Graeme Macdonald aka GHAM
Love has played a role in Graeme’s connection to Crossfit. Way back in 2009 was when he first started Crossfit, “my girlfriend dumped me and I wanted to get jacked!” From that broken heart beginning Graeme discovered an activity that would become a huge part of his life. Another woman, Sophie, stole his heart and that resulted in a move to New Zealand where his enthusiasm for Crossfit grew to the point where he opened his own gym. Over time his initial desire to become fitter and feel better have evolved into a more forward thinking lifestyle approach. “I now show up to the gym everyday to simply move and prepare for the unexpected. Since getting married and thinking about my future family I feel a profound obligation to stay healthy and fulfill my role in looking after them for decades to come.” Already Graeme has noticed the gap widening between him and other friends who have not remained active. “Instead of noticing positive changes, I think I would say that I have managed to avoid the negative changes friends my age have seen over the past 7 years in their health. I’m as fast as I was when I was 20, I have the same stamina, a bit more strength, I recover as fast and I feel as good. I think that says a lot.”
Graeme showed up on our door one day and asked if he could lift in the corner. Normally something we don’t allow, but, he was so polite I allowed it. I then spoke to him and we hit it off chatting CrossFit. Always making people around him better and caring for each and every member of the gym Graeme is a big part of CFNV.
Just the Facts
Name: Graeme Macdonald
Family status: Married
Profession: Sales Director, Blonyx Biosciences
Do any other members of your family do Crossfit? Mom, Dad, 2 younger Brothers. 3 Cousins.
How long have you been doing Crossfit? Since June 2009
How often do you train? 4 times a week
When do you normally train? 5:35 pm
Favourite type of workout: I enjoy every workout equally. The workouts that include movements or energy systems that my body struggles with make me feel like I’m working on something I need to be working on. The workouts that are more in my “wheelhouse” give me the chance to showcase my fitness, feel good about myself and see what I’m capable of.
Have you been in any Crossfit competitions? Yes, The Taranis Winter Challenge in Victoria was my first in 2010. So much fun, was the first time I ran a 6 minute mile.
What has been your best Crossfit moment? The moment I affiliated my own CrossFit gym in New Zealand.
Is there anything you’d like to see added to the Crossfit program? I think we could focus a bit more on things like accuracy, coordination and agility. These are all aspects of fitness by CrossFit’s definition and I think are all part of being ready for whatever life throws at you.
What inspires you the most? People who achieve near mastery of their craft, whatever it is. Watching Buddy Rich play the Drums, Kobe play Basketball, Kevin O’Leary talk business, my wife painting in our living room to give a few examples.
Who do you look for inspiration from? It depends on what I need inspiration for. I look to my Father when looking for inspiration on how best to support my family, my wife when I need to slow down and smell the roses, my mother when I need to focus and work hard toward my goals. I even look at people in our gym when I need inspiration to keep working on mobility, strength, fitness, diet.
What sports have you played in the past? Lacrosse and Soccer mainly. Squash is a fun pastime.
What other sports do you currently play? I’m currently a volunteer, part-time semi-pro fitness racer.
What is your favourite activity outside of Crossfit? Anything outside. I’m either hiking, cycling, snowboarding, wakeboarding or camping on a weekend
How long have you been coaching Crossfit? Over 6 years
Why did you want to coach Crossfit? I thought I would be good at it, and I quickly discovered that I love it. Do what you love and are good at.
What do you enjoy the most about coaching? While the clients you coach are the real champions, as a coach you still get this feeling that you are a catalyst for people bettering themselves. I remember having a 12 year-old kid in Lacrosse who’s mom asked if I could exempt him from running at the end of practice because he was self-conscious of his weight and lack of fitness. I told her we would do nothing of the sort, and invited him to sign up for the 7-week pre-season CrossFit camp I was organizing for the next season. He showed up every week and worked his ass off, went into the season fitter than he was used to, had the confidence to start trying to keep up with the fitter kids on the team during the runs and slowly made his way over the season to being in the front 3rd of the pack. In one of our last games he got the ball in our end, took off like a bat out of hell, out ran the other teams entire defensive line and scored 1 on 1 on the goalie. That moment is why I coach.
How do you balance your time coaching, your own training, your career and your personal life? I schedule in the things I tend to avoid when I get busy, and let myself fill the rest of my time with the things a gravitate to. I will naturally skip the gym and eat poorly when I’m busy, so I decide what days I go to the gym in advance, and I buy groceries and make sure to have good food around me. I don’t “consider” going to the gym at 5:30 after work, I just do it. And after class I choose to spend time with my family and friends, go to the studio to play etc. and don’t feel like I’ve had to make any sacrifices.
What are your favourite things about CFNV? Many CrossFit gyms I’ve been to before focus a lot on what you are doing wrong, in an effort to make you constantly better (I get that). I think we at CFNV put a lot of weight on why people are there, and we accept that. With one person a coach might be encouraging them to squat deeper, or push harder because they know that person has a goal to be competitive. With another person the coach might see that it’s just a success for them to be at the gym for a 3rd time that week, or be doing unassisted pull-ups, and the coach is fine with that and make them feel good about their success however different it is from everyone else’s.
If there were one message you would like to give as a coach, what would it be? Don’t be afraid to ask us for help, if you have a concern then bring it up. Keeping those things to yourself is only going to limit what you get out of your time with us and probably send you home feeling a little frustrated.
What are your favourite things about Crossfit? It builds strong relationships, which is good for mental health. It builds strong bodies, which is good for physical health. It builds a strong work ethic with is good for everything.
Do you have an inspirational quote or words of motivation? “Get comfortable with uncomfortable” really resonates with me. James Fitzgerald said it first, the first CrossFit Games Champion in 2007.
Is there something that people will be surprised to discover about you? I moved to New Zealand when I was 22 years old in an act of desperation to live with an American born girl I’d fallen in love with over a single summer. She’s now my wife 😉