Spartan Athlete Ben's Story
I Heard there was an athletics program and I wanted to try it out.
First impression was good atmosphere and my trainer knew what he was talking about. Now, Coach Matt’s advice and training program has made me a better person and athlete.
I’m working on pushing my back squat to 300 pounds.
My first brightspot was getting first in Canada East during 18.1 scaled last year.
My favourite Degree memory is when I first started at Degree and was doing box jumps and almost broke my thumb but still landed the jump.
Becky's Awesome Journey
I have always struggled with body positivity…I would try to run or workout from home, and it would help for awhile but as everyone knows it’s “easy to fall off the wagon.” I knew a couple people who loved going to CrossFit at Degree, and when I knew I needed to do something for myself, CrossFit was something my mind kept going too!
My first impression of Degree was very welcoming – a place free to be yourself. I met with the owner, Kaleda, and by the end of my one on one conversation with her I was in tears. I didn’t know it then, but as time went on, I realized Degree is more than a place to lift heavy things, the coaches and athletes truly care, and want to know how you are doing inside and outside the gym.
My first bright spot would have to be getting a new PR In my deadlift! I love the fact CrossFit can measure progress in more than weight loss. It measures how strong you have become -nothing feels better than lifting something heavier than you did in the weeks before!
I’m working on trying to get my toes to bar/ handstand push-up. I love how the coaches break down any movement you struggle with, and help you work towards your end goal.
My favourite memory at Degree is when we were at the end of a really hard workout, I was last in from the run and all I wanted to do was quit…but as I turned the corner the coach and all the athletes were outside of the gym clapping and cheering me on to finish!
Spartan Athlete Blake Poppe
What brought me to the Varsity Spartans program was that I wanted to be in better shape and to be a stronger hockey player.
My first impression of the program was that it would be all work and no fun. It turned out to be all the work can be made to be fun. A lot of your speed and agility work is very fun.
My first brightspot was when I was able to push press 145 lbs.
I am now working towards getting my front squat to 290 lbs.
My favourite spartan memory was when we were doing the dot drill. Coach Matt said that Goalies shouldn’t be slower than the skaters and I had the second best time of the all Spartans. Also deadlifting 300lbs for the first time was awesome.
Susie Lubbers Story
“After being quite sick for a year I was feeling better and we went on a family holiday. Everyone was biking and I was consistently getting winded long before everyone else was. I realized that I must increase my endurance and decided to join CrossFit.
I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up with what was expected of me. The first workout I did wore me out a lot, but before long I could do workouts and feel energized rather than drained
I never thought I would be able to lift heavy weights, do sit-ups, push-ups but I can!!!
We are focusing on working on jogging and weightlifting goals.
Kelly is amazing! She always makes it fun and is so encouraging. I think I always feel really proud of myself when I can do a workout better then I did before. So those are definitely the bright spots.”
Costas Kollias's Story
A friend recommended CrossFit, and I wanted a change from the normal gym routine.
CrossFit is more challenging than I thought at first. It’s always been fun. You never feel like you wasted a workout. It’s Easy to push yourself with the coach and everyone cheering you on, every single class.
The first workout I RX’d was my first bright spot.
I’m always trying to improve my mobility and always try to do lift more weight.
The best memory at Degree so far would be Tough Mudder, although it wasn’t at the Degree gym it was with everyone at the gym and that made the experience better.
Lori Askett's Story
“I chose to attend Degree CrossFit mostly for convenience. I wanted to support a gym in Seaforth. I was pleased that I could walk or drive to the gym if I wanted. I also loved how the schedule worked around my work schedule that includes day and evening shifts.
My first impression of the gym was that I wondered where all the workout equipment was? And what was that contraption in the corner that I later would learn was the `rig`. I definitely felt intimidated. I would quickly realize that this is an amazing place to be and a wonderful family to belong to. So friendly and supportive. Everyone has helped me build strength and self-esteem.
I have many bright spots but the one I remember the most was participating and being part of the “Elemonaters“ doing CrossFit Open 2018.
I am now concentrating on building strength in my arms and shoulders. I hope to accomplish my first toes to bar. Yikes!!! Also, I feel good about working on my distance running and even achieving a couple of double unders!!
When I joined the Degree CrossFit Gym little did I know how many great people I would meet. I feel blessed to have so many new people in my life that I would never have met. Thank you to everyone!”
