All Leveler of the Month for May, Kate Dumochelle!

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

I found Crossfit on YouTube by happy accident actually. I was bored with the gym and I was just trying to keep active in my little apartment. I had kettle bells and was doing Insanity and P90X. I searched for kettle bell workouts on YouTube and I found these Crossfit video WODs that kicked my butt when I tried them. I was hooked. I stopped my DVD workouts and just did Crossfit WODs with what little equipment I had. My friend Linda Carrière and I used to talk about this Crossfit. She joined this box when it opened and told me about it. When I moved back to Windsor I signed up the next week. That was just about 3 years ago. I’m so happy I did!

What is your favourite part about coming to the gym?

My favourite part about the gym is the community hands down. The people are supportive and friendly. I never regret showing up, even though sometimes on my way I maybe don’t feel like being there. The workouts are challenging and I love the variety. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I’m done.

What is your favourite CrossFit movement? Least favourite?

My favourite Crossfit movement is the snatch. I like Olympic lifts. My least favourite movement is probably the thruster or wall balls.

What are some of your goals in CrossFit?

I have a lot of goals long term and short term. I have a whole page of them.  I would like to get better at body weight/gymnastics movements for sure. I would also like to get up to a body weight squat clean and jerk one day. I’d like to be able to Rx more workouts. I’m always trying to improve my flexibility.

How do you explain your newfound obsession with coming to the gym to your friends?

My obsession with Crossfit is the real deal. Lol check out my shoe collection. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years so everyone I know knows how much I love it. It’s one of my favourite places to be. Some people joke that I’m homeless because I spend so much time at the box. But seriously, I talk about it with everyone. I don’t try to keep it under wraps.

What is your advice for someone thinking about getting into CrossFit?

My advice to all of the people that want to get into Crossfit is do it! I invite people that are curious to come with me and encourage them to give it a try. I know how intimidating and humbling it can be so I offer to workout with them. The supportive atmosphere is the best part.

What does CrossFit mean to you?

To me Crossfit means health, happiness and improvement. I tried not doing Crossfit for a month and it was a terrible decision for me. When I’m at the box, I am happy even when I’m suffering. I always finish feeling as if I’m a little bit better.

How has CrossFit helped improve your life both inside and outside of the gym?

Crossfit has improved my life in so many ways. Inside the gym, I’ve discovered that I can do things I never thought I’d be able to do. I am proud of my accomplishments big and small. I’ve made new friends and feel happier. I get to hang out with like minded people and get a good workout at the same time.
Outside of the gym, I feel more fit than I did when I was ten years younger playing hockey for the University of Windsor. I feel stronger and ready for pretty much anything (mentally and physically). I used to get a lot of headaches, but those are few and far between now. I like to think it’s because of Crossfit. I feel as if I set more personal and professional goals and I feel confident I can achieve them. Last but not least, I’m loving life!​

All Leveler of the Month for April, Scott Pratt!!

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

I’ve been serious about my fitness since 2009, when shovelling the driveway put my back out so badly I ended up in the ER, on Tylenol 3s, muscle relaxers, and prescription anti-inflammatories.  I’d had a bad back for years, but this was a new low.  After seeing the infomercial a million times, I ordered P90X.  I started it in February 2009, and was hooked.  I did multiple rounds, then moved on to P90X+, X2, Insanity, Asylum, and Body Beast.  Along the way, I flew to Arizona to meet Tony Horton and work out with him.  It was very cool, and I was in the best shape of my life.

As the years went on, working out alone in my basement started to lose its appeal.  For years, I had been vehemently anti-CrossFit.  You’ll get injured.  Everyone’s technique is bad.  Sometimes it kills people.  Glassman comes across as a jerk.  And what is the deal with those pullups?  So, bored as I was getting, I kept doing the same thing because I had no other options.  My workouts got shorter and less intense.  I started to give myself more rest days.  Then one night I went out for drinks with some old friends.  One of those friends was Jay Henderson.  Unsurprisingly, CrossFit came up.  “Injured yet?”  I asked.  And he proceeded to dispel a lot of myths.  Over the course of the evening, I went from a CrossFit hater to agreeing to try a free class.  That was in October.  I still remember my first class, with John Mack.  The WOD was deadlifts, pullups, and double unders.  Not as fun as it sounds.  But I signed up for Foundations soon after.  I met Jon, Danielle, and Brett.  Then came the December competition, then the madness of the Open.  I’m still here, and I’m not going anywhere.  Thanks, Hendo!

