Dawn Garrison one of CFQS’s premier Master’s athletes. Dawn is an 8:30am class regular (weekdays and Saturdays!) who demonstrates impressive tenacity and patience in her training every day (especially with Double Unders!). Read below to learn about how Dawn got into CrossFit, how she has changed her diet to support her goals, and what she considers her greatest strength as an athlete.

How does training/CrossFit fit into your life? Functional fitness. Having horses at home means I'm being physical all day long ... lifting buckets, hauling hay, sweeping and raking .... deadlifts, sumo DLs, squats, running to close a forgotten gate. And July is everyone's favourite haying season, hauling and stacking 500 50lb bales of hay, usually in 30 degree temps. Riding requires a strong core and stability, and good cardio. I think CrossFit and riding complement each other perfectly!

CrossFit also gives me an opportunity to blow out any mind cobwebs. During a WOD you don't have a chance to focus on anything else that may be going on outside the gym, and I find that very therapeutic!

What reasons did you have to train when you started CrossFit? Have those reasons changed? If so, how? I started CrossFit to train for a tough mudder, looking for more intense training. While I never did get to the mudder, I became addicted to the intensity of training and want to remain healthy and fit into my golden master years.

What do you eat on a typical day? Meals are pretty consistent each day. Breakfast starts with orange juice, banana, toast with peanut butter with coffee before heading to the gym. After the workout, a protein shake, scrambled eggs with onions and peppers, and cottage cheese with fruit. Mid day is usually something leftover from the previous night's dinner, yogurt and mixed nuts. Dinner is mostly meat, vegetables and potatoes or rice. And some wine. 

Have you changed the way you eat since you began CrossFit, If so, how? I have always had a hard time eating first thing in the morning, but to have enough energy for the workout, I had to learn to eat a little bit at a time. I participated in the nutrition challenge this past summer, eating a prescribed amount of macronutrients per day. It took some time to adjust to the amount of food I needed to eat -- more than I was used to -- and to rejig my protein, carb and fat intake. Turns out it made a huge difference in my energy level, as well as body weight and body fat.

What improvements have you made in the past 6 months that you are most proud of? I have been following the prescribed gymnastics programming and was overall happy with the results I was able to record for the tracking exercise that was just completed. I can now use this as a baseline moving forward.

Double unders were not programmed into any rope I picked up- for well beyond 6 months of starting CrossFit.  When asked how often I practiced, the lightbulb went off: I wasn’t practicing. I started practicing 3-4 times a week, doing small sets until I was able to string more together.  While some days are better than others, I feel they are overall continuing to improve with regular practice.  I have my eye on the 100 club for next year.

Do you currently have a main focus or goal(s) with your training? I want to continue to build on my gymnastics strength, and work on form and technique in the barbell movements. Oh, and mobility, which is key for all of that.

What would you consider to be your greatest strength as an athlete? For me, consistency is key. Training is an automatic part of my day. Even days when you're not feeling 100%, showing up and doing your best for that day is still an overall benefit.

What is one thing that you do every day that you feel is essential in contributing to your success in the gym? I like to review the workout the night before. This gives me an opportunity to go over the movements, check back on my results and any notes I made from a previous workout, and think about a strategy and any scaling options I may wish to discuss with the coach beforehand.

If you could give yourself one piece of advice when you started CrossFit, what would it be? Trust the process. I started with no gymnastics background and limited barbell exposure, and I had never rowed or used an assault bike. Trying to keep all the movements straight was a challenge, and it was months before I was able to add weight to the bar. The dowel was my friend. Little by little progress was made in all areas ... and on a good day I might even be able to describe the foundational movements.

Do you have a favourite quotation or mantra related to training? "How bad do you want it". Having set goals for both my riding and training, when the going gets tough in a workout, I need to remind myself about this.

Is there anything you would like to add?  Happy to have found CFQS! A great place to put in time.