Paving the Way for Women in Sports: Carolyne Prevost

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Sean (00:00):

Hi everybody and welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode, I talk with the woman who finished 12th at the CrossFit Games in 2019, Carolyne Prevost. They say it’s lonely at the top, but what if entrepreneurs didn’t have to go it alone? Now you don’t have to. Chris Cooper has compiled more than a decade’s worth of hard-won wisdom into 15 free guides on everything from marketing and retention to hiring and firing. You can download them all for free at TwoBrain business.com/free-tools. Carolyne Prevost may be one of the best all around athletes in CrossFit. Not only has she competed at the Games, but she has also won, get this 11, 11 national championships in four different sports. She has competed in soccer, professional hockey and TaeKwonDo, and she currently works as a high-school math, science and phys ed teacher. We talk about how sports shaped her from an early age, her time playing collegiate hockey at the University of Wisconsin and the impact that she hopes to make on her students through fitness. Thanks for listening everyone. Carolyne, thank you so much for taking the time to do this today. How you doing?

Carolyne (01:19):

I’m doing great. This quarantine life is basically something that I enjoy, apparently. I haven’t had too much difficulty adjusting to it, so it’s been nice. And I guess I’m in a fortunate position as a teacher that I haven’t had to worry in terms of my job stability. So things have been good on my end. And I’ve been enjoying this kind of more, you know, down time.

Sean (01:47):

Yeah. You mentioned that you are a teacher, you’re a high school math, science and PE teacher. So how has this current pandemic affected the way that you do your job on a daily basis?

Carolyne (01:57):

I actually do my job here, which is above CrossFit Colosseum, which is my gym. There’s a clinic upstairs. And my coach gave me the key to it. Cause there’s like a big white board behind me and I just a lot of room and stuff for space. So I’ve just been doing all my lessons here. We’re teaching, we’ve switched to virtual teaching. We’ve also condensed the curriculum, so we’re taking away some of the stuff that we typically teach and we’re kind of focusing on the essentials of what needs to be learned for the following year. So they’ve reduced also the hours that we teach. So there’s only a couple hours in the day that I teach now versus, you know, a larger portion of my day that I was teaching before. So I’m actually working less hours, which has given me more time for training.

Carolyne (02:43):

So there’s no commute going to Oakville, which is about 25 minutes away to go to work. So I’m saying I’m just saving a lot of time. It’s weird teaching virtually because I don’t see the faces of my students. And when you teach, you like to look at their facial expression and be like, this person is completely lost. I’m going to try to change the way I’m teaching right now so I can get this person to understand what I’m talking about. But when you do it virtually none of them put their cameras on. So I’m just speaking to my computer and just like, all right, I’m going to try to teach another way, but I don’t know if anyone’s getting it. It’s OK. You know, you just adapt then, you know, that’s something I’m used to doing.

Sean (03:23):

You have been involved in sports pretty much your entire life. What are your earliest memories of competing either as an individual or on a team?

Carolyne (03:34):

Well, most of my memories growing up involved three or four sports. So I first started with gymnastics. So I have some good memories of those, just training sessions and learning a lot of discipline and, you know, hard work and stuff like that. And then the three sports that I did growing up were hockey, soccer, and TaeKwonDo. And I would say that I have equal memories of all of them. You know, hockey, I still currently play, and soccer, just TaeKwonDo I gave up. But you know, there’s been a mixture of just great teams that I’ve been a part of. You know, a lot of the memories I have are just like in hotel rooms and playing mini sticks in the hallways. Those are more of like the childhood memories of sports that I had is just like with your friends. So those are fun. And then Taekwondo that was an individual sport. So I have a lot of just memories of the training aspect of it, like training to Rocky music and going for runs. Like I remember just thinking I was Rocky half the time. It was, you know, just good memories of a lot of sports.

Sean (04:41):

That Rocky 4 soundtrack is hard to beat. That is a timeless classic. Why do you think that so many sports appealed to you at such a young age?

Carolyne (04:55):

I just love sports. Like I would wake up in the morning. I would watch Sports Center with my dad. My whole, like we have five girls in the family so I was definitely like the little boy that my dad never had and I just grew up playing sports and watching sports. That’s all I was surrounded with. And my parents gave me every opportunity, did it to participate in sports. Like those were like the main sports I did was TaeKwonDo, soccer and hockey, but even at the high school and elementary level, like I played badminton, volleyball, basketball, track, and field, like anything I could do, my parents were like encouraging me to do and to not specialize in a single sport, which I think a lot of kids have pressure to do is to kind of focus on one sport. But I just kind of loved everything of every sport that I did. So I just never wanted to specialize. And I just loved competing like at the end of the day, like I just had fun competing. And then when you’re good at it at the same time, it makes the experience better.

Sean (05:58):

I personally believe that, you know, the lessons that you learn from playing sports, especially team sports are pretty invaluable. What lessons did you learn as a youngster?

