Qualified instructors will teach you each movement and ensure you use proper technique.

Coaches

By Mike

 

CrossFit 204-Coach MikeMike Warkentin

Mike Warkentin is the founder of CrossFit 204. He has been involved in sports for his entire life, including hockey, basketball, track and field, and volleyball. As a player, Mike spent three years with the University of Winnipeg Wesmen, winning a national championship in 1998. As a coach, Mike has worked with athletes from 10 years old to adulthood in summer camps, clinics, and team and individual settings.

After getting hooked on weightlifting and fitness in university, Mike dedicated himself to learning more about training. After eight years in the media industry, he made his hobby into a career by starting work with CrossFit HQ in 2009. He is currently the managing editor of the CrossFit Journal, the Internet’s best fitness resource. In this role, Mike has had the opportunity to learn from elite coaches including CrossFit founder Greg Glassman, Mike Burgener, Louie Simmons and more. Mike is one of only a handful of Level 2 CrossFit trainers in Canada.

Mike is passionate about fitness, learning and coaching and looks forward to helping you achieve your goals at CrossFit 204.

Credentials:

CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
CrossFit Basic Barbell
CrossFit Olympic Lifting
CrossFit Powerlifting
CrossFit Gymnastics
Manitoba Fitness Council Resistance Training Leader
Canfitpro Personal Training Specialist
Agatsu Level 1 Kettlebell Instructor
CPR C/AED
Emergency First Aid

Email: Mike@CrossFit204.com

 

 

CrossFit 204-Coach CrystalCrystal Kirby-Peloquin

Crystal is the CrossFit 204 general manager, a top competition CrossFitter and a Level 1 CrossFit trainer.

A lifelong athlete, Crystal was a standout in track and field in high school, and she played basketball for the University of Winnipeg Wesmen. After her basketball career, Crystal got involved in triathlons and duathlons and specialized in sprint distances. She competed in Fame and MABBA fitness and figure competitions before jumping into CrossFit full-time in 2010.

After less than eight months of training, Crystal finished 18th at the CrossFit Games Central Canada Sectionals before taking third in the CrossFit Regina Spring Fling. Crystal dedicated herself to the program and really hit her stride in 2011. She finished third in the FrostFit Games in January 2010 and won the Intergalactic Throwdown hosted by CrossFit 204 in February. Crystal had a consistent performance over the Reebok CrossFit Games Open and finished 18th in Western Canada, earning a trip to regionals.

At the Canada West Regional in Vancouver, Crystal finished ninth and was the only Manitoba or Saskatchewan female to finish in the top 10.

In 2012, she finished 54th in Canada West and qualified for the regional competition, where she was 18th overall on the strength of four top-15 finishes. In 2013, she finished 17th in the Open and competed with the CrossFit 204 team at Regionals, finishing fifth. In 2013, she qualified for Regionals for the fourth consecutive year and finished 25th.

She’s currently working to eliminate any weaknesses and qualify for the CrossFit Games.

Credentials:

CrossFit Level 1
USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach
CPR/AED

Email: Crystal@CrossFit204.com

CrossFit 204-Coach SherriSherri Clark

After developing a love of sports and a desire to push herself to the limits while playing hockey for the Winnipeg Polar Ice and the Twins, Sherri decided to pursue a career as a fitness professional. She completed a BA in kinesiology at the University of Winnipeg in 2012, and she’s been a coach and trainer since 2010. Once she was introduced to CrossFit, she earned her Level 1 Certificate and worked as a coach at Prairie CrossFit.

Sherri’s comfortable working with individuals or groups, and she has extensive experience training sports teams and young athletes. She’s coached the Shaftesbury High School prep team and assisted with Hockey Manitoba camps, and she’s created dry-land training programs for hockey teams. In addition to leading group classes at CrossFit 204, Sherri will be working with sports teams and individual athletes to help them develop the strength, speed, power and endurance they need to accomplish their goals.

As a CrossFit athlete, Sherri qualified for the Canada West Regional in 2014 by finishing 31st in the Open, and she finished 32nd in the regional competition in Vancouver. She’s stood on top of the podium at local competitions and continues to train hard for the 2015 competition season.

Credentials:

Bachelor of Arts (Kinesiology)
CrossFit Level 1
Canfitpro Personal Training Specialist

 

CrossFit 204-Coach Brett 3Brett Smith

Brett is one of the strongest athletes in the gym, but his real strength is his methodical, intelligent approach to CrossFit training. Brett is always the first one to reduce the weight, work on form and address his weaknesses, and over the last year he’s been rewarded with outstanding improvements in every aspect of his training. In his first competition, the 2011 FrostFit Games, he finished fifth. Brett’s done well in every competition he’s entered and was a member of the CrossFit 204 team that finished fifth at the 2013 Canada West Regional.

