Member Spotlight: James Jarrell

What got you into CrossFit?

My husband, Christopher, got me into CrossFit. He started with Alchemy last August and came home and kept nudging me to try it out.  I used to brand myself as someone who didn’t like working out so it was pretty easy to ignore him the first few times. After a few weeks of encouragement I attended my first class.  It can be pretty intimidating going to a fitness class for the first time but I figured I would give it a try.  I wasn’t searching for CrossFit, but CrossFit found me.   

What do you like about Alchemy?

Alchemy has helped me to overcome my apprehensiveness about working out.  I have always been athletic(ish), but not necessarily an athlete (more the kid who picked dandelions in left field…) The coaches at Alchemy are extremely patient and willing to meet us where we are.  I realized quickly that Alchemy was the place for me because the coaches demonstrate each movement and a range of modifications prior to every workout. More than that, the entire Alchemy team from the owners to the administrators, to the coaches and even the other members have created a community where all of us feel safe to do our very best.   We cheer one another on through laughter and sweat and sometimes tears!  The community truly is everything. 

What has been your proudest moment at Alchemy?

One of my proudest Alchemy moments happened early on.  I showed up on November 11th to a class that only had myself and 1 other member in it (Hugh.)  Each Remembrance Day, Alchemy members complete the Hero WOD “Murph.”  Being a very new member at this point, I had no idea what was in store for me.  To say that the workout was gruelling would be an understatement.  As I completed the endless squats, I had resigned myself to the fact that I would modify the workout by bailing on the 1 mile run at the end.  As I was finishing up my workout, Duncan looked at me and said that he would run the mile with me.  I looked at him and laughed and let him know that I was finished. With a little encouragement I took Duncan up on his offer.  I ran about 37 meters and walked the rest of the mile with Duncan.  I will never forget that walk and the fact that I completed my first “Murph” with Duncan who never gave up on me when I was ready to give up on myself. The real pride came when we finally made our way back into the building and I saw that Hugh had hung around to congratulate me on completing “Murph” instead of just leaving after he finished his workout.  It meant a lot to me to have the support of another member as well as Coach Duncan.  

What are your CrossFit goals for the future?

My only CrossFit goal is to keep showing up.  I feel healthier and stronger than I have felt in a long time.  I have adopted a workout buddy (Courtney) and look forward to catching up with Anita, Craig, Janet, Patrick, Kristin and all of the amazing coaches I see each week.  I know when I workout I feel stronger physically, mentally and emotionally.  To maintain this balance in my life is my goal!


If you could design the perfect workout, what would it include?

My perfect workout would include squats, handstand push-ups, rowing and short (100m) runs.  I like how CrossFit challenges my body in a variety of ways and I think one of the reasons I haven’t gotten bored with working out is because of the variety of movements.  

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in yourself since you started CrossFit?

Physically, my body is harder than it has every been, but that is not the biggest change I have seen in myself.  For the first time ever, I look forward to working out and challenging myself to improve my strength.  I want to keep showing up and pushing my limits which is not an attitude that I have ever had toward working out before. I am thankful to all of the members that I have the chance to workout beside each week.  So many of them have had an influence on me to keep going when I want to stop.  

When you’re not at the gym, what’s your favourite thing to do?

I love to be outside.  From camping to gardening, anything that gets me outside and active is something that I am into. I am a huge fan of being in the water and take every chance I can to dive in.   

What’s your favourite Hamilton restaurant?

One of my favourite Hamilton restaurants is Atami Sushi.  Freshly made hand rolls and awesome service.  I recommend the East Mountain Roll! 

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