Posts Tagged ‘beyond the athlete’

Next up is Lauren Salerno (nee: Frankford).  I can remember Lauren’s first week at the old location.  To say she has come a long way is an understatement.  Even up until recently, Lauren admittedly had a hard time with pull ups and push ups.  Just 3 weeks ago I saw her knock out 12 strict pull ups like it was nothing.  If she continues at this pace, the sky is the limit.

Sometimes, Lauren works out in the same 5:30 class that I do.  The difference is that after the workout I go home.  Lauren stays to do the endurance WOD at 6:30.  Furthermore, Lauren competed yesterday in the Nittany Bar Tour which just shows her amazing fitness level.

I know I am very interested in this BTA and I think others are as well.  Plus Deanne said she wouldn’t do hers unless Lauren’s was right after.

lauren dee

1. Where did you grow up? 

Harrisburg, PA

2. What is your athletic background?

Played youth sports growing up.  Ran XC and track and played soccer and basketball in high school (played soccer and ran track in the same season).  Played basketball and soccer (2x All American) at Gettysburg College.

3. How did you get started with CrossFit? 

I wanted to try it, but was scared of the “heavy weights” so I talked Deanne into trying it with me and we were hooked after Day 1!

4. How long have you been at CrossFit 717? 

My first regular CF class was the Monday after St Patrick’s Day in 2012.

5. What are your favorite exercises/WODs? 

For some reason I love to snatch!  Barbell or dumbbell snatches it doesn’t matter to me!  As for benchmark WODs…Helen would probably be my favorite.

6. What exercises/WODs do you dislike? 

I am not a big burpee fan (who is?!) and most days I could do without front squats and double unders.

7. What are your goals with regards to CrossFit? 

I want to continue to improve on my skills and get stronger every day, I enjoy the reward of improvement.  It’s also important to me that I am able to do everything that I ask of my players during their workouts.  It gives them a gauge of where they should be!

Lauren lunge

8. In your perfect world, what would you be doing in 10 years?

I would be on a beach with my husband, throwing Rosco’s wubba into the ocean after my WOD.

9. Where did you go to high school/college? 

Central Dauphin HS, Gettysburg College for undergrad, Millersville for my Master’s.

10. If you could eat dinner with 3 people past or present, who would you choose? Furthermore, what would you order for dinner?  

My father (who is deceased), my mother (can’t see my dad without my mom being there!) and Thurman Munson (dad’s favorite baseball player).  I would order crab cakes, sweet potato fries and brussel sprouts with bacon.

11. Who is your celebrity crush?

Ryan Dungey (Most people, except Chris Monasmith, probably don’t know him, but he is a motocross racer.  When I started dating my husband I had to find the cutest racer to cheer for so that I wouldn’t mind watching it on TV!)

12. What is your favorite movie?

Remember the Titans, loved the way the team came together!

13.  What is your favorite thing about CrossFit 717? 

Supportive community, awesome coaches…they must be doing something right to motivate me to get up at the crack of dawn every morning to punish my body!

14.  If you could have any car, what would you choose? 

Two door Jeep Wrangler…I don’t want anything fancy b/c my dog needs to be able to tag along!

Lauren row

15. Tell us something interesting about yourself that we would be surprised to know. 

In January of 2011 I was 40 pounds heavier and very unfit.

16. What kind of shampoo do you use? 

Whatever big bottles I can buy at Costco, it’s cheap!

17. Have you ever been out of the country? If so, where and what was your favorite place?

Yes…Portugal, Bermuda, England, Italy, Bahamas, Grand Caymans, Mexico, St. Lucia, Costa Rica, Canada…Italy was my favorite, traveled there with Dee and saw my brother who was studying abroad, food and wine were amazing and Florence was gorgeous.

18. What were your best and worst subjects in school? 

Worst subject was Philosophy, and best subjects were math and my health sciences classes.

19. What would you say is your worst personality trait and?

Well I have a lot of them so it’s hard to choose from…but I would have to say impatience.  When I want something I have a very hard time waiting for it so I usually find a way to get it on my own!