Brett has been a City of Winnipeg firefighter since March 2007 and can often be found leading his colleagues through challenging fire-hall CrossFit workouts. If you’re trapped in a burning building, this is the guy you want coming for you.

Brett’s an outstanding role model for our athletes, and his easygoing and humble nature make him a great coach.

Credentials:

CrossFit Level 1
USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach
Provincially licensed primary care paramedic
Level 1 and Level 2 Firefighter

 

CrossFit 204-Coach JrGrant Dilling Jr.

At only 20, “Junior” is a veteran of a host of CrossFit competitions, including the 2010 Ontario Sectional, the 2011 Intergalactic Challenge, and the 2010 and 2011 FrostFit Games. In 2012, he placed 108th in Canada West in the CrossFit Games Open and posted the top score on the CrossFit 204 team in four of five events. He was CrossFit 204’s top male Open athlete in 2012, and in 2013 he was a member of the 204 team that finished fifth at the Canada West Regional.

Junior’s enthusiasm for CrossFit is infectious, and he’s one of the friendliest people you’ll meet. He’s usually the first one to finish a workout and the first to start encouraging everyone else who’s still going. His character and passion for the sport make him a great coach who’s able to motivate athletes to smile through the work and grind out a few more reps. He’s also pretty good with a hammer and a drill.

Credentials:

CrossFit Level 1

CrossFit 204-Coach GeoffGeoff Thompson

Geoff was not your typical athlete when he started participating in sports. He struggled to hit a baseball with a bat, found out that he had two left feet when trying to kick a soccer ball and couldn’t stop on skates. All that changed when he discovered the sport of Olympic wrestling and quickly found that he did indeed have an aptitude for physical activity. Starting very young, he quickly learned what it took to become an elite wrestler and won several provincial championships. When his competing years were done, he moved on to coaching and ran a successful youth program for six years.

Geoff decided to take his coaching to the next level and pursued a degree in kinesiology from the University of Manitoba, with a specialty in exercise and sport science. Six years into his personal-training career, he discovered CrossFit and found the training philosophy he always wanted to preach but could not put into words. It was also the closest thing he had experienced to the feeling he got during a wrestling match—the feeling of intensity that only comes from pushing yourself to another level. He is now committed to becoming the best CrossFit athlete he can be and helping others transition into the CrossFit style of training.

Geoff was a member of CrossFit 204’s team for the 2013 and 2014 CrossFit Games Open.

Credentials:

Bachelor of Kinesiology (U of M)
CSEP – Certified Personal Trainer
Agatsu Level 1 Kettlebell Instructor
NCCP Level 3 Wrestling Coach

 

CrossFit 204-Coach CodyCody Bernard

A long-time member, Cody completed our apprenticeship program early in 2015 and joined our coaching staff. Cody’s fitness has improved dramatically since he started training, and along the way he showed us the technical precision, attention to detail and character that make him a perfect fit for our staff. Cody coaches our general CrossFit classes and also does individual and small-group on-ramps. New as of November 2015, Cody is the head coach of the 204 Conditioning program. Cody is also a talented artist and animal lover.
Credentials:
CrossFit Level 1
USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach

David Boyd

Dave first came to us as part of a corporate fitness program we ran shortly after opening in 2011. We immediately knew he was a talented athlete, but over the next years we learned he was one of the most humble, hardworking and genuine people in the gym. Dave completed our apprenticeship program and joined our staff in 2015. Dave leads general CrossFit classes and is a gifted Olympic lifter and aspiring “tall gymnast.” In his spare time, Dave puts his fitness to use on the ice playing hockey.
Credentials:
CrossFit Level 1
USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach

CrossFit 204-Coach NatalieNatalie Marion – Rise Up Physiotherapy

Physiotherapist Natalie Marion has been a member of CrossFit 204 since December 2013. She provides rehabilitation of medical conditions including but not limited to ligament sprains, muscle strains, nerve injuries, whiplash-associated disorders, overuse injuries, etc; assessment and treatment of sports injuries and work-related injuries; “prehab” and preventative maintenance; acupuncture; pre-operative and post-operative rehabilitation; and more services.

Please visit the Rise Up Physiotherapy page for more info.

J0anna Gies – 204 Lifestyle

Joanna Gies is a Registered Dietitian with 20 years of experience, and she has worked with the Manitoba Home Nutrition Program for 17 years. She has special experience in pediatric nutrition and a keen interest in nutrition for sports nutrition and nutrition for performance.

Joanna has been a fitness trainer since 2008, and she joined CrossFit in 2014 to work on strength goals.

She enjoys spending time with her husband, two children and her Bernese mountain dog Bruno.

About

By Mike
A few great people who’d love to work out with you.

Located at 483 Berry St. in Winnipeg, CrossFit 204 is 6,000 square feet of warehouse space dedicated solely to CrossFit. We are minutes away from both Polo Park and the James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.

