My name is Dominique. Here is my journey into CrossFit.
On April 2013, I joined a community dragon boat racing team. I really enjoyed racing and by the end of my third summer, I started looking for some off-season training to gain more strength and stay in shape. I had heard about CrossFit and decided to watch a few videos on YouTube and thought I would give it a try just for the winter, so I joined CrossFit Belleville at the end of October 2015.
In the beginning, I must say, it was not easy and two times a week was all my body could take, it was much harder than paddling. Before I started CrossFit, I was having a lot of joint and knee pain but as my body became stronger and fitter most of my pain went away. Soon, I started feeling better, sleeping better, even lost a couple of pounds and overall was seeing improvement in my lifts and mobility. In the fall of 2016, after the paddling season ended, I increased my training to three times a week. What kept me going was that I was recording every training result, good and bad in the Wodify App and was able to compare with my past records. It did not matter to me if the others had better times or were lifting more I was able to measure my own progress. Sometimes, I was pleasantly surprised to see improvements when I thought I was not improving at all. I was also kept motivated by words of encouragement from others in the gym every time I didn’t think I had the strength to finish a workout. In this community, you feel fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of fit and positive people. Contrary to other gyms, the coaches are always there to teach, correct and encourage you during the workouts. Consequently, I improved a lot on my overall fitness and was feeling confident enough to register for my first Reebok CrossFit Open in 2017. In May 2017, I raced for the last time in the Nevada International Dragon Boat Festival and we returned with a bronze and gold medals, I did not return to dragon boat racing after that.
For the moment, I have chosen CrossFit training over dragon boat racing, which was not my intention at first. I am sure I will return to dragon boat racing some day as a much fitter paddler.
This year, I competed again for the second time, in the Reebok CrossFit Open. Over the last few months I decided to be more dedicated in my training and with my nutrition as well. I have pushed myself and I am finding great satisfaction in my overall health and wellbeing. One of my training days is spent in the Open Gym where I am working on my weaknesses. After two and a half years, I can finally do double unders, handstand push ups, rope climbs and chest to bar.
I will be 50 in a few weeks and I have never felt better. I would encourage anyone, of any age and any fitness level to trust CrossFit Belleville to lead you into a better version of yourself.
I promise, you will thank me for it. 😊
To my Belleville CrossFit coaches (most especially, Kiki & Bree);
A few months back, at my baby’s routine doctor appointment, my family doctor commented that I looked great. She asked me how my Diastasis Recti and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction were doing. (As a side note, she diagnosed me with severe Diastasis Recti.. I’m talking 4 finger gap between abdominal muscles here.. ouch is right!.. and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction at 6 months postpartum. At the time, she was very honest with me and informed me that there was less than a 30% chance that I could ever return to doing full-fledged ab workouts and feel that I could proudly say that I have ‘fit’ abs.)
Can you imagine being told that you may never be able to do a situp again? Or any workout that targets your abdominals? It was such a blow. I remember the sadness that came over me thinking I may have to give up CrossFit. When my doctor told me this though, there were a few things she was unaware of.
First of all, I am a very stubborn person. If you tell me I can’t do something, I’ll make sure that I work extra hard to prove you wrong. And so came the tsunami of research that followed. I was determined I was going to fight this!
Second, I am a member of the CrossFit Belleville Community. This results in having an extended family of wonderful supporters. No one judges you if you’re doing a bridge instead of a T2B. No, in fact, they’re cheering you on even harder. Our gym never allows anyone to feel inferior. It’s amazing.
And third, I have an AMAZING support system from the CrossFit Belleville coaches. I truly believe that the support and flexibility that my coaches have showed to me during my last year and a half of recovery has made all the difference in my healing process. Our ‘Mommy & Me’ classes, as well as our attentive coaches who are willing to scale and adjust workouts designed for your needs has been a blessing.
Of course, I’m not 100% healed. I still have moments. (Thank goodness for Rian!) But I still consider myself to have fought the odds.
I wanted to take a moment to express how amazingly thankful I am to be part of the Belleville CrossFit Community.
