Athlete of the Month – Shira Joudan

Shira joined CrossFit 6S almost 2 years ago (without any prior CrossFit experience) and ever since then she has exemplified the characteristics of a great role model. Shira comes to every class with a positive attitude and will always be the first person to introduce herself to new members and make them feel welcome. She continually challenges herself and constantly strives for more – always setting new personal and professional goals. She integrates herself into the community and makes sure she can always attend our social/community events. She’ll help pick you up off the floor if you need a hand + then tell you to keep up the good work. She’ll ask questions because she cares and wants to learn more & we love it! We couldn’t ask for anything more in a member/friend. Thank you for being you, Shira! We truly are blessed to have you around!

Here are a few things your probably didn’t know about Shira (feel free to ask her more about them/her the next time you see her crushing the weights at the gym):


Tell us about yourself.
I’m a 26-year-old PhD student in environmental chemistry at University of Toronto. Originally from Winnipeg, then Ottawa, and now here! In terms of fitness, I’ve always liked sports but was very mediocre at them. I’ve done tennis, soccer, wrestling, rugby, ultimate frisbee and danced. When I started university, I was pretty inactive. Joining CF6S has made me the most active I’ve ever been in my life.

How long have you been doing CrossFit? At CF6S?
I started doing CrossFit in April 2016, so approaching 2 years of fitness. I’d never done CrossFit before CF6S.

When did you make the switch over to powerlifting?
When the once-a-week powerlifting classes were introduced last year, I began attending every Thursday. I switched over to powerlifting when the program was offered in September.

Why did you start CrossFit?
I knew that I needed to be more active, but I really hate being forced into something – I like to do things on my own terms. I’m friends with Coach Julia from grad school, and after hearing her rave about CrossFit and watching all of her Instagram videos, I decided to give it a try! I stuck with CrossFit because I like quantitative progression, and I think being strong is cool and empowering.

Why did you start powerlifting?
My favourite parts of CrossFit workouts were always the strength portions. Once Coach Adam started talking about powerlifting, I researched it more (major Instagram creeping and YouTube learning) and thought I would like it! At the very least, I could gain some strength and then go back to CrossFit. It turns out I really like powerlifting!

What is your proudest CF/Powerlifting moment?
I’m most proud of times that I have been nervous to do something for the first time, but stayed calm and confident and was successful. This includes getting my first 4 kipping pull-ups during the 2016 CrossFit Open, doing a bunch of 65 lb atlas stone cleans at BeachWOD, and lifting some heavy weights at my first powerlifting meet in December, especially a 242 lb (110 kg) squat.

What impact has CF6S had on your life inside and outside the gym?
Physically, being stronger and in better shape has made my life more comfortable and I carry myself with more confidence because I’m proud of the body I’ve built. Mentally, I am better at pushing through things that I don’t love. I’ve learned more about nutrition. I’m often better at scheduling my time, including getting to the gym at 8:30 am most Sundays!

What’s your biggest CF/Powerlifting goal right now? How close are you?
I really want to bench press my body weight – I have about 20 pounds to go, but I benched it to one board which is cool!

Who inspires you?
My friends and family, a few specific mentors I have in science, and anyone who works hard and maintains authenticity.

How do you explain CrossFit to people who have never done it?
CrossFit requires a mixture of being strong, having some endurance, and being able to control your body to perform technical moves like the Olympic lifts and gymnastics. Most importantly, it’s done in a group setting with supportive and friendly people, and it is very easy to quantify your progress. You can never plateau because there is always something else to work on and it’s “infinitely scalable” to make it easier or harder, depending on where you’re at.

How do you explain powerlifting to people who have never done it?
Powerlifting is a test of strength through 3 movements: squat, bench press and deadlift. In a powerlifting competition, you get three attempts at each movement, with the heaviest successful lift of each building towards your total. To be successful at powerlifting you must be really strong, and also have good technique to be efficient in the lifts. The way we train, Coach Adam has us doing more than just the 3 lifts: we also do lots of high volume accessory work, and on weekends we work up to a heavy maximum lift, usually of a variation of squat, bench or deadlift, maybe with bands or a different range of motion – these are really fun!

What’s the strangest talent you have?
I’m told I have a particularly good memory.

At which store would you like to max-out your credit card?
I’m slightly fiscally responsible so I wouldn’t max out… but I tend to spend money on gym stuff, concerts and other fun things.

What are three things still left on your bucket list?
I don’t love the idea of a bucket list, but some things I want to do in the next few years are: see the Northern Lights, go to Bonnaroo and maybe even compete nationally in powerlifting!

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