Carolyne (06:07):

I think you learn that you have a different role on your team. Like some teams, I was the top player, some teams I wasn’t necessarily the top player. You just kind of learn to play a role and to have these goals and to sacrifice for your team. And that goes into every day. The sacrifice that you have to make. I learned time management. That’s a huge one just with everything that was going on in my life. Like I had to be very, focused and very precise on the time that I had in my day. I learned just different coaching, feedback stuff. Like you, you just learned from different coaches, different athletes. I like this leader on this team. I like what this person brought and you kind of take the best out of every athlete that you’ve played with or with coaches and you kind of mold in to this, you know, all around better athlete, just from having different experiences with teammates and coaches. Like, I was very fortunate that I had high end coaches in every sport that I played and the athletes that I got to play with, or, you know, a lot of them had D1 scholarships or played at the Olympic level. So I had some good influences around me. And, you know, you just try to learn from people around you as much as possible and just become a sponge.

Sean (07:30):

Yeah. You competed on the Canadian junior national level in three different sports. So soccer, TaeKwonDo and hockey. How were you able to get so good at three different things?

Carolyne (07:43):

I worked hard. Like, I think playing a lot of sports helped me cause there’s stuff that just translates from one sport to the next. And you understand the concept, let’s say, you know, soccer and hockey, you know, in both games, you have an offensive team, a defensive team. Defensively, you need to position yourself between the goal and the players and you’re trying to defend whether it’s with a stick or whether it’s with your feet in soccer, your body, and then all offensively, you’re trying to, you know, move the puck around or move the ball around to, you know, generate offensive chances. Like there’s just like stuff that just translates between all the sports. And I just think that, you know, I became a better all around athlete and it made me better in each of each one of the sports that I did. Like I was generating good power from hockey. I was able to translate that as a sprinter in soccer and vice versa. And then the mental aspect of just like martial arts, you know, gets you prepared for different competitions. And the experiences that I had at the international level in one sport would carry on to the next sport. You know, you can see a lot of athletes that typically are good at multiple sports and they, you know, they carry over some skills. And that’s essentially what I did.

Sean (09:03):

Hockey takes you to the University of Wisconsin. How did you come to the decision to go there?

Carolyne (09:11):

At the time they were one of the top teams, they still are. So like, just like while I was in my recruiting process. So I was looking at basically all the D1 schools, financial aid ones, like the Ivy league schools, I kind of wrote off early just because that depends on what your parents make. And as a Canadian, I would have to pay a little bit and it was just too expensive. Like if I was gonna go to the States, I wanted a full ride scholarship and not go off of financial. I didn’t even have to pay, I don’t know how much it would have been like 10, 20,000 a year. It just wasn’t worth it to me. So then I started looking at different schools and Wisconsin was high on my list. And then you have these official visits that you go to where they pay for everything.

Carolyne (09:57):

And then they introduce you to the players and you watch the practices and everything. And the moment I stepped onto the campus, like I knew everything was first-class. The coaches were first-class, the facilities were absolutely unbelievable. I ended up visiting also Ohio state a couple of weeks after. And it’s funny because I was watching a football game, Wisconsin versus Ohio inside the Ohio stadium and I see the Wisconsin band playing and, you know, the Ohio state band is like probably the most well known band out there. But in my heart, I was sitting in a hundred thousand people stadium and I was going for Wisconsin. And as soon as I had that feeling inside me, I was like, I can’t go here. Like this isn’t right. Like you just, you get this feeling and you just know what university is right for you. And for me, I had that almost right away with Wisconsin and it was literally the best decision I ever made.

Sean (10:54):

What was it like playing for a premier program like that?

Carolyne (10:57):

It honestly, it’s a professional league, essentially. Like you’re treated as a professional athlete. Like we are for the women’s team, for women’s hockey, like we get themost fans. So we, I had games that were in front of 12,000 fans. It was called fill the bowl. So we filled the whole Cole center. We had outdoor games. We were getting charter flights to different, you know, games in our conference. Like we had a lot of money at the university and a lot of it is given back to the women’s hockey program. So I just felt like it was, it was unreal. Like we had a practice facility that was smaller ice. So whenever we would go out of town and we could play in a smaller ice surface, we would go there and practice.

Carolyne (11:47):

And if we played on a bigger ice, we had the Cole center, which was a bigger, and we had people carrying our gear from one rink to the next, like you, we had two sets of gears every single year given to us, like, I don’t even know 24 sticks. Like it was just ridiculous. Like, I just didn’t think that that was possible for like female athletes to receive that much. And then, you know, you graduate from that program and then you come to a professional league that was the CWHL and it seemed like such a downgrade from what you were experiencing at you know, the top university in the world for hockey. Yeah.

Sean (12:23):

How are you able to balance both the academic and the physical demands of being a student athlete?

