Over the next little bit, we are going to sharing some insight from athletes at the gym who have been training with us for a while, and who put in quite a bit of work to develop their fitness that you may not see at the gym. Today is Gage’s two year anniversary as a member at CrossFit Queen Street! Below are some answers he gave us on topics of rest & recovery, food, training goals, and mindset.
How do you like to rest and recover? I try to take my down time very 'down'. If I'm not at work or at the gym (which is rare), I'm probably trying to relax at home on the couch, as passively as possible. I try to keep my stress level as low as I can, and keep my sleep level as high as I can. I sleep 8-9 hours a week night, more on weekends.
What do you eat on a typical day? My minimum consumption is 27 Zone Blocks a day (three six block meals and three three block snacks). From there I eat to satiation if I feel I need the extra help recovering. Though I follow the zone closely about 90% of the time, I don't shy away from the opportunity to enjoy some food with friends. Due to the size of my frame, I'm destined to be an athlete on the larger side of the Crossfit spectrum and I don't see any reason to shy away from that.
Have you changed the way you eat since you began CrossFit, If so, how? Yes, very much so. Before starting Crossfit, and even during the first few months of doing Crossfit, I didn't really have any concept of the amount I was eating. I ate generally foods that we consider to be healthy (lots of meat and vegetables, that hasn't changed) with no real regard for the size of my meals. I would often eat portion sizes the same size as Posy's, despite being about 50lbs bigger. Taking a more deliberate approach to nutrition and eating a consistent amount has been great for my performance overall.
How does training/CrossFit fit into your life? I have a very active job, in the fitness industry. This is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it allows me many opportunities for fitness and learning in my day to day life. On the other hand, it takes up a significant amount of my recovery resources that I would often rather spend at Queen Street. With that said, I am often able to train a bit at work. I typically take an easy day on Thursday, and full rest on Sunday. On all other days I train deliberately or am vigorously active 2-4 times a day.
What reasons did you have to train when you started CrossFit? Have those reasons changed? If so, how? When I started CrossFit last year I already had quite an advanced 'training age', having first started training in October of 2007. I started CrossFit to fill a gap in my life, training the way I was before had become very unsatisfying for me. I saw in CrossFit a well-rounded, holistic and generalized approach to fitness that was filled with different modalities for me to continuously improve in. I've always been a gym rat, and I like to be working. CrossFit really scratches that itch for me, as I always have something to be working on. I don't think that reason will every change. Life is too short for me to narrow my fitness to one domain and not try to be good at everything.
What improvements have you made in the past 6 months that you are most proud of? By far the improvement I am most proud is my swimming. I have gone from being a complete non-swimmer to a very competent swimmer, through lots of hard work. For the past several months, I spent between 6-10 hours a week in the water. It has been at times incredibly frustrating, but has largely been very rewarding as well.
Do you currently have a main focus or goal(s) with your training? At the moment I've very focused on increasing the single modality aspects of my training. I'm spending a lot of time refining and sharpening my gymnastics movements, training with the Queen Street Barbell Club three times a week, and spending a lot of hours running, rowing and biking, and keeping in a few classic Crossfit style workouts as well. I'm trying to broaden my base level of fitness and improve in all areas right now. In the long term, my goal is to perform well by my own metrics. I don't particularly enjoy competing, and I'm not very motivated by being a competitor. I try to have my own ideas of the kind of fitness I want to achieve and not stray too far from that path. I would not be upset if that were to lead to any kind of competitive success, but it's not my focus.
What would you consider to be your greatest strength as an athlete? I often self depreciatingly joke about my own fitness level, but if I were to give an honest answer to this question I would have to say that I really believe my greatest strength as an athlete is in my critical thinking. I would attribute any amount of fitness I have to my ability to wrap my head around training and focus on what I believe to be the right things.
What is one thing that you do every day that you feel is essential in contributing to your success in the gym? Posy and I have a very consistent morning and evening routine. I typically wake up around 4:45-5:15 in the morning and leave for work around 6:30. I often don't return from training at Queen Street until around 6 or 7pm. Having a consistent morning and evening routine and being prepared is the only thing that really keeps me going during these long days of work and training.
Do you have a favourite quotation or mantra related to training? "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." - Abraham Lincoln
I believe that the best way to excel at a task is to be exceeding well prepared for it. For me, this relates to CrossFit very simply and directly. We should always be seeking to sharpen our movements, develop our raw capacities and demonstrate virtuosity.