1. How did you get started at Academy of Lions?
A friend of mine, who started at the original Gladstone location, told me about these crazy classes they were doing at this gym. At the time I never heard of 'Crossfit' but I decided to check it out and was immediately hooked. I never thought I'd be one of those dudes lifting heavy weights, but once you accomplish a heavy lift and succeed, you want more.
I've been a proud member at the Academy since 2011.
2. What sort of physical background did you come from prior to CrossFit? (mention p90x, your dislike of sports growing up
Growing up I hated any sort of physical activity — Phys-Ed class was always something I dreaded. I was more of a Commodore-64/Nintendo kind-of-guy, who preferred a dark basement and horror movies over doing anything outdoors.
After leaving the safety of my parent's house for university, I made tons of bad food/drink choices and ballooned in size. I knew it was time to start doing something about it so I ended up trying a dozen of crap diets, different gyms, yoga, dancehall lessons... but couldn't stick with any of it. A lot of yoyo-ing in weight.
Until I found Crossfit, the only thing I stuck with... well, for 90 days... was P90x. It helped me shed a lot of weight, but it was so repetitive and I was tired of eating cheese strings on the daily. That diet seemed bunk and imagine to have to go through Tony Horton's banter over and over would drive anyone crazy.
3. What is it about Academy’s style that had you stick to it consistently for so long?
It's mostly the community. Both the coaches and members create a top notch environment that makes even the worst WOD fun to take part in. Being challenged in a group setting brings not only a level of competitiveness, but also some camaraderie — we're all working at destroying the WOD together and to come out alive on the other side is tremendously rewarding. Fistbumps for all!
I also secretly like hearing people complain about how sore they are. I really like complaining.
4. How has your nutrition evolved since joining?
When I started at the Academy in January 2011, I took part in the 30 day paleo challenge. My results were crazy. It really made me think about the food I was eating and how awesome I could feel without sugar or bread. One day I'll get back to that weight!
I stuck with it well beyond the 30 days, and while I haven't been completely paleo (got a soft spot for snacks, see below) I still strive to live a 75% paleo lifestyle - no bread or dairy in the house.
5. Do you have a competitive side to you?
When it comes to food, YES!
I'm a two-time donut eating champ in Toronto, winning a comp at both Glory Hole donuts, and TBC Vegan. But I agree with Tyra Banks when she says, "I'm competitive with myself. I always try to push past my own borders."
6. As you have formed many close bonds with others at Academy, does it consume a good portion of your social life?
I've formed lots of friendships at the gym that have extended beyond its walls. I couldn't imagine being anywhere else 4 or 5 times any given week. The people at Academy are most excellent and they've been putting up with my dad jokes for years!
7. You mentioned having a music background as well as DJing across the street at The Ossington bar?
Music's been a big part of my life ever since I got my first Culture Club cassette when I was 5. I played a killer alto sax in high school, gloomy guitar stuff in coffeehouses throughout my teens, and have been in a few bands during my 20's/early 30's.
I used to run a podcast called Murder, She Podcasted where I would take episodes of "Murder, She Wrote" and create playlists around them. Bonkers idea, yeah, but it took off and ended up with an 8 year long DJ residency at "The Ossington" bar across the road from the gym. First Saturday of the month if anyone's interested!
8. Any personal achievements you reached at Academy? Anything you’d like to achieve going forward?
This past week I just reached 405 lbs in my deadlift and I managed to get up to 315 lbs with my back squat earlier this year. Those are some good feels! Also I found taking part in the Spartan Race a few years ago with some Academy friends a great achievement. It's something I never imagined I would do. My Academy friends motivated me to take part, and I'm glad I pushed myself to do it.
Going forward I'd like to get back to solid pull ups (my shoulder mobility sucks), and also compete in a Lions League.
9. Please tell us something about you that we may not know?
I feel awfully exposed already. Take me out for drinks and maybe I'll say more.
10. What advice would you give to someone that just started with us?
Just show up to class, don't look at the WOD. Scale if you need to, but just get through the class.
Oh, and don't eat sausage before class. It'll haunt you.