1. What brought you to Empower?
In the immediate sense, a trusted friend (gym name: Quicksilver) recommended CrossFit Empower to me. It was an excellent recommendation!
But, speaking more broadly: when I turned 40, I resolved to get serious about taking better care of myself physically. My 30’s were dominated by childbearing and baby/toddler wrangling. We had 3 kids in ~26 months (hello unexpected twins!). I was also busy getting tenure as a UBC professor. We enjoyed a lot of support from both sets of grandparents, but I also noticed how challenging it is to feel physically capable and comfortable in your 60’s and 70’s. And I intend to live that long! Preferably longer.
40-year-old-me’s resolution to get and stay in shape is the most successful resolution of my life. I didn’t discover CrossFit Empower until I was 3-4 years into this project, but it has been critical to my continued success as I approach the big 5-0.
2. What was your first impression? How has it changed?
At first, I was mostly concerned with schedule (plenty of times to work out), convenient location, and variety (didn’t need to complement with other activities). My life is very full, in a good way, both professionally and personally, which is great. But it means that I love to outsource specific domains to people that I trust. We’ve managed to do this with food, through grocery delivery & meal kits, and — for physical/mental wellness — to CrossFit Empower.
I think the CrossFit philosophy and, specifically, the way it is implemented by our coaches at Empower is great if you crave this sort of simplicity. When I am in town, I show up 3 out of every 4 days, which is the official recommendation, and I just do exactly as I am told. I love being able to trust in the process and in our coaches. It actually requires very little discipline, once you commit to the program.
I love this quote from Gretchen Rubin:
“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”
How has my impression of CrossFit Emopwer changed?
Many years in, I also appreciate the relationships I have with CFE coaches and athletes.
I’m not a professor any more and now work remotely as a software engineer, at my dream job. This means that our dog, Toby, is my only actual office mate! As an introvert, I’m quite happy to interact with colleagues via the internet. But it’s still satisfying to have regular contact, with familiar folks, at Empower. I like seeing the parents of my kids’ friends at the gym and running into my gym friends at the grocery store or on the sidelines at kids sports.
3. What was your First Bright spot? ( break through or proud accomplishment)
My first break through was getting a pull up. In my 40’s. After rehabbing a major shoulder injury. My CrossFit introduction actually served as rehab for my second complete, displaced collarbone fracture, with muscle damage, which happened playing Ultimate Frisbee. The first time CrossFit Empower had me hang from a bar, I almost cried and had to take a few days off to recover.
Getting a pull-up was a specific goal in my 20’s or 30’s and, honestly, I never really got there. I remember my trainer at the time had me doing lots of lat pull downs. A hallmark of CrossFit is that you get better at X by doing … X! Of course, this often requires some assistance or modification. And tears. For pull-ups, you can do negatives, you can use bands, you can do increasingly difficult ring rows, etc. But once the coaches see you do something once or make a major advance, they will NEVER let you go back!
I can now do kipping pull ups and, in very limited quantity, strict pull ups.
4. What are you working on now?
Lately, I feel like peri-menopause is stalking me and threatens to reverse various gains I’ve made. Honestly, it feels like I’m running faster just to stay in place.
Engine work was never my strong point and that is getting harder to maintain and improve. But strength seems to be less affected. I’m pretty encouraged that movements like the deadlift, front/back squat, and shoulder press continue to improve. I’m also still seeing improvements in areas where mobility and core strength are critical, like the overhead squat and handstands.
5. What is your favourite Empower memory?
It’s impossible to name just one favorite CrossFit Empower memory. Here are a few things that make me happy:
* Watching the coaches compete and suffer in the CrossFit Open
* “Event” workouts, like our annual 12 Days of Christmas absurdity
* Working out and hanging out with people older than me, younger than me, and who have
totally different jobs than me
* Welcoming new folks who “get” what’s going on at Empower
* Cheering on new and long-time companions as we all make progress on our goals