One of the OG's: Sam
My sister Danika actually brought me to CrossFit. We had seen lots of posts on Facebook and the float in the Seaforth Santa Claus Parade and we were both very curious. She convinced me to try it out with her when Degree CrossFit moved to Railway Street and the rest is history.
My first impression of CrossFit was that no matter your current physical state, you could do something, providing endless options and variety. I remember thinking how could a workout with a PVC pipe make me hurt so much! That was a great way to realize I had more to my body then I thought! I was totally intimidated in my first class, as I didn’t know anyone and was afraid when I couldn’t do something. Looking back, that was the silliest thing ever as everyone was learning new things, they just may have been different than what I was learning. Although I still see CrossFit providing lots of variety and endless options, I now realize that there is more than just the WOD (workout of the day) to it. Nutrition is something I have been learning more about and see how it often gets discredited or forgotten about, but can help you reach that next goal!
My first bright spot; that’s a tough one. There have been so many and the first one would have been around 3 years ago (which is crazy when I come to think about it!) Although I spent the first month just trying Crossfit out, the decision to keep coming back was huge for me as I found a great place to work out, have fun, meet new people and take on a new challenge every day, all without having to leave town!
I am working on the gymnastics type of moves, as that is definitely my weak area. So toes to bar, pull ups, getting upside down, are all on the top of my list to conquer.
My favourite Degree memory would be being apart of the winning team, Front Rack & Ass Attack, during our first Open competition. None of us had ever done any sort of competition like that, but we gave it our all, supported each other and showed insane passion, commitment and team spirit. That was something pretty cool to be apart of and is definitely a fond memory that comes up every time the Open comes around!
Chris Fry's Story
My daughter and I had heard great things about Kaleda’s “garage” gym and we were excited to hear she would be opening a local gym. I really wasn’t sure how it would go but the workout times were flexible enough to fit with my work and personal schedule and I thought I would give it a try.
I was hooked from the first WOD – everyone was starting at the same level which probably saved me – as some of the lifts/weight did seem somewhat intimidating. I quickly found out that it is a variety of moves that challenge you and are scaleable to whatever level you are at. I think the weight lifting is my favourite part. Running and skipping are my least favourite but they are always mixed in with so many other moves that I do enjoy. Honestly it all rocks when you have great friends to do it with and wonderful coaches to watch over you while you are doing it!
Oh my goodness there are so many favourite memories and Bright Spots – first box jump, graduating from PVC pipe to 15 lb and now 35 lb bar consistently for all lifts, doing a proper burpee, but the best was my first CrossFit Open! Intimidating workouts – oh yeh! What an adrenaline rush every week anticipating and carrying out the WOD. The best was when I realized I got a break cause I was a “master” (first and really only time being over 55 really felt awesome)!
I am attempting to complete heavier lifts – I have always played it pretty safe and focused on just doing them properly. I want to continue to push myself but also be aware of my limitations.
The entire Degree experience, the coaches, the members and the supportive positive environment have been a catalyst to make me a more active and health conscious person. It truly has become an addiction for me and one I am proud to be a part of!
Still on the fence about trying any of our fitness programs? Wait no longer! Book your Free No Sweat Intro Consultation here and start working towards your goals TODAY!
The Adventurous Nicole
Heather has been working out at Degree 1-1 in Personal Training for just over 1 year. In this time she has gained strength, confidence, flexibility, healthy habits, most important, this busy Family Physician has carved time for herself. Heather is an amazing, selfless, kind-hearted, inspiring woman.
Initially my goal was to improve my fitness, to get my BMI down under 30 (that was a number harped on by everyone as being obese) and fit into a few pairs of jeans. Now, I can really say it is not so much about the BMI and weight but how much I can lift, row and challenge myself so I am fitter (and yes I can fit in to those jeans now). That and I really want to crush anything Stuart has done!
I am most proud of being able to consistently do full push ups-could never do more than 1 or 2 before.
Two things stick out in my mind. One, it is so much harder exercising on your own – a group or personal coach just gives you that extra push to get going. All day we have to do things; work, laundry, cooking, so it is really nice to have someone else tell you what to do, for your own good, especially when they do it with a smile. Even if it is just having a buddy to walk with 3 times a week, you keep each other on track.