Our Mission Statement

The mission of CrossFit 204 and 204 Strength and Conditioning Ltd. is to build a healthy community by providing the safest, most effective and fastest route to fitness, wellness, health and optimal performance.

We have been a CrossFit affiliate since 2010, and we have been training using CrossFit methods since 2008. We employ the CrossFit method of using constantly varied whole-body movements to create challenging workouts that are scaled to allow each participant to work at the correct level of intensity. Our instructors always ensure you are moving correctly and safely. We have people of all levels of fitness, and we can work with anyone from beginner to advanced. Our members range in age from late teens to 70.

Our facility is equipped with change rooms, and we have a large parking lot behind the building. Parking is also available on the surrounding streets. Our training area features a 10-person pull-up rig, 10 barbell stations, a reverse hyper, tires, plyo boxes, a fleet of Concept2 rowing machines, and all the barbells, rings, kettlebells and bumper plates you’ll need for an amazing CrossFit workout.

CrossFit 204
CrossFit 204.

CrossFit 204 runs on a membership basis, and training and facility tours are by appointment only. For more info, visit our Start Here page.

What Is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a training system developed in the mid-’80s by Greg Glassman. He opened the first CrossFit gym in Santa Cruz, Calif., in 2001. Since that time, more than 10,000 gyms worldwide have adopted the program and affiliated with CrossFit HQ.

CrossFit is defined as “constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.” This means the CrossFit program does not use machine-based isolation exercises seen in traditional facilities. CrossFit treats your body as a machine, and the program uses a constantly changing selection of full-body movements to elicit a physiological response. This physiological response is increased fitness, which CrossFit defines as the ability to do more work faster.

These specific descriptions are important but sometimes less than useful.

A good set-up usually leads to a good lift. Squeeze every muscle tight before pulling the bar.
Our classes always contain instruction so you know exactly how to move during workouts.

More simply: CrossFit is fun and challenging, and it works. If you give it a chance, you will discover this for yourself. Visit our Start Here page for all info on entering our program.

Class Description

Classes are one hour long and include a warm-up and cool-down/stretching/mobility period. Aside from that, each class is different. We want you to be fitter in every way, so we will challenge you with a constantly changing selection of activities that will improve your strength, speed, agility, endurance, power, coordination and flexibility.

We create workouts using a host of activities in various combinations. Some days you will squat. Other days you will press. Some days you will do both. Sometimes you will squat or press in a circuit. We run and row for various distances, usually in combination with other activities. We always include core strength in some way. We use barbells, dumbbells, medicine balls, kettlebells, gymnastic rings and a host of other tools. Some circuits are short, while others are longer. Sometimes the circuit includes two or three exercises, and sometimes many more.

Barb and a very large support crew.
All for one, one for all.

You will be shown how to do every movement properly, and we will make sure you are comfortable before you perform the movement as part of a circuit. If you have injuries or physical limitations that prevent you from doing some movements, we will find alternatives.

Each class is carefully designed to provide a fun workout that challenges participants at their own levels and improves fitness.

For examples of workouts we have done in the past, check the Workouts page.

Start Here

By Mike
Everyone here started somewhere!

We recommend you book a free No-Sweat intro to talk to a staff member about your health and fitness.

In 15 minutes, we’ll talk to you about your goals, challenges and current successes, and we’ll recommend a personalized plan to help you achieve optimal health and fitness. This plan will be perfectly tailored to your current fitness level and goals—you do not have to be fit at present to start training with us. All you have to do is show up, and we’ll tell you how we can help you with fitness, nutrition and lifestyle changes. It’s that easy.


 

If you’d like to book outside the times available, email info@crossfit.com or call Crystal at 204-880-1001.

Try a Free Class

By Mike

If you’re interested in trying a class now, read on! The information below applies to our CrossFit program only.

Click here for our 204 Conditioning program, which has no prerequisites or on-ramp.

Click here for the 204 Legends program detailed in the Winnipeg Free Press on March 23.

We’re thrilled you want to try CrossFit! This step-by-step list was created during nine years of introducing people to CrossFit, and we hope it will help you navigate the process. We know starting a new program can be intimidating, so we want to make it as clear and easy as possible.

Before you start, you should know there are many CrossFit gyms in Winnipeg, and they are independent and related in name only. When choosing a fitness facility, many things are important. Make your choice based on quality, professionalism, atmosphere and any other factors that are important to you. Remember: you should feel impressed when visiting a new facility. If you don’t, visit another. You will know when you are in the right place.

1. You don’t have to be in shape to do CrossFit. No training is needed. You just have to make an appointment to try out a class, in which a trainer will tailor the workout to your current fitness level. People always tell us they “have to get in shape” before they come, but that’s incorrect: we exist to get you in shape. You also don’t need to be nervous: our goal is not to push you into misery during your visit, only to give you a taste of our program. Expect to work about 10 percent harder than you would on your own, and expect a coach to monitor you to make sure you’re always having fun.

