Hi, my name is Steve Welsh and I joined CrossFit Pickering back in the summer of 2019.  I guess you could say I wasn’t entirely new to Crossfit at this time.  Two years prior, I had joined a workout environment that, I suppose, was the beginning of my wellness journey, and though I did find myself getting fitter and feeling better about my health, it also came with injuries and a realization that my own personal fitness goals were being decided entirely by a single coach; eventually it left me frustrated as I couldn’t figure out where my health and well-being fit into a philosophy of “don’t ever put the weights down!”  By the early winter of 2019, I was ready to give up and go back to my daily grind: eat, work, lie on the couch, snack, sleep, repeat.  But thankfully, there was one more gym I had stumbled into once that made me reconsider. 

See, the first time I stepped into CFP was not in 2019; it was coincidentally in the fall of 2018.  I knew an existing member there and was told that they were going to be doing some sort of workout that had a woman’s name as its title (at the time I didn’t know any of the terminology).  So, I looked it up online and with a curious interest to test my fitness I decided, why not.  

From the moment I stepped in the door, everything was different from what I was used to.  The coaches were welcoming, informative and knowledgeable: they explained the warmup, strength portion and workout in detail, they modelled movements; more importantly, they took notice, politely correcting improper positioning yet also celebrating people’s successes.  And a couple of athletes who I didn’t know, immediately took me under their wing.  Through what felt like utter exhaustion toward the end of this workout, I remember hearing, “you got this” or “three left, you can do this!” and a lot of strange fistbumping and words of congratulations after it was all over.  I was not accustomed to any of this, at all, and though I knew it was immediately growing on me, I’m that kind of guy that needs to dip his foot into the pool two or three times before jumping in, regardless of what the temperature is. So after one or two more single visits over the next several months, and all-the-while growing less-amused at the drill-sergeant approach to my current gym, I made the move to CFP and have never looked back.

And what does continue to keep me coming back is the community feel itself.  Ego and crossfit don’t seem to mix well, at least not at CFP; sure, I’m there to ultimately feel better about my fitness and health, but I also now understand why this program works for me: we are all progressing together and everyone else’s successes are just as important as mine.  Being able to see others around you working as hard as they can to complete a chipper or finish under a time cap, is weirdly motivating. 

For anyone who is thinking about starting, I can only say this.  In 2017, I was convinced my lack of energy came from work, raising a 6 and 8 year old, while trying to fit in all the endless normal things that parents do.  I was tired a lot and had probably worn a deep napping-groove into my couch.  Crossfit gave me my life back: I eat better, sleep better, and I became more optimistic when looking 10 years down the road (I’m also fairly sarcastic so please don’t confuse that with pessimism); life essentially became more manageable and enjoyable.  

Like anything, starting Crossfit is challenging, but believe me, you will want to stick with it: the coaches, the people you meet and workout with, and the personal changes it brings to your life will keep you wanting to come back.  Sure, I still probably watch too much tv content depending on what’s streaming, and don’t even think about contacting me on Sundays during NFL season unless you are coming over to watch, but CFP is what I honestly look forward to the most when the workday ends. 

By the way, in case anyone wants to know, my favourite workouts are chippers: if you like to make lists and get a sick sense of satisfaction when crossing off each item you complete, then these are the workouts for you!

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