Sometimes a small, seemingly insignificant choice can change our lives. Last year, Ali Seifeddine’s wife brought him a “daily deal” CrossFit coupon for Valentine’s Day. In the short 12 months that followed, the 29-year-old CrossFit Ramsay athlete has gone 100 percent paleo, leaned out from 205 to 186 pounds, and has become one of the top athletes in the box. It has become hard to believe that he felt intimidated the first few times he walked into the gym just last year.
Seifeddine, along with fellow athlete Drew Armstrong, is looking forward to giving it all he’s got during this year’s Open. Both hope to make it to the Canada West Regional.
Armstrong, 25, is a corrections officer in Calgary and had been CrossFitting at a non-CrossFit gym for about three years. In August 2011 he decided to go for the “real deal” and signed up at CrossFit Ramsay. His focus, and the energy and support of those in his box have paid off – he came in 1st place at the CrossFit Canmore Challenge this past November.
It’s not surprising, given Armstrong can deadlift 445 pounds, clean and jerk 265 pounds, and power clean 275 pounds. His latest Filthy 50 time was 19:38. Not far behind is Seifeddine, with a time of 19:53. Seifeddine’s other benchmarks include a 3:25 “Fran” and a 43:06 “Murph.”
“It’s amazing to watch these guys. They’ve come so far in such a short period of time,” Ken Andrukow, CrossFit Ramsay owner and coach, says. “I’m looking forward to seeing their Open results.”
These two athletes are intensely focused, passionate, and committed to their sport. It’s interesting that they both find CrossFit to be different from the other sports they’ve played. “There’s no trash talking or one-upmanship. I want everyone I train with to do well,” Seifeddine says.
Andrukow encourages a strong community environment at the box. “I think it’s important for all athletes, regardless of skill level to work and train together. It builds community spirit and encourages friendships,” he says.
Athletes training for competition regularly workout with the entire CrossFit Ramsay community and Andrukow is encouraging all athletes to register for the upcoming Open. “They’re going to be doing Open WODs regardless, so they might as well register and track their progress,” Andrukow says.
CrossFit has become a major part of Seifeddine’s and Armstrong’s lives. What motivates them?
For Seiffeddine, it’s the fear of getting lazy and lethargic. Plus, he hates losing. For him, it’s about getting better, pushing harder, reaching higher. At the end of his workout he usually says he could have done “one more.”
“Where else can you go to willingly suffer?” says Armstrong. For him, his CrossFit training is about growth, both physical and mental. It’s about gaining confidence, both inside and outside the gym and about being grateful that he’s been blessed with his athletic ability.
CrossFit has enabled these two athletes to make lifelong friends, get inspired by those around them, and be part of the passion and dedication of fellow athletes.
As the Open approaches, the athletes are working out seven to 10 times per week. Both maintain a fairly strict eating regime and they credit paleo with making them lighter and stronger (although they do enjoy a cookie, rice krispie square, or chicken wings every once in a while).
Other than staying healthy and maintaining the workouts, Seifeddine is focused on conquering his nerves. The Canmore Challenge was his first competition and his nerves crushed him. Armstrong is focused on remembering that he needs to be in the moment. As much as they’re competitive, and competitors, it’s easy to see they both genuinely want the other to do as best as possible.
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