If you have ever had the opportunity to train with, be coached by, or just hang out with Kristine, you would know her to have unparalleled patience, impressive wisdom, and contagious positivity. Kristine have been doing CrossFit for over 4 years, and has been training consistently at CFQS for the past 2. She has generously shared with us some of her thoughts about the gym and how it has changed, her approach to her own training, and how she has grown as a person and continues to grow.

How has the gym changed in the time you have been here?

Literally every way possible. Brick and mortar (the most obvious), community, and culture!

At my first ever drop in, the lounge didn't really exist as a lounge, the rig was in the middle of the main room floor and the walls were still paint-chipped blue. Fast forward to ~1 year later where the whole gym got a facelift, rig relocated, fresh paint, new mural, new equipment. Fast forward to now, with our move from the church to Blockbuster! 

Queen Street's community is probably one of the most dynamic group of members any facility will see. With the constant influx of students and military personnel as well as anyone returning or choosing to make Kingston their home, we see so much turnover, and have the opportunity to meet so many incredible people! (which also means we have to say goodbye to a lot of incredible people too, but I digress).

The culture is one of the subtler, but certainly still important, changes that I see in the gym. Having the opportunity to be a part of coaching staff, it was satisfying and humbling to see all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making our gym a more welcoming space. Even some of the smallest adjustments have large scale impacts on the class culture and the more we improve, the more we can understand our capacity for exponential growth. 

What has NOT changed is how incredible and welcoming this place is and how much it feels like home. When I started at the gym the first time around, Mike Onesi remembered me as "the girl from Port Dover", because we ran together during warmup for my one day drop-in almost 2 months prior. After my 6-month hiatus, I came back to 7:30pm being welcomed by Sean as if I was only gone for a long weekend, was happily greeted by Taylor and Riley and joined in on their squat rack like I never left. There is no doubt that once you are a member of CFQS, you are ALWAYS a member of CFQS. And that’s pretty cool if you ask me.

How would you characterize your growth as an athlete since joining the gym?

 Like, at the beginning of Captain America when he goes into that machine and turns into a super soldier? Kind of like that, except over the course of 2 years and without the real super powers. 

When I first started CrossFit (5+ years ago?) I needed something to do when I stopped dance. I was very hesitant when my mom suggested we start together (have you ever heard of rhabdo, Jen?) but SO glad I did. Being from a small town I didn't get much exposure to the real CrossFit world until joining Queen Street. (In case you guys haven't noticed there are some FIT AF people around here). Not only was I inspired by the athletes I was surrounded by, but I have received nothing but encouragement from coaching staff, who always support me when I’m trying things I never thought I could possibly do. (And that’s how I did my first kipping pull-up – shout-out to Matt Lam). 

After experiencing what it feels like to train heavy and hard for 5ish days a week and reap the rewards, my next (and current) venture is/was training my mindset. I used to always think "I will never be able to do that" whereas now my thought process has become "what is stopping me from doing that?" or "what needs to be done to accomplish (x)?" 

I have seen nothing but improvement since joining the gym; somedays it’s a PR, and others it is just a positive take-away, even when it feels like the crappiest workout of my life. (mindset PR??)

What does a day-in-the life look like for you these days? 

Constantly varied has been the theme of this summer. My work schedule has rudely disrupted my training schedule (adult problems) so I no longer am a 6:30am regular (sad) but instead I make it out to the gym when my body tells me it is ready to go. Unfortunately, a day-in-the-life of Kristine (summer '19) is quite underwhelming, I wake up and either head straight to the gym or straight to work. My typical shifts are either 9-430, 12-10, or 4-11 (ish). These start times, and how many consecutive days I have been working, will dictate if and when I work-out. Most days I do: gym, eat, work, and sleep. On my days off you will often find me eating extra to make up for lost meals through the week, reading, or enjoying the outdoors when I can.

What do you eat on a typical day? What are your nutrition priorities? 

Again, because summer has been a bit of a hectic time for me my nutrition is drastically varied from what it was when I was in school (and also from what I would prefer it to be).
My "typical" day (6:30am gym):
-Wake-up and have something very light before the gym (grapes, banana, few apple slices)
-Post-gym I always have a protein shake of some description; lately it has been chocolate protein with "vegegreens" and fibre supplement all mixed with water
-Breakfast is almost exclusively eggs and whatever else I have to go with them. Usually feta and spinach mixed in and with bacon on the side. A new one has been egg fried rice with corn, black beans, salsa and shredded cheese (this is heavenly by the way).
After breakfast all hell breaks loose depending on when I work. Sometimes I won't get a chance to eat again until 5pm at which point I have both "lunch" and "dinner" within a span of about 2-3 hours, or just one giant meal. Other times I will crush breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all before 4pm and I will be so exhausted when I come home from work I usually won't eat again.
-Lunch: a big salad with looooadddss of toppings (peppers, cukes, apples, cheese, nuts, dried fruit) and usually canned tuna on the side 
-Dinner: Ideally anything that is a protein, starch and vegetables. Sometimes I end up eating what I had for breakfast twice, other times I will actually have chicken, sweet potatoes and veggies ready to go if I am really on top of my game. 

