Member Stories: Tammy Valliere
Tammy and her husband Jay came to FirePower in 2008 seeking weightloss but found so much more. Today, her leadership with fellow long-time members and her encouragement of new members haven’t gone unnoticed. She stayed committed to documenting her wods for years. Close to a decade later, “Mighty Mouse” is still seeing strength and benchmark workout improvements, and still finding joy in the same community she has helped build as a member. Here is her story:
"My CrossFit journey started October 2008. I was looking for a gym to help me lose some pregnancy weight. I was never an athlete in school, never played sports as a child, had only joined a couple of gyms so when I walked into FirePower and asked, “How many times a day can I come?”, George laughed and replied “You’ll only want to do what we call a WOD once a day”.
After my first week of training, I was in so much pain that my poor legs didn’t want to take me down the stairs, never mind sitting on the toilet! My abs were burning so I tried everything not to laugh or sneeze. Even though I was sore everywhere, I was intrigued and signed up. Within a few short months I had dropped the entire baby weight and feeling amazing! I was learning weightlifting with a barbell and gymnastics with the pull up bar. I never dreamed I could ever do a single pull up and started with the thick green band to help to get my chin over the bar. I still remember the day Coach George took away my assistance band and said, “It’s time to prove your stuff!”. He was right….and I got my first unassisted pull-up. What an incredible feeling!
A year later in September 2009, I did my first CrossFit competition. I don’t remember where my team placed, but I remember everything about the day – the cheers, the high fives, the laughs, and the community. It was something I had never experienced, and I loved it. I was hooked!
In 2010, I got pregnant with our 3rd child and had to stop CrossFit for a while. I couldn’t wait to walk through the doors again and it didn’t take very long until I was back to where I had left off. This time though, my mindset changed from losing weight to becoming a stronger, better athlete. My new goal was performance and PR’s.
I’ve journalled my workout times and strength PR’s for years. Journals are always nice to look back on and see how far you have come. CrossFit never gets easier and the RX weight gets heavier…I remember when RX used to be 65# for ladies!
During the 2011 CrossFit Open, one of the movements was 95# snatch. For years 95# snatch was my nemesis and if it showed up in a WOD, I would take a rest day. Then last year Coach Annie got me over my mental block and I was able to get 115# confidently. Since then even though 95# snatches in a still WOD scare me, I won’t avoid them.
A few years back during a team training session, a partner WOD came up with 135# cleans. I tried everything but I couldn’t even get a single one. I was so upset and will never forget how I felt that day. So I worked on them with George’s help. The great thing about Coach Geo is that no matter what he seems to be doing, he’s keeping a watchful eye on every member in the gym. If he’s coaching a class and you’re working off to the side, he will come over after and tell you what he noticed. If he’s doing his own workout, out of nowhere you can hear him shouting cues in between breaths. The work eventually paid off and I finally got 135# up confidently. Shortly after I hit 155#, which became my PR for quite a few years. Then last summer I hit a new PR of 175#!
Not very often do we do the same WODs but when we do, it’s nice to look back and see how much you’ve improved. Just recently we did a benchmark WOD called “The Seven’s”. In 2013 I attempted it for the first time and after an hour got a DNF. Then in April 2015 it came up again and I finished in 40:39. Fast forward to January 2017, I surprised myself and finished it in 28:12. We also just recently did another benchmark WOD “Diane”. In February 2016 my time was 5:23, and February 2017 I finished in 4:01.
I enjoy looking back and comparing my times and old PR’s to today. It reminds me to never give up and that no matter how long you do this sport there’s always room for improvement. Today, it not about the kipping pull up for me anymore; it’s about learning the butterfly pull up. I’m constantly learning and improving even 9 years later!
FirePower has definitely grown over the years. I remember sitting in the car waiting for another member to show up so I wouldn’t be the only one in class. There are a few more members these days! Even with the growth, the coaches not only want to see their members succeed but they also want to include their families as much as they can. We do so much together inside the gym but also outside with our families. FirePower is my second family. I have watched Sam and Charly Savard grow up alongside my kids. We all take care of each other.
I just want to say “Thank You” to Andrea and George for starting this new venture so many years ago and to all the amazing coaches that push me to be better every time I step foot into the gym. I couldn’t do it without."