Nelson hockey player turned weightlifter helping others get in shape
Looking at Cody Abbey, you wouldn't expect he could lift a 250 pound weight over his head.
That is, unless you've trained with the former Nelson Leafs forward at the Powered By You: Fueled By Crossfit gym that he runs with his business/life partner Ali Popoff.
"Before we opened this place, there was nowhere in town to lift that amount of weight and drop it safely," said Abbey, as he rolled out a yoga mat to stretch between instructing classes.
Having his own training space has paid off for the 21-year-old. Abbey brought home a bronze from the Ogopogo weightlifting championships in Winfield last month. Competing in the 105 kilogram (230 pound) weight class, he lifted 95 kg in the snatch event and 105 kg in the clean and jerk.
Abbey began weightlifting in his teens, as a way to stay fit for hockey. Originally from Kaslo, he was juggled between Junior A and Junior B hockey teams around the province for two years. He joined the Nelson Leafs through a mid-season trade from Revelstoke during 2009-10 season (the year his former team beat the Leafs in the KIJHL champions). In the 2010-11 season, Abbey stuck with the Leafs because he was sick of moving from city to city and wanted to make Nelson his home.
That year he met Popoff, who was a personal trainer and owner of Kutenai's Finest fitness studio at the time. He introduced her to Crossfit, a wildly popular fitness program he discovered while playing for the Victoria Grizzlies.
"The coach had the whole team training at the Crossfit gym there. He thought it was the best form of fitness training," Abbey said.
After he hung up his skates last winter, he and Popoff went to Vancouver get their Crossfit Certification. Popoff sold her first gym and opened Powered By You with Abbey. Now he teaches the advanced classes and she leads beginners.
Since they opened Powered By You, a second Crossfit gym called Nelson Crossfit has opened just up the street from it — a testament to how popular the spot has become.
Powered By You has about 100 members and is growing with new beginners joining through a special "on ramp" program offered every month.
"It's an amazing program because you can really make it as intense as you want it to be," Popoff said. "It's not just another boot camp program. Crossfit is about community and coaching each other."
Abbey said he's enjoyed having like minded people to work out with at his gym.
"Whether they're hear lifting 50 pounds or 200 pounds, we all know what each other are going through," he said. "There's a real camaraderie here."
Powered By You: Fueled By Crossfit is located at 191 Baker Street. For information about the gym search for it on Facebook or call 250-505-8391.