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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)

Post loads to comments.
Press e3/6

As Many Rounds As Possible In 10 Minutes Of:
25 Kettlebell Swings, 72/53
10 Handstand Push-Ups or Dumbbell Presses

Post time and Rx to comments.


Athlete of The Month

Marian Lai!

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!

Reader Comments (80)

Congrats Mare! This is truly well deserved. @coaches thanks for bringing back AOTM.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanelle

Frank - 6AM
Press WU: 125#x5
Press: 155 x 3 (striving for 200# - 1RM)

WOD: 10min AMRAP:
20kg KBSx25 & 45 DBPx10
3 Rounds complete

May 6, 2013 | Registered CommenterFrank Bradshaw

Yeah, Mare! Always a welcome, smiling face. Glad to have you around and fun to watch you achieve.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFox

SO HAPPY to see that 1) AOM is back and 2) it's Marian! Double-congratulations, lady (on AOM and your engagement)!

Probably my favorite SBK moment ever is watching Mare deadlift 250 lbs at the last Titsday meet. If someone has the YouTube link, please post it -- so inspiring.

Today: press 55x5, 65x3, 70x8 (!) Old 1RM, your days are numbered!

WOD 3 rounds + KB + 1 press at 24 kg/20# DB. I wonder whether I should have gone with a 20 kg KB, because I spent a lot more time shaking my arms out and staring at the bell than I wanted to.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStella

6am w/Nick & McDowell
53lbs Press, 3+ from last week. Had insomnia last night and little energy this morning. I breezed through these last time. But today I could only press 3x3, instead of 5.
WOD 4.5 rounds, 16kb & 15lb bb for first round, scaled down to 12.5lbs for the rest.
Hard to get through unbroken although the weight wasn't challenging. Not sure if it was, again, lack of sleep, or tired muscles from Sunday's deadlift/burppie cocktail.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle B.

Press - 110x5, 125x3, 142.5x7 - Felt solid

WOD - 4 rounds + 5 HSPU KBS were surprisingly hard on this one. Lots of shoulder work.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDan L

PS, Mare, I LOVE that you, like me, use the word "manpanion."

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Congrats Marian. So happy to see this! Marian is super bad-ass and one of the nicest people I have met at SBK.

Today's work:

Press 115x5, 135x3, 150x4.

Happy Birthday to the not so bearded one, coach J.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDH6waytoearly

Congrats, Marian! Well deserved.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMig

I adore Mare, so happy she's the AoTM!! A perfect choice.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJB

Mare! I'm just happy she finally got around to telling us her real name. Great interviewee also.

Also, I second Stella above. Mare's 250 pound-Chris-Fox-tear-inducing-deadlift, was one of my favorite CFSBK moments I've witnessed.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoel W.

Congratulations Marian! Both on the Manpanion and AOTM. ;)

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterasta

yeahhhhh MARIAN!!!!!!! :)

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commentershaye

How did I forget the part where Fox cried? Amazing.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Much deserved Marian!

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterk2h2

<33 to Mare. You know you're one of my favourite people.
And definitely my favourite to pick up and carry around and social functions.

I'd like to add that she INSPIRED her man to start xfit. Because she's a total badass.

May 6, 2013 | Registered CommenterSarah la Rosa

Congratulations Marian! Well done - well deserved.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra

Congrats Marian! It's always fun and inspiring to see you in action.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercrystal

YEAH MARE! Congratulations on AOTM, life, and everything in general. Well deserved indeed. Mare is one of my favorite people at the gym. I love her laugh after she hits a PR. She definitely lights up the gym :)

May 6, 2013 | Registered Commenterjen stop

Also, happy birthday Jeremy and Malcom!

May 6, 2013 | Registered CommenterSarah la Rosa

Congrats to Marian.
Happy birthday to Coach Jeremy.
Yay for AOTM comeback. Now for some more Under the Hoodies.
FU to Whitney H. for all her Facebook travel porn making me feel bad.

Yesterday: 90min basics yoga class (first in months) + 2 hours of heavy yard work
Today: 2nd attempt at IF, planning on an 18 hour window. Freestyle swim technique practice for 30min, Kung-fu for 2.5hrs tonight
Tomorrow: Psyched to get back to some damn barbell training. Lack of sleep + lots of work + house guest has conspired to keep me out of the gym since last Thursday (did bubkiss workout-wise on Friday and Saturday).

May 6, 2013 | Registered CommenterNoah Barth

congrats marian! awesome aotm write up!

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterginacatto

Great to see the AOM back! Way to go Marian! Congrats on your engagement, and thanks for your incredibly positive outlook and perspective. Way to set the bar high for all of us!

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmily


May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Sorry, that probably shouldn't have been presented without comment. Not trying to air anyone's dirty laundry, but surely I'm not the only person who reads Jezebel. And surely I am not the only person here who is horrified by how DO has been portrayed. DO, I appreciate you sticking up for yourself and for the community you have worked hard to achieve here.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Ok. WTF about that article.

