Athlete of the Month – Ilana Schwartz

Can we talk about #MOMSTRENGTH for a quick second!? Ilana is that and so much more!

Ilana has been a member of 6S for almost one year (1 yr anniversary is in November) and ever since she first joined, she has embodied our core values and stood out as a strong role model and team player. Ilana is a committed 6am-er who makes time for her workouts despite working full-time and raising her children. And she crushes every class she attends! Ilana always brings her best smile and effort, and we couldn’t ask for more!

But what makes Ilana stand out is her team player mentality. Not only is this evident in team or partner workouts – where she is willing to partner with anyone and exudes support and positivity – but she truly cares about 6S and it does not go unnoticed! One day Ilana walked into the gym in the afternoon after attending class in the morning because she had forgotten to put something away…something most people would have left out and quickly forgotten about. This genuine and caring persona is part of what we love about Ilana.

What’s even better? This strong momma has GOALS & specific ones! Read below to find out more about her and what she’s working towards now at the gym.

You can bet we’re going to make sure she achieves every one of them!

Ilana – we recognize, appreciate and value you. Keep doing exactly what you are doing – the entire 6S community is lucky to have you!

Tell us about yourself
Before kids: Bike, spin, run, lift, yoga, and Pilates. After kids: Two eye operations, not much time, not much fitness. I have thin retinas and wonky maculas. Literally, this means I now have a skewed world view.
I do not see myself as an athlete having always been bookish and strange and hyperactive. 
I also like that all the names of the CrossFit Lifts sound kind of dirty.
That’s probably more than you really need to know about me.

What do you do for a living
Product designer/strategist. User experience design. That sort of thing.

What is one thing people might be surprised to learn about you? 
Probably the most unlikely thing about me is that I was a biochemist 20 years ago. There’s no point in bragging about this because +99% of what I learned is obsolete. Yet here we are. 

But way back before I was pretending to be a scientist—when I was taking summer art classes at the Art Gallery of Ontario—I was detained-but-not-arrested-or-charged, by police at 52 division, for allegedly setting a garbage can on fire (accidentally) at Village by the Grange (a food court located coincidentally between the Art Gallery and TPS 52 Division). It’s a long story, but if I hadn’t been such an asshole at the police station then perhaps they would not have strip searched me—but I was, and they did. Lesson learned. Police also violated my (accidental, alleged) partner in crime, Calvin, who was much more polite and didn’t deserve it. But he painted me a super cool, brooding Frank Miller type Batman T-shirt to commemorate the occasion. I remember him fondly (even as I retroactively feel partially responsible for his humiliation).

How long have you been doing CrossFit?
My first CrossFit class was in sept 2018 but I didn’t make 9 classes/month until Nov 2018. So about 8 months. Now 3 or so classes per week.

Why did you start CrossFit?
Because I was weak and sick and in a chronic pain state and not fitness-ing regularly anymore because children and operations and some other debilitating stuff. Because I’d seen some tire rolling and rope climbing on social media. Because I live across the street and kept seeing the sign. And because there were 6am classes so could fitness, get kids ready for school, then walk to work on time. I really had no idea what the hell CrossFit was. Then, I loved (loved!) the lifting and the feeling of the almost dying but recovering and feeling stronger. 

What is your proudest CF moment? 
The first time I underestimated the weight I needed to lift and finished early and had to do two more rounds with higher weight.  
(It was one of those DavePrograms with 40 reps in first round or something. I was nowhere near RX but inside, I was like, ROAR!!!!)

What for someone just starting at CF6S, what advice would you give them?
Just keep coming back. Also, sleep on a heating pad*.
*this may result in severe burns, so not recommended, just sayin’ 

What is your biggest CF goal right now?
RX (sounds of laughter)
Deadlift > 200lbs
Squat > 200lbs
Strict pull up/chin up like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2.

How close are you?
Not at all in any way close on any, but I’ll get the deadlift, eventually. 

Who inspires you?
Well for my fitness inspiration: Old Ladies Lift group on Facebook. Experienced women 50, 60, 70 lifting in the 380s …and also newbs like me, getting into being strong. Makes me feel young.

What book are you reading right now? 
Just starting American Gods (Gaiman) because I like to read the book before I watch the show.

At what store would you like to max out your credit card?
Above Ground Art Supplies, and IKEA.

What was your favorite TV show growing up?

What are three things still left on your bucket list?
1. Try an improv class
2. Complete editing my dads’ book
3. Write paper describing novel qualitative evaluation technique
Bonus. Not, strictly speaking, a bucket item but: Shag an Avenger. Tell me, which one would you choose?

If you could have one superpower, which would you choose?
The power to ‘never say anything stupid ever again’. 
And if that’s too difficult, I’ll settle for Immortality, because it’s more achievable…

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