The Jeffrey Adler Series
Athleticism was in Jeffrey Adler’s blood. But it was an untapped potential that took a five-class pass at a CrossFit gym in Montreal, Quebec, to release.
Adler was never a seriously competitive athlete growing up. Sure, he had played hockey and soccer with his friends, but it was never in front of a crowd, and points and performance rarely mattered.
So when a friend convinced Adler to join CrossFit in 2015, he wasn’t looking to compete, he just wanted to do something fun to stay fit. However, Adler always had a love for sports, and he soon found CrossFit fueled his competitive desire. So naturally, Adler joined the 2016 CrossFit Open.
He finished 134th in the Canada East region.
After just one year of CrossFit and with a ticket to the CrossFit Games Regionals within reach, Adler made it his mission to push his athleticism to the next level.
A Double-under Truce
They despised each other at the start.
“I don't know what it was, it just didn't work,” Adler said.
Lambray wasn’t Adler’s type of coach at the time. He would avoid the classes she was scheduled to coach, and if he had to attend during that time, he would do open gym or not go at all.
On the rare occasion Adler did join one of Lambray’s classes, she sometimes didn’t let him in.
“We didn’t like eachother as people,” Lambray said with a chuckle. “But it was funny because the few times (he’d) strut in late for class, I was like, ‘The class has started, so you can't do it.’ So (he) was like, ‘Forget it, I'm just gonna do open gym.’”
It was double-unders that called their truce.
When Adler — who normally trained in the evenings after work — took vacation time that year, it made the most sense to work out in the morning. But mornings were Lambray’s scheduled coaching time.
“I didn't have a choice because she was coaching,” Adler said. “And then after classes, she just spent more time with me.”
At the time, Adler was struggling to master double-unders.
“I did them so much that I could barely go downstairs, my calves were so tight and sore,” he said. “She helped me fix that, and that's where our relationship started.”
Jeffrey Adler and Caroline Lambray at the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games | Photo by Taylor Jordan
As a romantic relationship blossomed, Lambray and Adler continued to train together, where they noticed his potential as a competitive CrossFit athlete. After his performance in the 2016 CrossFit Open, they decided it was time to add more volume to Adler’s training and focus more on his weaknesses.
With Lambray’s extensive coaching experience — she was a CrossFit Level 2 trainer at the time and eventually earned a CrossFit Level 3 certification just a year later — she became his official coach. Lambray dreamed of joining the CrossFit Seminar Staff one day, and this would be a great way to perfect her coaching and programming skills.
Photo courtesy of Caroline Lambray on Instagram
At the end of each season, Lambray and Adler would sit down and discuss whether they would keep working together or not. Though they considered bringing other coaches into the fold, each season, Adler got better and better. There was no reason to change something that worked.
So, Lambray continued to coach Adler alone, creating a program that was individualized enough to address his weaknesses while following the CrossFit methodology. In fact, some of Adler’s workouts came straight from CrossFit.com, and he frequently jumped into group classes.
“(The programming) should be good enough for Jeff, it should be good enough for you, it should be good enough for me,” Lambray said.
Just as Lambray would run a group class through a warm-up and skill practice and discuss the intended stimulus before the members hit the workout, she guided Adler through the basics of movement preparation and practice before she let him go ham.
“People are people. The same kind of pushback you would find coaching someone in an affiliate, it’s the same with Jeff,” Lambray said. “Doing squat holds and squat therapies and PVC snatches. Yeah, nobody's super excited to do it. Jeff was not excited. I made him do it. But just the same as I would do in the group class.”
Photo courtesy of Caroline Lambray on Instagram
A Taste of the Games
As the 2016 CrossFit Games approached, Adler began to dream of making it to the finals.
“Well, do you want to see the Games?” Lambray asked him one day.
Lambray had been volunteering at Regionals since 2014, hoping to meet the people who could help her join the Seminar Staff one day. So, to expose Adler to the best of the best in his new sport, Lambray and Adler signed up to volunteer at the 2016 CrossFit Games.
Adler worked on the Event Team, moving equipment on and off the field, and Lambray went with broadcast, helping guide producers through the action as a sideline spotter. The couple made it their “summer vacation,” returning as volunteers the following year.
But by the close of the 2017 CrossFit Games, Adler decided he wanted to do more than roll barbells onto the field.
He wanted to lift them.
“I’m not going back unless I’m competing,” he declared.
Caroline Lambray and Jeffrey Adler volunteering at the 2016 CrossFit Games | Photo courtesy of Caroline Lambray on Instagram
Cover photo by Johany Jutras