I Wrote a Letter to New CrossFit Owner Eric Roza (and he wrote back)

Hi Eric,
I know you are in a whirlwind time right now and I really appreciate the initial steps you have taken to fix something that we both love and live.
When the initial news of Greg’s email and tweet came out, I didn’t jump on board the disaffiliation train right away.  I wanted to speak to some people and get a few different perspectives before I made my decision.  After hearing what they had to say and hearing the deafening silence from HQ, my mind was made up.  
We were no longer going to be a CrossFit Affiliate.  It broke my heart.  I discovered CrossFit in 2010 in the Cayman Islands.  I was an out of shape, sort of former athlete that found something that made me want to get up at 6am to sweat and work and bond.  I shared my love with some of my best friends in Canada and they fell in love too.  They started an affiliate out of their garage in 2012 and in 2013 we moved it to Windsor Ontario Canada to become a real brick and mortar CrossFit box, CrossFit All Levels.  We started with 1600 sq/ft and slowly grew into about 4000.  Then in 2018 we moved to a new 7100 sq/ft facility and we rebranded.  We had found our home and our members were ecstatic.  My kids (4 and 5) had grown up in a CrossFit gym.  Several of our members met and got married because of CrossFit.  CrossFit has been a big part of my identity for 7 plus years.  Having to distance myself from that was an immense and very hard decision, but one I didn’t regret.  I wanted to be a part of positive change in my gym, my city, my country and my community and I didn’t feel CrossFit was aligning with my values and my way forward.  
We changed our name to All Level Performance and Health and took the initial steps to no longer being an affiliate.  I was interviewed by local TV and radio about my decision and I explained myself as best I could, but stated that the door was still open as I believe in the power of change.  I believe in growth.  I believe in second chances.  I’ve had plenty of second chances and without them I wouldn’t be where I am today and for that I’m thankful.  So when the email came back from Affiliate Support that they would close my account immediately, I asked them to hold off.  I wanted to see what would happen next.  Everything happened so quickly, I thought it was time for a quick break.  When the news came that you would be purchasing CrossFit, I thought it was a really great start.  Your passion, your track record and your dedication to CrossFit seem to make you the perfect steward to shepherd CrossFit in a new and exciting direction.  But I want to wait.  To see what comes next.  Do we get a board of directors?  Do we get top down initiatives to make inclusion and diversity a priority?  Do we get structure and programs to make these initiatives a reality at the affiliate level? Do we make communication a priority, especially in times of crisis.  Side note, I’ve never received so many emails from CrossFit as I have in the last two weeks.  
So in short I’m hopeful.  I’m cautiously optimistic.  I’m apprehensive.  I want to be able to say proudly that I’m a CrossFitter.  I hope you can make this happen.  I really do.
If there is anything I can do to help, I’d love to be a part of positive change.  
Thanks and good luck.


Thanks so much for the note, John!

I completely understand where you’re coming from. I faced many of the same challenges as an affiliate owner in the past 18 months. It’s been a whirlwind, and I have seen firsthand the areas of opportunity (sometimes painfully). 
I am going to fight tirelessly to regain the community’s trust. I hope to show you through our actions that it’s worth sticking around as a CrossFit affiliate. The amount of feedback that we have received this week has been incredible. I can’t wait to dig in after the transition.
Feel free to reach out to me anytime. We are here for you. 
————– Eric Roza


Gratitude > Anxiety

How Practicing Gratitude has Helped Me Deal with Anxiety

In the 8th grade, I found myself on edge most days. I was nervous to be left in a group of people I wouldn’t normally socialize with. I would cry before bed if I knew we had to read aloud in class the following day. Knowing I’d have to walk across the stage alone at my graduation was a thought that flooded my mind for nearly a month before the event. After talking with my mom about this constant sense of unease, we decided it’d be a good idea to visit my doctor. I was referred to a cognitive therapist and was introduced to behavioral therapy to treat social anxiety. The homework she’d assign me helped tremendously with my anxieties and confidence throughout high school.

By the time I’d started university, my anxieties had evolved to affect me in more than just the social domain. I began feeling anxious all of the time. Doubt, the fear of failure, and uncertainty are only a few of countless negative thoughts that inundated my mind. My doctor suggested that I continue with behavioral therapy but that I consider adding in medication. She emphasized the importance of continuing with the behavioral exercises and explained that I wouldn’t be taking the medication forever— only until those practices became second nature.