What is your favourite part about coming to the gym?

The workouts are always challenging.  I’ve tried to take the Open mindset and apply it to the daily workouts.  To my surprise, I’ve been able to RX more than I would have thought I could.  I love discovering what I’m capable of.  My mind gets in the way so often.  I love that I have the confidence to push myself.  I would not have done half the things I’ve done here if I was still in my basement with a DVD playing.

But what I love the most is the people.  These are folks who didn’t even know me six months ago, but who I now count among my friends.  The support is amazing.  I recently went through a very difficult time, and my CrossFit family was totally behind me and there for me.  That made such a difference.  And everyone should know that I believe in paying it forward; I’m here for everyone else just as much.

The culture is the complete opposite of most gyms, where anonymity seems to be cherished.  I celebrate our rejection of that mindset.

What is your favourite CrossFit movement? Least favourite?

I’ve always loved deadlifting.  And while the rower may yet kill me, I actually enjoy it.  Conversely, nothing puts me in a bad mood faster than double unders.  Friggin’ double unders.

But my favourite CrossFit activity is definitely the Saturday group WODs.  I love having a team that is counting on me.  I’ve carried people, and I’ve been carried, as we’ve accomplished our goal together.  When was that last time that happened at a Good Life?

What are some of your goals in CrossFit?

On New Year’s Eve, I set myself the goal of RX’ing Grace by year end.  Definitely have some work to do on that.  I started ring muscle up progressions.  I want to work on those with a view to RX’ing at least some of next year’s Open workouts.

When I first started, I gave myself six months to be consistently hitting the Athletic level, and a year to consistently hit the RX level, of WODs.  If anything, I’m a little ahead of that schedule.  My plan is just to keep moving forward.  And dethrone Mat Fraser, obviously.

How do you explain your newfound obsession with coming to the gym to your friends?

As we all know, the first rule of CrossFit is to never shut up about CrossFit.  So I’m mindful of that.  I spent two years as a vegan, and telling anyone who couldn’t get away from me how great it was.  So I try to soft-sell CrossFit.  I happily talk about it with people who want to know more but I try not to evangelize too much.  When I do, it’s more than just making jokes about the movements (seriously, snatches and jerks?).  It’s about the whole culture.  I’ve actually had a co-worker come to the box to try a class.  That’s pretty gratifying.

My wife has maybe been the toughest sell.  When I go home and tell her what I did that day, she worries that I’m going to hurt myself.  She definitely didn’t care for the rope burns on my leg, and is just waiting for me to break something doing handstand pushups.  But she sees how much I’m enjoying it, so it’s good.

What is your advice for someone thinking about getting into CrossFit?

For years, I prided myself on trying anything and everything the fitness world had to offer: weights, HIIT, yoga, gymnastics…but that acceptance stopped at CrossFit’s doorstep.  If you’re thinking of giving it a shot but are reluctant given the negative press it has received from some quarters (usually someone with an axe to grind or a competing financial interest), I would say try one class.  My only regret is that I didn’t put my prejudices aside years earlier.  Learning this stuff at 45 years of age is a lot tougher than it would have been at 35.  Don’t wait.  Just try it.  You’ll be surprised.

What does CrossFit mean to you?

Fitness, teamwork, dedication, support, determination…all of these words apply completely.  To me, CrossFit is so much more than a WOD I do five days a week.  It’s a culture and a lifestyle.  I think half my wardrobe is now from Reebok.  I’ve seen all the movies.  It has changed how I view fitness, and honestly, how I view myself.

How has CrossFit helped improve your life both inside and outside of the gym?

I’m stronger and more capable than I was before I started.  I can do things now that I simply couldn’t do six months ago.  The Open showed me that fear is a fiction we create to keep ourselves in our own comfort zones.  Negative self-commentary can not only limit you on the workout floor, but in all areas of life.  Getting past that has been my biggest challenge, but also my biggest achievement.  I view other aspects of my life differently.  If a job needs to be done, I now know I will simply put in the effort until it’s complete.  It’s cliché, but CrossFit has shown me that if it’s something I truly care about, failure is not an option.  You do what you need to do, period.  I just didn’t think that way before I came to CrossFit.

