming to triathlon,” she says. “Endeavor has helped keep me injury free and has made me a lot stronger for the sports that I enjoy like mountain biking, running and downhill skiing.”
“I also have a pretty competitive personality and it helps ground it…I can take it out in the gym.”
We’re back with the second monthly member of the month post, this time taking the chance to celebrate another one of our strong Endeavor Fitness Women, Kim Hemmelgarn.
A member for four years now at Endeavor Fitness, Kim demonstrates daily what it means to give your 100 per cent effort for each workout. Whether it’s rowing, running, lifting or doing some god-awful burpee/box-jump or other gymnastic laden workout, Kim doesn’t groan, she puts her head down and flat out works. According to her, she even loves this stuff.
“I loved it from day one!” She says. “Finally a gym where skinny is not the goal. A place where you would be foolish to judge anyone by their physical appearance b cause everyone has something that they excel at, and everyone has room for improvement.”
Before coming to Endeavor, Kim said she had tried it all. Shakes, drops, pills, fasting, gym classes, jogging, and any other fad under the sun but wasn’t happy with the results. Although she wasn’t the barbell mastermind that she is today when she first laced up her shoes on day one, her work ethic alone allowed her to work through some physical limitations and now excels at nearly every movement.
As a coach, Kim makes it exceptionally easy to instruct a class, especially at 6 A.M when the sun is still in bed and frankly so should I be. While it may be hard to get points across with ease at that time, Kim can understand the most simple of cues and goes at it with rigor that would suggest her life depends on today’s workout.
When it comes to things that prevent her from waking up that early and coming to the gym, she says she isn’t short on things that she could list off.
“I can name a few…a husband that works away 50 per cent of the time, 25 minute drive just to get to the gym, four young kids at home, 30 animals to care for,” she says. “The list is long and a little different for everyone but the reality is simple, if it is a priority you will find a way.”
When it comes to finding the member of the month at Endeavor Fitness, it can be a challenge not because there’s no one to honour but it’s like picking between someone who’s PR’d five times, someone who comes in every single day and someone who cheers their A%$ off for everyone else every single workout. Is there really a winner there?
But this month, coach Jolaine Undershute had this to say when she approached me to nominate Kim.
“I nominate Kim because of her unbelievable transformation through her determination, dedication and work ethic,” Undershute said.”Kim has overcome challenges she kept saying she’d never do like rope climbs and handstands.”
So when it comes down to it, we’re celebrating Kim for being the member we all want to be everyday.
“She is a fantastic role model and she has four kids but still makes time to train five days a week.”
Sorry, I know the question can be complex, loaded and seem like there’s a lot more to it, which I’m going to go into below, but if you want the skinny version, the answer is yes, you should do the open.
Last year, after only doing CrossFit for a month and change, I decided that I would enter the CrossFit Open and for the most part, it was one of the best decisions I made in 2017. Along with nearly 400,000 other people across the world, through five workouts, I tested myself to see where exactly my fitness was and where it was going.
For those of you not familiar with what the Open is, it’s the annual initial test that determines not only your fitness but who among the fittest will be able to advance to stage two, the regional level and then from there, the coveted CrossFit Games. Each year’s Open starts towards the end of February, releasing one workout per week for five weeks until around Easter or the end of March.
The first thing you need to know about the Open is that it’s a test and an important one at that. While you may think when you walk through the gym that CrossFit is just designed to get a bit of a heart rate increase and more or less make things like raising your coffee cup to your mouth more difficult later in the day, there’s actually a method behind the madness. In that, it’s a blend of these 10 essential skills that no bodybuilding, powerlifting program could argue that they test for.
Cardiovascular / respiratory endurance – The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
Stamina – The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
Strength – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
Flexibility – The ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
Power – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
Speed – The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
Coordination – The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
Agility – The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
Balance – The ability to control the placement of the body’s center of gravity in relation to its support base.
Accuracy – The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.
The idea behind CrossFit is to have a strong balance of all 10 skills but not be too dominant in one area. Being too strong, sacrifices your ability to be more agile or to have better cardiovascular endurance which compromises your overall fitness markers.