I continued with the behavioral therapy on and off for several years. I’d only ever contact the behaviorist when my anxiety felt crippling. My doctor helped me find a medication that seemed to help keep the negative thoughts at bay and she would follow-up with me every 3-4 months.

Part of me thought that my anxieties would disappear once I graduated, but that wasn’t the case. Even after I’d received my degree, negative thoughts would come to me regularly. I started having a few panic attacks every couple of weeks and I knew I needed to take action.

 In September of 2019, I revisited the behavioral therapist. She suggested that I try practicing gratitude. She explained to me that by focusing on positive things, that I would have less room in my mind for negative ones. She had me write down 3 things that I was grateful for a few times per week. As the weeks went on, I struggled to come up with new things to write down. I realized that I was having a tough time coming up with new ideas because I was limiting myself. I’d already written down all the BIG things (family, friends, the gym, my dog) and realized I had to shift my focus towards SMALLER things that I’m grateful for (the sun coming out on my lunch break, a new face in my cycling class, having a coffee every morning with my mom to start the day).

 In these months that I’ve spent practicing gratitude, I haven’t had any panic attacks, my interpersonal relationships are much healthier, and I no longer take anxiety medication (this is the first time I haven’t needed it in 7 years)! I didn’t reap the benefits overnight—these things take time!

In these 9 months, I’ve realized that I’m grateful for a whole heck of a lot. I started making note of things that I’m thankful for twice a week, but now I do it twice a day. Gratitude helps us let go of toxic emotions by replacing them with positive thoughts. Your whole mindset changes! I’m happier and mentally healthier than I’ve ever been.

If you’re thinking about starting to practice gratitude, start small and don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t think of something. You will eventually—I promise! Here are a few ways to get started:

1.       Write someone a thank-you note.

2.       Start a note on your phone to add to when you think of something you’re thankful for.

3.       Keep a gratitude journal.

4.       Download an app (I use “Gratitude”. You can set reminders on your phone. It also has an affirmation feature—it’s good to remind yourself of how awesome you are sometimes).

5.       Meditation – Mindfulness is important! Be present. It’s easier to appreciate where you’re at and what’s around you.

If I can help you out in any way, reach out to me any time! I’d love to chat! You can shoot me an email at dufou115@uwindsor.ca!

Hope to see you guys soon. I miss you all a ton! 

Outdoor Classes Are Awesome!

Our members have been loving our new outdoor classes and the weather has been amazing. A fully functional outdoor space with a rig, mats, barbells, rowers and more!

We also run our online Zoom classes at the same time for anyone that can’t make it in person.

Classes are capped at 9 participants and we currently offer 8 classes a day Monday to Friday and 4 on Saturday and Sundays.

Sound like something you want to be a part of? Get in touch with us today at our contact page or email john@alllevel.ca

July All Leveler–Shauna J!

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

Annually, we have a week at work dedicated to fitness and helping students and teachers build healthier minds and bodies.  During FitWeek 2016 one of my amazing coworkers took time out of her busy schedule to design lunchtime workouts for the teachers on staff.  With trepidation, I joined my coworkers and after the first (very sweaty) lunchtime session I was inspired to start to push, let’s call it a fitness snowball, up a (I was not sure how high) hill.  Laura has been a constant pillar of motivation and encouragement for me and after that workout she chatted with me about All Levels and what a fantastic community it was!  I decided to take a leap of faith and join the Couch to 5K program she was coaching at the gym.  I remember that feeling of accomplishment I got when I completed my first 5K.  I wanted more!!  After the Couch to 5K program was over I joined the gym as a member and will be forever grateful to her for sharing her love of fitness with me and helping to spark the love I have for fitness in me now.    

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

There are so many things that I love about coming to the gym.  I love seeing bedhead on my early morning crew friends as we all sleepily gather at the whiteboard (or in front of the Zoom camera) every morning.  I have the benefit of being inspired by the dedication of each and every one of them as they make fitness an essential part of their day.  It takes a special kind of crazy to workout in the wee hours of the morning, but this is a true testament to how each of them is going to ensure that no part of their day is going to get in the way of making themselves stronger both physically and mentally.  I gain momentum through them as they push through even the hardest of workouts.  I take this momentum with me as I transition to my workday and my evening with my family.  I admire the dedication of the coaches and the community they have created.   It is a community that is a safe space for all athletes to be and to better themselves.  I feel accepted and appreciated as a member of the All Level family and this makes me feel GOOD!  These are just a few of my favourite things about coming to the gym.      

