How did you first discover CrossFit?
I was encouraged to give it a try by my friend, Chef Paul who was doing it at the time and going crazy about it. When I visited Miami, I went over to CrossFit 911 with him and all I remembered was people doing handstands against the wall, climbing ropes and wondering what on earth was this madness. I was offered a free Saturday beginner class but I was too afraid to give it a try.
I returned back to Barbados, and decided to purchase a membership as a birthday gift to myself, and of course I got HOOKED!
Growing up in Barbados, can you tell us the main difference in culture between here and there?
Barbados is more laid back/chill and fun kinda vibe but I've grown up to work hard since 8 years old, cooking, cleaning, planting, look and clean up after our pets, wash and iron our school uniforms while attending school and Girl Guides on weekends - the essentials of life you'll need to do as you become an adult. My family and communities are very diverse, friendly and looked out for one another so it's not much of a difference besides being laid back but I believe my time in Barbados has prepared me to be here in Toronto, it's quite quick paced (everyone here walks soooo FAST!) and I love the diversity and communities. It has taken sometime to adjust to how fast things could be here in Toronto.
Before discovering the CrossFit culture, what was your main physical outlet?
If you have to learn how to walk, you must learn how to swim so swimming was something my mum encouraged me and my sister to do, after all we did live on an island. Other than that physical activity was always something we had no choice but to do as I started school; then I made it into a very athletic school, Springer Memorial Secondary; it was an all girls high school, winning Track & Field for 16 years competing with other high schools across Barbados. Unfortunately I wasn't part of this as I disliked running at the time but Physical Education was always part of our curriculum, and we did all kinds of activities, shot put, high jump, javelin, running, swimming and we had our own gym (that was my favourite area). Sports was everywhere and I grew into just training in a regular gym or I'd go running occasionally.
Could you tell us about some of the competitions you have attneded?
My very first competition was Thursday Throwdowns at CrossFit IslandFit, then 2014 CrossFit Open, I'll always remember that last workout, 14.5 with Thrusters and Burpees, I completed that one in 60 mins at 4:30 AM - That made me feel awful! Then it came again in 16.5, of course it brought back memories of how I felt but I didn't allow that feeling to overcome the present moment and beat my time at 25 mins! I finally got into it and enjoyed these competitions, although I was never much of a competitor but I got the hang of it, it's honestly YOU vs YOU, never compare yourself to anyone else.
My next competition was the Barbados IslandFit Games, my very first competition open to the public, held outdoors, I had so much nerves that I pee'd myself (It happens! haha.) but it was tons of fun: https://youtu.be/vA1YXDXn2yE
I got the hang of competing, first I got afraid and nervous, always in my head and watching others but myself. As years go by I've picked up meditation practice and become aware, kept on training and it has helped me be more mindful, present and zoned out from distractions in my competitions. My first Lions League was amazing placing, 4th with 3 amazing women, Nurit, Monique and Leann. Then it was time for the 2017 CrossFit Open, originally I had no plans doing this due to the lack of CrossFit I was doing as I was focused more on building strength and lifting but I was happy, this was a true test of the hard work.
To anyone who'd love to compete, don't let fear over come just move past it and do it. ;)
What led you to joining the Academy of Lions?
While living in Barbados, I did some research of CrossFit gyms across Toronto and I came across a beautiful looking Cafe and thought, a CrossFit gym with a cafe, this is pretty neat! I'd love to visit here sometime. After sometime I got heavily involved into CrossFit, it was time to get lifting shoes and INOV8 brought out the new 335 lifters, at the time my gym partner's aunt was travelling to Canada and came across Academy who was the only gym selling INOV8s, now I am here!
Eventually moved to Toronto and attended GoodLife gym to maintain my fitness while I shopped around for CrossFit gyms, they were all great until I came across Academy again and the one and only thing that struck me was the vibe of the gym, the community and everyone is just friendly and since I was hooked! :)
Are you mindful with your nutrition and lifestyle?
Yes, I don't follow any diet; however, I tend to choose wisely and eat whole foods like Caribbean ground foods like, cassava, sweet potatoes, Caribbean yams, eddos whenever I find them; as I've always been told from the older folks, these were foods that will make you strong and live long. Though I indulge in other foods but don't overdo. I love to cook, so find me in the kitchen! :)
Do you have any fitness goals set for the near future?
Oh yes! To join an Olympic Lifting team and always improve.
Could you please tell us interesting facts about you?
1. At birth, I was diagnosed with Diaphramatic Hernia which occurs while I was still developing in the womb. It's a rare defect which is an abnormal opening in the diaphragm; I was immediately rushed into emergency for surgery, after operation I spent 3 months + under doctors care, placed on a heart/lung bypass machine to help deliver enough oxygen to my body in Canada.
The diaphragm is a muscle between the chest and abdomen that helps you breathe. The opening allows part of the organs from the belly to move into the chest cavity near the lungs.
Each day, I am grateful to be alive and moving, there's no better way to spend it by taking care of my health through fitness.
2. Growing up, I was a wild child, call me tomboy if you must. I always hung out with my cousins and the boys, mechanics, into cars, rallying, late night car racing and car shows - fun times!
What are the top three things on your bucket list that you hope to achieve in this life?
1. Sky Diving
2. Volunteer at the CrossFit Games
3. Travel a lot especially to Bali & India
What advice would you give to a beginner at the Academy?
It's okay to feel afraid before your first class, your first competition, a new environment but never let that fear take over something that could become a great moment for you. Take it easy, one day at a time, don't beat yourself up but instead beat your last achievement in whatever you do, may it be a workout, skill and/or PR. Nothing good comes from frustration, learn, grow and always do your best.