Written by Ashley Dier | Academy Of Lions Media Team | Toronto

Richmond Lo is unassuming, you won't hear him brag about his accomplishments, it's refreshing. As a coach at Academy Of Lions, he has accomplished many things, big things, but you'd never know it by talking to him.

His entrance into the world of a CrossFit coach came in the form of an internship. Richmond - known as “Rich” to most around the Academy - began his health & fitness journey studying Kinesiology at York University.  When approached by his professor about an opportunity to expand his knowledge through a coaching apprenticeship program he jumped at the chance.

Rich thanks universal timing when it comes to the beginning of his coaching career, "I'm a big believer in thinking the universe will unravel itself for you, and at that point in my life it just unfolded in front of me and I just kinda ran with it. I'm just super thankful that it happened at the time that it did and it just worked out to be a career for me."

Rich was new to CrossFit, his background in Kinesiology allowed for him to understand the physiology of each movement and properly coach those he taught, but he had never physically "done" CrossFit but was immediately hooked.

Sweet & Strong. Richmond brings joy and silliness to his coaching - it help's people get through the tough workouts.

Sweet & Strong. Richmond brings joy and silliness to his coaching - it help's people get through the tough workouts.

The environment was also new to him, and he attributes it to part of what he was most drawn to, "It [the environment] was completely different. You become positive because other people are cheering you on and then you cheer other people on and it's just contagious." Adding "It's such a supportive place, everyone has built this culture that's all about positivity. Everyone grows and succeeds together, I naturally get drawn to this place."

I could tell by the way he fidgeted, he found it difficult to talk about himself. Skimming over major accomplishments - an Olympic distance Triathlon, a solo three and a half day bike trip, he downplayed all he could. He did find it comfortable to talk about the influence the community has had on him personally, the drive and determination it has taught him.

Last summer Rich decided he was going to ride a bike, a single speed bike, from Toronto to Montreal, alone, carrying everything on his back. The ride took three and a half days, and taught him how to stay positive at all costs and forced him to learn to enjoy the moment.

"There was one time at night when it was pitch black and I was really behind schedule, like 5 hours behind so I had to really book it. I was biking throughout the night on the roadway with no lights, and I just kept telling myself, 'I just need to grind it out'. It's like a WOD (workout of the day), where you need to just finish. Having that mental mindset, having had been in that situation before and understanding that it's ok, you will eventually get there and you will finish it, kept me motivated and kept me positive to get me to where I needed to go."

Rich has that, "just do it" kind of outlook, the do it and worry about the outcome after vibe. This summer he completed his first Olympic distance triathlon, a major accomplishment, a bucket list accomplishment. He struggled with the 1500m open water swim, he admits that, and despite not being thrilled with his time he accomplished one of his goals, "don't die".  That CrossFit drive was present in the cold water that morning and pushed him towards the finish line. Would he do another one I asked, "maybe not" he replied laughing.

As for the future, Rich reverts back to his universal timing and couldn't give me a clear answer on what that involved.  "I ask myself every year 'where do you want to be in a year' and I don't always have a clear answer on what that is, because my life is always in a state of change," he said. Perhaps that's how he's able to rapidly check off his bucket list items, he's open to change and new opportunities, he's not afraid of risk. Through his experiences coaching and grinding through an aggressive workout he knows he can make it out of just about anything.

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