1. How did you get started in Crossfit?
Before I started Crossfit, I was your typical person with a gym membership. Every month I would pay my monthly due and would barely use it. I found little motivation in going to the gym because I always felt I never knew what to do and would often get frustrated with the lack of equipment and the excess of people. Two and half years ago, I found a Crossfit gym close to my home in Winnipeg and was instantly hooked. I loved the coaching, workouts and the community atmosphere. It quickly became the thing I looked forward to in my day and not the thing I avoided.
2. What drove you to make changes in your lifestyle when you started training?
My whole life I was always an active person who loved sports. When I started university, I was like most 20 year olds. Being active started to slow down and partying and eating unhealthy took over. When I was 28, my wife and I went away at Christmas to an all-inclusive resort in Egypt. On this trip I ate and drank everything in site, dessert at breakfast was a daily occurrence. When we got home from this trip, I remember stepping on the scale and seeing 210 lbs. For someone, who had never been close to 200 lbs, this was a major shock and the ass kicking I needed. Within that week, I started the base camp at my first CrossFit gym.
3. Did you play any sports?
Sports have always been a big part of my life. Growing up, you could always find my at the local community center playing hockey indoor or outdoor. I have always found hockey as outlet to take my mind off the ups and downs of life and great way to stay connected with friends.
4. Is Academy of Lions you main outlet outside your home and work life?
Since starting, it has definitely become the main outlet in my life. I work in finance downtown, after sitting all day it is important for me to be able to do something to get me moving again. I have also used it as a mental outlet. In my last year I lived in Winnipeg, my wife was going to McMaster in Hamilton. As many people know, having a long distance relationship can be extremely tough. I found showing up to the gym everyday was the main thing that came me sane and it helped take my mind off everything. Without the gym, I do not know how we would have made it through the year.
5. Do you have a competitive side?
Some people would say that I am too competitive (especially my wife). As I mentioned earlier, I grew up playing hockey and I loved the competitive side of the sport. This has translated into my everyday life and crossfit. Since, joining the sport I have done the open twice and plan on doing it again this year. I have competed in a few crossfit competitions in Winnipeg and really enjoyed the experience. I think the competitiveness in crossfit is one of the things I love the most about the sport. I hate “losing” at workouts and often find that it pushes me to find that gear that you never thought you had. Crossfit has definitely taught me, that when your mind says “no” your body is capable of doing much more than you think.
6. Nutrition. You mentioned you count macros in your diet. How do your eating habits compare to when you first started out in Winnipeg?
Since, moving to Toronto my outlook on my diet has changed drastically. When I first started crossfit, my diet did not reflect my goals. I would still eat whatever, as much as I wanted, and more than a couple times a week I would be going out for drinks. My coaches would always stress the importance of eating the proper food to be successful in this sport. As I have become more involved in the sport, this became apparent and important to me. Now I look at food as fuel for my workouts and more importantly the base of a healthy lifestyle. I have used counting macros as something to keep me on track and truly understand what is being put in my body. This past year, I have been extremely strict with it and have seen a huge difference in my body and workouts. Although, since my wedding in September, weekends have been the time I have allowed myself to indulge a little bit.
7. Congrats to you and fellow Lion Valeriia on recently getting Married in the Ukraine! How was the wedding and travel?
The wedding was awesome! Lira was born and raised in Ukraine, and my family was originally from there. We decided to go back there and get married in Lviv. It turned out to better than I could have ever expected, we ended up having roughly 25 Canadians and 25 Ukrainians there. I have spent a lot of time in Ukraine (going back to see her family), it was nice to be able to show my family a big part of our life. After the wedding, we went to Kyiv (Lira’s hometown) to spend some time relaxing and enjoying the down time. We never did a honeymoon and are planning on going somewhere in 2017.
8. You moved to Toronto just before joining us almost 2 years ago. Did joining our community help you adjust to the city?
The one thing I appreciate the most about crossfit is the community that comes along with it. Lira and I are both not from the city and moving to Toronto was a big adjustment for us. The Academy has been a huge reason we were able to adjust so quickly. It has been a great place to meet like minded people who push you to be your very best. It has also helped us in our everyday lives, as it gives us something we both love to do together, where we get to push each other.
9. Could you tell us something about you that we may not know?
I do not have any crazy or unusual things that I can think of, but I am proud that I was able to figure out how to solve a Rubik's cube on my own, without the help of the internet.
10. What advice would you give to a newcomer that may intimidated by our kind of environment?
Embrace it! The environment at the Academy is hard to replicate and it will push you to places that you never thought were possible.