20. When/if you go out, where is your favorite place to go?

I don’t go out a lot, but if you’re talking dinner I am a big Chalit’s and Home231 fan.  If you’re talking drinks, probably Troegs!

21. You are banished to a deserted island for a month and can only bring one person (fictional or real) and one album with you.  Who do you bring and what album do you choose (keep in mind I said album, not song)? 

I would bring my friend Maria with me…we have been inseparable since 7th grade and she currently lives in Tampa so I don’t get to see her enough and when I do our visits are always too brief!  I would love to have a month of her all to myself, and I would probably bring the Thriller album.  We danced to Thriller in a flash mob at my wedding so it would remind me of one of the best days of my life!

Lauren clean

22. Who do you consider your role model or inspiration? 

Hands down it’s my mother…she is such a strong and caring woman, if I grow up to be half the person that she is I will have succeeded!

23. What do you feel is the most important invention in the past 100 years? 

The internet…you can get real time answers to any question that you have!  Remember the days of looking things up in the World Book Encyclopedia?!

24. What are your favorite sports teams (you can list all teams for all sports you are a fan of)?

I don’t have a team that I am die hard about, but I work at Lebanon Valley College so I enjoy supporting all of our sports teams!  And of course Women’s Soccer tops the list!

25. What are your hobbies and interests outside of the box? 

#1 is my dog, Rosco.  Beyond that I enjoy cooking (and eating)!  I have the best family and friends in the world so I really enjoy just hanging out with them (vacationing, playing games, cooking, you name it!).

Well, after a long layoff I have been trying to crank up the content lately.  My favorite segment of this blog is the “Beyond the Athlete” interviews but even more than that, I love when i get some time with our sport’s best athletes to ask them the same dumb questions I ask you all.  I do change them up a bit and make them more CrossFit oriented so we can learn from what makes them so great.  This time, I was able to get in touch with one of CrossFit’s most famous athletes, Chris Spealler.  For those of you who dont know about Chris, he has competed in every one of the CrossFit Games and has never finished out of the top 25 and has 4 top 10 finishes to his name (3rd, 4th, 7th and 10th).  He is most famous for his incredible size/strength ratio (he is 5’4″ and weighs around 150 lbs) and unrelenting endurance.  Google “Spealler butterfly pull ups” and prepare to me awestruck as he reels off 96 in a row.

I even asked Chris to give us an intro and, in his own words: “Outside of CrossFit I am a husband and dad of two amazing kids, Roark (2), and Myla (5 days!)  My wife Sarah is incredibly supportive of all that I do.  I grew up in Pennsylvania playing a bunch of different sports but stuck with wrestling the longest and was fortunate enough to go to a Division 1 school and be ranked in the top 20 in the nation… that was a while ago now 🙂  I also own and train at CrossFit Park City as well as travel with CrossFit HQ teaching at Level 1 Seminars, Coaches Prep Courses, and help with the development of some new material. ”  

Truly one of the greats so hopefully this is both fun and educational for you all to read.  Also, make sure you click “read the rest of this entry” to see the entire interview.  Duh.

1. Where did you grow up and where do you currently live?

I grew up in Paoli, PA which is about 45 min NW of Philadelphia.  I currently live in Park City, UT and have been here for around 10 years.

2. What is your athletic background?

Primarily wrestling.  I started when I was 6 yrs old and went through till the end of college.  I also played a handful of other sports growing up including soccer, lacrosse, track, and even golf!

3. How did you get started with CrossFit and how long have you been doing it?

A friend of mine in the Marines told me about while I was on a trip with Young Life kids and told me to give it a shot.  I found it online and hit up “Cindy” for the first time in late 2006.  Haven’t stopped since.  

4. What mistakes did you make early on that held you back from improving?

It was different when I stared.  There wasn’t even an affiliate in Utah.  I think the closest one must have been in Colorado.  So I was on my own.  A friend of mine, Eric O’Connor, also a great competitor and previous games athlete, just found our way through it.  If I started right now I would jump into an affiliate and learn as much as I could as fast as I could.  For what we had, I think we did a pretty good job, as crazy as we must have looked in the start.

