March 9, 2012
Family Ties: Crystal Kirby-Peloquin
By Ken Andrukow

"CrossFit feeds my competitive nature more than anything else I have ever done."


There are two types of gym families. One, the community of people related not by the blood in their veins, but by the ripped hands and groaning exhaustion after the workout of the day. The other: the mom, dad and kids who share more than hair color or a distinctive nose, but a love for training.

The Kirby-Peloquins are the second type of gym family.

Crystal, Sean and Kathy Kirby-Peloquin all train at CrossFit 204 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It’s the common story: one starts and then slowly draws in the rest. The first Kirby-Peloquin to dive into the CrossFit waters was all-around athlete Crystal. 

Crystal has been training in CrossFit for three years, and has developed skill in technical movements including the clean and jerk (160-pound max) and snatch (120-pound max). She is strong (260-pound back squat – up 30 pounds since last year) and fast (18-minute 5K run). Before CrossFit, Crystal competed in a wide range of sports from track and field to basketball, triathlons to bodybuilding.

“CrossFit feeds my competitive nature more than anything else I have ever done,” Crystal says. “It gives me what I need.” 

Last year she officially made CrossFit her sport. She competed in the 2011 Canada West Regional and took 18th place overall. In the lead up to last year’s Regional, Crystal and others from CrossFit 204 didn’t have a box to train out of. They did their workouts where they could, including back alleys, parks, local globo gyms and garages. 

Her coach, CrossFit Journal editor Mike Warkentin, opened the doors to the new CrossFit 204 in July of last year. The new box has given the CrossFit 204 community a place to call home. Importantly, it has also given them access to equipment that was unavailable in the lead up to last year’s Regional.

“We now have things like bumper plates and gymnastic rings,” Crystal says. “Having those things has helped me improve.”

Yet with Crystal we get the sense that after the time roaming from back alley to vacant garage, she’d rather have a great coach than a beautiful box.

“Warkentin has a gift, he is a very gifted coach,” Crystal says.

Over the last year, Crystal has developed as a competitor. She has increased her back squat PR from 230 pounds to 260, and taken a minute off of her “Grace” time (3:11). As she enters this year’s Open, Crystal has been careful to get enough rest, eat well and spend time on quality training.

“I train six days a week in this diverse and unique community, and spend my time doing quality workouts,” Crystal says. To achieve her goal of finishing in the top five at the Canada West Regional, Crystal has been working hard to train and eat like the top competitors.   

After 12.2, Crystal sits in 120th place overall in the Canada West Region. She’ll need to do some serious work over the next three workouts in order to finish within the top 60 and qualify for Regionals. Despite the challenge ahea,d Crystal is confident.

“I’m sure that when the dust settles after 12.5 I will be in the top 60 and qualify for Regionals,” she says. “That is when I will kick it up, at Regionals.”

Since finding her place as a CrossFit athlete three years ago, she has also earned her CrossFit Level 1 Certificate and has “quit her full-time job as a hair dresser to work full time at CrossFit 204.”