Rachael moved to Kingston from Victoria at the end of last summer where she had been doing CrossFit for a few years at CrossFit Taranis. Rachael immediately brought a great joy and positive attitude to the CFQS community, sharing her smiles and dance moves regularly with the 10am or noon class. While she knows how to have fun, Rach works hard and takes her training and recovery seriously. She makes sure to eat to support her athletic performance, and she sleeps over 8 hours a night. Read more to learn how Rachael gets through tough workouts, and how she fuels herself on a 100% plat-based diet!

How do you like to rest and recover? I try to remember to do some mobility work (like Crossover Symmetry) or other shoulder prehab on off days. I started playing beach volleyball this summer with some CFQS members - so that is a fun active recovery activity! I have also been into getting some more rowing/running/biking in the routine of active recovery days, something with a steady pace (nothing too crazy) to keep the body moving at a low intensity. This all being said, sometimes I have a hard time taking a rest day because the workouts can look really fun. I try to avoid the temptation to skip rest days because if I don't listen to my body at the end of the day I can feel like trash. This sets me back for my other training days, which isn't worth it! Ideally, rest and recovery days would include a big hike or paddle boarding during the summer - If anyone needs a hiking partner give me a message!

Have you changed the way you eat since you began CrossFit, If so, how? Yes, I think my eating has changed in a thousand different ways! First I just ate what my parents made me when I was living at home. Then I went into the classic chicken, broccoli and rice phase of eating (with macronutrient counting). That didn't last long for me, because I love variety in my cooking and I don't love eating the same thing day in and day out. I also struggled mentally with the macro counting.

Coming up a year now I eat 100% plant-based! I LOVE it! So much variety and creativity in my eating habits, I don't get bored cooking or eating. It has been awesome for me. I feel connected with the food I am eating and I feel the benefits in my training as well! (gainz train babay - - - choo-choo!)

What do you eat on a typical day? In a typical day I normally eat:
Breakfast: A huge bowl of oatmeal with all the fixings (hemp hearts, chia, flaxseed, maple syrup, frozen berries and peanut butter) and lots of coffee!
Post-Workout: A huge green smoothie of banana, orange, ginger, turmeric, pumpkin seeds, loads of spinach, vanilla (vega) protein powder and water (sometimes pineapple or mango if I am feeling wildddd!). 
Lunch: Usually consists of leftovers from the night before. 
Mid-day pick me up: Coffee! :) 
Dinner: This is my favourite meal of the day! I usually make either black bean burgers, lentil meatball pasta, tofu scramble, tempeh peanut satay, falafel with all of the potatoes (potatoes are life), or a giant buddha or burrito bowls. 
I love cooking and trying new recipes or making classics with a twist! Depending how hard the training day is I also may have another snack before bed (more treat like), for example the other night I made this massive chia pudding with purred mango and lime zest or a classic toast and peanut butter with banana. My guilty pleasure is Que Pasa corn chips and fresh salsa/guacamole - I will eat that forever.

What reasons did you have to train when you started CrossFit? Have those reasons changed? If so, how? Alex first introduced me to CrossFit because he knew I loved boot-camp style workouts in a group setting. Since then I had no idea I was capable of some of the things that I have accomplished with CrossFit, especially with 3 spinal cord surgeries under my belt! I have fallen more in love with it since starting. At the core, I love the community and working out together. There is something so special with CrossFit, in that it has created a way for people to become better versions of themselves and also create a space for true human connection. Now that I am working at CFQS CrossFit has become a huge part of my life. I get to train, work, and engage with our awesome community every day. I never thought CrossFit would be such a huge part of my life, and I am so grateful that it has!

What improvements have you made in the past 6 months that you are most proud of? My mental game. I used to talk some serious trash to myself when I felt I wasn't performing the way I think I should be. I now just have the most fun when I train. I dance, sing, laugh (lots), enjoy the process of trying my hardest and hopefully seeing some improvements no matter how small they are! The point I have made for myself when training, is if you wouldn't say it to your friend - that you certainly shouldn't be saying it to yourself. And vice versa, you congratulate your friends and community on their hard efforts on a WOD you should be doing the same for yourself. At the end of the day you did it, you put in your maximum effort and that is all you can ask for!

Do you currently have a main focus or goal(s) with your training? My current focus is upper body strict strength. Whether that be CTB, Handstand pushups or pressing (bar or dumbbells). I want to feel in complete control of my body when I go for a Muscle-up or Handstand pushup. I don't want to feel like I am cheating with kipping variations. I want to know that my body has the capability of controlling itself when I attempt those movements. No flailing. Cool, Calm, Controlled in my movements. I want to learn it right not fast.

What would you consider to be your greatest strength as an athlete? My positivity. I am ready to learn, have fun, and focus on the task ahead. I take my training seriously, but I make sure that I am relaxed and having a good time between lifts and/or workouts. I think that it helps make me approachable for others and can show people that training can be really fun (even during deadly wods). I think that I take feedback from coaches really well, which allows me to become a better athlete and at the end of the day perform better. I want the energy I put out into the gym to be positive and to give people confidence in themselves and to feel they are supported and having a good time working their tail feathers off!

What is one thing that you do every day that you feel is essential in contributing to your success in the gym? Finding training partners that push me. I love training with others, for me it is huge to find people who are willing to work hard, have fun, and support each other. I find I have become more successful in my training because I have that support system of people who are willing to try their hardest and enjoy the process as well!

If you could give yourself one piece of advice when you started CrossFit, what would it be? Wherever you are right now, is where you are supposed to be. When I started CrossFit I became ultra-competitive with myself and secretly with those around me. I became blind to my own success because I was focusing so much on my failures. The point for me is that where ever I am right now in my fitness journey is where I am supposed to be. I work hard, I am consistent with my training, and I have chosen CrossFit because it is a lifestyle. I do not compare myself to others in a way that is detrimental to my training. Everyone is different, everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses and everyone will excel at their own pace.

Do you have a favourite quotation or mantra related to training? I love to repeat to myself on really hard workouts that "my breath is my power."
During workouts where I feel I am really exerting myself I think, I am breathing and I am still moving so I can keep going. Digging deep is where I will surprise myself and when I will feel the most accomplished afterwards! I never thought I would be where I am in my training. I just like to remember that my breath is my power to keep the engine moving and that no matter what as long as I keep moving I am accomplishing something, especially when it hurts real bad.

Is there anything you would like to add? This community has made my time at Kingston better than I could have ever imagined it would be! Thank you all for the sweat and smiles!