1. How did you get started with us at the Academy of Lions?

I started at the Academy over 2 years ago. I heard about CrossFit through my awesome friend Alison Brooks, an original AOL member from the first location on Gladstone Ave. Funny fact we actually met doing "stroller fit" in Trinity Bellwoods park with our then 4 month old boys, over 13 years ago! We then started taking our kids to the YMCA together. I stayed at the Y and she went on to join AOL. Around 10 years ago, I met my other awesome friend Paluna Santamaria while teaching group classes at the YMCA. We worked together for years before she went on to join the Academy.  After that how could I not go?!


2. What was your physical background prior to joining our community?

I grew up in the country, we skied every winter and I was always running around and climbing things, full of energy and really hyper. I was active up until high school, joined every team, gymnastics, baseball but never did well in organized sports and was always self conscious of my ability and of  "letting the team down". So I ended up being more of a party girl and spent most of my time socializing more than exercising and eating well.  It wasn't until I was in my 20's that I started running. It made me feel confident and strong/independent, something I struggled with.  It really was life changing for me at the time. I started training for races and almost died during my first 10km race. I made sure to train smarter after that. Now I have done numerous Half Marathons, always trying to increase my time and plan to run the Full Marathon next summer.


3. You also do coaching of your own outside the gym?

Before coaching I was a travel agent booking business travel for IBM employees. We got amazing travel deals at the time so I was able to travel to places like Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Korea, for next to nothing. After I had my son, I stayed home to raise him for a few years before I started coaching. He pretty much grew up in a gym. Now, Aiden has started coming to the Sunday MetCon classes at the Academy with me....full circle!  I feel so lucky that I was able to have 2 careers in my life that i'm so passionate about, travel and fitness.  Best jobs EVER!


4. You seem to really enjoy competing inside and outside the Academy. Do you consider yourself to be a competitive athlete?

I only realized I was competitive when I started doing Bootcamps.  Our coach was a real drill sergeant who would give us burpees for talking, slowing down, and stopping. The first time I took the class we had to pull a battle rope attached to a tire with sandbags in it, up to the second floor walkway we were standing on, then lower it down.  I couldn't do it. It was the hardest workout I had ever done and I almost cried (I did). It was a small group and we became a really close knit team. We would push each other, motivate each other, and try to beat each other.  I would always try to be the strongest, fastest person in the room. When our coach had to move I had to find another outlet and AOL was the natural fit. I was hooked right away, everyone helps you when you are struggling or if you need tips on form etc.  I get really nervous before doing competitions so I decided to sign up for more so I could get past it.  Lions League 7 was my 5th Crossfit competition. I've also done the Crossfit Open, and UG Winterfest.


5. What is your strongest quality in workouts?

Definitely running and gymnastic or body weight exercises. My real struggle is with strength and Olympic lifting so my focus is on that right now.


6. Do you have any favorite WODs?

My Favorite WOD is the 12.5 open workout? 150 wall balls, 90 double unders, and 15 muscle  ups.  I've never been able to get any muscle ups when my shoulders are completely shattered after 150 wall balls and 90 double unders! I've attempted this WOD five times in the past. Sometimes I wouldn't even finish the double unders. On my 6th attempt this last August I got in 2 MU's!  It was awesome.  I also killed the 7 min burpee test with 117 burpees but it makes me want to barf. Oh and the double under test 170!  Not sure I can ever repeat that again though lol


7. Is your family also as physically active as you are?

Let's just say my husband's eyes roll back into his head when I start telling him about the WOD I did today and that I just Pr'd my back squat!  My husband is an introverted/ vegetarian (since he was 15) Financial Analyst. Not that I like to put labels on anyone hahah! So we are total opposites, but obviously it works! He started exercising soon after we met and now we do 5k runs together as a family and go on ski or hiking vacations. This summer my son and I are going to do his first 10km race together. 


8. What are your top three fitness goals that you would like to achieve?

1st Goal - Back Squat 2x my bodyweight

2nd Goal - Handstand hold over 30 seconds  

3rd Goal - Yoga Certification in February


9. Could you tell us something about you that we might not know?

I met my husband at a rave 17 years ago hahah.  I told you I wasn't always sporty :).  Also about 4 years ago I auditioned for Evolve Functional Fitness and was chosen for their home workout App. I met an awesome group of people and we worked out on set for 6 weeks (you can purchase it at the App store)


10. What advice would you give to someone just starting out with us?

Don't be afraid to ask the Coaches for help on form and listen to your body.  Take rest days!



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