5. What are your favorite exercises/WODs?

I love technical movements that are coupled well.  Workouts like “Amanda” are some of my favorites.  I think it allows for some great competition and really test the athleticism behind the work capacity which is a huge part of what I enjoy.  Snatches, muscle ups, and double unders are just a few I can think of now.

6. What exercises/WODs do you dislike?

I try not to dislike anything.  I think it puts you at a disadvantage thinking of things that way.  But surprising to some I really dislike l-sits.  And “Karen” is my least favorite workout.  


7. What are your current goals with regards to CrossFit? Any weaknesses you are trying to improve?

Right now I am really focused on winning my Region and qualifying for the games since I have to go through that process now.  I am focusing a tremendous amount of my time on heavy barbell movements and complexes that really take me super far outside of my comfort zone and wheelhouse, as well as the recovery behind these things.  

8. Through your experiences, what has had the most impact on making you a better CrossFitter (endurance, strength, Oly lifting, etc.)? Furthermore, what advice would you give novice CrossFitters looking to improve their WOD times/rounds?

For me personally I think it has been my strength.  I think too many people fall into thinking this is right for them though.  If I could give any advice to every newbie out there it would be to work on your technique and mechanics as much as you can, then consistency, then intensity. To many people want to do things as rx’d and they end up fighting through it and creating bad habits that force plateaus later in their training.  

9. In your perfect world, what would you be doing in 10 years?

Continuing to travel for CrossFit to teach but not quite as often.  I would also love to build my own facility in Park City and step back a bit more from the every day operations of the gym and spend some time just getting back to teaching.  Possibly even coaching a small crew of athletes at that time.  

10. If you could eat dinner with 3 people past or present (besides Jesus who is overused), who would you choose and why?  Furthermore, what would you order for dinner?

1.  Jesus,  I’ll overuse it.  Don’t really care if people hear it too much.  For me, that’s a no brainer.  To experience his presence, grace, and what I think is often misunderstood about him would be such an amazing experience that I would never miss it.

2.  King David.   He was a screw up but somehow had it all together at the same time.  Whether you believe the story of his battle against Goliath or not is a cool freakin story and I want to know was going through his head when he went after a 9 foot giant with a rock and sling!

3.  Any veteran who was a prisoner of war.  I think it would be amazing to sit down and hear their story.  What they went through, how the persevered, what motivated them and drove them to keep going, and how it made them who they are today.

11. Who is your celebrity crush?

Honestly don’t know enough celebrities to know.  I’m out of the loop these days.  I’m stuck watching Bob the Builder and Cat in the Hat, neither of which I have a crush on.  

12.  What is your favorite movie and why?

Depends on the category but Tommy Boy comes to mind.  There’s nothing like a good stupid comedy to get you to relax a bit.  

13.  What is your favorite book(s) and why?

Big fan of the Vince Flynn series.  I’m way into the CIA special op stuff.  Keeps me hooked and I love that stuff!

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While I think the regular “Beyond the Athlete” segments are great, I was trying to come up with a way to spice them up.  So, to take it to the next level, I set my sights on having “Celebrity” editions and getting some of the best CrossFitters in the world to take part in our quirky interviews as well.  Not only can we learn what kind of shampoo they use, I tailored the questions more toward how they became so successful at the sport so we can hopefully pick up some tips on how to improve our own game.

First up is Miranda Oldroyd.  Miranda is one of the more recognizable figures in CrossFit today.  She finished 21st in the 2008 CrossFit Games and was an ESPN commentator for the 2011 CrossFit Games you all have been watching.  Miranda founded and owned CrossFit 801 in Salt Lake City (before recently moving to Santa Cruz, CA) and can be found all over the CrossFit Headquarters YouTube site doing demos for the daily WODs.  She is Rogue Fitness sponsored athlete and you can check out some of her personal bests here.  And, if that isn’t cool enough, she was more than willing to give up some of her own time and answer my bonehead questions.  Again, for those of you who are not used to the “internets” please be sure to click “Read the rest of this entry” to see all 25 questions.

