Athlete of the Month & some special VO2Max clients…

ATHLETE OF THE MONTH- Carter Diederich

Carter Diederich Athlete of the Month


ATHLETE OF THE MONTH – After a six month hiatus, it’s back! This month we highlight Rob and Cecile Neil. Rob and Cecile started training with Brett and Janine, before VO2Max even existed. Pre-VO2Max, bootcamps were held outdoors at the Leisure Centre track. Rob describes the experience with a simple sentence, “It was hell.” But they kept with it and six years later, they are still both training almost every day. Congrats, Rob and Cecile, on your tenacity and being our first 2015 Athlete of the Month.

2015 Athlete of the Month - Rob and Cecile Neil - Jan 2015


If you have any suggestions for a future Athlete of the Month, we’d love to hear from you. Please email us at Attn: Athlete of the Month


June 2014 – It’s our favourite time again…Athlete of the Month!

Scott Hagarty has been a fixture at VO2Max for as long as VO2Max has existed.  His gentle presence is always a welcome sight.  Scott was a RCMP member for 20 years and over the past 11 years, he has been involved with the Army Cadets.  He, along with his wife, Patty, love to travel but not the boring kind. They are always exploring neat places and have some pretty good stories when they come back. VO2Max’s Winter Challenge Throwdown could not function with out Scott’s untiring volunteer hours and expertise of the scoring system.  Thanks for that.

Let’s take a second to say well done, Scott, and congratulations!

2014 Scott Hagarty - June 2014


April 2014 – We love our athletes of the month! This couple has been buddy training at VO2Max since 2012. We enjoy watching their ‘dates’ as they have prioritized their health and spending time together.

Congratulations, Tyler and Jill Lorencz, on VO2Max’s Athlete Couple of the Month.

2014 Tyler & Jill Lorencz - April 2014

Q99 Biggest Losers

Winners from 2011 and 2013

For the past 4 years, VO2Max is thrilled to work in conjunction with a local radio station, Q99, to bring our community Grande Prairie’s Biggest Loser challenge.  2014 version is currently in progress with two teams of 6 member training for 12 weeks.

Our previous winners from 2011 and 2013 have stepped up to work with this year’s batch, mentoring on the groups, proving to them that health and wellness is a lifestyle choice and it can be done!

Please meet Barb Verhaeghe, winner of 2013 and Kellie Lambert, winner of 2011.

2013 Grande Prairie’s Biggest Loser


Here’s to us

Here’s to ordering a salad when you really want a burger.

To making an ass out of ourselves in our Crossfit class.

To drinking more water than seems possible.

To adding 5 more lbs on that PR deadlift.

To working out twice as much as your fit friend.

To say “Screw You” to the old you.

To falling in love with the you that you REALLY are, the you that you want to become.

To looking in the mirror, and NOT seeing any change, and hitting the gym anyway.

Here’s to celery,  shin splints, sweat stains, perseverance, sore muscles, stinky socks, 9 am conditioning class, falling down, and getting back up.

And here’s to getting up tomorrow and doing it all again.

Early January of 2013 I stepped on the scale at the specialist office and held back my tears as the nurse read out THREE HUNDRED TWENTY EIGHT POUNDS.  I to this day spell it out because I can’t believe the number.

A few weeks later I remember hearing Melinda Evans on the radio saying it was the LAST day to get your entries in to be a contestant on 2013 edition of the Biggest Loser. A short week later I found myself at the station being weighted in and measured.  That was the worst I’ve EVER felt about myself, through absolutely no fault of anyone else I was both embarrassed and humbled to be there.

It took absolutely everything in me to go to the gym that first work out.  I am the self proclaimed queen of excuses but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. I had a crippling fear that soon my son was going to get picked on and made fun of because of my weight,  I needed this to change my life BUT  I wouldn’t let him suffer because of me. So I went and I fell doing lunges not once but twice that first day, but I got up and kept going.  Some days were harder than others but I promise it’s worth it. I ended up losing 16.5 percent of my body weight during the 9 week challenge and winning the 2013 edition.

