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Meet Coach Adam

Hi everyone! This is the first part of a 4 part series to introduce and tell the story of our coaches at CrossFit 6S. I get the honor of writing the first post and telling you a little bit about my story and how I came to be an owner and coach at CrossFit 6S. I imagine writing this will be a bit of a challenge for me. I’m not big on talking about myself and would much rather prefer to listen to others tell their story but hopefully it turns out alright and provides you with some of my story and pushes my comfort zone a little! The focus will mainly be on my powerlifting career and the lessons I learned along the way.

My name is Adam Michael McKinty. I was born and raised in Red Deer Alberta. I have an older brother and a younger sister who both still live in Alberta. Growing up, I was a bit of a chubby kid. My mom is a great cook and there was always lots of food which I loved. I’m still a big fan of eating! My childhood day were filled with hockey games, piano lessons and practice and playing in the neighborhood with friends. Like many Canadian boys, hockey was my life. When I wasn’t at team practices or games, I can remember vividly playing hockey on the out door rink in the Alberta cold from the time I got out of school until the lights shut off at the rink. I played competitively for about 8 years and quit when I was 15. With all this new found free time, I decided to take up weightlifting to fill the physical activity void. I started off at the local community centre with some friends, using machines, trying out some free weights, and learning about different techniques and methods to get huge. Like most young teens who start in the gym, I was motivated to get jacked. I idolized Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Ronnie Coleman, had a subscription to Flex magazine and eventually started paying attention to my eating and taking supplements all the while not knowing I was building a lifelong passion for health and fitness. I quickly grew tired of the community centre and signed up for a membership at the more hardcore gym in Red Deer.

This is where my fitness career really started to take off.

A close friend and myself were training 6 days a week on a typical bodybuilding split and getting stronger and bigger. One day walking down the hall of my high school I saw a flyer for a high school powerlifting meet being held about an hour away from Red Deer. I took it to my training buddy and said “hey we should do this!”. We checked out the results of last year’s meet online and we laughed with confidence at how small the numbers were! We then quickly realized the scores were reported in kilograms and the laughter came to a halt. We decided to approach the group of powerlifters that we saw training at our gym regularly. They were an intimidating bunch of 5 guys who were all giants and 1 girl who was bigger than us! We talked to them about helping us out and they were more than happy to train us and even come to the meet to coach us. This was a huge turning point in my fitness career. I’m extremely grateful that this group of experienced lifters, without hesitation, looking for nothing in return, and solely out of pure passion for the sport decided to take us under their wing and provide coaching and mentorship. We all became extremely close friends and I even went to the wedding when 2 of them got married. They all have Canadian records and some still hold world records. Bernice, the 1 woman is still competing in her 60’s and setting a new world record every year it seems.

We had about 8 weeks to prepare for this meet. In these 8 weeks these guys tore apart our squat, bench press and deadlift and then built it back up. Our training was kept pretty simple. We were testosterone filled teenagers with little lifting experience, we didn’t need anything complicated to see results. Competition day came around and I was nervous. I’d played team sports all my life but never done anything individual like this. There was a stage with an audience and when it was your turn to lift, all eyes were on you. There ended up being 3 of us from my high school competing. Myself and my friend who asked for help and another guy who we offered to introduce him to our mentors but he had too big of an ego to ask for help. He ended up being disqualified for not successfully making a bench press lift. He missed the pause on his first attempt so got red lights, then went up for his second and couldn’t make the lift. We had some expertise behind us and they knew how to call our lifts. Start with something you’re 100% confident that on your worst day ever in the gym you could hit. I ended up coming in 2nd in my weight class going 8 for 9 lifts, hitting PRs on all three lifts. I hit 160kg (352lbs) on the squat, 102.5kg (225.5lbs) on the bench and 182.5kg (401.5lbs) on the deadlift. I missed first place by 5kg.

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Trophy from first powerlifting competition for having the heaviest bench press

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Trophy for coming in second in my first powerlifting competition

I was hooked. Following that first meet, I began training with the seasoned lifters in the gym, following their programming and soaking up all their knowledge. I experienced and learned about speed sets and accommodating resistance such as chains and bands and began to prepare for my next meet. This next one was a national level meet. Our mentors introduced us to the community of powerlifters in Alberta as we made weekly trips to Okotoks – about a 3 hour drive – every Sunday morning to squat at the powerlifting gym there. The gym was called Grieg’s Back Alley Gym and it was hardcore. We would wake up at 5am to make the drive to train shortly after 8.  All the lifters were huge and intimidating with tattoos and Harleys. It was exactly what you would think the stereotypical powerlifting gym would look like. It smelt of coffee, ammonia and sweat and there was chalk and blood on the floors. Intimidating for a high school kid, but everyone there was extremely welcoming, genuine and just loved powerlifting. You were immediately accepted if you were giving your training everything you had, it didn’t matter how much weight was on the bar.

Over the next few years I continued to train with this group, get stronger and competing. We would compete in about 2 meets per year and I eventually qualified for a North American level meet. This had lifters from around the world competing in it. I can remember helping spot for a 1100lbs squat and seeing 800lbs bench press attempts but I had my sights set on my own goal. I wanted the Canadian record for all 3 lifts and the total in this meet. To do that I would have to hit 3 PRs. First up was the squat. My opener was easy but my second lift was shaky and I had fleeting doubts that I’d make my third at 300kg (660lbs) but it ended coming up easier than my second! The bench press was 182.5kg (401.5lbs). It was a grind but I made. My deadlift has always been my weakest lift but I finished with a 262.5kg (577.5lbs). I went 9 for 9 and set records in all 3 lifts.
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300 Kg squat at the North American Powerlifting Championship

This passion for training and fitness had seeped in to all aspects of my life at this point. I was working part time at a fitness store doing sales and setting up gym facilities. Training and nutrition for training was always on my mind. I was a sponge for information and trying to soak up as much as I could (still am). I had always said that I wanted to open a gym, but at this age and in my environment, this didn’t seem like a realistic option as a career. So I had to pursue other areas which lead to me moving out of Red Deer.

I moved to Edmonton to complete my undergrad in chemistry at the University of Alberta. I continued to work part time doing sales for a fitness company while finishing my school. It was hard to leave my training group behind. I continued to train in Edmonton but struggled to find the intensity and community I had found in powerlifting. After graduating I moved to Toronto to pursue a PhD in chemistry. I continued to train but found myself just going through the motions. I tried running to see how that was and that lasted a year or 2. I ran a few 10kms but quickly realized running isn’t my thing. Grad school is where I met my permanent roommate Sanja. She joined the research group I was in and just happened to pick the desk and work station right beside mine. I like to joke that she was relentless in the pursuit of me but let’s be real – she’s out of my league, I was the one chasing her. While finishing my PhD, I started a chemical company.

Still longing for that community feel with my training, Sanja and I decided to give CrossFit a try. I had heard Julia talk about it at the University…sorry not talk about it, preach and praise about it! I was hooked after the first class (I’m sure many of you know the feeling). I had found that community and intensity again and it was a new challenge every day.
The CrossFit gym Sanja and I were going to suddenly closed overnight and we, along with many other amazing people were left stranded. It was out of this void that CrossFit 6S was born…

So that’s a little bit of my life story. Thanks for reading and making it this far. In my free time, I enjoy cooking and eating, hanging out on the couch with Sanja and my dog Hank. We’ve recently taken up some doggy agility training with Hank and of course we go on walks daily. I like kid’s cartoon movies. I enjoy drinking scotch and tasty beers so if you ever need help with either of those, let me know…

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