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Valley woman reaches a new level of fitness


At 40 years old, Shannon Benoit feels she’s in the best shape of her life.
“I had done triathlons and thought I was in relatively good shape, but CrossFit really humbled me,” she said. “I was able to push myself to places I didn’t think were possible.
If you’d met the 35-year-old me, you’d have seen a different person. I’m stronger now and have more endurance.”
CrossFit Bluenose opened on Pictou Road in Bible Hill in January 2016, and Benoit decided to give it a try.
“I’d never heard of it before, but I was looking for something different, and after the first class I was hooked,” she said. “When I started, I couldn’t do a pushup. Now I can do a hundred.”
She became a coach, and when one owner decided to sell out she bought into the business, which is now called Bluenose Fitness.
Benoit enjoyed challenging herself with weights and decided to take up Olympic weightlifting. Less than six months later, the mother of three earned gold medals at the Canadian and Pan-Am masters competitions. She also set national and Pan-Am records in some classes.
“Doing something like that had never been on my radar before, but something very magical happens when you put barbells in a woman’s hands,” she said. “There’s empowerment in managing weight.
“You see Olympic weightlifting and think they’re really strong, but don’t realize how much technique is involved.”
Although CrossFit has a reputation for being intense, she said, it can be modified to suit most people.
“I was at a competition where a woman who had no legs from the knees down and no arms from the elbows down was doing what I was in a modified version. It’s so inspirational watching people.”
She finds working out also provides mental health benefits for most people.
“CrossFit is an individual workout with a group, or team, dynamic. It’s very social and we support one another. 
“It helps with health in many areas, and I hope when I’m 70 I can do the same things I’m doing now.”

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