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Christina Caffrey

I AM ALFA Because I am independent, strong-willed, and passionate. Others have helped me get to where I am today, and empowered people empower others.

Photography by: ALI SOHRAB

Hair and Make up By: SHANNON PAYNE

Venue: GYMBOX

I grew up in Calgary, Alberta and moved out at the age of 17 to start university. To do what I wanted to do for a career I would have had to be in university for about 10 years, which I was not ready for. Instead, I took a teaching job in Thailand. I was there for a total of 14 months. Within three months of being in the country the 2004 tsunami occurred and I participated in recovery efforts. When I returned to Canada, I sought a program that would help perpetuate me into a career of emergency management. The closest I could find at the time was a degree in International Development based at a university in southern Ontario. I moved out east and completed my undergrad, with a year living abroad in Ghana, West Africa as part of the program. I then completed my Master of Arts degree in Disaster and Emergency Management, and shortly thereafter moved back to Calgary.

I have always found activities that help me maintain a healthy lifestyle. When I was young, it was dancing and skiing. As I got older, I continued to dance and then I got into running and yoga. It was not until I met my husband that I became a gym shark and it became like a second home as I began training for competitions and found other like-minded friends. I have a fulfilling career, the best husband in the world, and my dog is the perfect running buddy.

I AM ALFA Because I am independent, strong-willed, and passionate. Others have helped me get to where I am today, and empowered people empower others.

What are the most rewarding things that Fitness has brought you?

First, I must acknowledge my husband, as he is my biggest cheerleader and always the one to motivate and evolve us on our journey to become healthier people so we can live longer to love each other and experience life’s adventures. He is the one that transitioned us to a vegetarian diet and found my coach Paul Anthony, with whom I have had the privilege to work with for years. When I started working with Paul I wanted to get in the best shape of my life for my wedding. I showed him pictures of other women whose bodies I envied. I never thought in a million years I could get my body to that state, but within a few short months I saw changes that would put me on a path to a place where I never thought I could be. I took part in some fitness competitions, and the most proud and emotional moment for me was placing 1st and 2nd in two different categories with the WBFF. I was so proud of all the months of hard work and diligence I put into that moment; it was an incredible feeling. I would love to continue expanding into the fitness world, personally and professionally, in the future. I want to inspire others as I have been inspired.

Paul, and his wife Jennifer Neil, have truly built a community of the most genuine, uplifting, and empowering people I have ever met. The people I have met through this journey have become lifelong friends.

Life can change in an instant, whether you experience an accident or have genetic disposition to something that prevents you from moving your body as you wish. I am grateful to be able to move my body every day. I do not HAVE to work out, I GET to work out. There is a quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger, that I cannot think of a better way to explain it: A well-built physique is more than vanity. It shows discipline, dignity, and dedication. It requires patience, passion, and self-respect. It cannot be bought, stolen, or inherited. It cannot be held onto without constant work.

When was the most alfa moment in your life, and why? I cannot think of one defining moment; I believe that being alfa is about how you live your life. There are however defining moments and experiences that shape who are you, that you carry for life. A lot of those moments for me are having traveled abroad and they all involve either independence or generosity from others. It humbles you, makes you curious, and gives you perspective.

How is Covid-19 impacting your daily life? The day COVID was declared a pandemic I was supposed to take a family trip to another part of the world. We had other trips planned for later in the year that have also been impacted. That first week was a bit of a rollercoaster unraveling all the logistics of the trip. Thankfully, my current position at work allows me to operate virtually and it has been intensely busy as legislation changed almost daily (at one point) that directly impacted operations. With the gym closed I have turned my attention to simply taking care of my body and listening to what it needs. More on that, below!

If you had to choose one positive thing about isolation, what would it be? I must choose two, one personal and one from a societal standpoint, but they are linked.

Personally, I love having more (quality) time. There is less time pressure to try and fit everything in. I get more time with my husband, my dog, and time to connect (virtually) with friends and family. Physical isolation does not mean social isolation!

As a society, I love that we are putting health as our primary focus. About 80% of chronic diseases are associated with an unhealthy lifestyle and diet. Chronic health liabilities have now become an acute threat because of the pandemic. I know people who have smoked for over 20 years who are now quitting because they recognize the acute threat at being higher risk of having a more severe reaction. Now, with less time pressures, people can sleep longer, have time to cook instead of grabbing fast food, and have time to consider what they might change to lead a healthier lifestyle.