Through the Open’s five workouts, designer Dave Castro has created a test that will determine who is the most fit across all of these markers. Some workouts will require more strength and agility than others, some will require speed and accuracy (double unders and rowing) than others but by the end of it, we’ll end up at a balanced test that will give you a score for your overall fitness compared to the thousands of others who compete.
Now, for most people, the thought of doing the Open accompanies the notion that they don’t want to compete or that they’re not ready for it which doesn’t exactly make sense. The idea for this test isn’t that you need to be in some sort of physical shape to do it. The idea of the test is that it can be used to measure where your fitness was it at a particular point in time. If you showed up for a doctor’s appointment and had your blood pressure measured, you wouldn’t tell them you weren’t ready just because you had a couple extra slices of bacon for breakfast over the last week, would you?
Last year, I competed in the Open and had only just got my first muscle up several weeks earlier and drove literally across the country the week prior to the release of the first workout. To say I was ready was to say that the sky is actually the colour red not blue. But I did it anyways because it allowed me to see where my fitness was at that particular point in time. And if you’re reading this thinking you don’t have a muscle up at all, not even a chest to bar, don’t worry the Open is also infinitely scalable just like any of the CrossFit workouts you do on a daily basis.
When doing last year’s Open, I saw people competing that had never done a pull up before and were amazed that they were able to push themselves to the point where they accomplished that goal in the Open. There’s nothing more motivating than the adrenaline kicking in during competition and hitting that PR that you thought was months away or wasn’t even possible.
At the end of it, your coaches or judges will record your score online where you will able to see how you compare with other crossfitters in your region, province, country, age group, gender or internationally. It’s actually quite fun.
For most people, we’re comfortable with getting a wide array of tests done on our health but not one of them is geared towards our fitness level, which oddly enough, allows all of the other tests to move in the right direction (more on Greg Glassman’s sickness—wellness continuum later). We are fine with going to the doctor and getting our blood pressure, or weight checked but are we conscious that being more fit in those 10 areas will translate to a healthier blood pressure measure and other health markers?
When it comes to thinking about doing the Open, think of it that way rather than as a competition against people in your gym or even across the rest of the world. You just might have some fun doing it too.
For the first time ever here at Endeavor Fitness we are going to start the trend of honouring a member of the month from our amazing community. As coaches, we often get to spend the time watching our class and are amazed by the work our students and athletes are able to pull off.
To be quite honest, we rave to one another about some of the things you’re all able to do. We take a significant amount of pride in it and believe you should too.
So, we decided that we would take time once a month to celebrate one of our members for their time spent within the walls of the gym doing something extraordinary but also outside the walls. If someone is doing something incredible for the community and making the Valley a better place to live, let’s celebrate that too! After all, we’re training fitness at Endeavor Fitness but the goal is about becoming better human beings overall.
Without further ado then, let’s take the time to celebrate and congratulate Michelle Wall for being named the member of the month for the month of December 2017. Nearly three years ago, Michelle walked through the doors at Endeavor Fitness after reaching what she calls a milestone birthday and wanted to refocus her life after the difficult loss of her father.
Upon visiting the Doctor around that time and stepping on the scale, she had what she calls an epiphany.
“I was heavier than I had been full term with any of my 3 children. The scales don’t lie. I remember standing there as the nurse kept adjusting the slide and thinking this can’t be right,” she said. “My Dr. advised me to get out and walk, even if it was just to the post office and I thought, wow, that’s what they recommend for older people. Then of course I thought, wait a minute. I am old. And further, I am weak.”
She considered a number of options to try and get healthier (skiing, hiking, yoga) and decided with the help of her Doctor that CrossFit may be the route to her success. Upon arriving at the gym, she like many, was amazed at the work of some of the students jumping on boxes and more or less doing things she once considered impossible.
Michelle started first with two days per week before gradually increasing her work with her success following closely behind. After six weeks, Michelle became a devoted member of the 6 AM class going with friends to the class and was amazed with the success she was seeing.
After her one year anniversary at the gym, Michelle signed up for the Rocky Mountain Soap Company 5 km race in Canmore with her friend Lianne Lang to celebrate their anniversary in fitness. She finished top 10 in her age group.
