Andre Dumais might not be a natural athlete, but he is a CrossFit Sudbury "Legend".
Mind you, that stature comes part and parcel more as the result of longevity within the group, the 50 year old Sudbury native one of a handful of people who have been with the Sudbury School of Fitness organization for almost a decade now, pretty much since its inception.
"I'm reasonably coordinated, but I would not consider myself an athlete, by any stretch of the imagination," said Dumais. Truth be told, he probably does not give himself enough credit, having taken to the workouts since he was first introduced to the group, several years ago.
"I went out to try it and on my very first day, I out-performed expectations," he said. "There were a couple of skills where my success rate was pretty good. CrossFit itself is about functional movement, which really is everyday movement - that's what it is."
Actually, it has become so much more than that for Dumais, though very little of his impressive commitment to the fitness regimen is geared towards any kind of yearning for competition.
Quite the opposite, in fact.
"For me, it was socialization," he said. "I'm an extrovert. I love people, I like being around people."
The eldest of three children in the family, Dumais was not a mainstay within the organized sports scene in Sudbury, growing up, though he always remained active. Through co-worker Brad Dussiaume and now in his twenties, Dumais would connect with the Sudbury squash regulars, his first real introduction to organized sport, subsequently keeping busy with slo-pitch, skiing and other endeavours over the years.
"I would try and play any sport," he stated. "I'm coordinated enough that I could be competent."
Yet it was CrossFit Sudbury that truly captivated him. "The culture was very friendly and open. The group I am with, 90% are middle aged, maybe thirty to fifty, all pretty much average people. The beauty about this is that we are a huge community of like-minded people, all there for the same reason, which is just to stay fit."
"I would say that 90% of us are just there to get off the couch and keep the body moving."
Sure, there are those who long for competition. Still, Dumais insisted that there really is no reason for pretty much anyone to be intimidated by the thought of taking their very first step down this path.
"If there is anything that you can't do, you modify," he explained. "There are a number of people who show up who are not terribly athletic. The coaches are great. If they see that your technique and coordination is not that good, then they are not going to put a lot of weight on the bar."
Creating a very solid technical base is critical, especially when it comes to lifting. "We use a lot of very simple motions, and gradually integrate some strength," said Dumais. "The coaches plan it for you, so that it is balanced and structured. I don't have to do any thinking."
It has gotten to the point where a CrossFit Sudbury workout is pretty much a given, a standing item, typically early in the morning, on most of his daily schedules. "Now, the motivation is really the community," said Dumais. "We're about a dozen or so of us that go religiously, every morning."
It's not easy being a legend.