How do you maintain your emotional, mental, and physical well-being while in isolation?

Every day I move my body in some way. Without having a home gym, I have lost the ability to do any workouts with weights, but I find some of the most effective exercises I’ve ever done are body weight exercises. My goal for this year was to run my first marathon alongside my sister, which has been cancelled. Thankfully, running is one of the cheapest and easiest activities you can do solo and, with her and other family members, I can share the routes I have taken via fitness apps like Strava and Map My Run. I have downloaded some great podcasts, Bill Maher is my favourite, and just hit the paths. I am lucky to still be working, and with that it is perhaps easier to maintain a routine. I wake up every morning and do some cardio; there is nothing like running as the sun rises. I draw so much energy from this. After work I do an hour of yoga. I also try to meditate every day and I can attest that meditation has been tremendous in building my personal resilience to some of life’s greatest challenges and emotional moments. I have also been attracted to yoga philosophy in recent years and am currently reading The Inner Tradition of Yoga by Michael Stone. I appreciate books that stimulate self-reflection and self-development.

What would be your message to the world? Wherever you go, go with all your heart. A funnier way of saying this is (pardon my language) do not half ass anything, always use your full ass. If something is worth your time and energy, then do it well. Indecision is stressful and every day presents us with either small or large decisions, but do not spend more time than necessary in that state.

Find your purpose. I am so grateful to have a job I love, that is so fulfilling and gratifying – supporting those on the front line, and being a productive and contributing person to decision making on how best to help people going through possibly the worst day in their lives.

Continuously learn. Every person you meet and every experience you have is to be learned from.

Be compassionate. Everyone has a story and your interaction with them is a snapshot in time. If someone shares their story with you, it is a privilege.

Love. Lastly, and most importantly, life is about love and connecting with others. It is really that simple. This world can be nasty, brutish, and short (Hobbes), and for most people they do have moments where this is true. There is enough negativity in the world. You can choose to be someone who rises above it, continue to hope, and believe that life is beautiful, because it is.

Please share 5 things people don’t know about you.

I was in musical theatre, and have danced competitively, from the age of 7 until I was in university.

I volunteer with Canada Task Force 2, an all hazards disaster response team. I have participated in international exercises and been deployed to some of Canada’s most costly disasters.

I plan to get my yoga teacher certification within the next 3 years.

I swam in open water surrounded by blue sharks. It was one of the most exhilarating and thrilling experiences.

If I could see any band (dead or alive) live in concert it is a toss up between Queen and Michael Jackson.

Please name few Alfa people you know.

My husband, a small business owner whose work ethic is admirable and who is the driving force to evolve us, both, on our health and fitness journey.

Paul Anthony & Jennifer Neil, and the entire Dreambody crew and the 5am crew at GYMMVMT. Talk about slaying the day!

My dad, for being the eternal optimist.

My grandpa for accomplishing more in one lifetime, than most people could do in multiple lifetimes. He was the most humble, modest and gold-hearted person on earth.

The people I get to work with every single day, displaying exemplary leadership in all aspects.

What would be the ultimate tips you could share with everyone about health?

Your diet, exercise routine and stress level lay the foundation for how you feel. Fuel your body with good nutrition, break a little sweat each day, find activities you enjoy and people you enjoy being around, and set aside time for yourself. Live mindfully.

Everything is temporary, including life, so choose to be bold and choose to be happy. Practice gratitude daily. Find what it means to be personally resilient. You never know what life has in store for you, and it could be just around the corner. There is so much to experience in life. Do not be afraid to go outside your comfort zone, for each time you do your comfort zone expands more and so does your self-confidence, your network of people and your life experience. Nothing can replace this.

What would be the ultimate tips you could share with everyone about life? I would say it’s gonna be about how to start your day off right.

It starts with planning the night before, to ensure you have everything you need in the morning. Get enough sleep, I aim for minimum 7-8 hours.

5 am wake up and chug 18-24 oz. water.

5:15am get your body moving. Get the blood flowing and sweat going!

6:15am use the Calm guided meditation app for 10-12 minutes.

6:30am sip on hot water and lemon, or apple cider vinegar while getting ready.

7am seize the day!

Your top favourite quote

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.” – Muhammed Ali

Where people can find you?

Facebook: Caffrey Fitness & Lifestyle

Facebook: christina.elizabeth


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