Life after the contest is HARD and don’t let anyone tell you differently.  Burpees still suck, running is still my nemesis and double unders still don’t just happen. You no longer have a dedicated work out group. It all up to YOU!NOW the blessing is that Crossfit V02 Max is made up of the most genuinely, supportive, understanding and amazing people I have gotten the pleasure of knowing. From the coaches to the front desk staff to the athletes that attend the gym these people encourage, push and support you in your journey. They take the time to phone, email or Facebook you to ask why you aren’t at the gym.  I’m proud to call these folks my second family, and that more than anything is why I am so committed to this sport and what drives my passion!I’m honored to be able to join YOU in your journey towards becoming the 2014 Biggest Loser as a mentor.  Believe me when I say I have been in your shoes. Heck I probably literally own the same pair! I know the struggle to eat clean and to get to the gym but if I can do it then there is absolutely no reason why I don’t believe you can.

2011 Grande Prairie’s Biggest Loser


I have struggled with my weight for my entire life. For as long as I can remember, I had never felt comfortable in my own skin. I had tried literally every program & nothing seemed to be working for me. So imagine how excited I was to apply & be a part of the first year of Q99 & VO2max’s Biggest Loser Competition in January of 2011.  I felt like it was just the push and motivation I would need to succeed.

I had never heard of VO2max or CrossFit before.  I was used to the traditional outings to a regular gym…40 minutes on the elliptical or treadmill, free weights & then abs & stretching. Well, my very first bootcamp was like nothing I’d ever experienced before.  I couldn’t walk for the next few days, but I was immediately hooked & knew I could never go back to my old way of working out.

Over the course of the competition I lost 16.9% of my body weight, bringing me down to 162 lbs, the smallest I’ve ever been in my whole life.  It felt amazing & worth every minute of hard work & dedication I put into the competition.
Shortly after the competition I got pregnant with my second child and gained a lot of weight.  I have been working (with varying degrees of intensity & dedication) towards losing that weight.  As some of you may know, sometimes “life” can get in the way of your goal. I’ve dealt with injuries & other things that have, at times, slowed my progress, but I’ve always known the importance of achieving it & how to get there.
VO2Max & the people there are where I’ve found success & will find it again.  They really do care about you & your goals.  When it had been a few weeks since I’d attended a CrossFit class, Janine was kind enough to text me a short message, “You need to get your ass back in the gym.”  And I did…and there’s been no looking back.
I love CrossFit and the changes it can make for you, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally too. I promise that if you put forth your best effort, you will find success.  I look forward to helping you, in some small way, get there.






2014 Mat & Kristy Eliott - Feb 2014

Ten Week Challenge 2013 winner Tammy Gould



Bart started training at VO2Max last fall and it’s been a pleasure watching him progress with his skill set and training.  You’ll know Bart as ‘the man with the beard’.  He has quiet, shy presence so we were quite surprised when he pulled up on this bad-ass Harley this spring.  Yay, Bart!!!

2013 Athlete of the Month Bart MacAlister Nov 2013 alt glow


April Diepdael – 2nd place Muscle Beach Classic

We love celebrating your successes and here’s another one.  A big high five to April Diepdael who placed 2nd in Physique Short at Muscle Beach Classic in last month.  We also really appreciate April’s honesty in her write-up.  Congratulations on all your hard work, April! Well done, girl!!!

April Diepdael Bodybuilding Nov 2013

Yay for Veronica Gaudet

Hard work is paying off!

A big shout out to Veronica Gaudet.  Veronica emailed us and we want to celebrate her success!!!  Look what Veronica’s done since March 2012.  She thinks we inspire her but we think it’s the other way around.  Congratulations, Veronica!!!
Here’s Veronica’s October 31st email (shared with her permission):
Hey Guys! …
Just wanted to share my before and after photos with you! My weight loss journey started at VO2 July 2012 with a bootcamp class and I haven’t looked back since! I really believe if it hadn’t been for me finding VO2 and meeting all the amazing trainers and fellow crossfitters I would never have been able to come so far in my journey to become a healthier better version of me. Thank you so much to everyone at VO2.
The white shirt is me in March 2012 at 212lbs. Blue one next to it is March 2013 roughly 180lbs and just before I started Crossfit. The bottom picture is October 25/13 after 8 months of crossfit and weiging in at 162lbs. The lightest I have been since high school.
Thanks again guys! You all rock!!!

