Stories From Catalyst – June 2011

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Judy was nervous.

On this, her fourth night of OnRamp, her Coach would be teaching the Deadlift. She'd seen the commercials: the dumb, Austrian-accented brute who "picks things up and puts them down." Her womens' fitness magazine had featured deadlifts just last month…but didn't recommend weights higher than ten pounds to "firm and lift" her glutes. Worst of all, her old "personal trainer" wouldn't teach her how to deadlift, because she said Judy had a "weak back."

On the other hand, Judy trusted Coach Mitch. Right from the first night, when he talked about teaching Skill and then building Capacity, he made a lot of sense. And then, when the other Coach – Coop? – made all those crazy drawings about levers and torque, with chalk, right on the gym floor…well, it sure sounded like they knew what they were talking about.

With trepidation, she rehearsed the move with plastic pipe. It felt fine; she was able to feel her hamstrings stretch in just the way her Coach told her was ideal. Not everyone got it right away, but Judy did, and that made her feel good. 

And so, when it was her turn to lift the bar from the ground, she thought, "I'll just try it." Someone repeated the "Pick things up and put them down," joke, and the rest of the group laughed nervously. "I'll walk you through it," the Coach said, and he did – step by step, until Judy stood with the bar at her waist. It felt……pretty easy. Those big plates weren't as heavy as they'd looked.

By the end of OnRamp, Judy was picking up a hundred pounds from the ground…and felt powerful. She wondered at the woman in her group who could do it with 225lbs…and wondered when SHE, Judy, could do it, too. Maybe she could take OnRamp again – she knew it was 50% off for returnees – but first, she thought, she'd better improve her running. She'd run before – okay, jogged – but had never known that there was a better way…or even another way, really. 

Some nights, while OnRamp had her sweating in the gym, she'd look outside and see the Beginner Running Group. The first week, they'd all looked like beginners; they just pawed the ground and followed the Coach, Mike, around the parking lot. Not even a lot of running, really…not at first.

Sam was in that group. He heard a similar speech from Coach Mike: about building a Skill first, and then developing capacity. That first night, with little actual 'running,' Sam had wondered how effective the group could possibly be. He'd gone from a decent 5k time the week before (just under 30 minutes!) to one of the slowest in the group as he tried to figure out this POSE stuff. The homework on the EnduroWOD site didn't seem challenging….and, curiously, didn't have much actual running. How could he build up his endurance, Sam wondered, without doing more and more running every week? He figured it must have something to do with the 'capacity' stuff that Mike was talking about, and he sure seemed like he knew what he was doing….

Five weeks later, Sam ran a 5k in under 23 minutes. To say that he was surprised would be an understatement: his running goal for 2011 had already been surpassed by a MILE! What next, he wondered – shoot for the 22-minute mark, or start working on all the other stuff that he could improve?

Sam definitely liked the steep learning curve at Catalyst: there's always something to improve, and that definitely kept him interested. He knew his Olympic lifting could use some work, and he'd been considering the Green Army Competition Group for awhile; meanwhile, his kids were loving the Jiu-Jitsu program, and regularly beating him up at home. Decisions, decisions….maybe Personal Training first, to start getting ready for Catalyst Games 2011?

Sam knew that his wife, Barbie, wanted to do Personal Training with a partner…just not him, thanks. She'd already signed up for some half-hour sessions with Melanie, the 'new girl' who Coaches the Friday noon group at downtown Catalyst. Barbie loves her. She'll be cheering for Melanie from afar next weekend at CrossFit Games Regionals….but she'll also have to focus on her own preparation, since the Mountain Maple 2011 runs Sunday morning. Barbie knows she'll be making a mad dash from the finish line of her first 10k run to her Blackberry to follow Mel and the rest of the Green Army Team – Whit, Cam, Cindy, Charity, Deb, Chris, Jason, and Glen at Regionals!  

Barbie already knows what her next event will be: a duathlon. She knows when, and where, and how she'll prepare: Mike's Enduro Duathlon/Triathlon training group. A year ago, she'd never have dreamed that she could do it. Now, she's got a registration number and everything. Too bad she couldn't talk her buddies into the Du, but they've got other goals in sight: the Midnight 5k, to raise money for the Relay for Life Team, and then the Green Army Competition Group. 

Roy is more worried about keeping up with his kids: they play soccer. They play hockey. And now, they're into this Catalyst Kids thing…after they met Coach Tyler at an Ignite! session in their school gym, they just can't get enough. Yes, it's great that they love exercise. Yes, they're getting noticeably better at Math. But all this shuttling around is getting crazy. He's gotta try CrossFit, he thinks, because he can do the group at 7pm, while the young 'uns are doing the Kids group at the same time. It's the only way.

When Ty brought the Ignite! program to his school, Sylvain watched from the corner. How, he wondered, did he keep the rapt attention of 50 kids at once? How did he get the kids to squat; balance; run….and then, to do math, and ask for more? Sylvain's got a high standard to maintain, he knows. How's he going to keep such a good thing going? But he knew he had to try this Ignite! thing in his own classroom; the students were attentive, focused, and eager. Where was that link to get Certified to teach Ignite! again? 

There's a lot going on this summer. Please don't miss the opportunity to get closer to being the person you've always wanted to be, help the people you've wanted to help, and do the stuff you've always wanted to do – wear that thing, lift that thing, or run that thing. Call if we can help: 705-256-1344, or email .


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These are all stories from the Industrial Park gym this month; there are many more. The Catalyst community never fails to impress, surprise, and improve. Rather than a boring outline of programs, I thought I'd do one of my favourite things: share stories of Catalyst Family members who are doing amazing things. There are always new programs being added, by demand, that don't make it to the newsletter – keep checking! Hope to see you at Mountain Maple, Relay for Life, and the Midnight 5k!




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