Marathon to Muscleup
When I met Paul McIntyre at the Army Run Half Marathon four years ago, he asked me what gym I attended for my cross-training. I scoffed at the idea of going to a gym, and explained to him that as a serious marathon runner, all that I needed to do was run. He raised an eyebrow, and suggested that perhaps there was a better way to train. I ignored him, and kept running – up to 100 km/ week, in preparation for the Boston Marathon.
Several months later, during one of my typical long training runs, a dull ache in my right hip turned into a searing pain. I had to stop, and limp home. The diagnosis: a partial tear of my hip flexor/Glute medius. The reason: chronic overuse, and weak hips. The suggested remedy, according to my sports therapist: first, stop running for 6-8 weeks; next: begin cross-training, with special emphasis on developing strength in glutes, quads and hamstrings. I swallowed my pride and sent Paul an email to get started at the gym.
As a serious runner himself, Paul took the time to explain the fundamentals of Crossfit to me, from a runner’s perspective. We established my goals as: increased body strength, improved mobility, and more explosive strength in my legs and hips. Almost immediately, my running mechanics began to improve, and my injury repaired completely. At the same time, I felt stronger, and more fit than ever. After less than four months of doing Crossfit, I ran a PR at Boston – 6 minutes faster than my previous best. A few months later, I ran a PR in a 5km, and placed third in my age category.
The benefits of Crossfit to running are, in my view, undeniable and significant. Once a cynic about cross-training, I now consider Crossfit to be an essential part of my overall fitness strategy. When I walked into the gym less than a year ago as a ‘pure runner’, I couldn’t do a single pull-up. Now I can do many. By the end of 2015, my goals are to set a new PR at Boston – and get a muscle up. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, before joining the Colosseum, but now I do.
Received by email from Rob S. (Paramedic)
As a Paramedic, I truly appreciate the premise upon which CrossFit is built. Exercise through functional movement has developed my muscular strength and endurance and has done so through routines which represent many of my day to day activities. Safe, effective lifting instruction utilizing good form decreases the risk of injury and cardiovascular endurance training facilitates maintenance of good form and technique for extended periods. The beauty of the exercise regimen is that it works for everyone! (Not just Paramedics) I am very pleased with my physical gains and improvements attained through CrossFit. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an excellent, results oriented exercise program.
Received by email from Joseph Friedberg (Canadian Forces)
As you all know, or actually none of you probably know or care, but I never plug a particular cause. I just haven’t found something in this category that I believe in. HOWEVER, I have a good friend, who is incredibly qualified as a fitness instructor, and more importantly, as a CrossFit trainer. For those of you who don’t know what CrossFit is, you need to head on down to the CF Colosseum at Islington and Lakeshore, or leave a message here or message Paul McIntyre directly. For those of you who do know, you might know that I was away for several months this past summer on an Army training course. Before that 4 month course, I took a 2 week course, where Paul (RSM) was the lead instructor. What Paul did for me in 2 weeks was more effective for my general body image, and overall health than 4 months of intensive training. CrossFit is the SMART way to work out. I suggest you give it a shot.
Received by email from Rich M (Toronto Firefighter)
For me, until CrossFit there was no exercise program that truly encompassed all the tasks of being a firefighter. The CrossFit program is ideal for the quick reaction typical of most firefighter calls, with a variety of skills being utilized. The time I have spent with the CrossFit Colosseum staff has resulted in me being in the best shape of my life, and not just in one arena but many. These include cardiovascular, strength, flexibility, core strength, coordination and balance. The highly trained staff has helped me see the benefit of exercises I had long ago discounted from my workout regime. Some of these exercises I didn’t do out of ignorance and some out of fear of improper technique and style, notably many of the Olympic lifts. Their professionalism and experience has shown me how to do these core movements safely and effectively.
Since many of the workouts of the day (WODs) can be done with a minimum of equipment it makes them ideal for using while on shift, or away on vacation. Other programs out there can take too long and are often interrupted by emergency calls, with only a percentage of the benefit. The short, though highly intense, length of many of the CrossFit workouts makes it perfect for working out while on-duty. It prepares both the body’s cardiovascular and muscular system for the demands of firefighting. The staff at Colosseum has helped to tailor specific training plans for the equipment I have available, when not working out at their facility.
The fundamentals of the job are push and pulling efforts, heavy lifts and sustained effort. These seem to be the corner stone’s of the CrossFit program. The exercises have a near immediate effect not just on my strength, but also very much on my technique. This will help me to lift more for longer. This can only benefit me with letting me continue to do a job I love for many more years to come.