Sweaty after-WOD hugs,
For me to truly explain how Crossfit has impacted me, I need to give more insight into my journey that has led to crossfit. In January of 2015, I decided to change my life. Tipping the scales well over 250lbs, I was tired of being tired, tired of being uncomfortable in my own skin, and tired of living in a constant state of unhappiness. As cliché as it sounds, I set a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight. I was fearful, because honestly, who likes to face defeat. My first focus was nutrition, I lost 30lb just getting portions under control, cutting out most of the bad and introducing the good. After I got a handle on that, I introduced fitness. I found a love for running. Over the course of the year 2015, faithfully 2 pounds or more dropped off the scale every week. People would complement the physical changes my body was taking, and I have to admit, it was a constant high of emotions. By December, I had lost 100 pounds. The scale stopped. People got use to the appearance of the new me and the compliments ceased. Emotionally it was crushing. My brain had not caught up with the image in the mirror and I still felt as though I was a large person. Mentally, the next few months were a significant struggle; too many hours of cardio, not enough nutrition, too many steps onto the scale. I could not figure out why I didn’t love the new me. You see it on the magazines “Suzie loses 100 pounds, loves her life and is so happy”, why didn’t I feel like this?
In June 2016, through a friend, I was introduced to Crossfit Belleville. The trial workout was rope climbs, and push presses, and I had never felt so weak. I left, cried, and yet somehow wanted to come back and defeat this new challenge. So, I did come back, took my OnRamp and was determined to get stronger. Initially, I signed up for the 3 times per week membership, each workout was intimidating and overwhelming, but gratefully, Crossfit Belleville’s coaches scaled each workout to be achievable within my capabilities. More than that the community of other crossfitters welcomed me with open arms and showed me a sense of friendship and belonging that I was lacking with my other fitness routine. As the weeks and months passed, I gained 12lb of muscle, and watched my strength improve significantly, but more than that my focus shifted away from the number on the scale and I began developing relationships with like-minded individuals, people who uplift, encourage and celebrate each other’s successes. Crossfit Belleville introduced me to a lifestyle that improves my quality of life and has improved my self-confidence. The coaches are so encouraging and compassionate that I have recently increased my membership to unlimited (thank you Kiki). I do not think I can put into words just how supportive and motivational this community is. I must express my gratitude to my 6am athletes and coaches for making crossfit everything that it is to me. It’s more than just an hour workout, it has become a second family and has given me new goals, new insights and a new opportunity to redefine what healthy living means. I would highly recommend any individual just join Crossfit Belleville, it is truly an exceptional place to belong.
When I got asked to share my CrossFit story I thought, wow! It was a nice feeling to have my coaches comment on my growth in the box! I heard about CrossFit pretty much everywhere. It was a main feature at the first Warrior Dash I participated in. I have a friend in Barrie that joined CrossFit a few years back and it looked really interesting. She did a few competitions and posted pictures of her climbing ropes and lifting heavy weights and I was really impressed. Before joining CrossFit, I tried a few different things; circuit training, running, boxing, personal training, etc. I’ve always been an active person. Nothing really seemed to click long-term. I am a rather hyper person (putting it mildly) and I found myself getting bored and unmotivated. I joined a bootcamp about a year before joining the box and found that I had a love for lifting heavy (well heavy-ish)! I needed to find a way to build on that, enter CrossFit.
The CrossFit Belleville paged popped up on my facebook back in December of 2014, it was fate. I had thought about CrossFit a few times and even got invited to join a group at a local boxing club. I creeped CrossFit Belleville via the internet and drove by a few times. I had heard a lot of negative things about CrossFit in general. In fact I was warned by more than one person about the ‘dangers’ of CrossFit. So I had my reservations about it, was it a fad? Am I actually going to hurt myself? Needless to say I messaged the facebook site for more information. Luke messaged back almost instantly and invited me to try a free workout! Sweet!