2. You’ll need to contact us to make an appointment to drop in. We offer free drop-ins by appointment to selected classes at 8 p.m. on weekday evenings. We require an appointment so we can schedule a coach to greet you, talk about your training history, find out about any mobility issues or injuries and answer your questions. We want you to feel comfortable.

To book an appointment, please email info@crossfit204.com and let us know which weeknight at 8 p.m. would work for you. Please do so at least 24-48 hours in advance, as we spend most of our time training in the gym and wouldn’t want you to show up before we get a chance to respond. You can also contact Crystal, our manager, at 204-880-1001. We’ll confirm a time, send you some paperwork and eagerly await our chance to meet you.

3. Once we’ve set up an appointment, you just have to show up at the right time in workout clothes and bring clean shoes and a water bottle. We’ll meet you and make sure you’re comfortable, then we’ll explain how the class works. After that, we’ll introduce you to the coach.

Warming up!
You will always receive detailed instructions, and you will always be led through a warm-up.

4. In the class, you will not be thrown in head first. A specific version of the workout will be assigned to you, and it will be modified to reflect our interview with you before the class. Experienced athletes and athletes with no experience can have fun in the same workout if the elements are adjusted properly by a coach. People often say CrossFit is “one-size-fits-all fitness,” which is incorrect. We post one workout on our site every day, and our experienced trainers adjust that workout for each person. You will work at your level. The class will include detailed instructions, a thorough warm-up and a workout. Some CrossFit movements are complicated, but we keep the introductory sessions simple so we can get you moving quickly. Feel free to talk to a coach anytime you have questions. Our friendly members will also help you feel more comfortable. Remember: each one of them started with no experience at all, and they know exactly how you feel.

5. After the class, we’ll check in with you and answer any questions. We do not try to sell the program to you, and there is no pressure to continue. If you’re interested in CrossFit 204, we’re happy to tell you more. If you aren’t, we wish you all the best in your training. We appreciate that you came out and joined us for a workout.

To the bars!
Movements can be adjusted for people or any ability.

6. If you are interested in more CrossFit, the next step is to book an eight-session on-ramp with us. (Our 204 Conditioning program does not have an on-ramp requirement.) You will be given a welcome package including our mission statement and other important info, and you will be matched up with a trainer who can work with you one-on-one at your convenience to tailor an introductory program to your needs. We’ve found that doing so helps people acclimatize because a coach creates a personalized plan for that athlete, which leads to greater success in group sessions. The cost for eight sessions is $420 (GST included; two-person sessions $630–$315 per person). We can tell you there are cheaper introductory programs elsewhere in the city, as well as group on-ramps and gyms that do not require on-ramps. We believe our individual on-ramp is an investment in your health, and we are confident it will help you learn all CrossFit movements much more quickly. Since we moved to a one-on-one on-ramp program with personalized instruction, we’ve found our clients get results much faster. If you’re the kind of person who invests long term, cares about high quality and wants to build a firm foundation for a lifetime of fitness and health, you’ll enjoy our on-ramp a great deal.  To book an on-ramp, email info@crossfit204.com.

7. After your on-ramp is concluded (it often takes between 10 days and three weeks to do so depending on your schedule), you can enter group classes unless skill levels require additional sessions to ensure safe training. This rarely happens, but it’s worth mentioning because we will not throw you into group classes until you are ready. This is so you can succeed in the group setting. But don’t worry: eight sessions are more than enough time to get you up to speed in almost all cases. Your on-ramp coach will also prepare a graduation report letting all our other coaches know you’re ready to go and what assistance you might need in class. This report is circulated to all coaches so they know how to help you get fit fast. We have a variety of membership options, all listed here. Memberships generally range from about $120 to $160 per month and are dependent on the length of the membership and the number of classes you attend. Your on-ramp trainer is a fitness professional, not a sales rep, and does not receive commission. He or she will simply do a great job and let you decide if you want to take the next step.

Qualified instructors will teach you each movement and ensure you use proper technique.

8. Once you are set up with a membership, you can sign into classes and start coming regularly. But you are not on your own. We will check in with you regularly as you learn the movements and meet our other coaches and athletes, and your on-ramp coach will pay particular attention to you to make sure you’re progressing. We want to know how you’re doing, if you have any questions and what we can do to make your training better. You’re part of the family!

Member’s Stories

By Mike

Let us know if you have a story you’d like to tell!

Debbie’s Story

When I started CrossFit204, I was really scared. I wasn’t sure that I could do it—maybe I am too old for this. I came to the New You classes, and with encouragement from Cody, I never missed a class and I actually did it. Cody made the classes upbeat and often included some of his funny sayings like “ass to the grass” and “you can always do one more burpee,” and it gave me something to remember when I found the work hard. Cody was always willing to listen and help find a scale that each and every one of us in class could do.  

