Morgan Sutherland has been with CrossFit Queen Street since before CrossFit Queen Street, during the CrossFit Tricolour days. For those of you who have had the pleasure of training with Morgan, you know that she attacks her training with impressive focus and effort, all while bringing the laughs and positivity. Morgan will be leaving us soon for bigger and better things, and the gym will truly not be the same without her (and her huge lifts!). She has kindly shared with us some insights into her growth, her current training and nutrition goals, and some memories of the gym in years past.
How long have you been at CrossFit Queen Street?
Forever and ever. There are two sections of my life: life before CFQS and life after.
But in actuality, it’s been 4 years at CFQS and one school term with CrossFit Tricolour.
How has the gym changed in the time you have been here?
In A LOT of ways! From removing the stage to taking down the walls of the old storage room, I have been here for it all. However, the one thing that hasn’t changed is my connection with the community. Yes, members have come and gone over the years, but the welcoming and peaceful feeling I have when I’m inside the gym has not changed. Callum and Storm have done an absolutely amazing job at fostering an environment that focuses on inclusivity. I know that they work very hard at improving systems at the gym in order to enhance the CFQS experience and it shows. I cannot wait to see what other amazing things those two will do in the future.
How would you characterize your growth as an athlete since joining the gym?
I have been training at CFQS since I was 19 (I’m 23 now) and A LOT has changed. I’ve gone through the ever so terrifying transformation from a teenager to an adult and as cliché as it sounds, CFQS has made me the person I am today. I think the most prominent change has been my self-confidence and how I view myself. When I was younger all my peers looked different than me and I always felt out of place. I just wanted to fit in, which meant trying to look like everyone else and the one thing I could really control was my body. So, I did everything I could, and I succeeded in my goal. A solid 150lbs by the end of high school and finally all my clothes fit the same way they did my friends. However, as one could imagine, that wasn’t exactly sustainable. The next few years were a rollercoaster ride of being happy with how I looked and absolutely hating it. It took me a very long time to switch my focus from what my body looks like to what my body can do. I would be doing myself a major disservice if that only thing that defined me was a number. I have learned to value myself on the accomplishments I make in the gym rather than in the changing room.
What does a day-in-the life look like for you these days?
Busy! It really depends on the day because I have day-specific engagements each week, but here is the usual outline.
7-8:30am: Wake up, eat, attempt to detangle my hair and get dressed
8:30-12:30pm: Do school work or go to study appointments (OR force Max to FaceTime me)
12:30pm-2pm: Lift with Hannah!!!!!
Until 5pm: Finish whatever school work I need to do or study appointments or meetings, then shower, eat and get changed
5:30-9:30pm: Complete my shift at the gym
Until 10:30-11pm: Read a book and/or watch YouTube until I fall asleep
What do you eat on a typical day? What are your nutrition priorities?
Lately my meals have not followed the normal breakfast, lunch and dinner guidelines – I’ve been eating solely based on what macros I need.
Breakfast: Chicken, some sort of vegetable (usually Brussel Sprouts, because well they’re fire), and oatmeal
Pre-Workout: Whatever quick carbs I can get, usually oatmeal… again lol.
During Workout: Protein Shake
Lunch-ish: Chicken, same veggies, and a big ol bowl of rice
Dinner: Chicken, veggies, and rice or oatmeal depending how many more carbs I have
Right before bed: Nut-Free Peanut Butter (it is as sad as it sounds)
In terms of nutrition priorities, all I want is to find a meal breakdown that works for me. Nutrition and I have quite the tumultuous relationship. Because of that I am very careful about how I approach food. I often become very goal-focused and there have been times in the past where my need to monitor what I eat has reached obsessive levels.
What improvements have you made in the past 6 months that you are most proud of?
I have completely changed my training focus as I finally have clear-cut goals again. Last year I did not really have a set direction. I was just working out because it was a part of my routine. I no longer just show up to the gym for the sake of it; I have a prescribed workout with specific things I wish to achieve. May it be hitting a certain number, executing a lifting cue or practicing a growth mindset. This change did not come easily or quickly, but I think I am finally figuring it out.
I want to thank Coach Lorenzo for helping me realize what my goals are and giving me the structure, support, and discipline to go after them.
What would you consider to be your greatest strength as an athlete?
I really struggled with this question because I found it strange having to think of something great about me as an athlete. I guess I would say that I’m very persistent; if I want something I am going to do everything in my power to get it. This often taps into my competitive nature, but I have found it is rarely projected onto others. Yes, there are times when being competing with others is warranted (ie. when I play soccer), but when it comes to attacking a workout I usually have an independent goal in mind that I have to achieve. I do expect a lot from myself and sometimes I get down on myself when I don’t meet my own standards. That’s still something I need to work on.
What are your current training goals? What are your current life goals?
My automatic answer was to say “Get STRONG AS HELL” but my goals are so much more than that. I do want to get strong and I do want to be able to compete, but I really want to find a balance between being an athlete and being a person. As I had mentioned earlier, I tend to function at extremes; either I am completely engulfed by something or I do not care. I really need to work on finding a healthy equilibrium between being a committed athlete and a 23-year-old that just wants to graduate from her Master’s. I think I am very lucky to date a person who forces me to take a break and to not be so hard on myself. Shout-out to Maximiliaan for keeping me sane this past year – I could not do this without him.
Do you have a particularly memorable or challenging workout to share?
Oh wow, there have been so many challenging/memorable training sessions. I know you asked for one, BUT HEY, I’m a giver – so here’s two:
The first one was about 3 years ago, and I was taking one of Coach Cal’s classes. The main portion of the workout was to work up to a heavy deadlift and I was a little hesitant because I had never tested my deadlift. So, I went ahead and tried. By the end of the class I had gotten up to 305lbs. I could not believe it - since when was I strong? I had only ever known myself as a soccer player and once I stopped that, I did not see myself being relatively good at anything again. This moment reminded that maybe I could excel at something and be competitive again! After that, all I wanted to do was get better at CrossFit and make it onto the coveted “Competition Team”. I knew that there was a VERY SLIM chance that it would happen, but why not shoot for the stars?
The next workout was a partner WOD the school year after the deadlift revelation. One of the current Comp Team members Bonnie, who I thought was the coolest person ever, asked to be my partner. ME! Safe to say, my mind was blown. The rowing calories were different for the Comp Team and I was nervous that I would not be able to keep up, but somehow, I managed. I remember finishing the workout and just thinking, “Wow, I actually did it”. Once again, I found myself reaching a goal that I had doubted I could ever make.
The common denominator in both these workouts was that there was someone who believed in my ability and pushed me to see it in myself.
How do you see CrossFit fitting into your life long term (beyond CrossFit Queen Street)?
CrossFit will always be a facet of my life. Although it may not be at the intensity that it once was, I cannot see myself completely going without it. As if, I am going to go the rest of my life without crushing DT once in a while.
Is there anything you would like to add?
As my time here in Kingston is nearing to a close, I find myself getting nervous about what I’m going to do when I’m gone. CFQS has been my second home for so long and has played such a pivotal role in shaping the person I have become. I have had a lot to reminisce about, but the one thing that I want to get across is how truly thankful I am for CFQS.
Thank you to all the athletes and coaches I have met during my time at CFQS. Every “Hello”, smile, words of encouragement during a tough workout, and friendship has meant so much to me. You have all left a lasting imprint on my life.
I would not trade my time at CFQS for anything.