Coaches

TAVIA VAN DAMME - CO-OWNER/PROGRAM DIRECTOR/HEAD COACH

My love affair with CrossFit began in 2010 when I first walked through the doors of CrossFit Pickering.  As a personal trainer, Phys. Ed. Teacher, and football player, I felt that I had a good level of physical fitness. As I laid in a pool of sweat after my first workout, I quickly realized that there was a whole other dimension of fitness that I had never realized existed! After only a couple weeks of CrossFit, I started to notice significant changes in my body, athleticism, and mental performance.  I was getting faster, leaner and stronger doing less traditional weight training and spending less time in the gym!                                         As a certified personal trainer (CSEP), I believe that I have established a good foundation of physical fitness, and nutrition.  My specialized Honors degree in Kinesiology and Health Science (BSc.), provides me with a strong foundational knowledge base in human anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics.  My Bachelor of Education (Bed.) in Health and Physical Education equips me with the tools to be able to present my knowledge to my athletes in an educative and creative manner.  My Canadian National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) certifications in Olympic weight lifting , volleyball,  and basketball  provides me with a theoretical and technical skill set to best prepare my athletes to execute sport specific movements with high proficiency and accuracy. It was not until I enrolled in my CrossFit Level 1 Trainers course, did I learn how to best utilize all of the elements in my portfolio. Through CrossFit’s philosophies on how to achieve optimal health and fitness, I was finally given the tools to assist my students, athletes, and clients in achieving their personal, fitness, and wellness goals.

  • Specialized Honors Bachelor of Science (BSc), Kinesiology and Health Science – York University
  • Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) – Secondary/Intermediate Health and Physical Education. – York University
  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • Certified CrossFit Trainer - Level 3
  • CrossFit Coaches Prep Course
  • CrossFit Kids Trainer
  • CrossFit Mobility Course
  • CrossFit Gymnastics Course
  • NCCP Olympic Weightlifting Coach -  In Training
  • Attitude Nation Weightlifting Certification Level 1
  • Catalyst Weightlifting Level 1 Coach Certification
  • NCCP Level 2 Basketball and Volleyball
  • Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology (CESP) – Certified Personal Trainer
  • CPR Level 'C' First Aid/CPR


SUE ANN VAN DAMME - CO-OWNER/BUSINESS MANAGER

I spent 13 years working in the investment industry.  Starting out as an Investment Analyst with Mercer Investment Consulting and most recently spent 7 years as a Futures Trader with Mapleridge Capital Corporation. I have always been heavily involved in sports, having played varsity hockey at UofT and being awarded OUA first team all-star and CIAU All-Canadian and in the ‘AAA’ (NWHL) league after university. I have always found working out boring and had difficulty getting motivated to do it. CrossFit has changed all that. The CrossFit methodology is so unique and brilliant in the results that are achieved not only for elite athletes but for people of all levels of fitness.

Favourite movement/workout and why?

Grace. Simple and effective.

Least favourite movement/workout and why?

Double unders, thrusters, and burpees. I get gassed so quickly. I am finally starting to get more proficient at double unders though.

What do you like to do outside of CrossFit?

I love spending time with family and friends and playing hockey.

Advice for someone starting or wanting to start CrossFit?

Just do it. You won't know if you don't try. Give it 6 months and see what happens. It could change your life!

  • Bachelor of Science (BSc), Mathematics & Economics – University of Toronto
  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • NCCP Olympic Weightlifting Coach -  In Training

ZACH REYES - COACH

My passion for fitness started way before CrossFit. Growing up around older siblings and cousins that were mainly male brought my competitive nature out at a very young age, boys will be boys. Through high school I continued to take my talents through multiple sports. After a workout one November 2012 I remember coming to pay a visit to Canuck, from what I saw I was already hooked. I did my first class the following day and boy, was I DESTROYED! But there’s something about CrossFit that keeps you coming back for more, and that’s what happened…bring on the challenge!

What is your biggest contribution as a Coach?

My ability to relate to different individuals of all ages through my ongoing 5 year experience in this sport. Also, my pizza eating capacity is through the roof!

Least favourite movement/workout and why?

Anything related to an online qualifier! Those nerves at "3,2,1 GO" just never leave you, new or not!

What do you like to do outside of CrossFit?

