How Maverick Strength was birthed.
There is an old saying that ‘motivation is what gets us started, but habit is what keeps us going.’
For me as a 13-year-old kid, my motivation to begin lifting revolved around becoming the best hockey player I could be. Because for as long as I could remember, I would watch sports highlights in my basement every night, rigorously exercising during commercial breaks and fantasizing about becoming a professional hockey player. And eventually, vicariously living through these role models transformed into me taking more serious action…actions that ultimately became the roots that shaped my career trajectory, my passion for self-investment, and above all…my identity.
As a young and aspiring athlete in the rural community of Kaslo BC, Canada, I didn’t know much about the art of lifting as I do today. But I did have an old dusty bench press that my dad purchased at a garage sale, along with some bodybuilding magazines I would avidly reference. That said, while others often got sucked into the rural community culture of drinking and partying, I was that kid who was dedicated to my dream; the kid would be studying the art of self-development, accentuating physical growth, mind over matter, and reminding myself through each sweaty set that I could do anything for 60 seconds. Did that make me a textbook outcast? Absolutely. But the thing I really want to point out here is that when you truly love something, it is important to never let those dreams die due to the words of someone else who is not walking your path. Trust the process and trust yourself.
-It never gets easier; you just get better-
Throughout my early fitness journey, I was empowered. I was empowered by the idea of being the first athlete from my rural community to be drafted into the Western Hockey League. I was also empowered by how effective fitness was at not just enhancing my body but acting as a healthy outlet to deal with stress and coping with the realities of high school. In fact, I was so empowered by the future and pushing myself to get closer each day that I was completely ignoring the fact that I was in sheer, utter pain.
You see, my hockey ambitions and lack of fitness knowledge at the time equated to me blindly pushing my body daily. I did not understand how to train properly, resulting in me not being able to stand for more than 10 minutes without being in agonizing pain. Each day was getting harder to train. But when my hockey coach said he wanted to make sure I was in the best shape of my life for the upcoming season, I followed (slightly out of obligation) his recommendation to train with a strength coach located about an hour away in Nelson. Going into this, I was expecting to work out. I was expecting to be pushed to the limits and to progress past the pain. What I didn’t expect was that not only was I totally wrong, but this experience is what would inevitably become the catalyst for me to be standing here today at Maverick Strength.
I’ll never forget walking down a steep flight of stairs to get into his basement gym. He took one look at me and said, “Your body is f-ed, isn’t it?” Within seconds of meeting me, he could discern incredible details about my body without any prior knowledge.
- You sleep on your right side, don’t you?
- You cross your left leg when you sit?
- You shoot left?
- Your back hurts, doesn’t it?
After my first session, the pain had drastically subsided due to mindful stretching, posture corrections, etc. A few sessions after that, the pain was completely gone, and I couldn’t believe how quickly my body had transformed from a state of chronic pain to a pain-free one. I was entirely grateful for the results, but with hockey season coming up, I asked when we would be training with weights like the other players. Psst – the whole reason why I was there. Upon asking, he chuckled and said, “You’re not going to touch a weight for the entire summer. You need to stretch, and you need to earn the right to lift weights.” I was a little disheartened and confused, but at this point, I completely trusted everything he said and followed along. He convinced me that what he had in store was better than jumping straight into training, which, if you remember, is what led to my initial dysfunction in the first place.
So, that summer, stretching is what I did. I stretched for 75-90 minutes a day and lied about executing the offseason training program that my Drafted Team sent me. Fast forward to the start of that season, after 3 months of stretching, breathing, and focusing on my nutrition, my body felt the best it ever had despite the fact I had done nothing conventional to prepare. And as a result, I played the best hockey season I had ever played. It was such an incredibly transformational experience that touched me so deeply I knew from that day forward that I wanted to have that same type of impact on others’ lives. My passion shifted to wanting to share the message and let everyone know there was a solution to chronic pain that doesn’t involve medication or needing to give up passions.
From then on, I began studying everything I could about the body – specifically how strength and flexibility discrepancies affect natural movement, posture, and performance. It also led to greater interest and appreciation in nutrition, as removing certain foods from my diet cleared away the chronic acne and joint inflammation I struggled with through puberty. Four years into it, hockey started to become second in line, and my interest in the human body/health stepped into first, a conversion I was slightly shocked to ever experience but one that I am proud of because I know I can help more people this way. That is the goal here, to help others cultivate the healthy, fulfilled lives they deserve and ultimately leave this world a little better than I found it one transformation at a time.
With that as my base, I was now 19 years old ready and armed to establish clientele as a trainer, and I wanted to begin sharing my experience with other athletes. There was only one problem. I was broke. I did not have the $5,000 to take the course I wanted and obtain the insurance to train athletes. The alternative? CrossFit. Now, I don’t want you to think CrossFit was my second choice; it was merely another path that was lit while the other was dark because during my financial dilemma, there was a CrossFit certification coming to Vancouver that I could partake in. It was a cheap and easy way to obtain insurance and start being able to train athletes using what I knew already. And as your trainer, one thing you will learn outside of exceeding your mind-body potential is that there is always another way to achieve your goals. The doors are there; you just have to walk through them.
By the end of my first CrossFit certification, my butt was handed to me. Though I was much more knowledgeable about fitness by this point, I got my ass kicked repeatedly, and every hole in my fitness was exposed. It was the single most humbling experience of my life. But above all, it gave me a newfound appreciation for this incredible, empowering community.
CrossFit opened up a new world of exercise competencies to explore beyond standard weight training with barbells and dumbbells. It was captivated, enthralled, and felt like an entirely new world of fitness – one that I was eager to experiment with and apply to my own training modalities with my clients at the first business I was part of.
Throughout my early career experimenting with CrossFit and utilizing small parts of what I knew prior to CrossFit, I started to realize the progression gaps in the conventional group fitness model that most CrossFit gyms. There was often no onboarding, no prequalification, and limited progression/ascension models. I saw groups essentially throwing people into advanced movements beyond their capability and doing movements that were not beneficial for most adults. Even more, this led to paying clients not progressing with their fitness and injuries spiking left and right.
To me, this is not what fitness was about. Fitness is not a one size fits all journey, and the path to self-improvement it is most certainly not a race where there are winners and losers. Seeing this ignited my passion for creating a safe, secure, and unifying space in the fitness realm. A space where all walks of life can go to improve themselves, meet their unique goals at their own pace, and ultimately experience what they are truly capable of with a support system on their side. It is a space of empowerment, encouragement, and proper onboarding where everyone attains their own version of success without regression. Because if there is one thing I have learned throughout this journey, everybody may be different, but everyone is capable. And in the right conditions, that capability can thrive.
This is eventually how Maverick Strength was created. After many years of witnessing failed group coaching, that business relationship inevitably dissolved. Seeing some people attain results and many not just didn’t sit right with me, which quickly sparked Maverick Strength to come to light. Designed to bridge those prevalent gaps, the Maverick Strength model is one that does not focus as much on the moves themselves but rather on the person to ensure everyone involved can look and feel their best. It is building up that sense of community, passion, and involvement where everyone, no matter what level they are at, can excel while unlocking intense confidence along the way.
In the end, my story may be a long one, but it has all led to Maverick Strength forming, featuring premium service to our members both in inspirational group and one-on-one settings to optimize your results. As a final note, never forget that everyone (yes, you too) has what it takes to break past emotional, physical, and mental barriers to become the best version of yourself that you have always envisioned. And sometimes all it takes is having the right fitness community and trainer who values your successes just as much as you do to finally both recognize and capitalize on that.
I’ll see you out there.
-Cody Abbey, Owner – Maverick Strength