Jennifer Jackson, 27, is a coach at the Iron Age CrossFit gym in Olds. She is also a Sundre High School teacher.
From Feb. 5-7, she was in Lloydminster for the 2016 Battle on the Border competition.
The meet’s Pro Division was invitation-only for athletes who had been ranked in the Top 30 in Western Canada.
Jackson was thrilled with her performance amongst the 12 competitors there.
“The top six girls are literally the top six in Canada West so I was pretty pumped to be able to stay with them. It was a good weekend,” she said.
Over the three days, Jackson completed a variety of workouts. They ranged from calisthenics and barbell lifts to long jumps. Other exercises included running with a sandbag, handstand pushups and weighted sled pushes.
She was part of a 22-member team from Iron Age to make the trip.
Most competed in two other categories: Rx and Scaled. In the Rx, athletes perform the workout as “prescribed,” to the letter of the instructions. The Scaled division has exercises done at a reduced intensity, considered to be intended for more novice participants.
“Everybody cheers each other on and is there to support each other no matter what the division they’re in. I made sure to get up so I could watch even the beginners go at 8:30 in the morning, just to support them. It’s important to do that,” Jackson said.
Jackson recently moved to Sundre. She grew up in Red Deer and then attended the University of Alberta, where she played on the women’s hockey team, winning a CIS title in 2010.
According to her biography on the Iron Age website, she also held four world powerlifting records.
For her, taking up CrossFit seemed to be a natural evolution.
“Even when I was a hockey player at U of A, I was always kind of like the power forward. I was actually training for hockey when I did the powerlifting. Someone just convinced me to do the competitions and I got those world records. It just kind of went hand in hand with training for hockey and having strong legs, which is why I did so well with that sled push workout,” she said.
After hockey, Jackson said she tried yoga and distance running but discovered strength training was her passion.
“It got really boring, really fast. I just needed a challenge and I’ve always been a competitive person. It’s nice to be able to compete with myself and see what I can push my body to do.”