Walking into CrossFit Belleville the first time was an eye opener. There were people laying all over the floor, others dropping heavy weights to the ground CRASH!, and people swinging (kipping) off the bars. I thought to myself .. its not too late, you can still leave, slowly back away to the door and no one will notice. Then the community of this amazing place sold me before I even saw the workout. I have never felt so welcomed in a gym before. People introduced themselves, asked me if I was new, said they hoped to see me in the ‘box’ later. Then Luke put us through the WOD (workout of the day), and that was it, I was completely sold. A 7 minute AMRAP and I thought I was going to die. It was humbling as a relatively fit person, or so I thought! The people in this place are amazing. Thanks to my on-ramp I may never hear ‘bring sally up’ quite the same again, ouch my quads! But the foundation I learned and the amazing coaching staff have assisted me in becoming the athlete I want to be! I love lifting heavy (or at least heavy for me!) There are so many times when you need that little push and you hear over your shoulder ‘come on Amanda, you can do it’ ‘don’t give up now, push hard!’ It is just so motivating to have that support from this community. Everyone WANTS to be there and more than that everyone LOVES to be in the box, its incredible. Even at 6am!
Everyone is at a different place, and that is part of what is so unique about the box. You get caught up in the moment, seeing someone conquer something they could never do before, or hitting a PR. High fives all around! You can’t help but be excited for them, its contagious! It encourages you to push yourself, constantly test limitations and grow as an athlete. When I started I could barely lift the bar over my head, I couldn’t clean, or jerk, or even squat properly! But my last few WODS I have hit PR’s and that just feels amazing. I may not be able to do toes to bar yet and I still have to work on that whole ‘kipping’ thing. But I can climb the rope now and I am getting close to being able to do a handstand push up! I haven’t got an amazing weight loss story, but I am building muscle and strength and confidence. This place is truly my happy hour.
I just want to send out a special thanks to the following
Luke – thanks responding and inviting me to come out and try, for talking to me on that fateful Saturday and infecting me with your excitement and love of CrossFit.
Breeann – thanks for always making a point to notice when someone isn’t there and to reach out, for always making me feel like I can do better and push harder.
My 6am group – I love you guys. You make my mornings at the box truly enjoyable … even when burpees and thrusters are combined!
And thank you to the rest of my CrossFit family. It can’t get more motivational than this! It is truly a great place to be!!
When I first walked into CrossFit Belleville I didn’t really know what to expect and didn’t really know what CrossFit even consisted of. So when I walked in to see barbells hitting the floor, ropes dangling from the ceiling and bulging muscles everywhere….yeah, I was a little intimidated.
I could see how intense everyone was working and how very focused everyone was in what they were doing. I was excited to try it but at the same time a little nervous because I was out of shape and not sure if I’d even be able to do it. After the first WOD I got a sense of what everyone was so focused on and the whole rush of pushing myself through the (scaled)workout left me feeling like I just accomplished something. Not just physically but mentally as well.
After having 2 amazing kids I was still carrying around the weight from my pregnancies and feeling very out of shape and like my confidence levels have taken a big hit. Every morning seeing all of my old nicely folded jeans in the closet knowing that I wasn’t able to wear them wasn’t exactly a good feeling. So after my first WOD I made the decision that I was going to keep pushing myself further and further until I could finally dust off my old nicely folded jeans and zip them up.
My first WOD was the first week of July and it now being the first week of November, I am incredibly happy to say that I have managed to lose 25lbs and am now wearing my old jeans (with a belt I should add) and I’m feeling great. My strength has increased beyond what I could have even hoped for. Those once intimidating dangling ropes …Hell yes, I can climb them now!
The coaches at CrossFit Belleville are incredibly knowledgeable and always very encouraging and good at giving step by step, in depth instructions and advice for the movements and lifts. I am moving in 3 weeks and sad that I have to leave. I have my doubts that there is another box that is as good as this one. But I am a CrossFit lifer no less.
When Luke asked me to write my “CrossFit Story”, I immediately thought what story? I’d say it was more of a CrossFit Journey. So here is my CrossFit Journey to date.
My health started to become an issue when I was in my late 20’s. Prior to that, I was active and had a metabolism that tolerated pizza, beer and donuts. Then at 25 years old, I had my first child and I gained 25 pounds that never left. At the age of 29, I had my second child and by this time, I had gained 50 pounds that weren’t going anywhere. Here I was entering my 30’s with a high stress job in health care, working 80+ hours a week with two small children. I struggled to maintain my sanity, trying to balance the competing needs/demands of home, work and family. Meals were quick and convenient (read high sugar, high fat and lots of carbs). Every year, I found myself having to buy clothes in a bigger size but still I was in denial about my health (or lack thereof).
