Blog / Events

Member Stories: Russ Lusignan

Andrea Savard
February 9, 2023
5 min read

We help make people better at life. They bring the "Give A S#!&", and we teach the confidence, know-how, and the dig-deep they never knew were there. It's as simple as that. We are honoured to share Russ' story of creating memories and finding his passion within fuelled by those around him.


After watching a friend competein a Tough Mudder, I knew I had to try one myself.  I had been a member oftraditional gyms for as long as I can remember and was pretty confident myfitness would carry me through my first Mudder in 2014. I was wrong…the eventsmoked me.  It was like nothing I’d everdone but I remember crossing the finish line completely ruined, looking back atthe course and thinking to myself “holy $%!*, I just did that...!”.

This would become arecurring theme over the next few years as I signed up for more races, trainedharder at the globo gym, and still felt smoked after each race.  In 2015, while competing in Vermont, CrossFitkept coming up in conversations with other competitors.  First thing Monday morning, I googled theclosest CrossFit gym and FirePower popped up.


When I walked in the doors,big George was there to greet me.  We chatted about Crossfit, FirePower,the programming, the classes, coaches, and more.  He spent a good hour with me when the realitywas we both knew 5 minutes into it I was already hooked. I have an addictivepersonality so it makes sense.


About 4-5 months into myCrossFit journey, I wanted to test myself outside of the gym and see how thingshad changed so I signed up for another Tough Mudder.  In previous racesI’d never been able to get across the monkey bars, over the 10 ft Berlin wallswithout help, up Everest without face planting and tearing the skin off myknees.  But this time?  Everythingwas a breeze!   The stuff I was doing and learning from CrossFit wasworking - I could see and feel the results.   This time as I was crossingthe finish, instead of feeling smoked, I looked back up the hill and thought tomyself “I wonder if I could do it again tomorrow.....”. The training pattern forme was quickly turning into ‘train and workout with my FP family; test myselfin a mud run; crush the event and then look for new ways to test.’


Enter the Goruck series.  For anyone not familiar with Goruck, it’s a team-based enduranceevent run by a special forces Cadre.  It gives a participants a snapshotinto the physical and mental stress that force them to form a bond and work asa team.   All of this is done wearing a weighted ‘ruck’ or backpackaveraging 40lbs for my division

Goruck events come in 3flavours:

•    Light: ~6ish hrs, 8-10 miles

•    Tough: ~12ish hrs overnight, 15-20 miles

•    Heavy:  ~24ish hrs, 40+ miles


My first Goruck Tough wasin Boston.  I completed the eventsuccessfully, came back to a Goruck in Toronto two weeks later. ThenBuffalo a few months later.


Competing in the Goruckevents is very similar to every class at FirePower. Whether 8 mins into a 15min Wod and I just want to stop, or 8 hours into a 12 hour event facedown on abeach wondering why I signed up for this.  But you always have someone within arms reach smiling,supporting you and encouraging you to keep going.  Everyone hits a darkplace and its the community/family around you that will see you through to theend.  In turn, you make sure that you help others around you get throughtheir pain cave and at the end of the event or Wod you can look back and say, “Wedid it…. let’s do it again tomorrow.”


Eventually I was ready forthe next challenge.  The ultimate goal was to complete all 3 events, backto back to back.  Completing the HTL (Heavy, Tough, and Light events)meant that you complete each event and immediately started the next one withroughly 2-3 hrs of time in between to eat, rest, and try to recover.   Itwas a pretty aggressive (crazy) goal and I was only able to complete the Heavy(24 hr) event on the first attempt in 2016. 

On average an HTL will runminimum 48 hours and usually cover a distance of over 100KM under load.  I learned very quickly that this was going to take more than just normal CrossFitclasses to complete, there was a mental aspect and a pain threshold to it thatI didn’t have. 


As with everything up tothis point, I leaned on my FP family, specifically the coaches.   Istarted picking their brains about endurance, nutrition leading up to an eventlike this, and more importantly the mental aspect of it.  I signed upto a few specialty programs. This time in 2017, now armed with extra targetedtraining and mental prep, I was finally able to complete the HTL.    Despite my pride when finished, when asked ifI would do it again my answer was simple… “fuck no!”  


Just like a brutalCrossFit Wod, once the pain wears away, something itches inside to do itagain!   How many CrossFitters can’t waitto do Murph again?  When it pops up there is a huge level of excitement(and sometimes despair) to retest and see if we can improve on it.  Thisis no difference in my opinion between my HTL or Murph. It gives us anopportunity to revisit a difficult test and push ourselves to do better whilebeing surrounded by like minded individuals who are also pushing to do better.


Fast forward to 2018, I’vejust completed another Goruck on June 1-3 in Chicago.


The parallels between theevents I do outside of FirePower and the inside classes are incredible if youtake a step back and look for them.    Everyone is there to betterthemselves in one way or another.   A decision was made at some point intheir mind to step way out of their comfort zone and try something new.  

Whether it’s someone whojust finished Foundations and has stepped into the regular classes for thefirst time, or the seasoned member who’s been there for years working on finetuning a lift to squeeze out a 5 lbs PR, or shave a few seconds off a namedWoD, they are there for the same reasons.  To be better at life.

The biggest source ofinspiration for me is seeing the success of the members around me.   Allyou have to do is lift your eyes up off the floor and look around you to beinspired.  A look from someone across the floor confirming that their injust as much discomfort as you are, watching another member absolutely crush aWoD, or something simple as a friend saying “great job, push through” makes ahuge difference for me. Whether doing a difficultCrossFit Wod, Mud Run, or Goruck, you’re always going to hit a wall and onlyhave to look around to find strength or inspiration to bust through that walland finish.


I was a mid-30s Dadlooking to step out of my comfort zone and try some new stuff.  Afterstarting at FirePower in 2015, years later I have a list of personalaccomplishments that I would have never thought possible and more importantlyI’ve found a second home/family.  Without that family, I would never havebeen able to create those memories. It’s as simple as that.



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