All Leveler of the Month for March, Jim Pegg!!

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

My wife was working hard on her health and fitness and I was going in the opposite direction. I couldn’t find consistency or something to keep me motivated through the ups and downs. Sometime during March 2016 I started noticing friends posting their workouts but none of the programs seemed right for me. At that point I started browsing the web looking for ideas, and to be honest I had never heard of crossFit before until All Level popped up. I browsed the pictures and videos and decided to pop in one day while I was at Remark. John Mack gave me the 10 cent tour of the place and later that week Jon Rae worked me hard in my first foundations class.

What is your favourite part about coming to the gym?

Knowing that whatever time of day or day of the week I decide to go for a workout I am going to walk into a place with zero egos and be with a group of great people who are there working hard but also encouraging and supporting everyone else around them.

What is your favourite CrossFit movement? Least favourite?

The snatch is my favourite by far. When you hit it just right the bar seems to defy gravity. The antithesis to a snatch and my personal nemesis are wall balls. I swear the ball comes back at you twice as fast and double the weight from when it left your hands.

What are some of your goals in CrossFit?

I want to continue improving with the programming. I’ve lost 17lbs and 3inches off my waist. I wouldn’t mind maybe seeing a 2 pack out of 6 down the road. Joking aside my next focus will be improving my bar work. Mastering kipping and maybe someday hit a muscle up. I look back at April 2016 when I joined and I couldn’t do 2 pushups or 5 single skips in a row and now I’m crushing double unders and I can pound out hand stand pushups. I can’t wait to see what I can accomplish going forward.

How do you explain your newfound obsession with coming to the gym to your friends?

I think the biggest myth buster I have had to explain to people about CrossFit is the misconception that it causes severe injury and burnout. Yes, it is intense but our bodies by nature will always find the laziest way to complete something. CrossFit doesn’t allow your body to be complacent. Moreover, if you listen to your body and talk to the coaches with their knowledge and experience you can avoid severe injury or burnout. Once, I dispelled the myths I explain that I have fun while I am there, I’m learning so much about the dynamics of exercise, and when I leave I feel like I have worked hard, accomplished something for my health, and I can’t wait to get back to see what I can achieve next.

What is your advice for someone thinking about getting into CrossFit?

Don’t hesitate to try it. But make sure you are mentally ready if you are serious about changing your fitness. With any type of exercise you need to be focused if you are going to get through the initial adjustments your body has to make especially if, like I was, you haven’t been doing any exercise. I know that the biggest boost for me was the support of all the All Level athletes and staff during the beginning. I believe this type support is the cornerstone to long term health and fitness changes.

What does CrossFit mean to you?

There is a proverb that says “It takes a village to raise a child.” I also believe a village is needed when it comes to your fitness. I have failed with my fitness many times. Whether it is injury or losing focus, the reasons are endless, but with All Level I have progressed faster than I ever imagined. Just as village provides the child with the necessary tools your fitness too needs good coaching, people to encourage you, and a great place to learn and train if you want to be successful. I thought I had the tools to do this on my own but now my entire perspective on fitness has changed because of CrossFit.

How has CrossFit helped improve your life both inside and outside of the gym?

I think the biggest and most important improvement has been with my children. I have always tried to instill in them to complete what they have started but I wasn’t leading by example. I was a little scared during my first Open 17.1 with them watching because I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to complete it. The smiles and hugs I received after completing 17.1 was the best reward I could have received for my year of hard work but more importantly my actions now backed my words. As well, I now know my hard work has sparked fitness within them and they now are interested in CrossFit kids and other activities. I hope it has sparked a life long journey of maintaining their health and fitness. Personally I can say without a doubt the changes to my health have been amazing. Of course I did have a few bumps in the road with my shoulder but that is expected when you don’t use your body for a decade, but the arthritis pain in my knees is completely gone, my heart palpitations rarely happen and my energy during the day is much better. I can, without a doubt, say that if I didn’t walk through the door at All Level last April I would not be in the best shape I have been in for many decades. Thanks to all the great people I have met and for helping me fight through the tough days! I look forward to improving my fitness with all the great athletes at All Level in 2017 and beyond!

All Leveler of the Month for February, James Rodgers!!