Then I joined the regular classes: I was ready. Everyone was supportive. The coaches never seemed to get tired of me asking how to do the exercise, and then somehow I was starting to think differently about myself and going to Crossfit—I really wanted to go to the WOD. I was always so impressed by how hard the people worked and I often just watched them setting up and testing their strength. 

Crystal and Cody are always watching and help you get the work done. I never did any kind of handstand in my life, and when Crystal helped me wall walk I was beyond words. I even showed my husband what I could do. 

Something changed and I didn’t know exactly what it was. On a regular basis I started telling my family and friends about what I did at the gym.  

So, when I read “Why Everyone Should Lift Weights,” I thought about what James Clear described, and I think that is what changed. Not only did I get more confidence—I know that I can do it. There is no failure. There is always another way to get the work done. You just have to show up.

It is amazing for me to see what I can accomplish, and there is something new and different all the time. Just the other week when we did the sprinting workout, I was so happy that I did it. I felt so good afterwards and for days to come.  

My journey with CrossFit has been so many things: increased physical strength, weight loss and changes in my physical size. What I did not expect was how positive I am to myself, how I tell myself that I can do it. 

I once heard Crystal mention “positive self talk,” and at the time I had never really realized how helpful positive self-talk is. We all know how to talk ourselves out of something; however, to believe you can and will try something that you know is hard is a different mindset. 

I have seen this same change in my sister-in-law, too (belongs to CrossFit Winnipeg). I saw how both she and her husband changed physically and mentally, which is what initially lead me to CrossFit 204. So, whenever we get together or when I did a great job at the workout, we connect and share. I love they way I feel.  

So as I contemplate my journey so far, and my goals for 2018. I look forward to going to CrossFit 204.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year! May 2018 be a year full of great health, happiness and prosperity.

 

crossfit-204-march-17-2017-row-jbJason’s Story

I started CrossFit in 2011 as a mostly sedentary person eating a vegetarian diet that was a bit low in vegetables and high in dill pickle chips. Had I done nothing, my body would have continued a slow decline for the rest of my life. It was a turning point in my life. The change was bigger than simply going from sedentary to active. The community, sharing of knowledge, support, and accountability are what kept me coming back. I was addicted in no time. The results came along with a huge improvement in my quality of life. In addition to CrossFit, I was cycling more and I had started playing hockey again.

However, after more than two years of addiction, I found that I had burned myself out. My progress had slowed. I loved lifting but felt I wasn’t doing enough of it. A lot of the people I “grew up” with at that box had moved on themselves. I wasn’t giving other areas of my life the attention they required. I took a break when a work project came along that was going to demand extra hours for a few weeks. When life returned to normal, I started working out on my own in my garage with a collection of used strength training equipment I had accumulated. I made great progress for more than a year, making many PRs on my squat, bench, and deadlift. That eventually started to plateau as well, and without the community and accountability I found it difficult to put in the work necessary to keep progressing. On top of that, lifting exclusively had its own cost – I was strong, but I was also the heaviest I had been in my life. I was slow and poorly conditioned, and it showed when I played hockey. This was not sustainable.

No fitness story is complete without a discussion of food. As I previously mentioned, I started as a vegetarian eating a significant amount of junk. I quickly added meat into my diet and got rid of some of the junk but was far away from properly fuelling my body. As I became obsessed with lifting and gainz, I focused on getting more protein and total calories at any cost. This included some poor ideas, like eating 4 Egg McMuffins a day or getting peanut butter milkshakes from BDI multiple times a week. While I did make gains, my blood work probably wouldn’t have made a doctor happy.

For a while, I experimented with ketosis and intermittent fasting, and this helped me lose some of the excess weight I’d gained from primarily lifting and not controlling my calories or food quality. It was great for moderate activity like cycling but not higher intensity activity like hockey.

The one constant in my relationship with food has been change. At various points I’ve thought I couldn’t change all sorts of things. I’ve thought I’d never eat meat again. I could never see how I could cut out carbs. I thought I’d die if I went 12 hours without eating. I was able to get myself to change all of those things.

Another thing I thought I would never do is measure my portion sizes. Working with the 204 Lifestyle program, measuring portion size is one of the things that Crystal needed me to do. Soon enough I was using a kitchen scale all the time and seeing my body composition change accordingly. On top of that, increasing food quality is a never-ending journey. It’s not just learning what to buy and how to cook what you’ve bought. It’s constant experimentation. I’m always on the lookout for the best frozen vegetables and the most convenient way to prepare them. I’m always trying to find new ways to prepare a week’s worth of protein. I’m always trying to find the highest quality meat for the best price. Does anyone want to split half a cow with me?