“It was another small victory in this picture that I am still creating. I lost a fair amount of weight, but this is incidental really to the story,” she said.
“Because I am becoming fit and strong I am changing and the weight is just a reflection of that. I don’t weigh in very often, maybe once every 2-3 months. The scale does not define me. Getting through a WOD like Marsdon does. Can I finish? Am I mentally and physically strong enough to endure?”
Michelle isn’t done there either. Her next goal is to compete in the CrossFit Open–the premier test of fitness that occurs each year as a five-week long international competition opening at the end of February. Her biggest takeaway from her journey is that CrossFit and fitness are for everyone is a way for her to continue to enjoy spending time with her family and friends for the rest of her life. As she says, it’s this family aspect in and outside of the gym that keeps her going, rep by rep, workout by workout.
Really it’s this mindset that made Michelle a great story for our first Member of the Month.
“It is supportive and inclusive. Everyone can participate. That’s what Endeavor is like anyways. Everyone just wants everyone else to succeed. To get that first, that personal best. And cheer you on when you don’t think you can do it, but you can.”
“My goal is to be as fit as I can until I can’t. That means to be active and strong, lifting weights for the rest of my life. To ski, hike, bike and all the rest in between with my family and friends right to the end.”
Happy New Year to everyone and welcome back to our wonderful family at Endeavor Fitness! For those who aren’t yet a part of the culture inside the walls of our box, Happy New Year to you too!
I’m sure by now you’ve all thought long and hard about what you want out of 2018. For many, including myself, the pledge or promise, if you will, is to have the healthiest year of our entire lives (whether that means weight loss, improved physique or simply spending more time doing the things you love and less time working).
I would be remiss if I ignored the fact that for many it’s the hope or dream of finally seeing the number on the scale we’ve dreamed of along with the tight image in the mirror that’s on our daily minds. The good news is that we will be running another challenge or transformation, to help you change the way you look at nutrition but also your daily practices for the rest of the year and into the future.
Unlike other challenges though, we will be recruiting the help of Renaissance Periodization for the methodology behind the diet/lifestyle that is responsible for countless transformation stories online, especially in the CrossFit space (If you have any doubts, go onto your Instagram accounts and look at the account rp_transformations).
RP, for short, bases their methodology around the science of the nutrition industry which they’ve used to create templates for people looking to understand their diet and change the way they eat moving forward.
Through the science, what they’ve unearthed and created is a nutritional pyramid that serves as a guide to help people understand and weigh the importance of certain nutritional principles when it comes to putting food on their plate. This post will serve as a step-by-step approach to their methodology which is also available on Dr. Mike Israetel’s Ted Talk on Youtube.
- Calorie Balance– the base of the pyramid centers around the concept of energy balance. That is, calories in, calories out. Most people are at least somewhat familiar with the concept or at least the idea that the more calories one consumes the “worse” it is when it comes to seeing the number we want on the weight scale. According to Israetel and their research, calorie balance equates to approximately 60 per cent of importance for our overall health. When it comes to weight loss, this means we are burning or using more calories than we are putting in (eating) on a daily or weekly basis whereas weight gain is the exact opposite.
- Food Composition–This is the types of food that we eat and it is responsible for approximately 20 per cent of our overall healthy bodyweight. That’s right, when it comes to seeing the number on the scale that you want, whether you’re eating broccoli or Frosted Flakes is not nearly as important as the amount of either food that you’re eating. With that said, to optimize your diet, there are certain types of food that we all know are great as they provide extra benefits to our overall health (fibre, satiety, micronutrients) that help us stay on track when trying to increase our body composition satisfaction. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and healthy fats are what we should strive to eat MOST of the time in our diet if we are going to optimize both our performance and our overall results. It’s important to know that about a quarter of the time, it’s okay to eat things society has considered junk foods and we will still be on track to reach our goals if those “junk foods” are consumed in an appropriate amount. There is no requirement to ever cut a food completely out of your diet–unless you have a bad reaction to it– you just have to eat a bit less of it than you normally would.