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

I got started in CrossFit by getting a free month trial to All Level CrossFit. I have been working out or playing sports for as long as I can remember, and I was always looking for something new to try or ways to push myself. I had heard of CrossFit, but never looked into or understood it. I just assumed it was heavy Olympic lifting, but it’s much more than that.

What is your favourite part about coming to the gym?

I enjoy the opportunity to always push myself or improve my skills. I am a naturally competitive person, so having the chance to try harder and be better always motivates me.
I enjoy the community and the atmosphere of the gym. Everyone is welcoming and extremely supportive.

What is your favourite CrossFit movement? Least favourite?

My favourite movements are any type of squat; back, front, overhead, squat snatch or squat clean. Those are my jam!  My least favourite is probably the thruster. A simple movement, but an awful one!

What are some of your goals in CrossFit?

My goal is to improve everyday. Stay competitive with myself and the rest of the athletes at the gym.

How do you explain your newfound obsession with coming to the gym to your friends?

I find that CrossFit is the perfect mix of fitness, health and the competitive nature of sport.

What is your advice for someone thinking about getting into CrossFit?

It’s going to be challenging, it’s going to push you but it’s worth it!

What does CrossFit mean to you?

It’s a humbling experience that changes the way I ever thought about working out.

How has CrossFit helped improve your life both inside and outside of the gym?

Inside the gym I feel that I have become stronger and more efficient. I have a new hobby and interest that I look forward to each day.

Our All Leveler of the month for January, lawyer to be, Mitch F!

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

Bring-a-friend-day! (Actually, my friend Vanessa brought me on the wrong day and I got crushed in a Chad’s gymnastic class). Was hooked after that. Joined up a few months later.

What is your favourite part about coming to the gym?

Progress. Watching others improve, watching myself improve. Also, the Coaches – they are the foundation of the All Level experience.

What is your favourite CrossFit movement? Least favourite?

Favourites – All the basics: wallballs, hand-stand push-ups, push-press, skipping, kipping everything. Least Favourite – Running (wouldn’t miss it).

What are some of your is my goals in CrossFit?

RX.

How do you explain your newfound obsession with coming to the gym to your friends?

CrossFit is cool.

What is your advice for someone thinking about getting into CrossFit?

Join! Bring your friends!

What does CrossFit mean to you?

Getting stronger, and learning how to stretch.

How has CrossFit helped improve your life both inside and outside of the gym?

Improving in CrossFit is very demanding. This demand has helped me eliminate all the unnecessary stuff in regular, everyday life.

Jenn – Boot Camp

It’s hard to believe our 8-week boot camp is almost over! I cannot express enough how much I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Coaches Claire, Danielle, Chad and all the ladies in our group.

I have felt so welcomed and part of your CrossFit family ever since I walked through the doors and met Jarred & Claire and told them how anxious I was to join. They both immediately eased my fears and made me feel like I could do it – and they were right!

Claire is such an amazing coach and person. She is a wonderful leader with great energy who inspires me to work harder and to continually improve and challenge myself. She has done something that no one else has ever done-she’s made me look forward to working out!

All of the coaches have been so accepting, positive and motivating – which is why I’ve enjoyed the classes so much-it makes all this hard physical work much easier to take! I also love how every movement has a scaled option and that I’m not made to feel “less than” when I’m having trouble with the original movement and have to scale down.  This is so helpful for someone like me who is starting from a very low fitness level – it made the classes and the movements much less intimidating.

I have worked out at other places with instructors who thought they were motivating us by yelling at us to work harder and faster and who would even try to make us feel badly for asking for modifications or if we couldn’t keep up with everyone else’s pace. That backfires though, as it really just ends up with us trying to keep up to a fitness level we’re not ready for or sacrificing correct form, which can lead to injuries-and in my case, made me not want to go back!

The coaching team at All Level CrossFit provides a much better environment that motivates and inspires its members. Encouraging us to go a little deeper or a little longer in such positive ways helps us to want to do better – not because we’re shamed into doing it, but because if you believe we can do it, that makes us believe it too. These may seem like small things – positive words of encouragement during a workout, showing scaled options or just a quick high five – but these little things are the reasons why I want to continue on my fitness journey with your CrossFit family.

All in all, joining the boot camp is the best gift that I have ever given myself, and I look forward to the next one in January.