Starting in May Gagey will be a full time coach at M Squared.
Gage has been coaching here since we opened, a morning and couple of lunchtimes but has made the move to full time which we are very excited about….so excited in fact I’m actually going away for a break for 4 days 😉
Below we can read about Gagey’s journey and why she made the leap to CrossFit coach.
M – How long have you been doing CrossFit and how did you get into it?
E – I have been doing CrossFit since 2012! When I worked in recruitment with Em, she and Danni Peake were already doing CrossFit and tried to get me to join CrossFit 3d with them… but I didn’t think I would like weightlifting (!) and I also couldn’t afford it having just come out of Uni! However in around 2011/2012 Em started up a Bootcamp class at Train Manchester which I went along to (yep, the Thursday bootcamps have been around that long! #BootcampOriginal) and at the same time I started doing classes with CrossFit OTB (Outside The Box) – we would train outside in carparks and forests and parks, etc, no matter what the weather, all year round! Mental I know…!
I soon started learning all the movements associated with CrossFit and obviously I loved the weightlifting side of things, despite my prior apprehensions!
In 2013 I was offered a job as front of house at QDos Fitness – which was to be a brand new CrossFit gym in Heald Green that Em also managed. I helped with the prep and opening of the gym, and then once we opened I began doing a full CrossFit Programme with Em that was designed for us by our then Head Coach Antony Monks (Monksy!), and that was when I really got into it. I have never looked back!
M – How did you get into coaching and how long have you been coaching CrossFit?
E – I took my CrossFit Level 1 down in Swansea in February 2015. I also took my CrossFit Weightlifting course later on that year, as well as my Swim England Swim Coaching level 1 and 2. I really wanted to become a coach but there were no vacancies at QDos and I didn’t want to leave the gym as I loved it so I did some shadowing alongside Em and the other coaches to learn as much as I could.
In 2016 QDos closed down, and although at the time I was absolutely gutted, it was the best thing that could have happened for me and my career progression. I was offered a full time role coaching swimming and strength and conditioning at Stockport Metro Swimming Club. I was responsible for 3 squads, aged 7-20 and from beginner club level to national level swimmers. Over the past two years I have had the pleasure of coaching my swimmers to regional and national finals.
I was the S&C coach for the elite performance squad which is home to world championship finalists, junior world medallists and recently one of my S&C athletes won a silver and bronze medal at the commonwealths which was amazing to be a part of her journey. Of course my strength and conditioning coaching was largely based on the CrossFit style of training and it went really well.
I was also selected to be a coach on the Swim England North West Regional Talent Camps for 2017 where I got to work with the future stars of swimming on specialist camps throughout the year.
Last year Em finally got to open her own Box – something I watched her plan and develop and it was so exciting when M Squared Fitness was born! Once I had recovered from my knee operation last February I was lucky enough to become part of the coaching team (after Em had vetted me of course and made sure that I could actually coach!) and started coaching the lovely morning and lunchtime crew twice a week, as well as assisting Em with CrossFit Kids. This was alongside my job at SM and running SwimWod – my online and 1-1 swim coaching business.
Now here I am about to start full time coaching at M Squared Fitness and I honestly feel so excited as I’ve wanted to do this for so long! I will obviously miss coaching at Stockport Metro but unfortunately I can’t keep up doing everything so I had to make a decision!
M – What is it you enjoy about coaching, why do you do it?
E – For me, coaching is such a rewarding job. Being able to help people achieve their goals and aims is exciting and I love figuring out different ways and approaches to help each individual person and seeing them progress. I have had some pretty influential coaches in my life, and I know how much they have helped, taught and inspired me, and so I love that I am now able to pay it forward to other people and teach them what I know and help them enjoy training and fitness.
I love watching people hit PBs, that happy, excited face that people get when they achieve something they’ve never achieved before, for example when they get double unders, pull ups, muscle ups, etc. It’s such a positive environment to be in. I am also an empathetic person and I’ve been told I’m a good listener, so if people are having a bad day or have a problem I like being able to help people get through it and maybe use training to help them feel better.
I can’t really properly explain why I love coaching so much, except that for the first time in my life, outside of my swimming career I feel like I’ve found a purpose and that purpose is now my job and I’m doing something I love and am passionate about. I feel lucky and proud to be able to say that!
M – What is your sporting background and achievements?
E – I grew up as a Swimmer until I was 16. Achieved National youth medals as a teenager and was a reserve for the European Youth Olympics aged 13. I retired at 16 due to injury and had 10 years out of the water. In 2014 I had been training CrossFit for a couple of years and an old friend asked me to get back in the water to help them out for Cheshire at the Masters Inter-counties Championships (yep, masters is 25+ in swimming!). I ended up beating my lifetime sprint PBs on the day with NO swimming training just CrossFit! This stuff really does work!! This brought back my passion for swimming and I ended up getting back into my swim training. Over the course of the next two years I qualified for and attended the 2015 World Masters Swimming Championships in Russia where I ended up having one of the best weeks of my life and became double Masters World Record Holder, 4 x Masters European Record Holder, triple World Champion and 2 x Silver Medallist.
During this week I also qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympic Trials in Glasgow where I made 2 finals and finished just hundreds of a second away from consideration for Rio. I retired from “professional” swimming just before Christmas 2017 as I felt I had had a brilliant 3 years on my second time round in the sport, and I wanted to now put my energy into my coaching and see where that would take me. Excited for the future at M Squared and with my company SwimWod and looking forward to working with you guys a lot more! ☺