Vancity Original® is stoked to sponsor the Sweat Death Club CrossFit team as they prepare to compete at the Okanagan Valley Throwdown on January 28 and 29th in Penticton. We caught up with the entire Sweat Death Club team to get familiar with what CrossFit is all about.

Sweat Death Club is a pretty dope name... who's in the club and how did you guys come up with it?

MR: There are four members in Sweat Death Club. Andres “Langer” Laing, Mik “Lungs” Rock, Merissa “MoBo” Borenstein and Stacey “Starchey” Kitteridge. All training at @SemiahmooAthleticClub in White Rock.

The name came randomly after a class, but basically "Sweat. Give it your all until you're dead. And Club.” When I finish the majority of our workouts I’m on the floor “dead” for a few minutes.

How long has your team been training together and what is the single motivation that keeps your team going?

MR: We all train daily together, but for this upcoming event in Penticton we have been focused on the last 100 days. Mo, myself and Starchey have done events together before, but with the addition of Langer we have added some more strength and endurance to the team. As for motivation, its literally the coaches and people of our gym. I would have quit after a week if it wasn’t for them. Joe & Sharan Scali run a fun gym with great programming. Im thankful to have people like Mike McCorkell, Michael English and my team mates to push me daily.

AL: Training varies so much, but one thing is always a guarantee, it's tough. We aim to make it to the gym daily and do the scheduled programming. The programming consists of stretching, warmup, strength training (weight training), and a WOD (Workout of the Day). The WOD is always different and generally consists of high intensity workouts with varying movements. One day you might be doing wall balls, skipping, and pull-ups then the next day it's benchpress, overhead squats, and rope climbs. That's the beauty of CrossFit, it's always a challenge. On Saturdays we have partner classes which means the workouts is programmed to be done in pairs. This often means high reps while trading off with your partner e.g I do 15 pushups, 10 wall balls, and 8 back squats then my partner does the same. This is repeated for either a duration of allotted time, or set amount of rounds. Beyond the scheduled programming we also come early and stay late to work on our weaknesses and try to improve all around.

SK: There are a number of things that keep our team going but foremost I think for all of us, whether competing or not, is the desire to improve, get stronger & generally work at honing our skills to become more efficient at everything we do every day. Outside of that, it’s being the best we can for each other.The desire to not fail each other keeps us going. The competition itself provides the impetus for all of us to push a little harder every time we train, maintaining the very specific goal of being as ready as humanly possible for competition.It’s hard, but it’s fun and that keeps us going. Having each other, with the same level of dedication and commitment, willingness to face the fears, feel the pain and do it anyway is amazing. We have great coaches as well who push, teach and remind us always to have fun. They make it easier to keep going too.

With just 3 weeks to go, what are you working on to prepare for the Throwdown Series and what do you like to eat most?

SK: Working on increasing strength and efficiency ie: more efficient toes to bar movement, pull up movements etc. I eat a lot of chicken and rice, oatmeal, blueberries & peanut butter. Not a lot of favourite foods make it in to the eating plan.

MB: I go to crossfit classes at the very minimum 5 times per week and complete the planned workout. However the past 8 weeks leading up to the event I make the effort to do additional training such as accessory exercises (ie. targeting strength with one muscle group) and conditioning (rowing or assault bike). I fuel my body with what I know I can digest well. I always have indigestion meds on hand during a workout especially if burpees are in the workout. My staples are oats, bananas and chocolate chips (don't judge).

MR: Every day is important leading up to these events. My focus is on being healthy, strong and efficient.

My diet is a work in progress. I usually stick to bananas, quinoa, chicken and eggs, but those ribs and deserts are the devil. I had a 10 minute conversation with my coach Sharan today about how many calories are in the Billy Miner Pie at the Keg. You know people share that?! Not me. Haha.

Can you breakdown a CrossFit event to the newbies who have never attended?

MB: There is usually 3 or 4 wods that are involved in a competition. Often you will see an Olympic lift workout to find your 1 rep max and couple of chippers where you chip down the reps with different movements for time.

AL: This is my first event as a competitor, but I've seen and been to multiple CrossFit competitions. A CrossFit event is like an extension of a CrossFit box (gym), it's full off good vibes, hard working athletes and awesome gym gear. CrossFit is very community based and that feeling carries over into the events that they put on. If you've never been to an event, never done a CrossFit workout, or don't even know what CrossFit is, I recommend checking out a local event!

What is your favourite WOD and least favourite WOD?

AL: Favourite WOD is usually something that incorporates weights. I love bench press, cleans and have started to really enjoy front squats. Least favourite WOD...anything that involves burpees or the assault bike.

SK: My favourite WOD would have deadlifts, box jumps and burpees.My least favourite WOD would have thrusters, wall balls and the assault bike.

MR: Favourite has to be squats, thrusters and wall-balls. Least favourite is rope climbs (*Im afraid of heights) and running. They literally call me Lungs because I had horrible breathing capacity, you should have seen me a year ago.

MB: Anything that has a clean involved. My favourite workout is called the Chief: 3 minute amrap (as many rounds as possible) x 5 which is 3 power cleans, 6 push ups and 9 air squats. Least favourite is anything that has snatch involved.

Does your team like to throw around CrossFit language like AMRAP, Snatch, ATG, and Pood when you're training at the gym? We want to know the Sweat Death Club's classic one liners.

SK: I’m not even sure how much a pood is & the snatch is my most favourite yet frustrating movement. Outside of that, no overuse of CF lingo and no classic one liners from me. Just nose to the grindstone ;)

MR: I just googled what a Pood was, didn’t know what that was. As for the crossfit language, theres lots of acronym’s thrown around in the gym instead of saying the workout descriptions. Im not too sure we have any one liners, just lots of "push harder" and "good jobs."

AL: I think some of it just becomes second nature and you say stuff like WOD and AMRAP without even realizing. Not to mention AMRAP saves you having to say "As Many Reps/Rounds as Possible"....that's a mouth full if you say it often. One liners? Not sure if we have any. Does lying on the ground sweating to death and fist bumping while saying "good job" count?

One final note from the Sweat Death Club team. A huge thanks to Justin Jung, Mister Martini and the Vancity Original® crew for showing some interest and being supportive.

Our coaches Joe & Sharan Scali, Mike McCorkell aka Meat, Mike English all from @SemiahmooAthleticClub, as well as Big John Beckham from Crossfit Sullivan Heights.

And finally to Dominick Tousignant and Ben Bencebi from Body Energy Club.