All About Michele Letendre

Michele Letendre is one of the few female games-level coaches in the CrossFit world, but that is just a piece of what makes her a trailblazer today. Michele was always a competitive athlete before she found CrossFit. She competed in both Water Polo and Swimming. After falling in love with CrossFit, she made it to the Games six times over her career. Her best finish being in 2014, in fourth place. After Michele opened Deka Gym, in Canada, she created Deka Comp. Deka Comp is gym programming for all ages! You can also add her programming seamlessly into your Wodify account for your gym. Today she still manages to find time to coach Games level athletes, such as Patrick Vellner and Laura Horvath, just to name a few. 

Check out what Michele had to say about coaching, competition, and CrossFit!

Q: When did you start to get into the fitness industry and why?

A: I got into the fitness industry as I was finishing my studies in University. I started working out again after a break up and decided to invest more time in my health and wellness. I found CrossFit when I applied for a job as a secretary at a Gym in Montreal called CrossFit Montreal and after I tried my first class, I was hooked to the high intensity training but even more so to the community aspect of group fitness.

Q: What made you branch out into your own gym and programming?

A: After finding CrossFit as a training method I found CrossFit as a sport. I competed in CrossFit for about 7-8 years, 6 of those at the CrossFit Games. I fell in love with learning and working with specialists that helped me get better. My favorite training sessions were those when I got to spend some time with my many coaches and I got to pick their brains about their respective sports and how they work in those fields. While I was competing and working with amazing coaches, I started to look at programming and trying to understand how each training session I was doing was designed to help me improve. 

I’ve always loved to teach and to coach and I felt that I had something to offer people with the years of experience I’ve gained and my creativity. Deka Comp started with Programming for individual athletes and we would take pieces of that programming and adapt it to classes. We then decided to offer Kids programming because it has been such a successful addition to our Physical Gym, we knew this could help many gyms out there to focus on their people instead of on the computer screens.

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Q: When did you develop an interest in training other competitive athletes and who was your first athlete?

A: I discovered my love for training competitive athletes when I was asked to coach the Canada Team at the 2015 CrossFit Invitational in Madrid. It was a fun competition really meant to showcase and entertain more than anything but I felt a responsibility to help them beat the US team (yes I know….). After that weekend, I knew that I needed to pursue this when I was done competing. After the last Invitational Crossfit hosted in Canada, I told Patrick Vellner I had intentions to start coaching and that if he wanted to give me a shot, I would love to help him out. So, Patrick became my very first athlete. 

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting to train in the CrossFit space? Anything they should focus on first?

A: My advice is quite simple, go with your own flow and enjoy it. CrossFit is about learning, about pushing yourself and expressing yourself so enjoy that and cherish it. 

Q: What advice can you give to athletes who are interested in the competition side of CrossFit?

A: There are very many levels of competitions in our sport. If you are someone that’s main goal is to go to the Games or reach an “elite” level then structure and discipline become very important. You still need to enjoy yourself and LOVE CrossFit but decisions need to be made to help you achieve your goals. Understanding where you are in the field and what you need to do is important and having a realistic approach to your progress will be crucial to set expectations. So…my practical advice? Finding a coach you trust can be honest and hold you accountable is one of the best moves anyone can make. My corny advice? No matter where you’re starting or where you want to go, the journey in it of itself will get you going in directions you may have never thought possible…so it’s worth a try if you’re willing…

Q: Do you have a fond memory of competing yourself?

A: My fondest memories are the moments when I enjoyed and appreciated the present and what I was trying to achieve. The support and love my family and friends provided me, and the post Games drinks. 

Q: What has been your favorite memory of coaching athletes competitively?

A: I have so many, but my favorite times are when my athletes are at my home, training for the Games in the summer. Those are always good times filled with all kinds of ups and downs. I love it. 

Be sure to follow us, @wodify, for more on Michele! We will be featuring her all month long!

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