Overall my nutrition priority is "eat enough and of good enough quality to sustain training". I am a high-volume person so I eat high volumes of food. Protein is a non-negotiable at every meal because I know it will help with satiety and I know it will aid my recovery and help me hit the gym as often as I would like to. Veggies is next in line. Beyond that I just make sure I eat what I need to make it through a shift at work. It's not perfect, but it serves its purpose.

What improvements have you made in the past 6 months that you are most proud of?  

My greatest improvements over the last 6 months have been my mindset improvements. My gym routine has been a little wonky since school finished and adjusting to a constantly changing schedule the last 4 months, but both of these things have contributed to my "brain gains" inside and outside of the gym. I have been both more disciplined and more accepting, even though the two don't seem as though they would exist symbiotically. I have been more disciplined as to how I am approaching workouts. Because there will be periods where I cannot make it in as many sessions/week as I would like, I owe it to myself to make my time in the gym worth every minute. When it's time to push, I am ready to push and I am more present in some of the harder workouts with a real strategy, as opposed to doing whatever I need to do to make it to the end. On the other hand, I am more accepting of the times that I need to scale weights, reps, or movements because sometimes (i.e., most of the time) a workout is just a workout and just showing up is a win in and of itself. This has helped tremendously in workouts because there used to be a time (not long ago) that I would get so anxious during workouts when I felt like I was falling behind and I would start to hyperventilate. Now imagine that, coupled with lack of oxygen due to physical exhaustion and it ended up being a real recipe for disaster. Thankfully, I have re-evaluated my training goals and it has allowed me to enjoy my workouts, instead of fearing them, and it has actually improved my long-term performance. Funny how these things work.

What would you consider to be your greatest strength as an athlete? 

I believe my greatest strength as an athlete is my body awareness. Growing up in competitive dance I may be lacking sport-specific athleticism (best if you don't pick me for your dodgeball team) but I am extremely conscious of what my body is doing at all times, and this makes it significantly easier to receive and utilize feedback given when performing specific movements, especially weightlifting - my faveyy :)))).

What are your current training goals? What are your current life goals? 

I always thought I was training to be a competitive athlete, but when it has been 3 years since my one (and only) CF comp and I am not on the market for any in the near future it became obvious that was not my training priority. That is not to say I would never compete, but I am happy where I currently am, which is working out to stay healthy, and to see performance improvements inside the gym.

My current life goals are to figure my life out (does that count?). Only kind of kidding. Although I do not have any immediate, concrete plans for the foreseeable future, I know that I will be returning to school in the near future to get closer to working a job that allows me help elevate others in any/every possible way. (I meant that to be as vague as possible because I have no idea what I am doing with my life and that at least gives me a little leeway).

Do you have a particularly memorable or challenging workout to share?

My (1st) FAVOURITE workout memory was 19.4. I performed it on the Thursday evening with the rest of the open throw down crew and the energy in the gym was electric. I had the craziest nervous/excited butterflies, and I have never felt Fran lung like I did during that workout (not even after doing Fran if you can believe it). With Storm's pointers and the cheering from everyone watching I was able to do 4 bar muscle ups which was a huge accomplishment, only ever having done 1 in my life before this workout. Also, sharing the floor with a handful of other impressive athletes was so rewarding and I could look back at that workout knowing I gave it everything I had. 

My most memorable workout moment was last December (17th to be specific if you would like to reminisce as well). This workout was so challenging, mentally and physically and as much as I wanted to vomit, cry, and/or give up I pushed myself to finish, as well as everyone else in the class as I was last man standing. The reason why this workout was so memorable to me was because after I was done and everyone had cleaned up, Heather Morris (I hope she doesn't mind me shouting her out) came up to me and gave me the biggest mom hug and said "you made me want be the last to finish every time". We went on to talk about the feeling of having all of the eyes in the room on you and how it is intimidating when you're the one still working out, but it is so rewarding and humbling to be able to watch and cheer on someone else and understanding that it is entirely judgement free. Regardless of whether you are a coach or an athlete, there is always someone who is watching what you are doing, learning and growing from your successes and failures. Sometimes the days where we feel the most defeated are the days where we gain the most.

How do you see CrossFit fitting into your life long term (beyond CrossFit Queen Street)?

I am very passionate about health, fitness, and wellness. Since starting CrossFit over 5 years ago I have only grown to love it more as well as the community and culture surrounding it. Yes, I will continue to train this way for as long as I can sustain it; the nature of CrossFit feeds into my competitive side, my social life, and my thirst for knowledge and growth. 
Beyond the training aspect of CrossFit, however, there is personal growth to be addressed, something which every coach here at Queen Street has been strategically implementing. The ideas of taking ownership over your own actions, living complaint free, surrounding yourself with people who want the best for you and fuelling your body properly because you deserve it are all components of a physically and psychologically healthy life, and are concepts that can be adapted to anyone, whether they participate in CrossFit or not.

Is there anything you would like to add?

CFQS is my home away from home. It has not only made me a better athlete, but a better person. Every single person I cross paths with in the gym has impacted my life in so many ways, even though somedays it just looks like a fist bump or a "good job" after class. Thank you to EVERY PERSON in this gym for being such good, pure, hard-working people. Keep being awesome Queen Street.