Veronic Gaudet Oct 2013

Hard Work Pays Off at Muscle Beach Competition – Edmonton, October 2013

Paige Bouchard, Trainer at VO2Max and owner of Paige Bouchard’s Land and Aquatic Training competed on October 12, 2013 at Muscle Beach in the Fitness category.  Hard work pays off as Paige wins second place.  That’s impressive in itself but even more so when you take a look at Paige’s pictures below: before in 2009 and after in 2013.  Paige balances a career as a personal trainer and single mom of 3 elementary school aged kids.  Well done, Paige!  We are proud of you!!!

before-after Paige

October 2013 Athlete of the Month

Congratulations, Willow Meagher!

Announcing our next Athlete of the Month….Willow Meagher!  Not everyone sees Willow training at VO2Max.  (She’s an early riser.)  But you do hear her daily on Rock 97.7.  Willow has a big personality, a huge heart, a sense of humour like few others and determination to do her best at everything she commits to.  Say Willow’s name around VO2Max and listen for the response, “Oh, I love Willow…she’s awesome!”  We agree and here is VO2Max’s next Athlete of the Month.  Congratulations, Willow!

2013 Athlete of the Month Willow Meagher Oct 2013


Congratulations, Amanda Threinen!

How excited do we get when we announce a new Athlete of the Month?  VERY EXCITED!!!  Congratulations to AMANDA THREINEN!  Amanda has been around since the beginning of VO2Max time.  She’s one of our skilled athletes who trains quietly in the early mornings.  She is a positive and supportive presence.  Amanda opts to volunteer, rather than compete, in our Throwdowns, provides the Paleo treats for our athletes and simply put, we just love the ‘beauty’ behind the ‘beast’.  (Haha!  Just kidding, Ron!)  Congratulations, Amanda!

2012 Athlete of the Month Amanda Threiren
If anyone has someone in mind for a future Athlete of the Month, please email Sonya at

Congratulations, Chad Johannsen, on your 100 lbs of success!

From Chad’s peak of 265 lbs in his late teens, to reaching his goal of 165 lbs in last month, Chad, along with his wife, Megan, have worked crazy hard since joining up in the fall of 2011. Chad has beat what many men in the oilfield industry struggle with – long hours, stress and fast food. We say, “WOW!” Well done!!!

Please read Chad’s story, posted under his picture below.

Chad Johannsen June 2013

Introducing Chad Johannsen and his story – June 2013

Here is Chad’s story:

I was fairly active through middle school and entered into high playing lacrosse.  Our team dissolved and I began eating McDonald’s fast food with Coca Cola on an all-to regular basis and my weight ballooned.   I peeked around 265 lbs in my late teens.  I was able to drop down to 230 lbs for the majority of my 20’s simply by switching from regular Coca Cola to diet soft drinks, (albeit not a healthier choice by any means).

Like most Peace Country residents, I work in the oilfield so my days are long and packed full of stress.  Fast food seemed to be the only option for lunches and snacks.  This diet, coupled with my absolute lack of physical activity, made it hard for me to lose weight.

On December 28, 2010, I had a picture taken with my sister-in-law, who is quite petite, and I was sickened by my appearance.  I seemed bloated and pale-looking, almost sickly in presence.  It was then I decided to start working out.  I began running on our treadmill at home and using a universal gym that I had purchased a year or two earlier (just never used).  We were heading to Jamaica the following May 2011 and I was determined to lose weight.  I did lose some and got down to around 210 or so, but I was still really soft and out of shape.  Shortly after I got back from Jamaica, a friend of mine invited me to this gym in town that offers CrossFit, bootcamps and personal training.  You guessed it.  V02Max.  I thought, “I have been working out pretty hard and feeling pretty good.   How hard could it be?”  Well, May 28, 2011 was my first introduction to this gym.  It was a Saturday morning bootcamp and it kicked my ass.

