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Getting to Know Turts

It came to my attention during our Christmas Party games this past year that not everyone knows the Coaches as well as I figured they did.  In fact, for some folks who always attend classes at a specific time of day, they had not even ever been taught by  some of the Coaches!  For this reason, I figured it would be a good idea to get to know our CrossFit Zone Team better, across the board.  Starting with our owners!

Cam, a.k.a “Coach Turts” is our first contributor.  Take a look at what makes him tick:

How did you find CrossFit?

I broke my foot in 5 places racing BMX bikes in 2007.  After months of getting depressed and into terrible shape, I stumbled upon Crossfit by way of a firefighter I met in early 2008.  I needed some sort of drive to train hard given that I had essentially retired from competitive sport.  Crossfit provided that right away and brought excitement back into my training.

What is your favourite CrossFit Exercise or WOD?

I think Jackie (1000m row, 50 thrusters, 30 pullups) is my favorite WOD, but recently I’ve really been enjoying any variation of Mary (handstand pushups,pistols, pullups) now that I can (somewhat) do pistol squats!  I actuallyenjoy pretty much all workouts that we do but I can honestly say that Fight Gone Bad is probably my least favorite WOD.

As far as exercises are concerned, I like rowing for the rhythm and toughness factor, double unders cause they get me easy points, and thrusters because everyone else is scared of them!!

How long have you been CrossFitting for?

A little over 3 years.

What do you do for a living?

My “day job” is being a Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Canadian Sports Centre Pacific.  I design and implement training programs for international and Olympic level athletes in the sports of Triathlon, Swimming, and Lightweight Rowing.  I’m really fortunate to get to work with these people day in and day out and to help them achieve their goals.

Right now it’s an exciting time as all of the groups are starting their build towards London 2012… three years of training towards it and now it seems so close!

What are your hobbies?

I like mountain biking, indoor climbing, playing pitch and putt and going to movies/dinner with Michelle 🙂  I also do play the occasional video game – but I’m still working on the PS2!!

What are your goals?

This year – to make the Regionals and to finish in the top 20.

WOD goals: Jackie (sub-6 minutes), Fran (sub-3min).  I really think it would be cool to do Christine (3 rounds of 500m row, 12 deadlifts @ bodyweight, 21 box jumps) in under 8 minutes but the margin is pretty slim on that one!

I pretty much have goals for every lift imaginable so I won’t bore you with the rest 🙂

Why do you CrossFit?

Every day brings a new challenge.   It is extremely rare that I finish a wod and think “that was easy”!  Since we train so many different movements and combinations, there is always something to work on and improve.

I think the best part for me though about Crossfitting in our gym is that I get to train, compete with, and share victories/defeats with some amazing people.  Life is all about shared experiences and Crossfit Zone has created an awesome forum for that to happen.

Any Advice for future CrossFitters?

Mostly for the guys – DONT rush into this full bore and try and beat everyone in sight… trust me, this is not the way to go!  It has taken me three whole years of adaptation to get to the point where I’m not afraid to bang out 100 pullups or huge amounts of thrusters or wallballs.  You’ve got to allow your body to build into the intensity.

In general though, just try it!   Listen to your coaches, listen to your body, come in and just have fun doing new things.  It’s an amazing experience.

What do you like the most about Coaching at The Zone?

I know it’s a bit of cliché, but it’s the everyday accomplishments of our members.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s someone’s first pullup or they just reached the top of the leaderboard – every success is memorable and inspiring.

It’s also pretty cool that everyone comes in to TRAIN and WORK.  I’ve been training people for over 10 years and there is nothing more rewarding to me than having people show up willingly to push themselves.  You’d be amazed at how rare this is in the personal training/strength coach world.

There’s also a lot of personal satisfaction I get out of seeing improvements in all levels of our membership.  Since I program 90-95% of the workouts, it’s cool to see the changes that emphasis on one area (i.e. squat strength) over a period of a few months can dramatically affect performance down the road…  Yep, our members are pretty much a part of my grand crossfit programming experiment haha.

What do you find the most challenging about being a Coach/Owner?

Not being able to find solutions to technique problems or stagnation in performance fast enough.  Although that being said, there is a lot of character development and problem solving that happens when people hit stalling points that are always good learning experiences.

I also find it hard to balance the need for variety in programming WODs with trying to provide the most consistent and planned path to greater fitness for our community.

Where do you see The Zone 5 years from now?

I see us maintaining that wonderful community feeling that we have built over the past few years while being able to offer more programs and services to our membership.

