By Eric Elliott
For many, fitness is something focused on for an hour a day at the gym as a standard practice of staying healthy. But for five members of Endeavour Fitness in Invermere, its a lifestyle culminating in a competition that keeps them going everyday.
Coach and owner Jolaine Undershute, Stephen McIntosh, Lainey Wilson, Greg Nyuli and Kris Newman all traveled to Penticton, B.C. to compete in the Okanagan Valley Throwdown on Saturday, January 28th and Sunday, January 29th.
Ms. Undershute, a four-time CrossFit Games competitor herself, entered the event in November of last year, hoping to find a fun competition to participate in and one she would be able to enjoy with several of the more advanced athletes she trains everyday.
The reason I registered was because I thought if we went down as a team, even though we didnt compete as a team, that if I approached competition from that standpoint where Im going with my students and friends, there to have fun (rather) than be so serious about it that maybe I might actually have fun and be able to relax a little more and perhaps even perform better, she said.
Competing with Ms. Undershute in her division was Ms. Wilson who was returning to the Throwdown only a year after competing in the recreational division, which scales the workouts down to an easier level for the average competitor. Ms. Undershute said that Ms. Wilson was apprehensive about doing this years competition in the RX division but was pleasantly surprised once the workouts were released a week before.
I think it was just having a huge sense of accomplishment being able to compete in the RX, just because I found the first time around as a recreational athlete trying to see if I wanted to pursue it more, Ms. Wilson said. The first time I did I learned that I loved it and it was really satisfying to know that I had trained hard and was able to compete kind of in the top category.
Not only did Ms. Wilson compete in the RX division, she did so against her coach and in their 750-meter row event, she defeated her coach by three seconds. The master did end up getting the better of the apprentice by the end of the weekend though as Ms. Undershute finished tied for second in the competition withMs. Wilson finishing in 11th place.
The space on the podium was Ms. Undershutes highest finish in a CrossFit event of her career despite finishing in fourth at the Games once before. Still, she thinks about what could have been if she improved her rowing event.
I think that just competitively I could have been a little bit smarter with the row and held myself back at the beginning of the row, she said. Sometimes you make those decisions and sometimes its a good decision and a good judgment call and other times its not. Thats all part of the competition.
While the others had been to the competition before, Mr. McIntosh and Mr. Nyuli were making their first appearances in the world of functional fitness as competitors.
The reasons for the competition for me was to find out where Im at with everything and all the training weve been doing and see how I stack up against other people within the sport, Mr. McIntosh said.
After finishing the first event, the Snatch, in last place, he found himself in the Chipper event, which featured several movements like double-unders and deadlifts that he was able to excel in. From there, Mr. Mcintosh fought to rid himself of the pressure and was able to finish in 21st place at the end of the weekend, a finish he said hes happy with, being that it was his first time competing.
Competing in the ages 39-44 masters division, Mr. Nyuli said he exceeded his expectation on the weekend, finishing third in the 750 meter rowing event, which pushed him into a sixth place finish in his division by the end of the weekend.
Despite finishing in seventh in the over 45 mens category, Mr. Newman was able to set a personal record (PR) during the snatch event, lifting 110 pounds, which is an event he considers a weakness.
It was pretty awesome PRing, I didnt think I was going to, Mr. Newman said. The snatch is my weakest lift and I wasnt expecting to be able to do that much that day. It was just the right day.
With the competition in the history books now, the group continues to wake up at 5 a.m., to get ready for the CrossFit Opena five-week international workout competition that begins February 23rd. For some this training may seem ludicrous, but for the Invermere CrossFit athletes, its a practice of solidarity that just happens to be focused on improving their health.
I think thats probably why we choose to workout with those people at crazy hours of the morning and why we choose to keep our friendships the way we do because theyre super supportive, Ms. Wilson said. So to have that support carry from the gym to competition and then to smile with each other as we succeeded and competed and travelled together, it just brings us closer. It gives even more reason to train together.