Circling back to my training… Along the way I’d met the love of my life. My training had dropped off and I was a bit restless. We were looking for something to do together. I wanted her to experience the same revelation that I had, so we started up. We started attending another box, but at the same time we were looking for a new home. We eventually ended up in Silver Heights. CrossFit 204 was a natural choice – not only was it close, but I’ve always held Crystal, Mike, and the entire 204 crew in high regard based on my encounters with them. My experience so far has exceeded my expectations – the coaching, programming, and community has been exceptional.

All my previous experiences with the CrossFit Open were mixed, but the Intramural Open made it fun again – a celebration of what we do as opposed to simply seeing where we sit on the leaderboard. This really reflects my main training goal at age 35: sustainability. I don’t get paid to be an athlete, so I don’t need to be the best at anything. But training increases my quality of life in innumerable ways. Not only do I want to be squatting heavy into my old age, but I also need the reminder that consistent work yields incremental improvements that add up over time. Life will continue to get busier as I age, especially if I’m lucky enough to start a family, so the goal will be to find the right balance that allows me to train while juggling everything else. I’m confident that CrossFit 204 will be part of that equation for years to come.

Kelly’s Story

crossfit-204-open-171-kh

It all started for me while watching the Crossfit Games in 2015. I was flipping through the the channels, and there was the Crossfit Games, so I thought I would tune in.

Being a former athlete of volleyball and soccer and now mother of two little people (age 4 and 2 at the time), I watched in awe of these amazing athletes doing these crazy workouts. Sitting there, I realized how much I missed being fit and being an athlete–and I continuously failed at gym-membership commitment. But the Games sparked a desire to be fit–not to be skinny and lose weight but to be fit.

I remembered that my sister-in-law had a friend who often posted about CrossFit, so I searched her name (knowing we were Facebook friends), and there was CrossFit 204.

I decided that night I needed to try it first because, to be honest, the whole idea of CrossFit scared me. It looked tough and there was no way I could do a muscle-up!

So I signed up for a free class one night. Deadlifts–that was the WOD. I honestly needed a lesson simply on what a barbell was. So this was new. Crystal was the coach that night and was the most welcoming and friendly person. Not once did I feel intimidated. I felt inspired and excited to push myself further. I went home and woke up sore, but I was excited to sign up for on-ramp. I knew the day I walked into CrossFit 204 that this was my new sport.

Eight sessions later after learning with Cole, I signed up for my first class. Crystal, Cole and all the coaches were so welcoming and encouraging, and I knew this was a good place for me to be.

Two years later I did my first CrossFit Games Open, scaled of course. I still can’t do a muscle-up, but I am stronger, fitter and more confident.

My kids have made comments to me like, “Good thing you do CrossFit, mom,” and my oldest daughter likes to tell people that I do CrossFit. I don’t look anywhere near the girls at the Games, but my pants fit better, I can lift a barbell and I can hold my head a little higher now with confidence. This is now my new sport and I love it.

It now becomes my refuge on my worst, most stressful days. The people at CrossFit 204 are positive and inspiring, and they know how to push you when you need it. They also know when you need to scale down, and as a nurse I appreciate that care and compassion for health.

I am grateful to have found CrossFit 204. Each day I get a little stronger, and that is what I want to show my kids.

crossfit-204-17-2-th-lunge

Tom’s Story

I will never forget the WOD roughly five years ago when Mike was coaching. During the warm-up, Mike said, “That’s what we’re building here … a loving community.” Awkward silence followed, as these kinds of words seemed out of place at the gym. No one else responded to Mike’s words, we simply went on with the WOD.

I had the good fortune of attending CrossFit 204’s very first class almost eight years ago. A friend encouraged me to come to the “boot camp” offered at Assiniboine Fitness. At that first class, on a cramped gym floor, I met Mike Warkentin, and my health and life have benefitted richly ever since. Over the ensuing years of attending CF 204 3-4 times per week, I came to know Mike as an intelligent man, brilliant writer, gifted coach, positive teacher, fitness expert, eager photographer and fine athlete. But the quality that stands out in my mind when I think of Mike, and a big reason why I remain committed to CF 204, is his compassion.

A fond memory I have of Mike is of the final CF Open WOD a few years ago.  Mike was judging me that day, aware that I had torn the cartilage in my right wrist a few weeks earlier.  Mike knew I wanted to successfully complete the WOD, and that I was afraid of further damaging my wrist. Mike seemed to know something else about me too: the emotional drivers of my need to perform well. At the end of my successfully completed WOD I felt relieved, happy, and a bit overwhelmed at being able to finish, and I looked up at Mike and saw his eyes welling with tears. He apologized quickly as he wiped his eyes, then looked up at me and said, as if to offer an excuse, “I’m just so proud of you.” I will never forget that moment, forever appreciative of his caring.

