Jolaine Undershute goes through another hard day of training in preparation for her third appearance at the CrossFit Games coming up on July 19th in Carson, California

Jolaine Undershute goes through another hard day of training in preparation for her third appearance at the CrossFit Games coming up on July 19th in Carson, California

All eyes were on Jolaine Undershute at the 2013 Reebok Crossfit Games. It was the final workout of the Games, one which she thought would work in her favour.

But at the bottom of a 15-foot rope, shes hit rock bottom. After doing three of the required four consecutive rope climbs, she can no longer grip the rope. She tries to scale it once more, but fails, falling nearly 10 feet to the ground, resulting in form failure. After setting out with the goal of a top three finish, shes seeing her dreams slowly evaporate with each passing second.

Finally, she reached the summit of her fourth climb. Jolaine, known then as Jolaine Bloom, finished as much of the workout as she could, but in the end it wasnt enough. She finished the Games as the fourth fittest woman in the world aged 40 to 44.

After I finished it, I was completely devastated at what just happened because I was so close to getting on the podium, she said, describing how she broke down crying on a friends shoulder in the seconds after the event. Ive let everyone down. Ive let my town down, Ive let my family down, Ive let my friends down, Ive let my gym down.

Growing up, Jolaine was always interested in physical activity, competing as a gymnast, trampolinist and competitive diver. It wasnt until after she spent 15 years working in the retail industry that she rediscovered her passion for the fitness industry and began a new career path in 2008.

After moving from Vancouver to Invermere, she and her now ex-husband Brandon, who was a personal trainer, were looking for a more challenging workout for one of Brandons clients. The couple stumbled upon CrossFit, which essentially was a marriage of gymnastics, weightlifting and aerobic activity all thrown into one sport.

Searching online through the workouts, they eventually decided on a CrossFit classic, Cindy, because, she said, they thought it would be easy. The workout required athletes to do as many repetitions as possible of five pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 air squats in 20 minutes.

That was the first one and it was a very bad decision because, for me, 26 rounds later, I had no legs or no arms left, she said.

After logging back onto the CrossFit website, Jolaine saw others who had done the workout were posting their scores for the world to see.

Well, I was sold after that because I started looking at these scores and I thought, I can beat these woman, I think I might be really good at this, she said.

From there, she began taking the certification courses necessary to own her own CrossFit gym, which she originally opened in 2009. By 2012, her gym had swelled in popularity and she decided to move the facility to its current home in the Industrial Park, adopting the name Endeavor Fitness.

EE-Jolaine handstandweb

Jolaine said that while she enjoyed the intensity of the CrossFit workouts, it wasnt until 2012 that she tried the CrossFit Open an international competition available to anyone looking to qualify for the regional competition, where they would compete for entry to the Games. In the end, Jolaine placed sixth in Canada West in the Open workout before placing seventh at regionals, narrowly missing out on her chance to go to the Games.

Needless to say, my peers were like, Where the hell did this woman come from and Im getting beaten by an old lady, she said of competing at the age of 40.

The following year, in the first year that the Games created a Masters age group for competitors over the age of 40, Jolaine accomplished her goal of making it to the notorious CrossFit Games. While she failed in her attempt to make it on the podium in 2013, she said she fought tirelessly in the off-season to come back stronger than ever in 2014.

For Jolaine, its been a long time since that 2013 letdown.

You can do anything that you put your mind to. Theres something magic about what happens in a CrossFit gym.”

Hitting personal best after personal best, she qualified once again for Games in the womens Masters division aged 40 to 44. That chance at redemption was robbed from her as she sprained her back only two weeks before leaving for Carson, California.

In 2015, she made her return to Carson and finished seventh in the Masters division at the age of 43. While the road as a CrossFit competitor has been rocky thus far, she said its allowed her to become more humble as a person.

Its been challenging and its been rewarding all at the same time for the last five years, she said. What I would say the difference is today is that Im more humble. I have a crazy skill set, like Im turning 45 this year and Im doing things that I never even thought of doing. However, I have to realize even though Im super strong, Im breakable. I have to be a little more careful in these older years.

Less than a month away from competing at her third CrossFit Games, Jolaine is working daily on strengthening her weaknesses, which she refers to as areas of opportunity. A barbell specialist and lover, both her and her coach Michael Fitzgerald say they understand running is her most important area of improvement.

I used to do a lot of running as a fitness competitor, but I cant do as much running now because I have so many other things to focus on and it really tightens up my hip flexors and I have a really hard time with heavy movements, she said.

Michael said that, despite currently being ranked second in her Masters category, Jolaines success at the Games relies heavily on her confidence in her skill set, including running.

She just has to be confident that she can do it, he said. She just has to be comfortable with the fact that its going to be very hard and she cant think that its just going to somehow come easy to her.

At the end of the day, Jolaine understands that shes not going to win everything and thats okay. Her successful life in CrossFit is one few have lived and many aspire to.

Five or 10 minutes after I finish that workout and Im done rolling around on the floor, Ive just accomplished something that maybe, perhaps, I didnt think I could do or I just pushed beyond what I thought I was capable of and mentally, thats very powerful because your take away from that is pretty much that you can do anything, she said, highlighting the CrossFit lessons she tries to instill in her clients every day as a coach.

You can do anything that you put your mind to. Theres something magic about what happens in a CrossFit gym.”