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Jesse started following CrossFit.com in his school gym in early 2007 as a substitute for his regular gym routine. Heather had just passed her BC board exams for Massage Therapy and was starting her practice. She was training for the Vancouver marathon at that time and resisted starting CrossFit until she wasn’t focused on the race. Before CrossFit both Jesse and Heather had extensive experience in the gym environment with conventional training routines and had spent a substantial amount of their time running, mountain biking, skiing/snowboarding and climbing.
Jesse took his CrossFit Level 1 certification that spring. At that time, taking the Level 1 was less about coaching and more about absorbing this new culture and way of training. It was also about connecting with the few others that understood CrossFit and shared the passion for the style of fitness and lifestyle. Heather started CrossFitting the next winter when they moved back to Whistler. Prior to CrossFit Whistler opening in the summer of 2008, they trained in the regular gyms and were largely self taught.
Heather’s analytical brain was curious about the potential effectiveness of the movements and training style as therapy exercises. Only 10 months into practice as an RMT she had already learned that manual therapy for injury was ineffective long term without a strategy for stabilization of the muscular system that actually motivated the patient to commit. She knew she needed to learn more and wanted to add a complimentary training component to her RMT practice.
They each continued to take courses to learn as much as they could about the movement patterns. It was very clear that Jesse was a natural teacher and he started coaching at CrossFit Whistler during the winter of ’08-’09; Heather began the following summer. Heather had a busy massage therapy practice from which she referred many of her patients to the gym as a “test” for the effectiveness of teaching functional movement patterns. Their general observation was that the CrossFit movements were effective for retraining injured joints to move well and that increasing a person’s general level of fitness had positive systemic effects on their health. However, they also noticed that an unnecessary disconnect existed in the opinions and communication between health care and fitness professionals. Through that year Heather and Jesse developed a strong vision of a fitness training facility that incorporated a manual therapy clinic. The vision quickly turned into a business plan.
Since 2009 the coaching and clinic team has grown, and the training programming has also evolved immensely. Heather and Jesse have emphasized to their coaches the importance of continual learning. As a coaching team they have collectively taken over 40 specialty certifications. Through the onsite clinic the coaches, practitioners and athletes are able communicate about the progress of the athletes as it pertains to limitations in range of motion and injury prevention/management. This integrated communication is incredibly effective and helps athletes maintain consistency and commitment to training (factors that can be the biggest limitations to successful fitness).
Heather and Jesse's vision of CrossFit Squamish continues to grow and evolve. Their passion for training is deeper than ever and their desire for knowledge motivates them to continually source new information about training and rehabilitation methodologies.