Lockdown Member Of The Month – July 2020


Our July Member of the Month has been awarded to the top guy that is Joe Russell! I don’t think anyone could have a bad word to say about Joe, he is such a friendly person and always makes the effort to talk to everyone.


Joe always works hard no matter what class he is in, he takes on board coaching advice, works on his technique and always tries to improve. Not only that, but he is a pleasure to have in class, happy to talk to anyone, easygoing and encouraging and always got a smile. Since he came back from lockdown we have noticed a massive improvement in him in everything, so he clearly used the time to work on things. He is also MEGA on the assault bike! And he is smashing his lifts as well. We thought it was about time he won this award… 😉 lets find out a bit more about his CrossFit journey so far…


M – How long have you been doing CrossFit?

JR – I actually first started CrossFit back in 2013 at CrossFit Central Manchester (I really should probably be better at it than I am!!). I hadn’t done any exercise for a year or so post university and it was a huge shock to the system. I really struggled the first couple of sessions, unable to do any of the movements and I thought what have I done!? I remember coming home after my first CrossFit class (squats with a PVC pipe) and hobbled around our flat for days in pain.  But within a few weeks though I was a convert, I started to notice a change in myself which made me want to go more and eat healthier. I spoke about my new love for CrossfFit so much that Joey was worried I had joined a cult!

(see pic – first week of CrossFit)

We then moved to London and I stopped doing CrossFit for a few years as it was so expensive. I thought I’d be fine going to a normal 24/7 gym and tried to keep fit but became bored of following the standard gym routines and missed the social side of CrossFit. I started at CrossFit Peckham in 2016 (where I met Mr Joseph Emerick) and have been doing it ever since.

We moved back to Manchester in 2018 and I started at MSQD the week after the MSQD 1st Birthday (gutted to miss out on that!)

M – What class time do you usually attend and why does that work for you?

JR – Pre-covid days I used to part of the 5pm crew, sneaking out of work early every day and managing to get to the gym about 4:59pm!

I’m now working from home for the foreseeable so find the 12pm classes easiest to get to.

I really enjoy Saturday morning sessions and used to love doing the Endurance classes!

M – What is your why? Why do you put yourself through it each day? Do you have goals you want to achieve?

JR – CrossFit allows me to indulge in my love for cookies (my friends call me the cookie monster!) whilst also making me fitter and having a great time! WIN WIN. I love how much CrossFit pushes you both physically and mentally. No matter how fit you feel, you can be left absolutely floored after a workout.

MSQD is by far the best gym I’ve been to – you’re working out with mates every day whilst improving and learning. I had done CrossFit for a few years before in different gyms but feel like I’ve improved massively since joining MSQD. The coaching is great, both Em & Gage really know when to push you further!

Goals – one day I’ll be able to do a muscle up.       

M – What advice would you give anyone wanting to start CrossFit but is either unsure or nervous? We get people all the time saying they need to get fit first or they could never do what we do? Any advice for those people?

JR – Like most people, I was pretty terrified about starting CrossFit. I was rather overweight having not done any exercise for about a year and thought that I would need to get fit first, before actually joining. I finally took the plunge and although it was a shock to start, I soon realised there was absolutely nothing to be afraid of. Everyone was so friendly and helpful.    

The coaches are great and will coach you through every class. If there’s anything you’re unable to do (most things when I first started) they will ‘scale’ it to your abilities, so you can still get a workout whilst learning how to eventually do something.

I would say give it a go if you’re putting off joining due to being nervous or worried you wont be fit enough. If I can do it, anybody can!

M – What is your biggest achievement so far in Crossfit and what are you most proud of?

JR – I hadn’t competed in CrossFit before coming to MSQD, so I’m proud of the RX competitions I’ve done (Team Pablo Chestobar reunited soon…?)

Having not being the most athletic of kids growing up, and not running more than 10km before last year I’m proud that I ran the Manchester Half Marathon last year (1:43) and row a sub 7min 2000m row!

M – Joe you are a legend and we are so glad you moved back up north and joined M Squared. Well done again on winning this award – you really do deserve it!