This month’s member profile is a bumper edition with two members. The lovely, Fuego and Valiente. They are originally from Buenos Aires and recently relocated to Vancouver.
What brought you to CrossFit?
F: Valiente did! We moved to Vancouver in February and we love the outdoors, that’s one of the reasons we chose to move to B.C, because of all the scenery and opportunities for exploring the outdoors. We got up into the mountains and did some hiking, we knew, though, that it wasn’t enough. If we really wanted to enjoy everything B.C has to offer we needed to get in shape.
V: We live close to Empower and walked past it lots of times. In Argentina CrossFit has a certain reputation, it’s not very welcoming. It’s very competitive and you are expected to look a certain way. But when we went by Empower we saw lots of different people working out, I thought if they’re welcome maybe it’s the place for us. There were even dogs in there (to be honest the dogs were a big draw!!). So I called to find out more.
F: Really the gym found us!
What was your first impression of Empower and how has it changed?
V: Everyone was very welcoming and right from our first class we fit right in. We love the sense of community and it’s only got better and better. We did our beginners PT with OG before starting group classes and that was such a great idea, we felt like we knew exactly what to do when we joined the classes. Even knowing some of the CrossFit ‘language’ helped. Because we did our PT at the same time as the group class we’ve ended up going to we started getting to know everyone too. I’ve spoken to friends who do CrossFit back in Argentina and they think the beginner’s sessions are such a great idea. They wish they did that there.
F: We were really just looking to find somewhere to work out but we found a community of different people from different backgrounds from all over the world. We came for the fitness but stayed for the people!
What was your first ‘bright spot’?
V: Definitely my first handstand. I hadn’t done one since about 3rd grade and I just felt like a kid again.
F: My first snatch. Before I joined I thought I had no strength but I have loved learning the technique of weightlifting and finding out that I could do it. I felt really empowered. Another real bright spot though has been seeing the results of our efforts outside of the gym. Two years ago we did a back country hike in Argentina, we started out enthusiastically with our backpacks on our backs but after only about 30 minutes we were out of breath and couldn’t keep up the pace. A couple of months ago we went and hiked Joffre Lakes with absolutely no problem, we could really enjoy the experience. I felt so powerful.
What are you working on now?
F: I’m enjoying working on strength and also pull ups. Working towards getting my pull ups will be my goal for this year!
V: We are both enjoying the Mobility Clinic. We have just started and are excited to get better at that. I have a bad posture and Fuego has lower back issues so we want to work on our mobility so we can be strong in the right way.
What has been your favourite Empower memory so far?
F: I love the warm up games, they really add to the sense of fun and community.
V: Every time we feel like kids in the gym it is a good memory!
What is your CrossFit of life goal this year?
Both: To be stronger and more confident in our bodies so we can fully enjoy the outdoors. That is why we came to B.C in the first place.
What is the greatest obstacle in life that you have overcome, or are in the process of overcoming?
F: I struggle to maintain a good work/life balance. It’s always on my mind. Joining Empower really helped. I’m bad at finishing work for the day but I really look forward to being at the gym so it helps.
V: I’m similar, before I moved here my job was all consuming but I’ve let myself enjoy this. We’re new to Canada and far from everyone we know, it’s nice to have somewhere where we can go and meet a new group of people and be ourselves.
What are you really passionate about?
F: Sustainability in general. It’s my job but I do really love it, I love researching ways to be more sustainable. I’m a Project Engineer at a company that specialises in water treatment.
V: I love to make videos and record moments immortalizing our travels.
What is one thing that not many people know about you in the gym?
F: Every day we drink an Argentine herbal tea called Mate. There is a whole cultural routine surrounding it, it really is a whole ritual.
V: You have to drink it at a specific temperature in a metal container with a metal straw (which you mustn’t touch!). You share it with friends and strangers, there are all sorts of customs surrounding the way you share it. It is stronger than coffee, in college students drink it to stay awake. Every time someone comes to visit they bring some for us. We must have about 5-6kg at home now.
F: That’s good though because we get through about 1kg a month! It’s also totally compostable! Another thing is that before we moved here Valiente was living in Madrid and I was still in Buenos Aires so we had two full years of a very long distance relationship but we did it and now we are here and plan to stay a while!