February 21, 2012
From East to West: Jason Cain
By Vera Ilnyckyj

Jason Cain describes himself as “goal-driven” and it’s an apt description. In less than four years, the 34-year-old has gone from getting his “ass kicked” at the 2009 Canada East Regional, to winning the competition in 2011. 

"CrossFit exposes weaknesses, and once you know your weaknesses you can work on improving them."

Jason Cain in the Rope/Clean event of the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games

He placed 38th overall at the 2011 CrossFit Games and is gunning to outperform his ranking this year. Has CrossFit changed is life? Just this past December, Cain moved his young family to Saskatoon to open CrossFit 306, Canada’s second, and Western Canada’s first, Reebok-affiliated box. This involved leaving a career in the pharmaceutical industry, which Cain says, was “by far the best decision of my life – after marrying my wife and having kids of course.”

After his win in 2011, Cain was approached by Reebok to open a new affiliate. It was something he was already thinking about so the timing was perfect. Reebok gave Cain free reign as to location and his research pointed to the prairies. With a population of almost 300,000, Cain felt that Saskatoon could support a third box. And he was right. CrossFit 306 started off with 30 members on December 1 and has quickly grown to more than 120 members, mostly through word-of-mouth endorsements. Cain doesn’t do any marketing, but believes he draws athletes by giving them the highest quality experience possible, hiring the best, most passionate coaches, and maintaining a clean environment with the best equipment. He is a true believer in “continuous improvement,” both in the way he runs his gym and in his training.

It’s Cain’s belief in continuous improvement that has led him to be a champion. “CrossFit exposes weaknesses, and when you know your weaknesses you can work on improving them.” After the 2009 competition, Cain realized he needed to learn and perfect all the CrossFit movements. He searched the Toronto area for the best coach and recruited Jason Bird, the 2009 Canada East Regional winner.

His major weaknesses, however, were the snatch and clean and jerk, so he also enlisted the coaching skills of Steve Sandor, a former Hungarian Olympic team member. He never says, “I can’t,” but instead asks, “Why can’t I do this?” and then focuses on finding the solution. For him, it’s all about perfecting the technique with the right coach, lots of practice, tenacity, and a willingness to “push, push, push.” It’s this mindset that has enabled Cain to get his snatch to 220 pounds; and he can now clean and jerk 265 pounds. His goal is to get 285 pounds by the Open.

Cain is no stranger to the competitive world. He was the provincial wrestling champion in high school and wrestled for the University of Calgary for three years. He started CrossFitting in 2008 at a gym close to where he worked. He joined a group of trainers who were doing “crazy workouts that looked like fun.” He didn’t realize until four months later that these workouts had a name and that people all over the world did CrossFit.

Now that he has his own gym, Cain is passionate about coaching and inspiring his athletes with his philosophy of hard work, willingness to learn, and a “stick with it” attitude, which he believes is the ultimate determinant of success.

He also likes to lead by example. “I do the exact same program as everyone else,” he says. He tells his athletes the gym is “where the magic happens” if you’re willing to do the work. He expects big things from his athletes. He says he anticipates a number of individuals, a few Masters, and a CrossFit 306 team will make it to Regionals.

It’s apparent that Western Canada’s newest box is ready for action and fellow competitors from across the region will be tracking its progress and its “magic.” Welcome to Canada West Jason and CrossFit 306!