Second, and this I harp at all the time in the office…it should NOT NOT NOT be about your weight, and yes, I admit, I fell into that trap as well. We now know from research that it is not a person’s weight that ensures they live a healthy life, it is exercise and fitness level. Exercising 150 minutes a week decreases your risk of an early death by 30-45%; no drug can do that (for example cholesterol pills decrease your risk by 1.5-3%). The weight loss is a nice side benefit and it will come, but never make the focus “the weight” or you will get discouraged and we are realizing the weight does not matter. So exercise for your health, because in all honesty it is better to be on this side of the ground.
When asked what’s next? Heather said this:
Well, my new years resolution was to learn to appreciate Burpees… Still working on that one, but I don’t hate push ups anymore! Second, I want to be able to approach lifting my own weight – getting closer! And, did I mention crushing any goals my son reached!
My Sister Jess and I started this adventure together with our OnRamp course in 2016. Jess, who lives in Seaforth, was just wanting to be more active and was starting to watch the foods she was consuming. I was living in Wingham and working in Mitchell and in the midst of moving back to Seaforth. Since working 2 jobs for the past 3 years to fill my time, I decided it was time to start concentrating on me and focusing on what I wanted to do. I decided it was time to stop being Joanna the nurse who cares for everyone else and works countless hours or countless shifts in a row and start caring for me. the fact that I had my sister by my side to start this adventure and to keep me accountable was all I needed.
My first impression of Crossfit was “Wow, look at all those girls lifting those weights” here I am trying do this with a PVC pipe and still be able to walk the next day (I will always remember my first week of Crossfit and how I could hardly walk or sit down from those squats!) I was also worried that I wouldn’t be at the same fitness level as others at the box.
Crossfit is part of my weekly routine. The atmosphere is so accepting to everyone no matter where you are with your fitness goals. I love how sometimes I can put weight on the bar that was just a little bit more then last time, I may struggle a little but is it worth doing if it was easy?
My first bright Spot I believe was getting my first double under. I was so happy after trying for so long!
I would like to say that I’m working on having my box jump consistently, but also just to maintain better form with my lifts and maybe better times for my interval training.
My favourite Degree memory so far? That’s a tough one. I would have to say that I really enjoyed the wine night as this was an opportunity to socialize with other members in the box and, of course, to drink wine! The rowing marathon is also a great memory for me. I remember being nervous about it, but again, being able to do something challenging with my sister and other great members of the box who were there to cheer each other on until the end.
Griffin St. Onge
Griffin St. Onge
Griffin is a founding member of our Varsity Program and exemplifies what is means to be a Spartan! He leads, he learns, he proves himself through his actions, not words. He puts in the work. Let Griffin tell you how the Varsity program has helped not only his hockey game, but his general health & fitness levels.
“I have been training with Coach Matt during the summer breaks and now full time for the past year. I have been working on improving core, leg, arm strength plus endurance and speed. I have been successful in improving all areas and that has transferred over into improving my hockey and varsity school sports.Coach Matt’s Varsity Program not only helps to improve and sustain my physical ability but equally as important it’s improved my mental toughness. Coach Matt is a great coach and has helped me improve both my physical and mental confidence”.
– 2017-2018 Huron-Perth Lakers Major Midget AAA
St.Marys Lincolns Jr.B -AP
"Creative Mama" Michelle!
At 37 I found myself out of touch with my body, resenting my reflection and feeling all the wrong kinds of pain. I needed to challenge my comfort zone and push my limits. I also knew I couldn’t do it alone and would need the guidance and support of passionate people.
When I first started, I was terrified! Twice. At the first On-Ramp and then my first WOD with the members. But I have yet to attend a WOD without feeling guided by the coach or supported by fellow members.
One of my many ‘Bright Spots’ was my last On-Ramp session where I repeated the first workout of the program! I improved by almost 9 minutes. I was hooked.
This year my Crossfit goals are to work on my shoulder strength, and to generally speed up my pace.
My favourite Crossfit memory? That’s a tough one, it’s still so new and I love it all! I’m just starting my first open and am looking forward to looking back at this one.
“I was looking for a venue that challenges me, was bored going to a gym and doing the same thing day in and day out.
My first first impression was -I don’t know if I can do a lot of this stuff! What had changed now is that I realize I can do it! I just kept working on it and it will come.
I would have to say my first Bright Spot was participating in my first CrossFit OPEN. My favourite memories have to be completing the first OPEN and having such a great network of coaches and members that continue to encourage everyone!