3. What is your favourite CrossFit movement?  

Double unders are a challenge to say the least.  They are technical and really take a bite out of your cardio.  From the beginning I have sat in awe of the members that have been able to string them together.  I was over the moon this month when I hit a PR of 100 unbroken double unders.  I would have to say that even though every time I see them programmed in the WOD I know that it is going to be a cardio blast, but I am excited to try and string them all together.  Some days I’ve got them and other days I don’t, but I love the challenge they bring to the table.  

4. What are your goals in CrossFit?

The only fitness goal I have for myself is to keep it up.  I want fitness to always be part of me.  Before All Level I was never truly successful with fitness – falling off the horse and just never getting back on.  This is my longest, most dedicated and most rewarding fitness journey ever. The biggest difference is that All Level is a community and even more a family of like-minded individuals who are willing to help support you with whatever goals you may have.  My goal is to continue to love working out. I want fitness to always fuel me the way it does right now!  There will always be peeks and valleys, but being patient and allowing myself some grace along the way will be the key to accomplishing my goals.  

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

I can’t get enough of the feeling you get after a workout.  Fatigue mixed with accomplishment slathered with “WOW – I just did that!!”  This is the feeling that I keep coming back for.  Some workouts are filled with a bit more of that feeling than others, but if you can find something in your life that makes you feel this way every time you do it then do it as much as you can.  Feeling awesome is what working out with the All Level family does for me and everyone deserves to feel awesome!  

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

If you are thinking of trying it; TRY IT!  It has been a life changing experience for me.  I have met some of the most supportive people in my life at All Level.  The coaches are the most understanding, encouraging and helpful people you will ever meet.  The athletes are the most supportive and inspirational people you will every workout beside.  And best of all you will feel like a million sweaty bucks when you walk out of the gym.  

7. What does CrossFit mean to you?

All Level Performance and Health means the world to me.  During these troubling times it has been a pillar of consistency and strength for me.  The coaches have adapted and provided amazing support for all of their athletes.  During a time where I felt like I didn’t have very much control over very many things in my life All Level has allowed me to have control over my fitness.  This has allowed me to stay (somewhat lol) sane during these times.  Knowing that I can depend on them to be there virtually or outdoors in the early morning hours so that I can continue to start my day off the way I had consistently done pre pandemic has given me the power to tackle whatever the day has to throw at me.  Dependable, understanding, accommodating, encouraging, inspiring and much more…this is what All Level is and means to me.     
8. How has CrossFit helped you improve your life outside of the gym?

Outside of the gym All Levels has allowed me to feel good in my own skin.  I start my day off with a workout not only because it is good for my body, but also because it is good for my mind.  When a WOD is humbling I use this to refocus myself and hone in on the important parts of my day and when I hit a PR in a WOD I use this as a reason to celebrate and remember that I can PR my day too.  Applying all of the things I learn about myself during a workout (moments of grit, moments of resiliency, moments of strength) helps me to improve my life outside of the gym as well.  The gym has shown me things about myself that I may have never realized before, but now I get to take these things with me and try to be the best version of me I can be.     

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?


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.

All Leveler for May, Emily O!

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

My husband wanted to get me out of the house, so he gifted me foundations for Christmas one year. We had heard a lot of great things about CrossFit from some of his family members, so I decided to give it a go and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. 

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

My favourite thing about coming to the gym is seeing my favourite people. I love starting my day suffering through a grueling workout with my 6:30am crew, followed by a coffee and chat with Zach.  

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

My favourite CrossFit movements are the clean and jerk and the reverse burpee. My least favourite movement is the dreadful thruster. 

4. What are your goals in CrossFit?

My goals are to hit a 200# back squat, string together my T2B and to do a bar muscle up, by the end of 2020 (depending on when we can go back to the box). 

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

I don’t have to explain it because I only hang out with other CrossFitters now.  

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

Just do it. It could change your life! 

7.  What does CrossFit mean to you?

CrossFit means the world to me. It keeps me physically fit and is the most effective treatment for depression and anxiety, for me. During this uncertain time, I am incredibly thankful for the coaches and members of ALCF for keeping focused and connected. CrossFit is a constant in my life that just makes me so happy. I’m lucky to be part of such an amazing community. 

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

CrossFit has taught me so many things – self-discipline, self-confidence and the ability to take constructive criticism in stride (usually). I can definitely see these things translating into my work, school and personal life. 

Friday May 1st 7pm

Join our expert art instructor Laura C on FRIDAY MAY 1st at 7pm as she guides you through the process of creating your own masterpiece! All done remotely through Zoom. For only $20 we provide all of your needed art supplies as well. Take advantage of your free time and learn a new skill! Limited to 20 participants. You do not need to be a member to registers. Book at the link below.


