My name is George Skoulakis, I’m 28 years old at the moment of writing this, and I’m from Laval, QC. I played football from high school until college. After that, I became a CrossFit athlete up until I decided to stop competing in 2021. Like most people, I had to work to get where I am today, but for you to understand, here’s a brief background story to put you into context.
Growing up, most of my environment was far from being into health, sports, and fitness. I was very overweight as a kid, yet I would love to go gather with the kids in my neighborhood and play sports, either on the street or at the park. Fast forward to when I started high school, I decided to sign up for the football team and that’s when my weight transformation began. I’m very grateful that I signed up because everything I learnt about fitness, nutrition, and mindset I still apply it in my life today.
After my second year of college, I decided to stop playing football. However, I now needed to find another sport or activity that would satisfy my itch for fitness and that’s when I began CrossFit. I was always familiar with the CrossFit style of training, but I never pursued it competitively until signing up to a CrossFit gym in 2013.
The highest level of CrossFit competition that I’ve done is semi-professional. I was aiming to compete at the professional level, but there was certain life and health choices I had to make, which required me to step away from high level competition in 2021. Today, I still train in a similar style that I use to when I was training for competition, however, there are certain focus points in my training that are different and the psychological aspect of it is way less stressful than before. So overall, I train because I love it and it’s been a serious part of my lifestyle for over 15 years.
Over the years, there have been many moments that I will always remember. First, signing up for football when I began high school was a highlight for me because it’s where my journey took off. I did not know it at that time, but looking back at it today, it was the foundation of what led me to where I am in fitness today.
Second, every award I received for sports and academics in my last year of high school was also very memorable because it proved to me that with the right work ethic, anything is possible.
The third great highlight was when we won the AAA championship in college. This was another moment of proof that hard work pays off.
Lastly, and to keep it short because the list will be super long, I consider every CrossFit competition a highlight in my journey because it’s a direct reflection of my work ethic in the gym. Every ounce of blood, sweat, and emotion put into every training session is being showcased on the competition floor and in the heat of the moment, it was important to prove to myself that all that work that was done in the gym during those long grueling training sessions was for this moment right here.
Given that I was in the sport of fitness for a long time, my training routine consists of many variables. In CrossFit, we must be good at almost everything. This includes everything that has to do with cardiovascular endurance, strength, power, speed, stamina, coordination, agility, flexibility, balance, and accuracy. Therefore, my workout routine is very diverse to induce all aspects of fitness.
As I said earlier, even though I stepped away from high level competition, I still enjoy training like a competitor because I find it fun, and I still get to be good at everything. With that being said, during the year, I go through different training cycles to be able to touch on everything and change up my training, so I avoid letting my body get used to one method/style of training. It’s important to keep the body in a constant mode of adaptation so that it can be able to progress and break plateaus.
In many instances, it is very common that majority of athletes of any high level competitive sport always compete, practice, train, and/or play with some type of minor injury or discomfort. I was no exception to this. Back when I played football, all of my coaches always said, if you’re hurt you can play, but if you’re injured, only then, you can take off.
In my journey, I’ve been caught in multiple situations at different times during my competitive career with wrist, shoulder, ankle, and hip injuries or discomforts.
When I decided to stop competing, one of the first things I did in my training was fix all my minor discomforts so that I can regain full function of that area without feeling beat up every time I wake up.
There’s a lot of short-term “Band-Aid” solutions that help athletes mask the pain so that they can continue to train for their sport, but they eventually backfire in the long term. Some of these solutions, however, can be used during the rehabilitation process in conjunction with other protocols for a successful recovery.
The first time I ever tried cannabis was when I was 16, and I can say that the evolution of this substance has come a long way since then. During my teenager years, the only way cannabis was consumed was through smoking. I consumed it a few times with friends when the occasion would come up, but I never got hooked on it. I hated smoking to begin with, so it never attracted me.
Today, there’s so much more research and development done on cannabis that it allows me to properly educate myself on the different types of strains and methods of consumption that exist so that, if I choose to consume it, I will know what options are available to me.
Furthermore, I rarely use cannabis, but I enjoy that there’s more research done on it so that if ever I’m caught in a situation where cannabis can potentially help me, I know I can look into it.
Most of the time that I’ve used cannabis with friends, it was THC based. However, I like to use CBD in certain situations because I can reap the benefits of it without having to feel the head “high” from the THC.
My preference is in spray or concentrated oil. If I’m with a group of friends and I decided I want to use cannabis, most of the time we will smoke it.
Before putting a recovery routine together, I like to see the depth of the injury and what’s the best way I can recover from it. When I injured my shoulder, the depth of the injury was not as severe, so my recovery process was very straight forward.
Now, without getting into too much technical details, the body has a very good mechanism of protecting itself and the reason I got injured was because I had very weak shoulder stabilizers and as a by-product of that, the way my body protected itself resulted in my shoulder having very poor mobility. For those reading this that are not familiar with CrossFit, we do a lot of overhead shoulder work so it’s important to have good shoulder mobility.
Nevertheless, my recovery protocol was to strengthen my shoulder stabilizers and improve my range of motion in each movement. I used CBD for my mobility sessions because I wanted to test if it would help improve my results. However, I did not use it for long enough to be able to make a proper conclusion.
In recent years, because there’s been a huge focus placed on mental health, it made a lot more resources available to be able to educate myself on the topic. Before getting into my routine, I do understand that everyone has a different way to handle their mental state, so this is just my way of doing things.
I’ve tried doing therapy, reading self-help books, cannabis, mediation, yoga, and spending time in nature. These methods served a purpose, and they were worth trying, but the one that’s been consistent for the longest time in my life is working out. See, the gym for me is like a church is to a priest. Every time I have some sort of problem, I like to get a workout done first to clear my mind, so that I can think of a possible solution afterwards.
In terms of cannabis, I’ve tried to use it as a tool for mental health in the past, but in my experience, it was not as effective as I thought it would be. I’ve been recommended by other users to give it a try because it helps them think, but that’s just the problem, it made me overthink everything. I know that if I spend too much time in my thoughts, I’ll end up going down a rabbit hole instead of trying possible solutions to my problem.
WARNING: The stories we are sharing are the stories of the individuals who have chosen to speak out. These stories are in no way a substitute for the advice of your health care professional regarding your personal situation. If you have any questions about your health and the use of cannabis, please consult a health care professional.