Carolyne (12:30):

Well, playing a sport at university, any sport, it’s having a full time job. You’re, you know, for me, it’s about maximizing my time in the classroom. Like, you know, you’re in big lectures of 300 or 500 people. I was front row or in the first couple of rows every single lecture, because I knew if I sat in the front, I’m probably not on my cell phone, I’m paying attention. I’m, you know, connecting with the professor that’s teaching. And I’m going to maximize the time because if you paid attention in class, that was like 80% of the work. And I figured that out way before even university, that if you do the work at school, you buy yourself time after school for the stuff that you wanted to do, which for me, it’s, you know, playing hockey and competing at that level. So I just was very focused on school and worked really hard there and did well both academically and athletically and both were equally as important for me. I always wanted to do very well at school, bu it was definitely a full time job, like playing.

Sean (13:35):

You won two national championships while you were there. What stands out to you about both of them?

Carolyne (13:41):

The first one was my freshman year. It was, you know, you play on this amazing team. My role wasn’t as big as a freshman. So I didn’t like contribute as much or like as the next one that we won. But it was just such an unreal moment. Like you train the entire year, you play the entire year for this national championship. And then when you finally get it, it’s amazing. The teammates that you have that memories with is unbelievable. And then the following year, we lost a lot of players because we have Mark Johnson who is our coach. And that year he ends up being the US Olympic coach for the female team. We had at least five or six girls that left our program for that year to go play at the Olympics.

Carolyne (14:29):

So every time there’s an Olympic year, it’s difficult for our program. I don’t count the Olympic years because we just lose too many of our top players. And then all of a sudden, it’s just, we didn’t have a good year the second year. And then they came back the following year and then we won again my junior year. And my role was bigger as a junior that year. And it was just, that was probably the best team I was a part of was my junior year at university when we won that championship. Like I felt like we dominated the whole year. And our conference was the toughest by far, the WCJ Minnesota is always good in Minnesota Duluth. And, it was just unreal. And then my senior year, we were ranked first, basically the whole year. We ended up losing in the finals. So we got second that year to Minnesota and then Minnesota, were good for a few years after that. And then Wisconsin slowly taking it back over. So I’m happy about that.

Sean (15:22):

You have one 11 national championships in four different sports, and most people would kill for just one of those. So what’s it like having 11?

Carolyne (15:34):

It’s cool. I was given good opportunities growing up and I’ve worked extremely hard. Like I love playing sports and, you know, none of these were given like, but at the same time you don’t win championships without a lot of people that are surrounding you and for, you know, a lot of these were team sports, so team national championship. So if you don’t have a good squad, like you’re not winning, you know, you see a lot of these great athletes that, you know, just didn’t win a Stanley cup because their team wasn’t as deep or so. It’s a mixture of just having the right players that you’re playing with, or even individual sports. You know, you had your coach, you had your training partners that were good. And then on top of that, you just, you work hard and you focus on the details and, you know, good things happen when you work hard and you create good opportunities. So it’s fun.

Sean (16:34):

Yeah. You go on to play you mentioned this professionally with the Toronto Furies of the unfortunately now defunct Canadian women’s hockey league. So what did it mean to you to be able to continue your hockey career and play at a professional level?

Carolyne (16:46):

Yeah, it was cool. Like we, so after you graduate, so at that point I was, so I played for the under 18 national team, the under 22 national team for four years. And then I was 22, 23 years old. I was in the senior program. And then a hopeful player for the 2014 Olympics. And then I was, there were between a few players to centralize a roster in Calgary and I was on the bubble and then there was three or four of us that were left and then they took the other girls. Then they left me and they released me basically from the program. And at that age for female athletes, you know, you can’t guarantee that in four years from now, you’re getting reinvited. So at that point, I needed to make a decision on what I was going to do with my life.

Carolyne (17:33):

So that’s when I applied for teacher’s college, I didn’t live in Toronto. But I knew there was a Toronto team there in the CWHL. So I moved there and then went to teacher’s college. And I had a sister that lived there too. So everything just kind of fell into place. Then I found myself on that Toronto Furies team and the CWHL. Played, I think it was seven seasons before for the league folded. So I had a great time with them. Good experiences. It definitely wasn’t the same as the national, like the NCAA that we had played in the prior year, like in terms of the professional level of like the talent, the game was, was better, but the treatment was not, the resources were not, we had less fans there than we had at Wisconsin. I was paying for my own equipment.

Carolyne (18:28):

So like, we’re calling like it was a professional league, but it didn’t feel like a professional league when you leave this university program that you were literally treated as a professional. But it was great experience. And we’re moving on now to bigger and better things. Hopefully.

Sean (18:43):

Where do things stand now as far as getting a new women’s professional hockey league going?

