“We are ready for everything. There’s nothing that (scares us).”
Updated Feb. 15, 2014--Clarified translation of quotation in final paragraph.
There’s a new team in Canada East. And as far as the team members are concerned, there’s nothing standing between them and a trip to the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games.
The athletes of CrossFit Pro1 are preparing to tackle the Canada East Region under the leadership of 2009 CrossFit Games athlete Roch Proteau. Pro1, located in Montreal, Canada, boasts several regional appearances among the team.
Émilie Pfieffer-Badoux, three-time CrossFit Games competitor with team L’Usine CrossFit, is bringing her talent to Pro1. Stéphanie Roy, who finished 19th at the 2013 Canada East Regional, is shifting focus from individual competition to join the CrossFit Pro1 team.
Roy said she chose the team route for a number of reasons.
“This is the first time I’ve had the chance to train with such high-caliber athletes,” she said, “and at a gym like CrossFit Pro1 that has the potential to send a team to Regionals.”
She thinks the new rules with respect to team qualification will make a significant difference.
“The caliber of the team competition is going to be excellent … .This makes the challenge all the more interesting,” Roy added.
Also on board are two Canadian weightlifting champions—Zachary Hébert and Dominic Trepanier—and former national-level track and field athlete Karim El Hlimi.
Proteau said he is confident the team will be able to handle whatever gets thrown their way.
“We are ready for everything,” he said. “There’s nothing that (scares us).”
But if 2013 was any indication, Pro1 will have some heavy competition. L’Usine CrossFit and CrossFit Select have both finished among the top three in the region for the last three years. While L’Usine and Select athletes have trained together for years, Pro1 has only been together a short time. To make up for it, Proteau said they have been training collectively sometimes twice a day—morning and mid-afternoon sessions—since the first of the year. Programming is written week-to-week to ensure athletes’ confidence, skills and motivation. But no times or scores are written down. There is no whiteboard.
Hébert, a husband, father of two and firefighter, said having a flexible schedule gives him the opportunity to keep up with the other athletes on the Pro1 team. Though he can’t train with the team while on duty, Proteau writes workouts for him to do at the station.
“Each day at the station, we are allowed one hour of training time,” Hébert said. “So far I’ve managed to convert seven of my co-workers to CrossFit.”
Despite tricky schedules, the team is tightly knit.
“I’m in close communication with all of my athletes,” Proteau said. “(I) take into consideration their sleep, stress level and nutrition. What’s going to make the difference for us is the absence of any doubt. Everybody is in the best shape of their lives. … We believe in ourselves. We believe in each other.”
El Hlimi said they have a special bond.
“We talk about our lives, laugh, train, support each other and eat together,” he said. “It’s a good time.”
“We’ve really created something special around our gym and with our training,” he added. “You can feel there’s a high level of cohesion amongst us.”
Proteau takes the same approach to coaching that he did when he was a competitive athlete.
“You’ve got to love it so much that you’re ready to die for it. Period,” he said. “You have to be willing to give your life.”
The team will compete in the local competition circuit before the CrossFit Games Open begins on Feb. 27. And their sights are set on the CrossFit Games.
“We’re (going) to go to the Games," Proteau said.