What is your current job and what are your accomplishments?    

I work for CrossFit as a member of the Seminar Staff for the Level 1 Seminars as well as the CrossFit Coaches Prep Seminars. When there are areas I can help out I also work for CrossFit Media as a commentator/who knows?? I consider my training to be somewhat a job as well. I competed in the 2008 Games, suffered an injury in 2009 and plan to get back to the Games as soon as possible! I am a wifey and a mom to the most amazing dogs on the planet, Gunner and Midgee!

1. Where did you grow up and where do you currently live?

I grew up in Salt Lake City, UT. I lived in Utah my whole life until just a few months ago when I moved to Santa Cruz, CA.

2. What is your athletic background? 

Not much to tell here. I was a high school cheerleader and ran track for one season in high school. I competed in one local fitness competition in Utah before finding CrossFit. I am more of an athlete now that I have ever been in my life.

3. How did you get started with CrossFit and how long have you been doing it?

I first found CrossFit in November of 2007. My husband and I were both personal trainers and stumbled across the website as we were looking for new ways to improve our training.

4. What mistakes did you make early on that held you back from improving?

I made the mistake of changing my programming to mimic the Games after the 2008 Games. Everything was short and heavy. I always wanted to add weight to everything. I have now had to go back and strip the weight down so that I can build an aerobic base.

5. What are your favorite exercises/WODs?

Favorite WODs: Grace, Isabel, Amanda, Nasty Girls.

6. What exercises/WODs do you hate?

I am going to try not to say I hate any workouts…so that my brain doesn’t revolt when I have to do them. I am currently working to improve on workouts with a lot of running. 🙂

7. With all of your past success in competition, what are your current goals with regards to CrossFit?

I want to find out what my athletic potential is. I truly believe that if I hit it, I will not only qualify for the Games but I will do very very well. It’s not about beating anyone else, its about REALLY finding out what I can do.

8. Through your experiences, what has had the most impact on making you a better CrossFitter (endurance, strength, Oly lifting, etc.)? Furthermore, what advice would you give novice CrossFitters looking to improve their WOD times/rounds?

Sound technique and an aerobic base. Master the basics, get yourself a set of lungs. PRACTICE movement.

9. In your perfect world, what would you be doing in 10 years?

Working for CrossFit. Training clients out of a small barn in my back yard.

10. If you could eat dinner with 3 people past or present (besides Jesus who is overused and not that interesting of an answer), who would you choose and why? Furthermore, what would you order for dinner?

I will choose 4. All of my grandparents that I didn’t appreciate enough when I was young. I would order pizza!

11. Who is your celebrity crush?

CrossFit has ruined celebrities because none of them look as good as the guys I see every day, especially my hubby. But, if I had to choose….Ryan Reynolds.

12. What is your favorite movie and why?

I am going to get ridiculed for this….I love 8 mile. There I said it. I am the world’s biggest Eminem fan.

13. What is your favorite book(s) and why?

Eat, Pray, Love….it sucked me in.

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This week’s “Beyond the Athlete” features one of our newest members, Maria Bruno.  As soon as I met Maria, I knew that she would be an awesome addition to 717 and an awesome interview for “Beyond the Athlete”.  I am always amazed at how she pushes so hard in every WOD but still manages to keep a smile on her face before, during and after the punishment.  Aside from her CrossFit acumen, Maria is also very accomplished academically as she has a Ph.D in Archaeology from Washington University in St. Louis and currently teaches course at Dickinson College.  Selfishly, my favorite thing about her is that she will always indulge my nerdy anthropology topics and actually seems as interested as I am about them.  We (OK, maybe just I) even decided that Coach Aldo most closely resembles Homo ergaster! Alright, enough out of me.  Lets meet Maria:

1. Where did you grow up?

South Lake Tahoe, Nevada/California

2. What is your athletic background?

I grew up running around outside and played various sports in middle/high school. But, by far, my favorite sport was snowboarding. I competed in high school and college but decided I needed to do something more practical – archaeology. That eventually took me to St. Louis, about as far away from mountains as possible. I was relegated to boring, useless gym workouts until I discovered CrossFit. (I hear there are a few snowy slopes around here, would love suggestions! CrossFit717 ski trip?!)

