All Levelers for June–Matt and Steph S!

1. What got you started in CrossFit?  How did you hear about it?

Matt: I wanted to try something different and was tired of the typical gym setting that I had tried in the past. I always enjoyed a team atmosphere growing up in sports so seemed like a great fit. I had some other people try it and they really enjoyed it so wanted to give it a try. Didn’t take long to get hooked and loved how different it was each time I came in. Constantly learning and trying new things was really appealing. 

Steph: Funny enough that we have made all levellers of the month as a team since I first heard about Crossfit from Matt back when the gym was on Howard.  There may or may not have been some “CROSSFIT!!” jokes back then. And maybe, “ZERO chance you’ll find me in the gym!” Lol! But what really got me started is the Adaptive Athlete Program. From my first meeting with John, I knew the All Level atmosphere was one I wanted to be a part of. Watching all the athletes in the gym really allowed me an opportunity to reflect on my own fitness. Truly inspiring me to take action and make changes that I had been meaning to make for years.

2.  What is your favourite part about coming to the gym?

Matt: my favourite part of coming to the gym is being done a workout……and not in the way you might think. I love the fact that when i see the workout sometimes it feels like there is no way I can get through what’s written out on the board but with the help of John, Zach and all the coaches at CFAL you feel like you really accomplished something great. It’s amazing what it can do for you both physically and mentally. 

Steph: The inclusionary, cooperative, and encouraging environment. I also, absolutely love that going to the gym is something Matt and I do together. Life is so busy when you have kids and it’s an opportunity for us to share a common interest, support and challenge each other while feeling good that we are making healthy choices. Basically it’s our version of a date. 

3. What is your favourite CrossFit movement?  Least favourite?

Matt: 

Favourite Crossfit move would be Thrusters. I feel like there is nowhere to hide and tests your overall strength and ability. 

Least favourite is currently Double Unders. Mainly because I can’t do them for the life of me. I feel like I may learn how to grow a full head of hair easier than learning how to do them but am determined to get them down by the end of the year!

Steph: My fav cardio is rowing. My fav lift is a squat clean. Burpees are not my fav cause I’m a human being. Haha! 

4. What are your goals in CrossFit?

Matt: My goals with CrossFit is to just keep making it a priority in our families life In order to stay active. I love that we all do it together. I think the kids seeing us active is a really important lesson for them to learn. I think I waited a little longer than I would have liked to focus on that aspect of my life and they will be so much better off starting so young. 

Steph: To keep showing up and giving the best I have that day. To keep my family showing up! Matt and I both see the value in teaching our children healthy, active living habits starting young. We have always agreed that the best way to lead is by example. Especially Having two daughters, we see the importance of establishing good self esteem and body image. We want the girls to see the value of hard work, commitment, and discipline in achieving the things they want in life. 

5. How do you explain your newfound obsession with CrossFit?

Matt: Seeing and feeling real results for the work done at CFAL is really motivating to keep going. Day to day activities are easier. Sleeping is better. Being conscious of the food we eat. Seems like a lot of work but it’s becoming second nature for us. The kids have really loved the CrossFit kids program and literally ask all the time if they have a class that day. We can see them becoming stronger and their coordination is getting better all the time. Once Steph joined it really kicked things up a notch because be started to come together and been great to be accountable to each other. Not that we’re competing!!

Steph: My conversations with non-CrossFitters usually start with a chuckle, because they get this look in their eye that immediately tells me they have only read the memes about CrossFit and they’ve never done it. At that point I usually just flex and sniff really dramatically. I’ve found that’s a super effective way to get people to change their opinions 

6.  What advice do you have for someone who is thinking of trying CrossFit?

Matt: “yes you can do it!”  People always say…”CrossFit!? There’s no way I can do that!”    The truth is you can. You probably won’t walk in on day one and bang out muscle ups but you will get through it at a pace that makes sense for you. I’ve seen members at the box make such huge gains that are truly inspiring. Start slow and stick with it. You won’t regret it. 

Steph: Anyone can do it!!! Literally anyone. I never thought I would even know what a squat clean was let alone love them. Don’t let the name intimidate you, try it! There is space for everyone, at any level of fitness or age. I always tell people, I have seen every single movement scaled and modified to suit individual needs every single class. 

7.  What does CrossFit mean to you?

Matt: it means taking charge of the direction of your life as it relates to fitness. I’m by no means near finished with my fitness journey but being a part of the CFAL community and dedicating time each week to work on myself to becoming better makes be feel like I can go no where but up!

Steph: Community. Functional fitness. Partnership. Consistency. Inclusion. 

8.  How has CrossFit helped you improve your life outside of the gym?

Matt: well I’m not getting any younger and have two small kids that like to stay active so being able to try and keep up with them is a must. I feel like I have more energy and don’t feel the aches and pains I would have had if I hadn’t been part of CFAL. Plus, I have two girls so want to make sure I’m ready when the boys start showing up…especially if there anything like those Lane brothers. Lol!

Steph: How has it not, is probably a better question? 

CrossFit has helped me to trust my body. I’ve pushed it to do things I never thought were possible, and I’ve learned my body can hang! It’s capable of so much more than I ever would’ve thought.  I have more energy than I ever have. I have been sick less. It’s the only thing that’s helped me stay consistent with healthy eating/lifestyle choices. It’s honestly my version of “self-care.”  I find we use that term so flippantly, and relate it to things like meditation, massage/manicure/pedicure…etc. But this – CrossFit – is MY version of self-care. When I’m working out, I have a few minutes of the day where I forget everything. It’s just me, and the work. It’s my moment to recharge, to focus, and to empty my mind. My version of meditating. 

It’s given not only Matt and I a common interest and a place to spend time together, but a place where our little family of 4 can go together and hopefully build a future based on health and fitness. 

Lastly, being involved in the adaptive athlete program has given me hope that the future will have space for individuals of all abilities. That people with disabilities can and will be fully included. That Hazel will be raised in a community that welcomes her in as she is and celebrates her for the effort she put in.

Working out in the Adaptive Athlete classes has been one of the best experiences of my life in that I AM learning to redefine expectations of myself. I value the relationships I’ve built in the classes, they have enriched my life.