Mike Warkentin is earnest, and exudes a longing for a world where everyone supports one another toward the greater good of all. CF 204 seems to be a microcosm of the world that Mike surely envisions. Mike cares about people, he cares about their health and wellness, and he cares about making the world a better place if only in a small way, through one lone CF box. I am pleased for Mike because he has no doubt realized a big part, if not all, of his dream. I am pleased that Mike found Crystal for a life partner. Crystal is responsible for CF 204’s exceptional programming, and she excels in her coaching ability. CF 204 has a large following of good people committed to improving their fitness level, and a large cadre of excellent coaches to help you reach your fitness goals.

My current goal is one for the CF Open: to rank in the top half of men in my age class both in Canada West and worldwide, as this is my final year of lifting “big boy” weight in the Open.

CF 204 has changed the lives of its members in dramatic, positive ways. It has changed my life, thanks to the terrific people with whom I get to work out, and the great coaching team.

During the “Diet Challenge” a few years ago, I dropped 15 pounds in 6 weeks, from 183 pounds to 168 pounds.  Perhaps CF 204 has saved my life.

This past January, the results of my CT scan of the heart showed “Fairly extensive three-vessel coronary artery calcification” with a MESA score of 1656, placing me at the 99th percentile with respect to other white males of my age. My score was off the charts, and I was started on a statin (Lipitor) right away. After a couple days of feeling down, and concerned, I am now hopeful that the healthy lifestyle that I have lived thus far will help me to avoid a stroke or heart attack.

I am so deeply grateful to Mike and Crystal for investing so heavily into improving the health and wellness of others. It is possible that, without CF 204, my current health condition might be worse. I have never felt healthier, and the occasional heart pain and arrhythmia I’ve previously experienced during workouts at CF 204 have not occurred in the past two years, and my weight is the lowest it has been in 20 years, at 162 pounds. I have Dale Qually–one of the original CF 204 members–to thank for his nutritional wisdom.

I have never believed the line “If you build it, they will come.” People don’t come to a structure unless there’s a leader to draw them to it. But I do believe that “One man with courage makes a majority.” Mike Warkentin is that man. I revere him, as do many in his CF 204 community of followers …. his loving community.

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Radean’s Story

A number of years ago I had a bad fall, doing some serious damage to my left hip. The pain and neuropathy caused a lot of restriction in the activities I could do, and the inactivity was affecting my mental health. Even skating, a non-impact sport, was difficult. I talked to one of my skating buddies about the struggle I was having, and she told me about her experience doing CrossFit in another part of the city. It sounded like something I should give a chance even though I was a bit skeptical—I had never gone to a gym with barbells and weights and climbing ropes before.

When I first started at CrossFit 204 I was afraid of everything. Afraid to be in the way, afraid every time I heard a barbell drop on the floor, afraid to try anything that might hurt. What kept me coming back was the coaching. I felt encouraged and supported right from my on-ramp and through to starting regular classes. My classmates are all pretty amazing too—friendly, supportive and, very important for me with all my restrictions, there is no feeling of competition or judgement from anybody. The coaches know about my physical restrictions and are quick to help me scale or focus on what I can do to make the most of a movement or workout. I really like that everyone focuses on doing their own workout, their own personal best, and nobody is worried about what anybody else is doing, other than rooting them on.

From a progression point of view, my bright spot has been getting deeper and deeper squats. Just recently I was able to do a snatch lift of 45 pounds with a good, deep squat. Nine months ago I couldn’t lift a barbell over my head let alone squat down at the same time. At the risk of sounding maudlin, every time I go to CrossFit 204 is a bright spot because that hour workout is the most relaxing, mentally decompressing part of my day.

My focus is to continue getting the movements and techniques correct for the various lifts—and maybe to be able to remember what each lift looks like without a demo from the coach every time. However, I am also really motivated to be able to do a strict pull-up. Coach Crystal gave me instruction on how to do negative banded pull-ups to help me with progressing to that goal, so I’m pretty excited to practice those. Beyond those specific goals, I’m working on keeping a regular schedule of CrossFit classes to help maintain the mental health, weight loss and toning I’ve achieved in the past nine months.

I often share this story with others because it just seems to epitomize the CrossFit 204 experience. A few months after I started, in early summer, the program was outdoor sprinting and sled pushing in the open park across the street. I was a little bummed because I thought I’d be inside by myself rowing for the full hour, since I can’t do any impact running. But no. Coach Cody helped me bring the rowing machine out to the park so that I could do sprint rowing, under the trees, while everyone else was running. And I was also able to take part in the sled pushing outside. That was a fun, hard, workout.

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 Bob’s Story

On October 30th I ran my 22nd road race of 2016, a 10-km course that I finished in 41:07, my best time of the year for that distance. I won my age group in the season-long rankings by the Manitoba Runners Association, collected more MRA race points than any other runner in the province, and ran every race in the MRA series.

