What inspired you to start your journey into CrossFit?
I have always been involved with sports, I’m and a bit of an adrenaline junky who pushes herself outside of her physical comfort zone. I ran marathons, and played full contact roller derby throughout the USA and Canada for 7 years. When I left roller derby I started running again but it was not the same. I missed the friendships and community that I had made in derby, and how it pushed me outside of my fitness comfort zone. My derby friends kept saying “try CrossFit, it’s so you Louise” .. I was way too afraid to join. I had a zillion excuses: I’m old, it’s expensive, and honestly I had zero idea what CrossFit was. However, nothing was challenging me in my fitness regime anymore and I really missed the connection to other people. I e-mailed multiple CrossFit gyms in Hintonburg and Bytown was the only one that replied. My husband and I went to visit Bytown one Saturday morning during a W.O.D., and it was insane. Crazy busy, and people were jumping on boxes, lifting bars, and doing pull ups. I was terrified!…..but could not wait to start. I signed up the next week and have been at Bytown ever since.
Why did you decide that CrossFit Bytown was the right fit for you?
At first, Bytown chose me by being the only gym that returned my email. Then I started foundations with my husband and both of my daughters. The coaches adapted everything for me with my terrible mobility in my knees, as well as embraced my teenagers and family, and were so encouraging. It was the first time my eldest daughter saw other young woman who looked like her physically. She smiled and felt inspired to lift weights. As a mother, seeing that look on my daughters face was uplifting, and today we do W.O.D’s together. And on the weekends, get together, exercise, and go for brunch. It’s so very special for me to have this fun competition with my now adult daughter .
The other part of Bytown that sold me was the support. In my first year, my dad, who was my best friend and running partner was battling cancer and dying from it. I would come to Bytown, lift weights, do W.O.D.’s, and cry….. and the community let me. But they encouraged me and hugged me when I needed it! I got the news that my dad died after I completed an open work out and hit a P.R. on my deadlift. My Bytown friends just hugged me and helped me get through the hardest thing of my life. After that, I never looked back and just decided to get more involved and help out. Give back to what others what I received from Bytown. That’s why I started Unbroken Recovery. June 1st is my dad’s birthday; it seems fitting to talk about him today.
Do you have any current goals, whether it be inside the gym or outside the gym that you’re trying to achieve?
My gym goal is to get handstand push ups by the time I am 50; so 2.5 years away. My other goal is to get the Unbroken Recovery program charity status and offer a class 2 nights a week. As well, I would like to fundraise money to give 15 Bytown memberships to people in addiction recovery that can’t afford it. Long term; keep the Unbroken program going and set it up in other CrossFit gyms in Canada. My final goal is to keep trying new things and face my fears…….I am jumping out of an airplane this summer with my husband and I am terrified of heights. The one thing I take to heart from my dad is to always try new things, live life fully, and always keep learning. DON’T BE AFRAID OF FAILURE. If you never fail you close the door on learning and asking for help.
If you could give any advice to a new member or someone who is interested in CrossFit, what would you tell them?
It’s not as scary as you think. Everything can be scaled and adapted to where your fitness level is at. As well, stick around after class, there is such a great community here at Bytown and if you want to get fit this is the way to do it. I am more fit now at 48 than I was at 28 running marathons. I also can now squat to full depth, which is huge for me. When I joined CrossFit my knees were so damaged from full contact sports that I could hardly bend my legs. So my advice would be when you think you can’t do something, scale it, and eventually you will get better .