Carolyne (18:46):

So it’s a little confusing for the fans, but essentially after university, there’s not much, you know, you get all these graduates that, you know, that graduate and there’s right now, the NWHL called the national women’s hockey league. And they’re a professional league that was started a few years ago in the States because we lacked in our league, the CWHL more American teams. So it was created basically to give more Americans the opportunity to play after college.

Carolyne (19:23):

Because there wasn’t that much for players, a lot of great level players have to retire after university. Cause there just wasn’t anything and people had to work and then they start families, et cetera. So you have that league that now has I believe five or six teams in that one. And once the CWHL folded, essentially the top players in the world, which include all the Olympians and the national team players essentially said like, enough’s enough. You know, we’re calling this professional, but in reality, it wasn’t professional. And you know, we’re having to bring our gear home and back and forth. Like we don’t have washer dryers, we’re paying for our own equipment. Like it’s, we’re not getting paid really like, so we were trying to push that forward. So we created, the PWHPA, which is the professional woman’s hockey player association.

Carolyne (20:16):

So essentially all of the Olympians and the national team players that were a part of that NWHL got out of that league because they didn’t see that the vision of that league was taking it to where we felt the sport needs to go. And they also are lacking the same resources, essentially. There’s a lot of the same problems that we had with the CWHL that are existing also in the NWHL. So this whole PWHPA thing is looking at essentially creating a league that would be a professional level similar to the WNBA. So I don’t know what they would call it, but it would be kind of associated with the NHL to some degree, and actually be a professional sport and a viable league that won’t fold where players can make, you know, a livable wage. We’re not asking for millions, but you know, we’re also not expecting 2000 or $5,000 cause that’s not a professional league.

Carolyne (21:12):

So that’s in the works right now. So I’m part of that group of players that’s trying to make this happen. And, there’s some good people on board with us and we had year number one last year and it took off very well. Obviously this pandemic has kind of made it a little bit more difficult. But you know, we have very strong, intelligent women that are just very persistent and they’re going to work hard to make something happen. I think the NWHL is a great opportunity for a lot of players. Like it could be a great opportunity for myself right now, as I’m at the end of my hockey career and I’m juggling CrossFit and I could play in the NWHL and use that as an opportunity to keep playing, but I don’t want to go there until this other league is formed and I’m really hoping that it’s pushing the sport forward and I’m making sacrifices on my own play and my own pay basically to help this happen.

Carolyne (22:13):

So hopefully something happens soon, but the PWHPA are looking at creating something that’s really for the elite hockey players of the world.

Sean (22:20):

How did you find CrossFit?

Carolyne (22:22):

When I got cut from the national team for the Olympics to not get centralized in Calgary, I was, you know, you go through university and you’re given a hockey program and you follow the hockey program. And I’ve always loved doing dry land training and just training in general. And I found myself basically without a hockey program anymore cause I had graduated. So I’m on my own with my training. And then for many years, a lot of people just kept saying like, you should do CrossFit. Cause I was always like one of the top ones in the weight room for all the sports I did and I liked training and then people were like, Oh, have you ever heard of CrossFit?

Carolyne (23:04):

And I was like, yeah, yeah, like, sure. But I never like really looked into it. And then I was home at my TaeKwonDo club and you probably know Kristine Andali, she’s from my hometown. And her dad said that there was a CrossFit gym just down the street from my TaeKwonDo club and said that I should check it out. And then I was like, OK, I’ve heard CrossFit from so many people. And then finally, like, he kind of directed me to where one of the gyms were so started there and did a few workouts right away. And my competitiveness, obviously I love doing it. And I wanted to compare myself right away and then compete. So jumped on board. And that was basically how my CrossFit career took off, but it was honestly, it was the best thing because a lot of players after university, they have a hard time transitioning to the real world.

Carolyne (23:56):

And a lot of them go through depression or they’re just lost because you go through your whole life. And for, as a female athlete, the pinnacle of every sport is going to the Olympics. Like there’s not many sports for women that actually make it a full career out of it. So you want to go to the Olympics, that’s your goal. And when that goal comes to an end, like you’re lost, cause that’s literally what you’ve been fighting for your whole life. So I had finally found like another door that had opened and it just allowed me to kind of repurpose this competitiveness that I’ve had my whole life, at least not have this like big down after the university of like depression or anything like that. Like I would just hop right on that. And it was like, cool, I like this. And then like everything just kinda fell into place.

Sean (24:46):

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Carolyne (25:33):

Probably day one. I did a workout. I was probably like, OK, when’s the next competition? Let’s do it. But in terms of like, I wanted to make it to Regionals, but I didn’t think it was possible to make it to the Games while I was playing hockey. Like I knew I would do like, well at like at that kind of level, because of just from all the experience of background, I knew I was a quick learner. Just cause everything I’ve done, I just learned sports very fast and I had a very good base in my fitness, but it wasn’t until really like 2016, 17, whenever there was in Oshawa, Ontario, what was it the invitational? So I went to go watch that I was on the demo team because they had a competition the day before for affiliates and my team ended up in second.