A month or two went by and I was getting lazy with it being summer and all.  I hadn’t been working out at all.  While driving home from work one afternoon, I went through an intersection which was kind of bumpy and my man boobs did a fair bit of bouncing.  That was my breaking point.  I changed lanes and headed straight to V02Max.  The girls at the front booked me an appointment to meet with someone to get me in shape.  This was August 18, 2011.  I met with Janine and after we discussed what I was looking for, she set me up with a personal trailer named Tarik.  I decided that I needed to have a PT to keep me motivated.  I also elected to pre-pay my training so it kept me financially obligated to go!  In conjunction with being set up with a PT, I sought guidance from the in-house dietitian.  She set up a meal plan for me and enlightened me on how my body metabolizes food and what happens if I eat crappy food.  I was committed.  I began planning my lunches, snacks and meals.  It was difficult at first but got easier with time.  I learned that 15 minutes of prep at night gave me an entire next days’ worth of meals.  This drastically helped me get my weight under control.

My first several, several, several workouts were tough.  I was unable to perform lunges without weight.  I could barely do 5 wallballs with a 10 lbs ball.  How about pull ups?  Ha….forget about that.  That wasn’t not happening either.  However, thanks to Tarik and his knowledge in physical performance and lifting, I began to gradually build strength and endurance.  My wife joined up with me in training shortly after I did, which helped to keep me motivated.

Last year, my wife Megan and I ran the 10k distance at the 2012 Press Run/Walk in Grande Prairie and trained and competed in Whistler’s Tough Mudder.  This year in May, Megan competed in Tri-Fitness Challenge in Florida and we will be returning to Tough Mudder in a couple weeks.

Within 1.5 years of going to VO2Max, I reached 165 lbs and 6% body fat.  This was 100 lbs down from my heaviest weight.  I feel stronger and faster than I have ever in my life.  I enjoy working out and look forward to my sessions at the gym.

August 2011 – 191 lbs.                     July 2012 – 178 lbs.                     May 2013 – 165 lbs. Chad JohannsenAug 2011 to May 2013


On behalf of everyone here at VO2Max, we would like to say a BIG thank you for sharing your personal story with us.  Although you may not have realized it, your journey has inspired many.  Congratulations to you and Megan on the hard work and success achieved since arriving in 2011.  You both have been amazing to work with and cheers to your success!  You rock!!!

– Janine, Brett, Tarik and the rest of us at VO2Max,  June 11, 2013



Winners of 100 Day Challenge!100 day challenge winners May2013


Tah dah…our next Athlete of the Month.  Congratulations KEVIN DENNISON!  Kevin has been at VO2Max basically as long as Brett & Janine.  He is the first guy to welcome, support and encourage any new CrossFitters in a class.  Everyone who knows Kevin, knows that he enjoys his ‘CF swag’ and he is one of CF’s biggest fans.  Kevin is full of positive energy which we really appreciate in all the classes that he’s a part of.  Here’s to you, Kevin!

2013 Athlete of the Month Kevin Dennison April 2013

2013 Q99 Biggest Loser contest is over….and the winner is….BARB VERHAEGHE!

Between January 30 and March 23, 2013, Barb lost 51 pounds, 20 inches and 16.5% body fat. Among some other great sponsor prizes, Barb wins a ONE YEAR membership at VO2Max. Congratulations to all the other Biggest Losers who worked so hard over the past 2 months and thank you to Ron and Jen for being their amazing trainer/coach. Well done, everyone!

Biggest Losers 2013

Yay…it’s back!  ATHLETE OF THE MONTH.

We are excited to announce the first athlete of 2013….JEREMY CONNER!  Jeremy told us a couple of his goals were to do a muscle up and to out-squat Janine.  Those’s are awesome goals and more people than just Jeremy look forward to checking them off!  Congratulations, Jeremy, on your success!!!

(PS – We apologize for the delay in our Athlete of the Month.  Photographer, Tanya Sedore, has been on maternity leave.)

2013 Athlete of the Month Jeremy Conner March 2013

OMG we love this stuff…sometimes the biggest surprises are working out right beside us. Isn’t Lisa Sliuk amazing?!?!?!

Lisa Sluik before-after 2013

30 Day Paleo Challenge – January/February 2013

Paleo Challenge winner Feb 2013

Jarrid Juska Nov 2012

30 Day Paleo Challenge – September/October 2012

Paleo Challenge winner Oct 2012

Shannon Walters - Nov 2012

Please forgive our delay in posting new Athlete’s of the Month.

Our photographer, Tanya Sedore, is currently on maternity leave.