Mary Sheppard has been a member at CFQS for just over a year, and has become a core part of the 7:30pm class crew, coming to the gym consistently 5 times a week. Mary’s commitment and thoughtfulness has paid off in her training, as she has seen meaningful progress toward her goals (most notably 4 strict pull-ups!).  Read below to learn more about what Mary’s current focus is with her fitness, how she balances her training with her home life, and what she tells herself before a particularly gruesome workout.

How do you like to rest and recover? I am really trying to work on the rest part - I struggle to get enough hours of sleep at night (I usually get 6-7) but it’s getting better. I have also learned the importance of stretching and mobility work so I try to fit that in daily. I usually take 2 days off of training a week (either Thursday or Saturday and always Sunday). I might head out for an easy run on my off days but the extra time is always spent with my boys - doing the fun stuff!

Do you consider your training or athletic performance when you are making food choices? Yes

What do you eat on a typical day? I have always been a healthy eater, especially as I got into my 30’s and 40’s. I usually start my day with eggs and oatmeal (unless I am enjoying a breakfast out!). Lunch consists of salads, protein (chicken, beef, eggs) or leftovers. Dinner is often whatever my awesome husband whips up (my favourite being steak, potatoes and Caesar salad all on the grill).

Have you changed the way you eat since you began CrossFit, If so, how? Yes and no. I do keep in mind that what I eat is going to have a direct impact on my training. I like to fuel my body with what’s going to feel good when I am doing 100 wall balls and what is going to help my body recover post workout. I have learned over the years that it is important to keep your diet in check (especially as you get older) BUT everything in moderation has become my philosophy. I will enjoy the ice cream with my kids or the beautiful pasta dish my husband has made me. Once I stopped depriving myself, it was much easier to adopt an eating lifestyle that worked for me. Live life.

How does training/CrossFit fit into your life? CrossFit has become part of our household - everyone knows that Mom leaves at 7:20 (or later…sorry Sean!) to “go to gym”. It’s become almost a daily routine and one that I don’t think I could live without. It is my one place, my sanctuary, where I can let go of the stresses from work, family, etc. and just focus on MYSELF. A true sanity saver.

What reasons did you have to train when you started CrossFit? Have those reasons changed? If so, how? I was looking to get back into more serious training after my second maternity leave. I was working out at home during that time, feeling bored and having zero fun. I knew I really needed to get my strength back after losing so much of it during my pregnancies and what I was doing was not enough. I initially started at CFQS because it was right up the street and I couldn't bear to go back to a regular gym. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was instantly hooked. I would say that while I am still here to work on my strength, there are so many other skills to add now. I also look forward to every single workout I attend. I've never loved my fitness journey more!

What improvements have you made in the past 6 months that you are most proud of? What are you working on now?  I have been trying to work on my pull up and gymnastics skills whenever I can squeeze extra work in. I am super proud that I can now do 4 strict pull ups (I have never been able to do one in my entire 41 years of living!) and I am close to mastering my toes to bar. I am also pleased that I can get to class at least 5 times per week! It’s the little things…

Gymnastics skills are still my main focus in my training. I am working on strengthening my kip swing and hope to have kipping pull ups and toes to bar figured out by the end of the year. 

What would you consider to be your greatest strength as an athlete? My greatest strength would definitely NOT be my strength (ha). I think I would have to say that I am consistent. I show up almost daily. I do the work. I like to push myself to keep up with the younger members (difficult somedays!). I know that I can get through any workout without quitting - no matter what. (I would never actually let myself quit!)

What is one thing that you do every day that you feel is essential in contributing to your success in the gym? I honestly think that just being a Mom pushes me to put my absolute best effort into every workout. It is a gift that I get to strengthen and train my body and I want to be the best role model for my sons. I want to them to grow up seeing their Mom strong, healthy and happy.

If you could give yourself one piece of advice when you started CrossFit, what would it be? Take it slow. Don’t be rushing to lift this, or master that - focus on your technique, slowly build your strength and it will all come together.

Do you have a favourite quotation or mantra related to training?  Hmmm…I am a sucker for any Rocky quotes. But “You’re gonna eat lighting and you’re gonna crap thunder” always sticks in my head prior to a big workout. Lol. Seriously though, just the word “PERSEVERE” is enough to get me through a tough day or workout.

Is there anything you would like to add? Thank you CFQS for being an awesome community and place to better yourself. I would like to add a special shout out to my 7:30 crew and Coach Sean. What an amazing group of people you are to make this old lady feel young and inspired every day!