Alex and his pal Harley aka Harlsberg

Alex and his pal Harley aka Harlsberg

How did you get started at the Academy of Lions?

I knew Jenny McConnell, Lyndsey Westfall, Joel Tellier, and a few others that had memberships here.  Most people I knew didn't quite fall under the stereotypical gym people category and that's what appealed to me. 


What sort of physical background did you come from?

I did competitive gymnastics for a while when I was much younger and I would credit that (much to my father's satisfaction) to my general physical aptitude.  I always enjoyed sports (basketball, football, skateboarding, cycling) but didn't really get that serious about them.  They were forms of escapism rather than a full on lifestyle.  


Could you tell us more about Capital?

It's a coffee shop in Parkdale. I started with my best friend from high school, Damien, and this week (Nov 5th) we're celebrating 6 years in business! We both have a combined total of 20+ years experience working in shops throughout high school and university. When we graduated, we decided to conduct an experiment that lasted.  We try to emphasize the aspects of coffee shops we both love in our own shop such as a good product in a great community.  Much of our success comes from the great community we have in Parkdale and I'm very lucky to walk among such good people.


You mentioned being fascinated by our Academy community. What fascinates you about it?

I'm always fascinated by how things work. I was the kid that took apart the VCR just to see the insides and now, because I have my own business, I'm interested to see what I can apply to my own life. AOL has such a vibrant and diverse community supporting it and I'm always on the lookout to expand the appeal of my own community.


You mentioned having a geeky side?

I've played video games all my life with my brother and love sci-fi and comic books.  I honestly don't think it's very unique and it seems like these things are more and more mainstream.  


 Alex and Mom in her hometown Hanoi Vietnam

Alex and Mom in her hometown Hanoi Vietnam

You never touched a barbell before joining us. Were you nervous when you started? 

I was super nervous when I started. We did something called the "Reaper Complex" in my second class and I thought I was going to drop the barbell on my head. I've since worked on my technique and more importantly worked on being more self-aware of my limitations. Basically I've learned to respect the weights, and NO ONE cares if you can't lift as much as them.


Do you have any set gym goals for the near future?

There are a few WODs I'd like to get better times on but beyond that nothing specific.  I'd love to improve my Olympic lifting in general.


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

I know my way around a kitchen pretty well and I love cooking for people. I was also a wedding photographer for many years and I hate massages.

What are 3 things on your bucket list?
Visit the Amazon, visit China, and take my dog to the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean in one summer.