The things that I am working on right now are double unders and improving my squat.”
Coach Notes: Jackie recently competed in the Festivus Games at Degree CrossFit Seaforth, with her Team Mate Sandi Henderson. These ladies took GOLD in their division- they showed so much heart and dedication to their workouts and cheered each other on. Most of all- they had fun! And I think that’s why they won!
Emily: 1 year in the Making
For years, I’d been looking for a fitness regime that I would actually stick to and nothing was working – I wouldn’t describe myself as self-motivated when it comes to fitness. When Kylie and Adrienne said they wanted to try CrossFit, I tagged along knowing that I would never try it on my own.
2) What was your first impression? How has that changed?
First impression – intimidated. After my first On-ramp, I was feeling pretty out of shape and was sore for at least a week. But, it was a good pain and I just reminded myself how much this would help me both physically and mentally.
Before my first class, I was so nervous thinking I wouldn’t be able to do what everyone else could do or keep up with them. Everyone was so welcoming and encouraging – they made me feel so much more confident … even with my 35lb back squat :p
Now, when I wake up and look at the workout for that day, I don’t worry about what everyone else will think if I need to scale a WOD because I know everyone is just doing their own thing … and if I don’t complete a WOD in the time limit, I know what matters is that I pushed myself as hard as I could.
Now that I’m a part of the Degree family, it’s no longer intimidating but a place of support, encouragement, and betterment.
I often struggle to recognize a bright spot when it happens – I get excited whenever I do something I didn’t think I could do… which is fairly often. But I’d say my first bright spot was being able to string together more than 5 double unders. Since then I’ve definitely been working on increasing that number.
Overall, I’m working on improving my cardio as that holds me back in workouts. But more specifically, I’m working on my DUs, improving to full push ups vs. from the knees, and I’d like to improve on pull-ups and other rig movements.
I’ve had lots of good times at Degree since starting in August, but I think my favourite memory to date is at Friday Night Lights 17.1, looking around and seeing how many people had come to cheer on those who were completing the WOD. The atmosphere was just electric and everyone was just giving it there all – it almost made me want to do the WOD a second time… though I thought better of it. Overall, I’ve had an amazing experience at Degree and I’m so happy and proud to be a part of our CrossFit family.
Hard Work Trumps all: Hayley M
I needed to get off the couch and get active and was looking for something that would push me in a class setting where I didn’t have to come up with the workouts and push myself. I was living in Dublin and was hoping to find something close to home and was so excited when I found out there was a box in Seaforth! I signed up for the no sweat intro and the rest is history!
My first impression at Degree was WOW this place is awesome and Kaleda was so nice and was just so easy to talk to. I was so nervous going to the first meeting and had no idea what to expect but she made me feel so welcomed that I started my first on-ramp WOD that day! I was so nervous for my first real class as I didn’t know anyone and had no idea what to expect but after the first few minutes I knew that I had worried for nothing and couldn’t wait to come back for another class! I still love going every time and have made new friends and learned so much about myself and my only regret is that I didn’t join sooner!
My first bright spot was doing double unders in my on-ramp WOD right away after Kaleda had explained them to me and showed me what to do. She was so happy that I had done them and I remember having the biggest smile on my face like I had accomplished something so big! It was truly the greatest feeling and that smile comes to my face every time I do something incredible and big that I didn’t think I could do!
My future goal is to do a bar muscle up with bands and although it is a far away goal I work hard on my upper body strength so that I can get there! One short term goal is to do a toes to bar and make it look as easy as Lisa Z does! But for now I just give 100% at every workout and know that when I don’t feel 100% for a burpee workout that “It doesn’t get easier you just get stronger” and that if I get through that workout I will be stronger than I was before it.
I think it would be very hard to pick my favorite Degree memory as everyday there something happens that becomes a favourite, but the best would have to be that only 7 weeks into crossfit I did a 200lb deadlift and was absolutely shocked that I was able to do that! I am so happy to be a part of a gym that welcomes everyone with open arms and works with each person so that they can get the fullest out of each and every WOD!
Thank you so much for this honour I am so happy to be Athlete of the Month and to be apart of a place that is so awesome and welcoming and I look forward to crushing the rest of this OPEN with everyone! 🙂
Coach Notes: Hayley is an incredible person, athlete and inspiration to everyone in the gym. She doesn’t complain, she’s always smiling and always ready for the next challenge. I swear she even gets excited about some of the most gruelling workouts. She is incredibly consistent which has given her some amazing results physically and mentally. We love having you in our gym Hayley and I can’t wait to see what your future holds!
