Academy is a place where we can explore passions, develop skills and achieve goals.  This of course speaks to the members/athletes that train here, but also to our crew and the young interns we mentor. 

We are very proud of the history & track record of helping develop talented & driven youth. One of our foundational principals to help youth help themselves to help others. This is baked into our DNA and our community has greatly benefited as a result of our mentorship & internship programs.

We couldn't be happier or more excited to introduce our new Media & Design Interns.  Gabe is an illustrator/designer from OCAD.   Hailey is a Journalist from Ryerson.  Over the course of the next few months, they will work with the Academy Crew, Members and various Teams to help us further define what our community represents. 

- Dhani Oks



For their first assignments, Gabe & Hailey were asked to capture the thoughts, feelings and fears of their very first session at Academy Of Lions.  The only note given was that it had to be real and from the heart. No Fluff. 




For this piece I focused on the awkwardness I felt getting into movements and exercises I'm not used to. for the last couple years my sole source of exercise has been biking for transportation and the odd game of soccer or basketball, so I felt a little clumsy and uncoordinated.

Most notably, some of my late-night vices lifestyle came back to haunt me, i.e the excessive intake of chemicals from cigarettes and over indulgence on alcohol. After the intro session, though it wasn't insanely rigorous for me, I could certainly feel some of this excess. 

Those were some of the struggles in starting up again, but I really did feel great about the experience (hence the flowers stemming from a crushed beer can) and actually felt good about being sore for the preceding couple of days. 

- Gabriel Altrows



I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself! My name is Hailey Salvian, and I am one of the new media interns here at Academy of Lions.

I am studying journalism at Ryerson University and am a self-proclaimed fitness enthusiast, health nut and avid runner. Now that I’ve found my place here at the Academy, you can expect weekly content keeping you up to date with all the latest in health, fitness and CrossFit, as well as my views and experiences working and working out at the Academy of Lions. 

I am no stranger to CrossFit. My schedule gets crazy busy with school and work, so CrossFit has always been a great way for me to get in the gym, work hard and get on to the next thing on my to-do list.

That being said, one of the best parts about CrossFit is the community aspect. It is amazing what you can learn about people when you have the time to really listen to what they have to say. Everyone has a different reason for being in the gym on any given day. Everyone has a different story to tell. But every single person has one thing in common-they showed up to work hard and that common interest brings people together, no matter what may be weighing them down.

This community is what motivates me. And this motivation has brought me here- to my first introductory workout at Academy of Lions. I had no idea what to expect and I was pretty nervous, despite having done CrossFit before. I follow the trainers and the gym on Instagram, so I could see how great of shape everyone is in, and truthfully, it was pretty intimidating. I feel foolish admitting that now, because everyone was so welcoming and genuine, but leading up to the workout I was nervous for multiple reasons.

First and foremost- I am a runner, I am currently training for my first half-marathon and competing for a spot on the varsity cross-country team; naturally my biggest fear was getting injured. I was also afraid of making a fool of myself and failing at whatever workout was planned. I’ve struggled with that for years-fear of failure. I know it’s not possible to be the best at everything, but being awful at something has always been a hard pill to swallow for me.

The workout, led by Coach Richmond, was a perfect introductory class. It wasn’t so difficult as to scare people away, nor was it too easy to bore anyone with prior experience. After a warm up, we went over squat technique, which really impressed me. Squatting is such a common exercise, but it is also deceptive in its simplicity often causing injury due to poor form. Many of the movements were familiar to me, which aided my fear of failing and quieted my over-active mind.

The best part of the session was when Richmond had us all complete ten pull-ups in a row. I have never been able to do two solo pull-ups in a row- I was terrified. Looking around the room, however, everyone seemed to be in the same boat. These were not done solo though, as we all partnered up for assisted pull-ups and all 12 of us rookies did ten pull-ups in a row for the first time. That is one of the beautiful things about group fitness, not just achieving your own goals, but also achieving them as a group.

The workout itself, was a tabata circuit with box jumps, rope pulls, wall balls and kettle bell swings-all of which I’ve done before, thus be riding my fears of failure and injury. I felt safe with the coach and confident in my ability to complete the circuit.

I knew I joined the right gym when Richmond spoke to the group at the end of the session about what they aim to achieve at the academy as coaches. He said at they are all about teaching lessons that will prepare you for life inside, and outside the gym. He said that life isn’t going to slowly lower a barbell onto your shoulders, its going to come at you in all directions. Today we learned the basics, but I have no doubt that in the weeks to come I will learn many lessons that apply both to CrossFit and my life.

I'm looking forward to workout out with the members & crew at the Academy over the next few months, trading sweat and learning about your struggles, strengths & stories

- Hailey Salvian