- Third, on the importance pyramid is the notion of nutrient timing or, put more simply, when you consume your food. Now there’s been plenty of myths and ideas put around this concept (don’t eat carbs before bed, make sure you eat protein directly after a workout) that certainly have some validity and their place, but are not higher in importance than eating the correct amounts of food or the right types of macronutrients.
- Food Composition, translated to what is it that’s going on your plate? This one seems to be a bit of a complex thing for a lot of people, being that it’s so high up on the pyramid with less importance than things like macronutrients or overall caloric/food intake. Let’s not mistake this: eating pop tarts and chocolate 100 per cent of the time just because it fits into our intake is not what we are about or are striving for. With that said, no diet should be about eliminating certain types of food that you enjoy no matter how bad you’ve discovered they are for you. In essence, yes that means you can eat pop tarts, but no that does not mean you can eat a whole box of them and eat them whenever you want.
- The last two spots on the pyramid I’ll put together as hydration and supplements. Hydration is obviously important, being that we drink enough water within our day to stave off dyhydration which also equals a reduction in performance. However, this doesn’t mean we need to preemptively consume water to prepare for exercise or our everyday lives. Instead, use your thirst response to determine when you need to drink outside of exercise. That’s exactly what it was designed for! Lastly, supplements. In short, the word “supplement” tells us everything we need to know about their importance. They’re there to supplement our overall diet and everything we’re doing already but they are not REPLACEMENTS. They supplement or compliment everything we are doing but if you’re walking into your local GNC or other supplement store thinking they are the cure to everything you think is wrong with your diet, we need to look back at the pyramid again.
For now, still weeks away from officially starting our challenge and lifestyle transformation, this is all we are going to get into. In a series of upcoming posts, we’ll help break down more of each component so you’re able to have a better understanding of where we’re going, and how we’ll get there!
Be the Best Me, by Eric Elliott
If you haven’t already, you should sign up for the Snow Slam this December. Let’s get that out of the way immediately.
I know, I know, competition is this crazy thing that only the few among CrossFit athletes are suited for and they’re the ones who go south each Summer to showcase their skills. We might even know one of these people eh? 😉
But what if I told you that competition is for absolutely everyone. Everyone. Now let me start by saying that I’m someone who’s competed all my life outside of CrossFit so when it came time to sign up for my first CrossFit competition, the Open, you didn’t exactly have to twist my leg to do it. I’ve loved the competitive side of life and sports since I was old enough to skate on a hockey rink or throw a baseball.
For many though, competing carries a much different meaning than I often give it credit for. It can be intimidating. It can mean putting yourself out there. Heck, in a lot of cases, it can mean failure and embarrassment (both of which I’ve been a part of and will be again in the future). But it doesn’t have to.
Merriam-Webster defines “compete,” as “to strive consciously or unconsciously for an objective (such as position, profit, or a prize) :be in a state of rivalry.” Let’s break that down for a second.
Each morning, afternoon or night, you walk through the doors of Endeavor Fitness CONSCIOUSLY or UNCONSCIOUSLY pursuing an objective. You do. For most people that objective is to sustain or create a healthy, sustainable body or maybe even a more improved physique. You compete for that every single day; however, we often don’t think of that as competing because the obstacles (or competitors) in our way are not physical people and thus don’t fit with the socially acceptable definition of competition of, ‘me against the world.’
Thinking of it this way then, the Snow Slam is exactly the same thing. The only difference then is the meaning we attach to the word competing inside the walls of a competition like this, in-house or at the CrossFit Games. And this mindset is extremely important, even for the people like 2015 & 2016 CrossFit Games competitor Katrin Davidsdottir who said during an interview, “I really work to make sure that when I’m on the competition court at the CrossFit Games or any competition, I’m the best version of myself…then I know I’ve done everything I could.”
Notice she never mentions comparing herself to others, her placing in the competition or a variety of other factors beyond her control. It’s simply herself. Finding the best version of Katrin Davidsdottir.
So when it comes to signing up at the Snow Slam next month, don’t think of it as trying to beat the other team or finishing first or even, not finishing last. Instead think of competing to be the best version of yourself.
While you’re at it, we can all have ourselves a little fun.