Received by email from Jen M (Banker and mother of 2)
I am so glad I found CrossFit Colosseum! I decided that it was time to get in shape but I needed some physiotherapy first. I have lucked out and found CrossFit Colosseum and Athletic therapy in the same place. It’s great. My trainer and therapist work together to make sure that everything to coordinated to my benefit. I have even had appointments with both of them working with me at the same time. I am on my way to Murphy! Thank you so much!
Received by email from Cameron Hodge (A Platoon Leader Humber Fire)
When I got accepted into the Pre-service Firefighter program at Humber I knew I needed to get in shape. We have to go through the same physical that any professional firefighter in the province would have to go through. My first months of CrossFitting were brutal, my ego was crushed daily and I felt like an idiot getting beat by a ball or a box. While that was going on I was getting stronger, faster and leaner than ever thought I could. Not only that but it was getting me used to hard work and high intensity. When it came time to do my physical I ended up finding it easier than some of the WODs that I had been through. I had more than enough functional strength for the carries and drags and my cardiovascular conditioning was well beyond what I needed to pass. In any of the practice drills we do in class I find myself prepared for whatever the demands are. Training specifically for strength or specifically for endurance leaves you weak in different areas. When your life, the lives of your team and the lives of the victims you are trying to save are all on the line I want to know that I’ll be ready to meet whatever the demands are and I feel like CrossFit has been getting me ready to do that.
Received by email from Michael (soldier preparing to deploy)
I Discovered CrossFit around the summer of 2005, after searching for fitness program to get me back into shape after a major surgery. After my first few WODs I was hooked and knew this was the program for me, even though my “Globo-gym” wasn’t adequate I still made progress. This progress increased when I built my own home gym, and began doing regular WODs. By early 2008 I had cast off my old unfit self and I was steadily holding my own, in workouts with my army unit during PT. At first people were skeptical, since I had never been known, as a “fit” person, but that skepticism soon vanished over time, as my numbers in various WODs kept going up. Soon people were coming to me for workout advice. Where regular infantry work would leave me gassed, I now find I have energy to spare. I have gone from being barely able to complete a 5km run, to setting a personal best 10km at 47mins. I went from barely being able to complete 1 pull-up in 2005, to setting a personal best 15 dead hang pull-ups last year. If it were not for CrossFit, I would not be training to deploy to Afghanistan at this moment. I owe what I am today to this program.
Received by email from Gord (Canadian Forces)
The Canadian Forces Close Protection program is made up of highly motivated and physically fit soldiers working together in small teams to provide security for VIPs in a high threat environment. The course is challenging and many don’t even complete the selection. Being at peak physical condition allows candidates to perform better and think clearer when in stressful situations compared to those who are just trying to keep up.
I was the PT Instructor for the most recent CP course and the PT program is largely based on CrossFit. Many of the candidates that were selected for the course had some experience with it and the rankings showed who was best prepared. CrossFit is the most effective program for developing fitness and the ability to take on any physical challenge. I trained for my selection and course through CrossFit and had no difficulty with the PT. While deployed to Afghanistan I coached the other team members the same way I trained and they all went home in the best condition of their lives.
I recommend that anyone trying to achieve new levels of fitness go to CrossFit Colosseum. The facility is set up with the right equipment and an incredible amount of open space. The staff can help you learn the techniques properly and safely so you don’t waste time or risk injury. Don’t underestimate the value of competitive training with other motivated people, I found this to be the key difference between average and exceptional progress.
Received from Patrick via Face Book msg (High school student)
I played football this past summer before starting the workouts and was physically having trouble playing the amount of time I did. After one month of CrossFit I noticed a big difference. I was able to play in 3 games this past fall where I didn’t leave the field and played the entire time afterwards feeling great.
Received from Jim, via email (Banker and father of 3)
When I first saw what CrossFit was all about, I honestly thought the workouts were insane. Being slightly north of 40, there was no way was I going to be able to keep up. I have known Paul for years and he assured me that the workouts would be adapted to my level and that eventually I would be able complete workouts like I had seen on the day of the open house. I trust Paul completely so I signed up.
Well, I am so glad I did. Though it has only been about 2 months, I am already seeing a huge difference in daily life. I am able to take the stairs quickly and not be out of breath and the best was this past hunting season. We have one run that requires you to start at the top of a steep incline. In past years the trek to the top would leave me winded and require a sit down type rest. This year, when I got to the top, I actually at to stop, look around and check the map to make sure I was in the right place. The trek was that easy I figured I must be in the wrong location.
Paul was right when he said the workouts can be scaled to your ability. I have found that even thought I am doing a heavily modified version of the workouts, no one talks down to you about it or makes any discouraging comments. In fact the opposite is true; everyone has been encouraging and supportive.