Carolyne (26:33):

And then Dave picked the first and the second place team to be the demo. And I’m looking at all the CrossFit Games athletes, I’m like, holy crap, these people are so good. And like, I’m pretty sure I PR’d my handstand walk in front of them. It was like a hundred feet. But that weekend Dave goes and announces that the CrossFit Games were going to be in Madison, Wisconsin. And like everyone in Oshawa like had no idea where Madison, Wisconsin were and they all expected Florida. And I was just like, Oh my God, like this is it. Like I can go back to Madison—I hadn’t been back since I graduated. It was just like, I can go back to Madison, Wisconsin and go back to the University I went to in another sport. Like it would just be like going full circle in my athletic career. So from that day on, like I remember driving home and I was just like almost in tears, just from the announcement and just being so happy that that was the place that we were going. And I just kind of dialed in my nutrition, worked super hard. And then I got really close in 2018 and then finally 2019, I made it. It was cool, but it definitely the idea of competing at the Games and just that dream was started at that weekend. Yeah.

Sean (27:47):

Yeah. Well you mentioned getting close and in 2018 you took third, third overall in the worldwide Open and then you go to Regionals, but unfortunately you take sixth and you miss out by one spot. So how did you deal with that disappointment?

Carolyne (27:58):

I was disappointed that that’s the year that they put the bench press in at Regionals and it just wasn’t a good movement for me. And like, I grew up bench pressing like in hockey, like you bench press, it just wasn’t a good movement. It honestly still is not that great of a movement. But you know, it wasn’t the first time that I’ve been cut or just on the verge of making that, like that senior team or, you know, that next world level. So, you know, I just kinda took it as an opportunity to be like, OK, like I’m close. I can get there. Like it was, it solidified in my head, the third place in the open, because you get third in the open and you’re like, what happened? Like, why am I here? Like, are people injured? Like what’s going on? Like were these workouts just like amazing for me. Like, there’s no way I’m like that high up. So you start just questioning your ability. So when I also was close at Regionals, I was like, OK, no, like you can do this. Like you’re right there. It’s not a fluke, so just keep on it. And so it just kind of gave me that confidence more so than that disappointment that I didn’t make it. So I just used it as fuel for the next year to just keep going.

Sean (29:10):

What did you think about your competitive future after that? Once all the changes of the season were made and the format is now completely different.

Carolyne (29:18):

When they said that you could qualify through the open, I just didn’t know what that looked like. And then I thought, OK. In 2018 I did well, but people maybe didn’t redo the workout as much, or they didn’t take the open and like as serious because they knew they were going to go to Regionals and that was where you qualify. So I just didn’t know how difficult it was going to be to qualify through the open. And thankfully I had some good workouts, for me, but I just didn’t like, you just didn’t know, there was a lot of unknown in that 2019 season, like the Sanctionals were beforehand for some of them before the open. As a teacher and as someone who’s playing hockey, like I can’t necessarily travel and go to all these places worldwide and compete and get there a week in advance and get used to the time difference.

Carolyne (30:10):

Like when I compete and I go to any place, I literally get there, like the day of the registration, I’m registering, I’m competing the next day, I leave the Sunday night. I’ve missed podiums before because I’m going back to work on that Monday. So it’s difficult for me to do the Sanctional season. I’ll pick and choose hopefully a couple that are close. I might pick one in the season that’s going to be a little bit further away, but it’s also expensive. So I was like, well, this is just going to help people that are doing this full time or have a lot of money to travel. Like I don’t have these sponsors that are going to pay for my trips and stuff and hotel and food and all that. So I was like, well, this could be good for some people, but it may not be good for someone like me, who’s working full time and can’t take the time off work or afford to just go everywhere. So I just wasn’t sure. So I tried to put all my effort into the open because I knew for me, I could, you know, I could do very well at those types of workouts typically, and just kind of put my head down and then avoid having to go to these Sanctionals and paying more money and taking time off work and stuff. So that’s my mentality is it’s trying to qualify through the open because, it’s difficult through, other times in the year.

Sean (31:23):

Well, you accomplished that in 2019, you make it to the Games. So what was it like for you to finally realize that I’m going back to Madison to compete?

Carolyne (31:30):

It was unreal. Like, I had been close in a lot of sports. Like it was like close in hockey. It was, you know, you’re on like different junior national teams for a lot of sports, but you never were like on the senior team or on the senior Olympic team. So it was like, this was finally for me, like the biggest stage in terms of like, I finally made it to the senior team or the senior competition. So it was, really like, I just was like super thrilled and relieved and happy to get the opportunity to compete at that level. And especially with it being in Madison, it was pretty cool.

Sean (32:11):

What were your expectations when you got there?