Stay Connected to Live Long & Prosper

Hi All!

Staying connected to friends and family during social distancing is an absolute must in order to stay healthy.  In fact a Harvard study shows it is one of the most important, if not THE most important, factors in how long you live!  Staying socially distant can seem like an awfully lonely and solitary exercise, but it is what we need to commit to in order to stop the spread of Covid 19. 

So what can we do?  First and foremost, stay in contact.  Text messages, messaging apps, phone calls (remember those), and video chats are all a great way to stay connected.  Set times and dates and make appointments with family and friends and stick to it.  Things will come up.  Reschedule.  Realize the importance of staying in touch.

Schedule fun social events you can do with friends and family.  Trivia nights, movie nights (Netflix has a group watch option now), a Tight and Bright Aerobics Party (shameless plug), Wine and Cheese nights, coffee, brunch, and much much more are all good reasons to get online and chat with friends.  By now most of us have heard of Zoom, but there are lots of alternatives out there that can help keep you connected.  Check out this list of 9 alternatives if Zoom doesn’t work for you.  One that I haven’t tried yet, but I’ve heard good reviews on is Houseparty.  A more social version of some of the more business focused video conferencing apps.

I have found that during this time of limited social contact, I am thinking more and more of old friends that I have lost touch with.  Friends from high school, grade school, cities and countries I used to live in, etc.  What better time to jumpstart old friendships then now!   
High school Prom reunion anyone!!!

The point is, that no one wants to go through this alone.  To paraphrase someone great and profound who I can’t remember (or Google).  Kindness starts as a ripple, but can grow into a tidal wave as it radiates away from that one single act.  So start that ripple now.  you never know who you may be helping.

In the New Normal, Discipline = Freedom

Hi All,

As we settle into the third week of our new normal, we all undoubtedly have many challenges facing us.  Not the least is what do we spend all of our newfound free time on? 

I’m sure, if you are like me, that you were super productive the first week.  Kids were entertained, you started checking things off of your “to do” list and felt great about it!  Week two came and things slowed down.  Kids got a little whinier and started to depend on you more for ideas and direction.  Suddenly, organizing your third closet/drawer had a lot less appeal than it did initially.  I think even Marie Kondo gets bored of tidying up once in a while! 

So now what?!  Now it’s time for some structure and schedule.  If you haven’t already created one, run, don’t walk and get to work.  Map out your day in blocks of time (1 hour works well).  Plan for 45 mins of work within your 1 hour blocks.  Save 15 mins to get up and move or to get a drink or a snack From the time you first wake up, right down to the time you go to turn off your lights and go to sleep.  Now, at first this may seem harsh and draconian to budget all of your time.  It doesn’t have to be.  Carve out time for yourself.  Time to get outside.  Time to work out.  Time to learn.  Time to relax.  The point of a routine is to take you out of that reactive/stressed mode and put you in a proactive/relaxed mode.  Without a schedule, you will be constantly reacting to things that happen.  New emails, text messages, “What can I do, I’m bored” questions and so on and so on.  In your new routine, time is occupied by tasks, you know what to expect and can fall into a rhythm.  You can relax a little.  As our good friend Jocko Willink says “Discipline is Freedom“.  If your family knows what is coming next, they can relax too.  You will start to get into a flow and then you can add more stuff in OR take stuff away! Hopefully the questions go away!

At first a task of this size can seem daunting, so my advice is to start small.  Plan the first couple of hours of your day and then go from there.  Even if it is as simple as;  “wake up”, “make coffee, have breakfast”, “read news”, etc.  Start with the small stuff and gain momentum as you start moving into bigger projects.  Action builds momentum, not the other way round.   

Here is an example of my day:

5am–wake up

5:15–leave for work

5:30–arrive at work, prep for class, write board, set up zoom 

6am–coach class




9am–return correspondence, social media

9:45 prep for class

10:00am–coach class

11am–eat, film content

11:30am–Call wife and kids to catch up on the day.

11:45 prep for class

12pm–coach class





5:15pm-drive home

5:30pm–hang with kids



7pm–kids to bed/quiet time

8pm–get ready for bed

 As with any structure, you want to be firm in your plans, but flexible in your application.  If the schedule doesn’t go as planned or something comes up, no big deal.  Deal with the adversity and get back on track.  No need to scrap the whole thing!  Don’t strive for perfection, strive for progress.  Any plan is better than no plan.  Give it a try today and let me know it goes!