Kendall Canaan – Bodyweight specialists for the Palm Beach Breakers
What is a brief overview of your origin story. Where you grew up, early family situation, athletic background, school, early jobs, travel, etc?
I’ve lived in South Florida since I was 8 years old. I started doing gymnastics when I was 2 years old and competed at an elite level all through middle school and high school. I started cheerleading around 12 years years old and competed in both gymnastics and cheerleading pretty much my whole life. From a very young age I was always in the gym. I coached gymnastics and cheerleading all through high school and college. I absolutely love coaching kids and seeing how they progress and how they light up when they get a new skill that they’ve been working in for so long!
I have an older brother and sister and a younger brother. My sister actually started CrossFitting before me, and she tried to get me to come to a class for so long. I remember telling her “I’m not flipping any tires”. That was back in 2012. Fast forward almost 10 years later and I’m coaching CrossFit for almost 5 years now and loving every minute of it!
What is your current occupation, family situation, and focus in life?
I recently became a firefighter/paramedic. Something I didn’t know I wanted to do until about 3 years ago. And I can honestly say one of the best decisions of my life has been to go back to school and become a fire medic.
I currently live with my boyfriend of almost 3 years now and his 11 year old daughter. My family and I are very close. I see my mom and my sister almost everyday, and my 5 year old niece and 3 year old nephew. Family is so important to me.
My focus in life is to be a good role model for them, and all of my friends and family. I want to show girls of all ages that they can be anything they want, as long as they work hard and never give up. I want to show them that they can be feminine and strong at the same time! I truly believe that I was I out on this earth to make a difference in peoples lives, both physically and mentally!
Describe what is it like to play on your team?
I love training. I love pushing your body to limits that you didn’t know you could reach. I think that nutrition plays a huge role on how your body performs and how you feel. I’m not saying that you need to be on a strict diet, but putting good food in your body is so important.
How did you get involved in GRID? Did you come through the American Grid Trials? Tell us the story!
I never really knew what GRID was all about until recently. The owner of the Palm Beach Breakers, Matt Hornaday reached out to me via Instagram 2 years ago to be a part of his team. But at the time I was taking care of my dad I had just started paramedic school I just told him that I appreciated the offer but I just didn’t have enough time to commit to all the practices and the competitions. Then the next grade season came around and Matt reached out to me again, and I again told him that I appreciated the offer but I just didn’t think that I was strong enough compared to all the other girls that I saw competing on the grid league. I told him that I really am only good at doing handstands and handstand walking and handstand push-ups but I lacked strength in all of the lifting areas. And these conversations were all through Instagram messaging.
What is something interesting that people would like to know about you?
I was born in Kingston, Jamaica and grew up there until I was 8, and then moved to south Florida!
Describe the biggest hurdle or challenge you have overcome in your life?
Before I decided to make a career change and go to paramedic school and the fire academy my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 Parkinson’s. My mom took care of him full time and my brother and sister and I helped out as much as we could. I had started paramedic school and my dads condition kept getting progressively worse and he needed 24/7 care. I contemplated moving back in with my mom to help, or quitting school to be around more, but my family kept telling me that I shouldn’t quit school and to keep going. My dad ended up passing away early last year and I couldn’t help but feeling like if I was able to be there and take care of him more that it wouldn’t have been different. Overcoming that feeling of guilt has been a challenge for me, but I can’t help but to feel like my dad wouldn’t have wanted me to quit school either and would be really proud of the way I’m going to be able to help people in the future with my new career choice.
Then one morning I’m coaching the 5:30 AM class at my CrossFit gym and in walks Matt Hornaday trying out our box for the first time. I remember thinking “ oh no, I’ve turned him down so many times to be on his grid team and now he’s going to try and convince me in person”. Well he did convince me in person, telling me that they were in need of a body weight specialist and needed somebody with good handstand walking and handstand push-up skills. I’m so happy that Matt came to our gym and was able to get me to join his team. Being able to combine my favorite sports into one competition, and being able to showcase the skills I’m good at is pretty amazing.
Watch Kendall take on the Miami Freaks
What is important for people to know about the sport of GRID? How does it compare to your other forms of competition?
The sport of GRID is really some thing pretty special. Everyone on the teams have particular skill sets that make them stand out and make them such valuable players. When you play on grid you don’t have to be good at everything you really just have to be really good at one thing and I think that’s pretty cool. When I was competing in gymnastics I had to be really good at everything. I had to be really good on beam I had to be really good on bars I had to be really good on the floor and I had to be really good on the vault. When I was competing in cheerleading I had to be good at tumbling I had to be good at jumps I had to be good at flying I had to be good at basing I had to be a good dancer in order to stand out and shine. When I compete on grid, I feel like the one or two skills that I’m really good at are so important to the rest of the team!