Travel! Love exploring different parts of the world, especially our city. Sometimes we forget how much we have in Toronto (or nearby!)...mainly for the food!

Advice for someone starting or wanting to start CrossFit?

Just.Do.It. Take it day-by-day, enjoy the process!

Favourite joke...and go!

"It's JUST 5 minutes."

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • Attitude Nation Weightlifting Certification Level 1
  • Catalyst Athletics Weightlifting Level 1 Certification (In Progress)
  • Centennial College - Police Foundation
  • First Aid & CPR certified

SARAH BASSELS - COACH

Sport entered my life at a young age with skating and I would grow to eventually compete at a provincial and national level on a precision team; I loved the team competition! Also, growing up in a hospitality family, food was a huge component in my world. In 2011, my passion for food took over. I was at my heaviest, unhappy with myself that I lost my discipline and drive. Most importantly, I wanted to start a family and I refused to start such an important stage in life in a poor physical and mental state. It was time for a change. I was invited to try an "8 minute WOD". No problem - I got this! It crushed me...bad. I never wanted that feeling again...but I apparently did, because I haven't stopped since!

What is your biggest contribution as a Coach?

I love finding a way to relate to each individual differently that helps motivate them to be the best they can be and continually try to push themselves even more. And apparently, I am the box mom, so I also contribute motherly advice. 

What is your favourite movement/workout and why?

CrossFit Games Open 17.5 Workout - 10 rounds for time of 9 Thrusters at 65lbs and 35 Double Unders. Why? Because that was my first Open workout win against Sue Ann!

Least favourite movement/workout and why?

Thrusters and Burpees...literally Google it and you'll see why! I have no engine!

Advice for someone starting or wanting to start CrossFit?

Be scared - no seriously, a little fear is good! It means you care about how your life will be affected after. The hardest part is literally picking up that phone, dropping a message, or walking through the gym door. The rest will be easy, because you'll have a community to guide and support you for life!

Favourite joke...and go!

Who's Sarah?

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Kids Trainer
  • CrossFit Mobility Course
  • CrossFit Endurance Course
  • Attitude Nation Weightlifting Certification Level 1
  • Catalyst Weightlifting Level 1 Coach Certification (In Progress)
  • CANSkate Coaches Certificate
  • University of Guelph - Bachelor of Commerce, Hotel & Food Administration
  • First Aid & CPR Certified

GRAEME FIELDING - COACH

My affinity for fitness began at an early age. I performed a nightly routine with cement filled dumbbells while I was still in elementary school. When in high school, my dad gave me Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding as a birthday present and it became my bible. From there, I began my tireless journey as a competitive bodybuilder, which lasted the better part of the next decade. Eventually I did tire though. I was losing my motivation to train, and after retiring from the competitive bodybuilding circuit I no longer enjoyed attending the facility that was supposed to provide my outlet and escape from life's normal pressures. This led me to the doorstep of a local CrossFit box. All it took was one workout and my desire to become an elite athlete was instantly renewed.

What's your biggest contribution as a Coach?

Twenty plus years of pursuing multiple aspects of fitness as a passion.

What brought you to Coaching?

As soon as I began CrossFit I wanted to learn all I could and teach it to others. No other fitness modality was as complete, functional, and empowering.

Favourite movement/workout and why?

Clean and Jerk. Picking and standing up a big weight and putting it overhead feels awesome.

What do you like to do outside of CrossFit?

I like to find fun activities to do with my kids and weekend getaways with my wife (without the kids).

Advice for someone starting or wanting to start CrossFit?

Do it. You'll never look back and you have nothing to lose by getting stronger.

Favourite joke...and go!

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • CrossFit Mobility Course
  • Attitude Nation Weightlifting Certification Level 1
  • George Brown College - Fitness and Lifestyle Management
  • Standard First Aid CPR/HCP

  

BERNIE CRAWFORD - COACH

This journey started by accident after hitting the never ending plateau at the gym. Stuck in the same place, but working out 4-5 days a week. By a lucky chance a coworker told me that some of her friends were starting a CrossFit gym and I should try it. It took 5 days to be able to move without feeling the ache of having worked hard. I was in decent shape and 1 hour did this? It helped me break through the plateau, losing 65lbs and 25% body fat.

What brought you to Coaching?