Then my father got sick. For 4 years, I made almost daily trips to Ottawa (when he was in hospital) or North Augusta (home) to see him. Sleep became a distant memory. Meals were now through a drive thru window, eaten in the car as I raced from one place to the next. I watched my father’s health decline. He aged 50 years in that four year span. He looked like an old man, his hair turned white, he wore oxygen constantly and still couldn’t breathe, his diabetes was out of control (he figured if he didn’t test it, it wasn’t high and therefore everything was good!). On October 5, 2010 at the age of 60 my father died. I was devastated. I became very sick, my immune system was failing and I was depressed. I turned to food for comfort and sat and watched my weight balloon another 40 pounds, I was now 40 years old and 100 pounds overweight. How did this happen?
I knew I had to do something. So I read health books. All kinds of books, but reading and doing are different. I knew the information I just lacked the ability to put it into play. The doctor told me I had to exercise and eat less. Easy to say, hard to do.
So I joined the local gym and forced myself to go. I hated everything about it. I remember sitting in the parking lot, trying to think of excuses not to go in. I hated the machines, I hated the mirrors, I hated the way I felt when I was there. I’d use a machine, get winded and would immediately stop out of fear of not being able to catch my breath. If I broke a sweat, then it was like a free pass to get out of there, the sweat indicated that I had worked out and I’d race to the door. I tried the classes to see if that would give me motivation or tips of what to do on my own. What I found was a very unwelcoming atmosphere, the people in the class didn’t talk to anyone else, they all had their spot, the music was always the same and the moves were always the same. Boring! Hate, hate, hated it.
Then I came across CrossFit. I remember looking up the youtube videos thinking “I’ll never be able to do that”. I drove past the CrossFit Belleville four times a week for five months before I had enough courage to go inside and check it out. The coach encouraged me to watch a class, to see what I thought. I thought “wow, these people are incredible”. I was envious of how fit they were. So I signed up for the on-ramp classes in June 2013. On the second on ramp class, it was a Saturday and the WOD was “Helen”, this day concreted it for me. I had injured my knee in high school and really hadn’t run since then. So running 400m was difficult, to run 400m three times was overwhelming. I was slower than everyone else, I struggled with the 20 pound kettlebell swings, the pull ups were impossible even modified. I was just starting my second 400 m when everyone else in the class was finishing. I was embarrassed and ashamed of being so fat and out of shape. I remember crying on that 400m run (let’s be honest – walk) and trying to think of how I was going to sneak back in to get my keys and leave without anyone seeing me. But Ed came out and walked with me, encouraged me. As I went out to start the third 400m run, some of the people who were taking the next class came out and walked/ran with me; total strangers encouraging me to keep going, just a bit more, almost there. They didn’t point and laugh, make fun of me or call me names. They genuinely were encouraging and supporting me during this struggle. Many shared that they to struggle and it’ll get better. That feeling of community was there that day and continues to be there every day. That feeling I had was priceless, thank you.
Needless to say, I signed up. I’ve never regretted a moment of CrossFit. I look forward to my CrossFit time. I still get nervous driving over to CrossFit, wondering what the workout will be. And I still feel butterflies when I see the WOD written on the board, wondering if I’ll be able to do it (it feels wonderful when I’ve completed the WOD because I can say to myself “See, You can do that.”) I’ve made some really great friends and surprised myself along the way. I’m going to be 44 years old soon and feel better than I have for years. The scale says I’m down 25 pounds (I know I’ve also gained muscle) but I’m up so much more. I don’t jiggle as much when I walk and I can keep up with my kids without being breathless. My health is a priority and I’m making positive steps every day to improve it. It’s hard to break those ingrained habits but I’m worth it and I will.
Like so many others, I have CrossFit goals; I want to be able to do a handstand pushup, an unassisted pull up, a box jump and double unders. I practice and I know that I will accomplish these goals. My WOD’s continue to be scaled or modified (for my knee) but I work hard when I’m there. I haven’t PR’d in a while but it’ll come because I’ll keep working at it. From where I started in June to where I am today, I’ve come a long way. My first PR for the deadlift was 135 pounds, my current PR is 275. So, on reflection there have definitely been improvements. And it really doesn’t matter where I finish in the class, as long as I do my best and finish. I compete against me, to be better today than I was yesterday.