Carolyne (32:14):

I wanted top 20 from the get go. Like I just, I felt like if there’s good enough workouts, I know I could get in the top 20. Honestly there’s a lot of things out of my control. And if people at the end of the day are better than me and I’m outside the top 20, like I’m OK with that too. But I like just having that specific goal in mind, like, I think I can get into that inside that. And, but it was stressful, like, honestly out of all the competitions I’ve done, it’s probably the least amount of fun I had competing because you just couldn’t enjoy just being there at the Games. Cause it was like, I can’t just take a moment and like, you’re about to get cut if you do that. So you had to like really go hard and I felt extra pressure just because I was at Madison. I had a lot of friends that were there and I just felt like it was like going home. So it just was like, I hope I don’t get eliminated right away. Cause all these people paid money to come and watch me. So I put pressure on myself, a little bit, a lot but it was cool though. It was fun experience even though there was a lot of, you know, unknowable there and it was different experience, I guess, for everyone.

Sean (33:22):

I felt that especially that year, that people who have a background in sports, traditional sports dealt with the pressure a little bit better. So how did your athletic background help you deal with the whole do or die atmosphere that surrounded basically every event that year?

Carolyne (33:39):

That’s sports, right? Like you play a hockey game, you can be better on paper than someone on to play hockey game, but things don’t go your way. You’re hitting the post. That goalie is standing on her head. Like you just can’t control certain stuff, just like right now, what’s going on with, you know, with the pandemic and stuff. So I think like, and I think naturally my personality is a little bit like kind of, you know, you just create your own path, like you just deal with it. And I just think I was able to adapt to the events as much as possible with like knowing it minutes before. And it didn’t get too much under my skin in terms of what the events were, whatever they were. It was just like, OK, this is it. Do your best and live with the results basically. But yeah, I think playing a lot of sports and getting those experiences on different stage definitely helps experience-wise even though I lacked the experience at the Games, I have a lot of athletic experience that transfers over to that. So I don’t feel necessarily like a rookie even though I was.

Sean (34:47):

You wind up taking 13th, which is fantastic, but I’m guessing that you really wanted to be in that final 10. So how now does this motivate you moving forward?

Carolyne (34:57):

Well again, I took it with a grain of salt because, I also know that you know, certain events played in my favor and I could have been, you know, on the other side of the line at any given time. And certain people didn’t get the opportunity to showcase at different events cause they were cut. So you kind of take that year, you take your result and you go and say, OK, this is what I need to work on. But I mean, again, it validated the work that I put in and the fact that I knew I could be in that top 20, and you know, a lot of the events were athletic events, like the sprints and stuff like that. Like I could tell in the warm-up, people didn’t know how to go around a cone.

Carolyne (35:40):

Like I would see how they pivoted around the cone. I was like, you have never played soccer or anything like that. I was like, this is funny to me because I’ve done so many sports and you could be fit, but you didn’t know how to be like athletic quote unquote. So I was just like, this is great. But yeah, it was cool. I kind of, you know, I finished the Games, but at the same time, I had a lot of adversity there because I ended up getting rhabdo for the first time in my life from Mary, which I only talked about that for the first time last week on another podcast. But five out of the six events I did were outside and you know, I train in Canada and a lot of times I training in indoors and you can train in humidity, but it’s not the same as being out in the sun.

Carolyne (36:31):

So I think it was a mixture of dehydration. Just being out in the sun all day, I didn’t drink enough water. And then you get the high volume of pull-ups in Mary. And I remember not being able to extend my arms at all. And I had hurt my calf in the Mary coming down from the pull-up bar on the second round or not second round. But you know how you had the first section that you placed your mat, but when you made it to the next section, they had already placed the mat. And before then I had, you know, I had just gone unbroken on the pull-ups and then I get to the next section. And when I dropped down, the mat was too far back and I like, I just caught the front end of the mat and my calf tweaked up.

Carolyne (37:10):

So like, I didn’t even warm up for the sprint. I stretch my calf, my hamstring, like a little bit to make sure that my hamstrings were ready to go, but I could barely extend my arms. I had taped on my calf that I could barely extend. And I was like, well, at this point I was just going full send in Mary, give it all I have, try to make top 20. Once I got that, I was happy. I could enjoy the Games for the first time during the sprint event, I knew that was a great event for me. And then I started warming up for it and I was like, OK, it’s not hurting when I’m warming up. But as soon as I would stop, my calf would just like be in a ball. And I was like, Oh no, like I hope I can do this event cause I want to sprint.

Carolyne (37:50):

But I ended up doing it. It was fine, but a few weeks after the Games, like I still couldn’t extend my arms. I couldn’t do a pull-up for about three weeks to month after the Games and here comes the open and that’s what I put my money on because that’s what I was preparing for the following year. So I was like, Oh no, this is not good. But then slowly, you know, I just took care and I took a few weeks fully off and I took care of my body and slowly got strength back. Thankfully there was no pull-ups in the open in the first week. No pull-ups at all until the last week, which had muscle-ups. So by that time I was fully recovered and fine, but it was scary. That had never happened to me before. And I’ve done a lot of sports. I’ve done harder workouts than that. It just, I think being outside for so many of the events and just lack of hydration and stuff and the mixture of a bunch of stuff, but yeah.