Actually, the CrossFit Open did. I was already wowed by the help that Tavia had given me. Stiff hips, unable to get below parallel and poor eating habits were all traits and she slowly chipped away at all of them. The kicker though happened to be Open WOD 13.2. Shoulder to Overhead, Deadlifts, and Box Jumps. I was gassed by the end of the first 2 minutes, but Tavia and Darryl yelled at me to pick up the bar. My brain checked out and my body just listened to the instructions. For the next 8 minutes, I was a robot that could do whatever anyone told me to do. I realized that the mind was the biggest limiter when you got close to the red-line and if you shut it off and just do what is yelled at you, you can get through anything.

Favourite movement/workout and why?

Favourite? There are so many...I will have to just pick 'The Sandwich'. Why? Well, I like sandwiches...obviously. That and it includes the Row, Deadlift, and Shoulder to Overhead. All fun things!

Least favourite movement/workout and why?

Right now? That's a tough one because depending on the day, it changes. Right now, double unders and I are NOT friends...

What do you like to do outside of CrossFit?

Lots of incredibly dumb things, all of which CrossFit has made a bit easier. I enjoy cycling (road) and climbed Mount Ventoux in 2014. Recently I tried to overcome my dislike of running by completing the 2017 Chicago Marathon.

Advice for someone starting or wanting to start CrossFit?

Don't be afraid. There are lots of things that are hard to do, but very few of them will give you a return like CrossFit does. Every little bit of energy expended and drop of sweat is an investment in a healthier life. A chance to live a little bit longer. To play with your kids or grand-kids. To live life on your terms.

Favourite joke...and go!

JUST KEEP GOING! IT GETS EASIER EVERY ROUND (...knowing full well, that it does not...)

  • Ryerson University - Bachelor of Commerce, Information Technology Management
  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • Catalyst Weightlifting Level 1 Coach Certification (In Progress)
  • Standard First Aid (AED)
  • CPR Level C

 

ANDREW HUGHES - COACH

Growing up, sports were part of my life at every turn. I always came back to my true passion - running. I competed and trained at a wide range of distances all the way up to marathon, and at various levels, including provincially. After an accident a few years ago, which severed an artery and a nerve in my right leg, I was told I was unlikely to regain full use of my foot. I was fitted with a brace and told I would likely never walk without it again. As a life-long runner, this was devastating news. Over the months that followed I did everything I could to help my recovery. Trying everything from traditional strength training to spinning/cycling, I ultimately ended up at CrossFit Canuck. Through the support of our coaches and others, my recovery progressed faster than the doctors ever expected or thought possible.

What brought you to Coaching?

I have always enjoyed helping people achieve their goals. After experiencing firsthand the benefits of CrossFit in recovering from a life changing accident, I was drawn to helping others do the same.

Favourite movement/workout and why?

Running. I love the rhythm. The way it can clear your head. The freedom to be able to just pick up and go.

Least favourite movement/workout and why?

Thrusters. Does anyone really like thrusters?

What do you like to do outside of CrossFit?

A little of everything, including hockey, scuba diving, photography, cooking, and playing guitar.

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Endurance Trainer
  • CrossFit Kids Trainer
  • CrossFit Gymnastics Course
  • Pose Running Technique Specialist
  • Catalyst Weightlifting Level 1 Coach Certification
  • First Aid CPR (AED) Level 'C'
  • Toronto Fire Services Career Preparation Course

 

SUZANA MAJCEN - COACH

My love for an athletic-based lifestyle started early on. Once I entered the workforce, it became challenging to stay active and fit, especially with long commutes and sedentary office work. I made some lifestyle changes and I was able to get back into action! I did spinning, joined a gym at my office, and also tried a variety of sports including soccer, ultimate Frisbee, rock-climbing, and more. I thought I was doing well in maintaining my fitness...until I was introduced to CrossFit in 2012. I was lucky, my friends opened CrossFit Canuck. I joined the first month to support them, after that I signed up for an additional month, but I just wanted more, so I jumped in head first and have been a member ever since!

What brought you to Coaching?

I wanted to help people get better at moving their body, and see their amazement at the changes to their well-being that CrossFit can produce.

Favourite movement/workout and why?

Thrusters, because I can do them, but lots of other people hate them LOL

What do you like to do outside of CrossFit?