Thank you to all of the CrossFit Coaches, each and every one of you has helped me along the way!
Thank you for helping me along my CrossFit Journey. Words do not begin to express my gratitude for all of your support and encouragement over the past seven months. Thank you and I’ll see you at the box! ~ Kim
When Coach Luke asked me to write about my CrossFit story, I felt both surprised (why me?) and thrilled. Surprised because I am not exactly the athlete you would see on a CrossFit poster. I still can’t seem to get my chin above the bar when doing a pull up and the thought of doing a handstand push up terrifies me. On the other hand, I am thrilled because it is giving me the chance to share how CrossFit has impacted my life in such a positive way.
I heard about CrossFit through several people. After doing some research on it I just felt it was way out of my league. The online videos brought back mental images of elementary Phys. Ed class where the teacher would ask students to do pull ups and push ups and I would freeze with panic. Despite this fear, CrossFit was always on the back of my mind. I would drive around the parking lot at night, check out what was going on and then drive right back out. I could not find the courage to go in and sign up. Finally, when I was at peace with myself that CrossFit was not for me, my friend Heather sent me an email asking me if I would consider doing the On-Ramp program with her. At that moment I knew I had to give it a try.
My first visit was pure fear. My first words to the coach were “Are you sure this is for everyone?” After he assured me it was, I signed up. I enjoyed the On-Ramp program and learned a lot. I was now ready for my first WOD. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a Saturday morning team activity which included logs. I had not been that scared since final exams in university! I managed to complete the WOD and I must say the sense of accomplishment at the end was so gratifying. It was at that moment that I knew Crossfit was like nothing else out there and I was hooked.
I am now in my 6th month of CrossFit and truly loving it. I am training for my 3rd half marathon and I feel stronger than ever. More importantly, my confidence has increased tremendously. I have gone from walking on a box to actually jumping on it (thanks coach Kyle) and I have even tackled doing the wheelbarrow which I dreaded as a kid (thanks Claire). Who knows, maybe someday I will be able to do a handstand push up.
As a teacher, I encourage my students to try new activities outside of their comfort zone. Joining CrossFit has allowed me to do that. I share my CrossFit experiences with my students and how I get intimidated at times but through determination and hard work you can achieve your goals. For me, CrossFit is so much more that how much weight I can lift or how many double unders I can do. It is about setting goals for myself and pushing my body to the limit in order to achieve those goals.
I do hope that my story will have a positive impact on those people who are contemplating CrossFit however are having difficulty taking that first step. I encourage you to come on out and give it a try. I can assure you will be surrounded by amazing athletes and friendly coaches who will guide you through your journey to a better you.
I first heard about crossfit about a year ago through many of our current coaches whenever I bumped into them at work, at another gym that shall not be named or just about anywhere else in the city. The thing that struck me instantly was the passion and excitement each of them had for crossfit, and not just their own transformations but what it could do for anyone that was serious about achieving a new level of fitness. That’s what caught my attention-anyone could do crossfit, you didn’t need to be at any particular level of fitness to start.
I did what mostly everyone else did-got the popcorn out and engaged in a crossfit marathon with YouTube clips. It was amazing seeing these elite athletes perform various WODs meanwhile thinking there is no way I could do what they do.
When the box opened in January I was working with a personal trainer. I put off starting crossfit until the end of March when I finally asked Luke about signing up for the on-ramp classes to which he replied “don’t worry I already signed you up for Wednesday’s class-see you then.” That was Monday. I think I felt sick to my stomach for the next 2 days in anticipation of what I had gotten myself into. As soon as I stepped into the box I was immediately greeted by a number of members, all welcoming me to the crossfit family and encouraging me with their own stories about their first class- that was within minutes of arriving and I was sold. It occurred to me that I wasn’t going to be judged or ridiculed because I was new or had never done anything remotely similar to crossfit before. It was an unexplainable feeling of belonging that made me think I could tackle not only my fear of being able to to do the WODs with the other athletes but for the first time feel like an athlete myself.