Sean (38:45):

You are now one of the people who went from being solidly in the Games now having sort of a lot of doubts about whether or not you’re going to make it because of the format change. What were your initial thoughts when that announcement was made?

Carolyne (39:05):

Not surprised at all. Like honestly, I read it and I was like, I expected it. Like I guess in my head thought about the worst case scenario, which would be fully canceled. And then when they said that it wasn’t canceled, they were still kind of doing something or at least hoping to do something, I started looking at my placement, which was between the blue line and top 20. In my head, I was like, there’s no way that they’re going to invite all of underneath the blue line, which was around like 32nd. Plus they had already done 10 sanctionals. I was like, they’re not going to take no one from the sanctionals because then it takes away from people that are doing the sanctional events and it’s not gonna look good if they do that. So I was like, OK, there’s at least 10 there.

Carolyne (39:48):

They may take even top 10 from the open. Like, I didn’t know. And I was like right now, my spot’s not guaranteed. I’ll still train regardless of whether I qualify or not as if I I’ve qualified. So when that announcement was made, I was like, OK, so this is what’s happening right now. I at least have some information more than yesterday. And it is what it is. You know, at the end of the day I got food on my table. I got somewhere to sleep. My life is pretty good. Like there’s bigger things happening in the world than having the opportunity to play or to compete at the Games. So I kind of put that into perspective and you know, like I said, I’ll be ready if the fill back spots happen. Cause I think I’m just going to be a couple, maybe one spot shy when this is all said and done. And we still don’t even know if it’s going to happen and everything with the travel restriction. So, I’m going to continue to train as if I’m going to the Games because I have a feeling I may still get there somehow. Like it is what it is. Like you can’t, you can’t control it. Like, I said, I’ve had friends that have had Olympics canceled and world championships. So, you know, it is what it is at this point. You know, you adapt and that’s what CrossFit is. So nothing new.

Sean (41:07):

Yeah. What drew you to teaching?

Carolyne (41:11):

I grew up, I did a lot of coaching of like different soccer clinics, hockey clinics. I did private lessons in TaeKwonDo where I like taught people how to fight or do their patterns and stuff like that. I just enjoyed teaching people. And at school I liked tutoring people that didn’t know what was going on in different subject. Like I just liked just helping people learn a skill. My mom worked in a school. One of my sisters is a teacher also. So I just think it was in the family. And then the hours are also very good because you know, I’m not working nine to five, I’m working like eight to 2:30, three o’clock. So it still allows me to get a good chunk of my evening. So the scheduling hasn’t really changed for me since I was little it’s literally still school and train. And then now it’s teaching and train. So it’s a schedule that I’ve kind of just learned to work with. So I think that helps me a lot, cause I’m a very like routine type person. Like I don’t need a bunch of different stuff every day. So I think the routine works well and I enjoy teaching. Like I I’m in my sixth year, I think now.

Sean (42:28):

What do your kids think about what you do? Not only with CrossFit, but with all the other sports that you play?

Carolyne (42:36):

They know I do sports and stuff like that, but like, let’s say in physical education, like I never participate in the class. It’s not for me. It’s for them. Like, I will never take the spot of a kid in PE like that’s not my job. And that was a big pet peeve of mine. Like as if I see different teachers, like you’re not there to show off. So I try not to talk too much about that part, but some of my kids follow me on social media, so they know what’s happening in my life. So they’ll ask me about it, but they think it’s cool. I’ve had my whole school goal to one of my hockey games before in the playoffs.

Carolyne (43:17):

So that was really cool. They took a few buses, filled up one whole section in the stands. So that was cool. We have a CrossFit gym that I’ve actually got affiliated at the gym at the school now called CrossFit Gage. I did that last year. So we moved into a new facility, so they gave me the budget for the fitness room and I was like, you’re giving me the budget. Like I get to pick what goes into this room? And they’re like, yeah, we trust you. I was like, OK, let’s do this. It’s not a huge room at all. Like I teach at a very small French high school. But you know, there’s a rig, there’s one assault bike, a couple rowers, skierg. Just everything that you see in a regular gym, like there’s weights, there’s wall balls, boxes; it’s a CrossFit gym.

Carolyne (44:10):

I had some students do the open this year, so that was the first year that they could do the open because before it’s typically in March and that was March break, so I could never do the open with them. So I had a few students participate. It was fun. They would come at lunch and do the workout and you’d get a bunch of students be like, what is going on in there? And there’s kids are like, just like giving it their all. It was really, yeah, no, it’s fun. The kids know what’s going on, but I’ve had a lot of questions from the kids be like, and then I’m like, why are you teaching us? Like, why aren’t you playing your sports full time? And I have to tell them, like, this is the reality of a female athlete that we have to juggle a full time career and playing a sport.