There are things to do outside of CrossFit??? I use to play volleyball, rock-climb, run, bike, but I mainly just do CrossFit now. I have so much fun doing it, mostly because we do it as a group and it feels like we are on a team together fighting for the same goals - to be strong and healthy!

Advice for someone starting or wanting to start CrossFit?

Just give it a chance! Lots of people are scared they are not strong enough to start CrossFit, because they don't understand that CrossFit is the best way to get them stronger, no matter what status their health is in.

  • Bachelor of Applied Science - Engineering Science, University of Toronto
  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • Attitude Nation Weightlifting Level 1 Certification
  • CPR Heartsaver Level 'C'
  • NCCP Level 1 Volleyball
  • Catalyst Weightlifting Level 1 Certification (In Progress)

ROB CILIA - POWERLIFTING COACH 

I had always been an athletic person, playing almost every sport I could from elementary through to high school. Unfortunately, when college became a priority in my life, movement did not. I gained a significant amount of weight through my first two years of college and was extremely unhappy with my physique. I began visiting online message forums looking for exercise advice, when in 2007 there was mention of CrossFit. This led me to the Main Site. I liked the idea of having programming done for me. I began following the main site workouts, paired with basic weightlifting and cardio work. From there, I got into coaching both CrossFit athletes and powerlifters.

Rob has proudly coached a National Champion, a two-time Provincial Champion, 4 Provincially qualified athletes, and 3 Regionally qualified athletes. He has also coached an athlete to 4+ National Records and 7+ Provincial Records, 2 Best Team Awards, 2014 Top 25 Nationally Ranked Lifter, 2015 Top 25 Nationally Ranked Master Lifter, 2016 Top 25 Nationally Ranked Master Lifter.

What is your biggest contribution as a Coach?

Coaching athletes to provincial and national championships.

What brought you to Coaching?

What started as a way to earn money, for teaching about something I was passionate about, became a passion in itself.

Favourite movement/workout and why?

Deadlift. There is no greater feeling than holding a massive amount of weight in your hands.

What do you like to do outside of CrossFit?

Golfing has become a big passion of mine; I believe it compliments my fitness. It exercises my mind and helps me strategize like I do not normally do.

Advice for someone starting or wanting to start CrossFit?

There is a reason can be utterly exhausted and still come back. It's the community. To me the fitness is secondary to the relationships you will build.

Favourite joke...and go!

Golf is a nice walk ruined.

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • First Aid/AED Certified
  • Current Ontario Powerlifting Assoc. Equipment Administrator
  • Ontario Powerlifting Assoc. Meet Director 2015, 2016, 2017


VICTORIA HUMPHREYS - COACH

What is your biggest contribution as a Coach?

Experience with success and failures. I've gone through lots of ups and downs as an athlete. CrossFit never came natural to me. I couldn't do a pull-up or even fathom going upside down on a wall. I want to share my journey with others and help them achieve what they thought was never possible, just as I over the years slowly have.

Least favourite movement/workout and why?

Triple 3 and or Murph...read about them and you'll know why!

What do you like to do outside CrossFit?

Eat...

Advice for someone starting or wanting to start CrossFit?

Be patient and believe in yourself. It's all about the journey, not the destination.

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • First Aid/AED Certified


MARYAM MARASHI - COACH

I found CrossFit through one of my older cousins, who had been using it to stay in shape for her firefighting career. At the age of 16, I was inspired by the strength and stature of the female athletes in the sport. I was awestruck adn immediately began to train CrossFit-style at my conventional gym until my membership expired. From then on, I began at my local box and never looked back! Having a strong background in sports from a young age, the athletic and competitive nature of CrossFit training has kept me excited and inspired to better myself every day that I walk through the gym doors.

What is your favourite movement/workout and why?

The Snatch! Because you're bound to hate it at first, but once you get the hang of it, you appreciate the combination of mobility, strength, and power it requires.

Least favourite movement/workout and why?

Ring Dips! When that fatigue hits - it is so painful!

What do you like to do outside CrossFit?

Going out for a meal with my family, friends, and boyfriend. I love reading and writing about brain science too!

Advice for someone starting or wanting to start CrossFit?

There's never going to be a time that you are "ready". Regardless of your fitness background, this stuff is HARD! Embrace the suck and you'll find pride and fulfillment on the other side.

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • Precision Nutrition L1 (In Progress)
  • Honours Bachelor of Science, Neuroscience/Biological Science