In 2013, I ran exactly zero road races.

What happened? CrossFit 204 happened. I joined in March 2014, mostly out of curiosity. It was completely unlike anything that I had ever done before, a crazy combination of constantly varied exercises that was a cross between my high school phys ed classes, my daughters’ gymnastics training and a muscle-head, heavy-lifting gym.

Quickly I became hooked, and started boring all my family and friends by talking constantly about CrossFit.

More slowly, it dawned on me that CrossFit was not just preparing me to do better in CrossFit classes; it was making me healthier and fitter for all sorts of activities outside the gym.

So one night in the summer of 2014 I put on my running shoes, headed down Wellington Crescent to Assiniboine Park, and ran about 11 km in an hour. I hadn’t gone out for a run in more than a year. No one was more surprised than me at what I had just done.

A few weeks later, I entered the Fort Garry half marathon, and ran 21.1 km with virtually no specific training, other than CrossFit.

Full disclosure: at one time I was a serious distance runner. I finished 15th in the 1987 Manitoba Marathon in a time of 2 hours and 52 minutes. I came 25th at the national marathon championship in Ottawa in 1990.

Over the years I ran less and less. The last time I ran the full Manitoba Marathon was in 2006. By 2014 I had nagging right knee pain and I thought my running days were done.

CrossFit changed all that. It gave me strength – the knee pain disappeared, no doubt because of stronger muscles built up surrounding it. More importantly, CrossFit inspired the belief that I could be an athlete again, with perseverance and rock-solid confidence that yes, I am going to get through this workout, one way or another.

The races I ran this year were not all easy. I had an injured back for a month that made it hard to walk, let alone run. I strained a groin muscle and had to train on a bicycle much of the summer, running only in races. I had a serious cold for three weeks and ran two half marathons and a 10-km race fighting to breath properly. On a lot of race days, I did not want to get out of bed.

But I did it because CrossFit teaches you to keep going, to train through injuries and to scale your workouts to whatever you are capable of on any given day. It has made me a runner again.

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Leandro’s Story

I joined CrossFit 204 about two years ago. Having grown tired of going to a conventional gym, I was looking for an activity that would incorporate a challenging workout and a social aspect. My girlfriend had been a CrossFit 204 member for a few years and suggested I try it, saying it was just what I was looking for.

After surviving my first class, and getting through on-ramp, I was hooked! The workouts were definitely challenging (and humbling to a newbie), and the members and staff were most welcoming and encouraging. This made for a smooth transition into CrossFit. The coaching staff at CrossFit 204 is top notch – welcoming new members, ensuring everyone has the best workout possible relative to their ability, and maintaining a fun and safe environment at all times while also fostering a sense of community and camaraderie.

As a Type 1 diabetic, the benefits of CrossFit are incredible. When I needed to tweak my diet to better manage my diabetes and improve performance at the gym, I received excellent guidance from Crystal through the 204 Lifestyle program. I look forward to seeing Mike and Crystal’s programming up on the website and seeing what they have in store for us that day.

The members and staff at CrossFit 204 have become like family, and coming to CrossFit 204 is definitely the best hour of my day.

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Yvonne’s Story

I was looking for a way to exercise that was fun for me. I’d been doing yoga for years but didn’t really enjoy it. When I read the article in the Free Press about the CrossFit 204 Legends program, I thought “that’s for me!” One of the Legends described in the article was a former co-worker, and I knew that if she could do it, so could I.

My first impression was that the instructors were friendly and knowledgeable, and willing to accommodate any injuries/limitations I had. Plus the people in the Legends group were welcoming and inclusive. Those things haven’t changed!

My first bright spot was being able to push the sled the full 50 metres and back without stopping to lower my heart rate and catch my breath! That meant that my strength and conditioning were a lot better, which is awesome. Can’t say I like the sled push any better though!

My goal over the past few months has been to lose weight, lose body fat, and increase muscle mass. My weight had crept up and I didn’t feel good about that. I knew I wasn’t eating well, but there are so many diets out there, I didn’t know which approach to use. I wanted to find a way of eating that was balanced and included foods I like so that I could sustain it. I found that in the CrossFit 204 nutrition program, which I’ve been following since June.

Changing my diet improved my life in a major way. I’ve lost 15 lb. and several inches of fat, and I feel much better about myself. I also have a lot more energy and recover more quickly from the workouts. My ability to do the workouts has also gotten better.

My favorite 204 memories are the fun and laughter we share during the workouts. Although the videos of Heavy and Zeppelin are also right up there!

Our Legends program runs every day at 10 a.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. If you know someone who might like to get fit in this fantastic group, please put us in contact with him or her. Information on 204 Lifestyle nutrition services can be found here.