Carolyne (44:55):

Like that’s the reality of women’s sports. Like you have very small percentage of people that are able to do it full time and I’m just not able in my sport to do it full time. So it’s funny when you kind of get that conversation going and it’s like, this is what I’m fighting for with the PWHPA. So that these women that are so talented in their sports don’t have to be halfway and in different glasses. And they can actually like, their score can actually get better, faster because they’re actually investing everything into that. So that’s always interesting, but at the end of the day, I try to just teach them, I mean obviously like what I’m supposed to teach, but just keep giving them different advice from different experiences I’ve had. And trying to be a good role model for them in different ways.

Sean (45:46):

Yeah. Along those lines, you are uniquely positioned with what you do with sports and also being a teacher to have quite an impression, not just kids, but also young girls. So what is the impression that you want them to leave with when you’re done teaching them

Carolyne (46:04):

That they can do everything that they set their mind to. And that there’s not one body that works for every female and that they can love their bodies and that they don’t need to give up their sport at the high school level. Like this is what we’re fighting for, that these girls don’t need to quit their sport. Cause there’s, I think that I read a statistic. I think it’s like one or two out of 10 females are still playing sports in high school and they all quit because there’s no opportunities. So they focus on their school to go to college or university, et cetera. So we have actually a program called fit spirit at our school where it’s only for girls. And it’s literally because there’s such a drop off in physical activity for girls at the high school level. And it’s about getting these girls exposed to physical activity.

Carolyne (46:54):

We have them do like a 5k or 10 K run at the end of the year. And these girls come together and they train and they might not even know each other. And I’ll do Zumba classes with them. I’ll do martial arts classes with them. We’ll do CrossFit classes. I just kind of get them to do physical activity and learn to get more self confidence and to have a goal and let’s work to get there. And then let’s accomplish this goal and see that you can do stuff. So I think it’s just, you know, creating an atmosphere in the school that, you know, I want these girls to take their place in the school, like to not shy away from gym classes to not sit on the bench and watch the boys play. Like every time I go and I have duty to watch people in different classes or in the gym, like, I’ll see some girls just like sitting on the bench, I’m like, get out there.

Carolyne (47:46):

Like you can play, like, let’s go. And then they’ll like slowly go up. So I think it helps them to see, it’s easier when it’s a female letting them know like to do it. Cause I think sometimes they’re reluctant when it’s a male telling them to do. They’re like, well, yeah, like it’s easy for you, but then it’s like, no, like you can do it. I can do it. You can do it. Let’s let’s do this together. So at lunchtime, I open up CrossFit Gage and I take maybe five minutes to eat. Like I don’t train at school cause I just don’t have time. But I take about five minutes to eat. I open my gym there. I would say that 90% of the people that come there are females now. And they come to work out at lunch with me, not with me.

Carolyne (48:32):

Like I’m letting them know like what to do and I’m teaching them how to do it. And like that just comes from, you know, an atmosphere that you just create in the school. And I think that, you know, the girls are starting to take their place and they’re starting to understand the benefits of physical activity and that it’s more than just working out so that you lose weight. Cause that’s the goal every like every time the girls come to me, how can I get a six pack? And how can I lose weight? And it’s all about losing weight and it’s very physical. So I’m just trying to get them to think more about performance and what can their bodies do versus what their bodies can look like. Cause once they realize what their bodies can do and they can start appreciating how difficult that is to do, then all of a sudden they’re starting to become less focused on the physical part and they’re starting to be happy with themselves. Cause they’re, you know, they know that was hard to do and they accomplished it. So, it’s really, it’s just cool to see that switch happen. It still needs to happen for a lot of these girls. But when you see it happen in a particular student, you’re like, yes, I know I did something at the end of the day and it’s cool to see.

Sean (49:40):

Well, Carolyne, listen, I really appreciate you taking the time to do this. Best of luck with not only the CrossFit stuff. I hope we get to see you compete in the Aromas. And I hope you are back on the ice with all the other talented female athletes who definitely deserve a chance to showcase their talents.

Carolyne (49:54):

Oh thank you. Yeah. That’s the plan.

Speaker 2 (49:57):

Big thanks to Carolyn Prevost for joining me today. If you want to follow her on social media, you can find her on Instagram. She is @cprevost27. If you’re in business, you need to know something. Certified Two-Brain mentors have been through it all and they’re available to help you reach success. To learn how a mentor can help you transform your business and add $5,000 in monthly recurring revenue, book a free call on TwoBrain business.com. Thanks for listening to Two-Brain Radio. I’m Sean Woodland and we’ll see you next time.

 

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On Wednesdays, Sean Woodland tells the best stories in the CrossFit community on Two-Brain Radio With Sean Woodland.

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