Fitness: 3x5 Across
Perform your third 3x5 of Pressing for the cycle. Add 5lbs from last week's weight.
Performance: 5/3/1 (1 week)
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Athlete of The Month
Not that we take requests for featured athletes (coaches discuss who makes a good candidate) but this gal has had her name thrown our way by more than a few members as someone they felt should be recognized. Marian Lai has been kicking butt on Degraw street for a few years now, and from just about the beginning has exemplified the the type of social openness that we love at SBK. Only recently, however, did I realize we were all pronouncing her name incorrectly...
Fox - Mare, tell me about your start with CrossFit South Brooklyn.
Mare - I started in July 2010. I’d been told by a friend in Florida that CrossFit was great and honestly my only research was a google search that led me to CFSBK. I took a Teaser class with Laurel who came off not only as strong but also welcoming. I signed right up for Foundations and did that with a few people who are still members as well.
Fox - Cool! I think Noor, Ken H, Radhika, and Deepak were in that group. What were you doing pre-CF?
Mare - I’d been doing “regular gym routines”, mostly from magazines. I used to go to the gym with these nerdy spreadsheets and lay them out to perform the workouts. I was spending 2+ hours in the gym and seeing zero results. It obviously needed to change.
Fox - Were you athletic as a kid?
Mare - NOT! I was a math olympiad kid...I grew up that way and in my 20’s was a couch potato who smoked cigarettes and ate double chocolate muffins each day. Imagine me 30 pounds heavier? Yup. In my 30’s I started doing endurance stuff like running 5Ks, 10Ks, ½ marathons, and a few duathlons. I lost a bunch of weight but wasn’t really healthy and struggled to keep the weight off. I’d done zero barbell training in my life.
Fox - Enter CrossFit. What was the beginning like for you?
Mare - I’d originally intended for CrossFit to complement my gym “routine”. Funny thinking about that now. I already told you about my spreadsheets. Early on though I came to understand the social network aspect of a place like CFSBK. Three days post-Foundations my dad passed away suddenly from a head injury. I was in shock. About a month later I started coming to classes and the gym and the people in it were a huge part of my emotional recovery. It gave me a routine and a support system and a place to focus on positive things. During this time, I specifically remember being completely paralyzed and sweating as I faced a max box jump in class, fearing I could hit my head and die. Nobody around me knew I was having these irrational thoughts, but it was the encouragement I felt that day and witness every day since at CFSBK that makes me loyal to this place. From there, I found I enjoyed challenging myself in a group setting and engaging in friendly competition. I started to see results and was drawn to the fact that the changes were quantifiable. Remember the math nerd in me? I like setting benchmarks and breaking them. I like the aesthetic changes that I went through but also love that the community as a whole supports women being strong.
Fox - Good stuff. The SBK community has definitely gotten many people, including myself, through some tough times. I’m glad that you decided CFSBK would have a part in that for you. Tell me a bit about you outside of the gym.
Mare - I grew up outside Seattle with two sisters, and am the child of Taiwanese immigrants. I love my family but couldn’t wait to explore! As soon as I could I left and came to school in the east. I attended U Penn in Philly and man was I in for a culture shock. I eventually came to NYC to work in entertainment. I did some work in magazines and cable and then somehow landed my dream job. For about 13 years now I’ve worked for the Fox Network on American Idol and other reality shows. I’d like to think that I help in making people’s dreams come true. Other than the gym, I like to entertain and have get togethers that range from Sunday suppers to Saturday night rooftop ragers! I’ve done lots of solo travel, the coolest was touring the Venezuelan jungle where I woke up in a hammock facing the tallest waterfall on earth. A few summers ago I got pretty into SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) and did a 3.5 mile race on Lake Washington. I’m pretty good at it, probably because I have a low center of mass :) I also have to admit some of my CrossFit nerdiness...I’ve visited over 30 affiliates around the country and world. It’s fun to see what other boxes do.
Fox - There’s recently been some big news in your life that may change your penchant for solo travel. Can we divulge?
Mare - Manpanion? Yes, I got engaged last month to a guy I met online in the Fall. Single ladies out there, my advice to you all is don’t be hesitant about sharing your CrossFit world to potential suitors. I included in my profile that I was looking for someone who would appreciate my muscles and calluses, and I found a partner who does exactly that!
Fox - Congrats! Wedding dress muscle ups are always a hit! Tell me about a memorable gym moment for you, and maybe also a few things that you’re currently working on improving.
Mare - I’m working getting my double unders more consistent and the volume up. Also have a goal to be able to handstand walk two floor mat lengths by the end of the year. And, I’d like to do 21 pull ups unbroken, leading to doing a sub 7 minute Fran. Without a doubt my first handstand push ups were pretty cool and memorable. Being invited to join the Competition Team last year has also made me more focused and determined in my training -- gotta keep up with Ellie!
Fox - Awesome. Last question. What do you think we should look for in future athlete features?
Mare - Someone who’s enthusiastic about all the people who come to the gym, both the vets and the newer folks alike. That kind of attitude is what helps keep cohesiveness in the community even as the gym grows.
Happy Birthday, Coach Jeremy and Malcolm S!