Ideally I would love for CrossFit Zone to be a centre for health, fitness, performance, and education about all of the former.  I think there is a real gap in terms of availability of quality performance and health information education and I’d like to be able to fill that with seminars and courses offered at the Zone.  There are great things to come for sure.

What stands out as one of your proudest or most favourite memories during your Coaching time at The Zone?

I think it would be totally inadequate for me to list one moment or memory that sticks out… there are too many to count!   I think I take the most pride in where we are right now versus where we were when I first started at the Zone.  All of the coaches and members have contributed so much over the past few years to make the Zone the amazing place it is today.

How did you get your CrossFit Nickname?

Haha… well, pretty early in my involvement at the Zone the coaches (at the time there were only 4 of us – Dee, Shannon, Krista and myself) got together to discuss technique on several exercises to see if we were all on the same page.  When it came to getting weight overhead, I hopped up to demo a push press with my somewhat characteristic “head through the arms” finish… and suffice to say Bones thought I looked like a turtle sticking its head out of its shell.  So from there it was Turtle and then quickly Turts.  Not the most inspiring or threatening name but I guess that’s part of the fun 🙂

***Class Schedule Notice – There will be no 630pm class this Wednesday (May 10) or next Wednesday (May 17) as these time slots will be reserved for preparations around the Canada West Regionals.  Our apologies for any inconvenience, regular Wednesday 6:30pm classes will resume May 24th.***

Today’s Workout

Buy-in:  4 rounds of – 50 single skips, 10 kettlebell swings, 10 situps, 5 inchworms


All caps cause it’s legit… probably the best-known workout in the Crossfit world, Fran is quintessential WOD material:  short, intense, and full of thrusters and pullups!  This one’s worth giving a shot at the Rx if you’re close to comfortable with the pullups and thruster weight… if not, scale to keep it inside 8min.

Rx:  For time –

  • 21-15-9 rep rounds of:
  • Thrusters (65/95)
  • Pullups

Zone 3:  scale thrusters to 55/75

Zone 2:  thrusters at 35/55, assisted pullups

Zone 1:  scale as needed 

Cash-Out:  Goat practice – choose one or two skills and work them… AND record your Fran time on!!!

Workout of the Day

  1. b05-11-11

    awww! but where is the comment ” I cry when i talk about members achievements” one of your most endearing traits!

  2. Shannon (Bones)05-11-11

    Fran is my arch nemesis…

  3. Donald05-11-11

    Thanks for this, I really like the “Getting to know” idea and have enjoyed getting to know Coach Turts a little better… but seriously still on a PS2?

  4. cam05-11-11

    Donald – here’s what I figure – I don’t know what I’m missing if I never see/use another (better) system… and in the meantime, I can buy used PS2 games for $10!!! yeah budday!

  5. Shannon (Bones)05-11-11

    Came across this today, and thought it was appropriate…,525404123

  6. Doc05-11-11

    Great write-up about our very own Turts! I want to reiterate the importance of listening to your coaches and your body! Sometimes your mind tells you to push when you need to scale back (and sometimes the opposite is the case).

    Also, this doesn’t really affect me, but I imagine that cancelling the 6:30pm class for two months straight has been frustrating for some of our regular members. For some people, the 6:30 class is the only one they can attend because of their work schedule, and so cancelling it (especially the day of) can put a big hole in their workout routine.

    I would like to suggest that we either rotate the cancelled classes, or schedule team workouts in a time-slot that doesn’t conflict with general member workouts.


  7. Sarah W05-11-11

    Who would buy that shirt for their kid? Seriously.

  8. cam05-11-11

    Hey Meg,

    Good comments – definitely the late notice is an issue and no excuse for that – apologies to anyone who has been inconvenienced (anyone feel free to email me about it).

    We figured that instead of switching days and potentially causing confusion (lots of our members don’t stay in touch with the blog) we thought we would stick with the same day in the hopes that our members had gotten used to making alternate arrangements.

    Looking forward, it is this week and next week that are affected… then back to usual 🙂


  9. gregr05-12-11

    would like to chime in on how lucky “we” are to have a guy like Cam around. first class all the way and he always has time to chat and take a genuine interest in everyones training accomplishments! thanks Cam!

  10. Heather Cameron05-12-11

    I think my girls would love that t-shirt. They could
    wear it with their “Bad Ass” socks!

  11. cam05-12-11

    Hey Greg, thanks for that, just love being around my Zone people!

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