It has not been without a downside, and my knees have protested at doing the workouts, but that is where CrossFit Colosseum shines. Having direct access to Athletic Therapy means that pains and strains can be looked at right away and dealt with before they become motivation killers. In my case, my workouts have been adapted so that I can continue without slowing down recovery and strengthen to prevent future injury.
Received from Jae, via email
As a Police officer in training and a soldier, fitness is the key to survival for me and my team. Being fit is a very important part of my life. Fitness is also one of the key components of Close Protection operator training. Having had experience with CrossFit before the CP training, it helped me with all the physical requirements needed to become a CP Operator.
I have been doing CrossFit for about 3 years now. I am also CrossFit instructor. I worked out in a traditional manner before CrossFit but never seemed to get the result I always looked for. With CrossFit I see results every day, because of the way it is designed to constantly switch work-outs. It is also very high intensity which I believe is what makes all the difference.
CrossFit Colosseum is an ultimate facility to be working out in. It is well set up with anything you need when it comes to CrossFit (including puke buckets). Work out of the day (WOD) is set so I don’t have to think about what I should work on each day. I highly recommend this CrossFit Colosseum because it is also run by a very qualifying trainer like Paul McIntyre. He is always there to encourage and correct technique when you are working out.
Received from Iain (RCMP), via email
From standing at a collision scene, to running with a police dog handler, to kicking a door at a 911 call, police officers never know for certain what their shift will entail. That is why it is essential that officers be physically prepared to deal with all of these situations. I use CrossFit to develop the explosive power and functional strength needed for the physical tasks expected of me on shift.
Received from Benjamin Alarie Associate Professor University of Toronto Faculty of Law, via email
Hi Paul, Here is the testimonial I would like to share with you:
“CrossFit Colosseum provides a fast, friendly, and intense experience. You will see immediate benefits even if you’ve hit a wall at an ordinary gym with your ordinary routine. The gym’s workouts focus on the same fundamental movements that you see in gymnastics, Olympic lifting, and plyometrics (and beyond). However, the core elements combine in new ways in each workout (changed daily) so that instead of growing complacent you are consistently challenged to grow stronger, faster, and better. With its supportive social environment, spacious and well-equipped facility, and expert trainers, in my view there is no better place to do CrossFit in the GTA. My fitness improves weekly, and I am constantly challenged. I recommend it most highly and hope to see you there.”
Received anonymously , via email
From 2007 to present I have struggled with incurable illnesses that have required radioactive isotope therapy, multiple surgeries and daily medication. I quickly went from leading an active life to a life where I felt as though I could barely get out of bed. Each day was a struggle. My doctors matter-of-factly told me that this was how life would be and that there was not much that they could do to help me because the illnesses cause debilitating fatigue along with muscle pain and atrophy which can make everyday activities challenging or impossible. I refused to accept this as a fact. I had been a competitive swimmer from age 7 to 18 and loved the feeling that sports and training gave me and needed to get those feelings back in order to fight these illnesses.
In September of 2010 a friend told me about CrossFit as he thought that it would be something that would help me. I had never even heard of CrossFit, but knew that there was a CrossFit gym called Crossfit Colosseum nearby. I was intimidated by the CrossFit motto of “forging elite fitness”, so I never went into a Crossfit gym.
In October of 2010, after my friend had shown me countless CrossFit videos on YouTube I decided to go into CrossFit Colosseum. I remember walking in mid-afternoon and was immediately welcomed by Paul. Paul took the time to explain what CrossFit was and scheduled an intro session for the next day. The next day was the day that changed my life. Even though I could barely do a push-up from my knees and felt as though I was going to pass out Paul made me feel as though I had accomplished something, which was key to my returning.
From that day on I have continued to go to CrossFit Colosseum on a regular basis. I started out with 2 workouts a week and by December of 2010 was attending 5 to 6 sessions a week. This was something that I never thought was possible given what my doctors had told me. My energy levels have increased exponentially and my doctors are amazed at my progression.
Attending CrossFitt Colosseum has changed my life. I can’t simply say that CrossFit has changed my life because it’s the combination of theCrossFit training, Paul, and his staff that have had such a positive impact on my life. Every day I am thankful that I have the ability and opportunity to attend CrossFit Colosseum.
One of my favourite quotes is, “Be kind; for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” by Plato. Paul and his staff at CrossFit Colosseum truly do live up to this. Every one is welcomed with a smile and given individual attention while at the gym. Everyone’s accomplishments are celebrated; It doesn’t matter is you’re lifting 20 pounds or 200 pounds.
For my testimonial I prefer to remain anonymous because it doesn’t matter who I am, what matters is who you are and that you give yourself the opportunity to enrich your life with all that CrossFit Colosseum has to offer you. It’s not just a gym or a CrossFit box; it’s a community.