Laurie: Life of the Party
I was a previous runner, and had been running for about 6 years. Then I had some foot trouble from all the repetitive pounding on the pavement. I had heard a lot of talk about this gym on water street, and how hard it was to get in. When I heard Kaleda was opening it to the public…I was in.
I have loved the energy, the professionalism, the knowledge, the fun from the get go. Gotta tell ya I was so very nervous. I am older and smaller with no strength, not much agility, but boy did that change. There was so much encouragement. It still continues today with many friendships created and goals achieved, and continued successes. I also love all the new programs coming in the new year.
I hope Kaleda took a picture of my latest Bright Spot in last Friday’s workout. I think my first double under and ringing the bell are my first and favourite Bright Spot memories. I would have to say that the 2016 CrossFit Open is also on of my favourite Degree memories…amazing experience
While I’m really not working on anything specific right now … I go to the box to do the best I can and continue to surprise myself with little success along the way. All the help from the staff there is exceptional.
You always know when Laurie is “In da house!” She’s happy, she’s incredibly encouraging and honestly, one of the most pleasant people to be around. While Laurie has struggled with a few pre-exisiting injuries, she still shows up with a smile on her face, ready to tackle a workout in any way that she can. She listens intently to the Coach’s advice and knows her limits. Sometimes she needs a “Secretary” to keep track of her reps, but that’s always a good laugh! Laurie sometimes underestimates how strong she really is- she may be small, but she is most certainly not weak. Keep up the great work Laurie, we love having you in the gym and a as a part of the Degree Family!
Mary Jane: The Strong, Silent Type
Mary Jane Greidanus
I have LOTS of favourite memories. Meeting new people who make this a great place to be. Awesome coaches who support and encourage you. But the biggest is that this years blood work all came back in the healthy levels they should be at!“
James Wilbee: Resident Firebreather!
Most members of the gym have a set schedule, we see them at the same time, on the same day, every week. James is one of the few who bounce around between the 6:30am and 5:30pm classes just to make sure he can get his workout in. We see James usually 5 days a week and he trains fast and hard. While you may not even know James is in class because he’s so quiet- you’ll know when he’s finished the workout because he’s the guy who’s cheering YOU on! He’s the one who finishes the workout and then runs another 400 meters just to run next to you with some encouraging words. He’s the one who will ask how many reps you have left and will help you break them up and count for you.
James pushes himself everyday with weight speed and mechanics. He listens intently, and always takes every piece of advice and puts it into action. You can literally see James analyzing every piece of advice a coach gives him.
For all of these reasons and more, James is our October Athlete of the Month!
Here is what James has to say about being chosen and why he chose Degree CrossFit Seaforth as his gym.
“Thank you for choosing me, Degree has so many amazing athletes that are so deserving of this honour.
I had been hearing a lot of wonderful things about crossfit and was seeing the results of the hard work that members we
re achieving. I have always enjoyed being active and wanted to push myself to new levels and goals.
My first impressions were positive. I knew immediately that Degree was a place where everyone was welcome and every effort would be made to make us feel included. I enjoy the diversity of every work out and the fact that every skill is working toward a goal. I don’t think that my first impression has changed, if anything it has been reinforced over and over again. Seeing everyone reach new goals and personal bests, getting stronger and more confident, all as a result of hard work and dedicated coaching, tells me that I am in the right place. A place where everyone cares about each other and you get as excited about another members personal best as you do about your own.
There have been so many “Bright Spot” moments at Degree, but the one that stands out the most is the first time I was able to RX a workout. In the future, a couple of my goals include thing like getting consecutive double unders and I would also like to get a muscle up. I think my favourite memory is my first CrossFit Open. It seemed so intimidating at the beginning, but once we started and I could see everyone working so hard and having so much fun doing it, I knew that I would be able to get through it. I was so inspiring to see everyone cheering each other on and pushing each other to do their absolute best.
Thank you again for this honour, and thank you for passing on your love of the sport and providing a welcoming and inviting place for the people of Seaforth and area to go and improve their health and become better people. You should be very proud of what you have built and we all look forward to seeing what the future will bring”