I’ve always maintained what I thought was a decent workout routine prior to joining crossfit but if anyone has seen the T-shirts that say “your workout is my warm-up” I couldn’t agree more. It’s not necessarily that I wasn’t working out as hard but just not on a consistent challenging basis as I am now. Because of crossfit I was able to participate in my first Spartan Race last month-it was great to see the strength and endurance buildup from our WODs transfer over to do a race with several obstacles-I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.
While I still scale down WODs, I know just by looking at all the other crossfitters around me that have been in my shoes (and those that still are) that not only can I achieve the goal of one day doing unbroken butterfly pull-ups (among many other movements) but ill achieve that by working and getting advice from the friendliest and most helpful people I know. For that I want to thank each and every one of our coaches who bring their own flavour but same passion to each class and for always pushing me whenever I thought I couldn’t go further. Crossfit has helped me become stronger, faster and more confident not only when I’m at the box but in all areas of my life and that’s something no other gym or group of people can help you achieve and for which I truly am grateful for.
Outside the box, I have always considered myself a fit person. I have been a multi-sport athlete for as long as I can remember. Over the last couple years, I could feel myself starting to slide physically, and was pushing up against 230 lb as of late 2012. I am a father first, above all else, and after a recent health scare, I came to the realization that if I want to be here for my child long term, jogging and weightlifting and the occasional pickup game were not enough.
In 2013, my goal is to return to my ‘ideal’ weight which is around 180 lb. Since I gave my soul to Crossfit, I have lost 32 lb and counting. It’s not the losses that astound me though. It’s the gains in strength, flexibility, endurance and virtually every other measure of fitness that have me completely hooked. Crossfit rewards the generalist by making you physically better at everything, and physically prepared for anything. Need to jump a fence? Crossfit. Need to carry all your groceries inside at one time? Crossfit. Want to play tag with your kids without getting winded? Crossfit.
Crossfit is, simply, the best workout I’ve ever done, every time I go to the box. When people ask me about Crossfit, I tell them just that. It is the best, most intense workout I’ve done every time I do it. I am not exaggerating when I say that Crossfit has been, and continues to be an epiphany for me. The trainers and members at Crossfit Belleville make each and every workout challenging and rewarding. I count them among my closest friends. The community that is Crossfit Belleville is enough to keep me coming back time and again. Think of it this way: You can keep going to the cardboard cut-out gym and do it wrong forever, or you can start doing it right, right now, and enjoy working out again.
My favourite Crossfit moment is after every WOD, I feel a huge sense of accomplishment and at the same time, a desire to push even harder next time out. It is the hardest, most rewarding regimen I have ever participated in. I say that having been through two a days, training and selection camps for varsity level sports (in my younger days). I believe if I had known about Crossfit as a younger man, I would not have had to wait to feel as energetic as I do now that Crossfit is a permanent fixture in my life. Workouts are no longer a chore for me. I encourage everyone to come in, try a WOD, meet the group, and change your life forever, right now. Today is a rest day, and I miss the box already.
Q: Who are you outside the gym?
A: In my professional life I am in the military. In my personal life I’m a runner and a wanna-be triathlete.
Q: What are your goals for 2013?
A: I’ve set higher fitness goals for 2013 than any other time in my life. I will be running the 30K distance in Around the Bay, a 2nd Marathon, participating in my first 1/2 Ironman Distance and running in an ultra-marathon. I’m really looking forward to the benefits that CrossFit will bring to my training.
Q: What do you think about CrossFit and CrossFit Belleville?
A: I have a friend in the USA who often posts about CrossFit on Facebook but I’d never thought much about it until I heard there was one opening in Belleville. I went to the first class and it was love at first WOD. The staff at CrossFit Belleville were very welcoming and the atmosphere was that of wonderful community. It was exactly what I was hoping for. Professional yet fun. It’s such a challenging workout but I’ve never felt uncomfortable because everything is taught and explain so thoroughly. It’s exciting and scary to look and see what the WOD will be.
Q: What is your favourite CrossFit movement?
A: So far my favourite movement has been Squat Cleans. I love the challenge in my legs.
Q. What do you tell your friends about CrossFit?
A: I tell my friends they absolutely have to come out and try it before they can call me crazy. It’s a workout like no other. Nothing can make you feel so wonderful and horrible at the same time!