3. How did you get started with CrossFit?

I was living in DC in the first part of 2010 and joined the local, generic gym. They had a special deal on personal trainers. The one I got “Manny” just happened to also be doing CF. He had me doing burpees, mountain climbers, and cleans. As soon as I could, I joined a CF box.

4. How long have you been at CrossFit 717?

About 2 months!

5. What are your favorite exercises/WODs?

Overhead squats, snatches, pull-ups. WODs that combine a bunch of stuff.

6. What exercises/WODs do you hate?

I hate rowing and presses.

7. What are you goals with regards to CrossFit?

Be able to do the WODs Rxd! I would love to do a muscle up and be able to do more than 2 pull-ups at a time in longer workouts.

8. In your perfect world, what would you be doing in 10 years?

I would have tenure at a cool college or university, a family, and have visited Africa.

9. Where did you go to high school/college?

George Whittell High School in Zephyr Cove, Nevada

Undergrad – University of Nevada, Reno

Grad school – Washington University in St. Louis

10. If you could eat dinner with 3 people past or present (besides Jesus who is overused and not that interesting), who would you choose and why?  Furthermore, what would you order for dinner? 

My top-three female heroines:

Amy Poehler

Emma Goldman

Queen Elizabeth I

Lobster, yum.

11. Who is your celebrity crush?

Edward Norton

12.  What is your favorite movie and why?

That’s hard. I love movies and have many favorites, but I’ll have to go with:

Rushmore: Hilarious, Bill Murray.

13.  What is your favorite thing about CrossFit 717?

The people! I’m a newbie to the area and it’s nice to have place outside of work where you feel so welcome.

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“Beyond the Athlete” is a new feature here on Station 717 where, through a series of questions, we will learn more about the people we sweat with every day.  The idea is to allow each of us the opportunity to show the 717 community what it is that makes us tick in and out of the Box.  Hopefully, we can all have a little fun with it and learn more about each other.  Who knows, maybe you use the same shampoo as another member but never knew it?  Boom, instant friendship.  The questions are pretty benign so none of you will have to reveal who it is you have a crush on at the Box or what you really say behind the coaches’ backs.  Besides, Boggs already knows you think he broods in the corner at parties; that’s how he lures you in.  My goal is to do this with everyone, new and old, so if you think this is optional you are sorely mistaken. Now, on to the interview.

Angel Stewart has graciously offered to be our first participant.  For those of you who don’t know Angel, she is a bad-ass chick who carries a gun (for her job, not because she is a hillbilly).  She is the poster child for our slogan, “Never Quit” and has never met a party she doesn’t like.  In fact, we can thank her and her roommate April for about half of the parties that have been thrown for the CrossFit brethren.  Her personality lifts us all up and it’s hard not to smile when she is around.  Without further ado, lets learn some more about Angel Stewart:

1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Kenmore, New York.  It’s a suburb of Buffalo.

2. What is your athletic background?

I don’t know that I’ve ever really considered myself to be an athlete.  Growing up, I was always very active and participated in several sports teams both through school and different community organizations.  I’ve tried my hand at softball, swimming, track & field, figure skating, cheerleading and dance (ballet, tap and jazz).  I never really found anything that I was particularly good at or that I wanted to stick with, so I just kept trying new things.

3. How did you get started with CrossFit?

A friend of mine in the military told me about it.  I had never heard of it before and it sounded really great.  I did an internet search to see if there was a Crossfit in the area and found Crossfit717!

4. How long have you been at CrossFit 717?

Proud member for about 7 months now!

5. What are your favorite exercises/WODs?

I love chippers….they are brutal, but you really feel like you’ve accomplished something when you’re finished.  I also love snatches 🙂

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