Goddamit people. I love tough titsday. And I'm proud of our girls/women who participate!

Thanks for posting Jenna. I hope people can have a little perspective about their overreactions.. We are not a misogynistic, douchebag gym.

Also- nice on the article protecting the name of the girl who complained, but lambasting David and Margie. (Shakes head)

May 6, 2013 | Registered CommenterSarah la Rosa

This is such a well deserved AOM! Marian is a huge inspiration for me and quite possibly the nicest person in the gym. Congrats on everything Marian, well deserved...although these AI judges are killing you this year.... :-)

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristine Naclerio

Awesome Marian!
Agree with LaRosa--pretty cowardly to protect the critic's name. And for the crossfit and titsday haters out there, lighten up. No one is making you join. Pat yourself on the back and just go to another gym if you're so offended.
Also, I am personally proud to be a bro "markedly more douchey than most bros." I'm coming tonight to get my swole on fer sure.
But most importantly, once again, big congrats to Marian!

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris A.

No wonder I couldn't find anything in the blog archives about Tough Titsday! This meet happened last year just as I joined CFSBK, so I had no idea what it was at the time. I've heard around the gym that it is a great experience for us girls and to find your 1RM, so I was looking to see when it is usually held because I'd definitely be interested this time around. Sounds like "Rachel" has her panties in a wad and needs to chill out. Thanks to DO for banning her.

That being said, when is the next Tough Titsday??

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Congrats Marian! well deserved!

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDeb

Congrats Marian!

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJay R

First off, congrats Marian!

Secondly, Jezebel (and the Gawker network) survives off of shocking people and sensationalizing news, with very little understanding for anything but the line they're convinced of. A real reporter would come check out the gym, even come to a titsday meet, instead of posting something so one-sided. It's sloppy journalism for pageviews, unfortunately.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Katz

Also, Tough Titsday is one of my favorite events at the gym purely because it celebrates and respects the strength of our female members — it's an environment that we rarely see in our society, which tends to look down upon physically strong women. So when someone comes to Titsday and lifts something they've never dreamed of, it's just amazing — and a massive rebuttal to the "misogynistic" culture Jezebel is railing against.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Katz

Congrats, Mare! Excellent choice for AOTM--always super friendly and inspiring. I would love to see a video of that 250lb deadlift.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

Hi all,

Yes I'm feeling very blind sided by the Jezebel article. I'll have a more thought out response to it in tomorrow's rest day post. I'll just say that I never removed anything from the blog. Thanks for the responses so far.

May 6, 2013 | Registered CommenterDavid Osorio

In case anyone wants to offer her some perspective on the other side of the story for Tough Tits, her email is: katiejmbaker@gmail.com.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

On a different note, I noticed a few posts last wee about toddlers & babies. So here's my question: we found a nanny to take care of our kids after school, and during the summer months. She will be picking them up at about 3pm and with them through the afternoons.
The problem is that she wants more than the 15-20 hours we can guarantee. So I was hoping that maybe families in the CFSBK community with newborns (or otherwise) might be looking for some morning help - enough to make up about 15-20 hours (two part-times make a full-time).
If this situation sounds like something you'd be interested in, please contact me directly at rgreenspan (at) me (dot) com.
richard g.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichard G

I don't understand why Margie's first response was not enough for 'Rachel'. It said everything that needed to be said.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra

Mare is a rock start - well earned spot for AOM!!!

Yesterday we took off to the mountains for a little hiking action - Matt split his pants he is so strong, KMo sets a side splitting hiking pace, Stopka is a facilitated active recovery on the train and the AOM Mare and her awesome manpanion taught me tons on rock climbing....

As such it was discussed we may need a Crossfit hiking club! Hit all the good spots accessible by train every few weeks. We will work out some details and post but let and post - nature, fitness and a cold beer at the end of the train. Pretty much nothing better than that!

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMel

Matt Katz: hear, hear.

TITSDAY FOREVER. I feel so fortunate to have found a community so supportive of women getting strong, and I only wish the person who instigated the article would have stuck around and SEEN that instead of just deciding that she was going to be capital-O offended and getting her hurt feelings all over the Internet.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Hey gang!

Like David, I am quite surprised by the article and sad that both "Rachel" and the blogger felt comfortable drawing conclusions based on an opinion based on, well, nothing. We will respond with something tomorrow.

That said, I look forward to being back at SBK to host the next Tough Titsday meet in July! Stay tuned for more info in the coming weeks.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMargie

Can we get Tough Titsday shirts please?

Mel: I love the idea of the hiking club!

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra

That article is upsetting. Off the cuff, I agree that the name can be offensive, but you only have to spend 5 minutes at CFSB to understand where it is coming from and how it is being used. As someone newer to the community, I can easily say that I have never felt MORE respected as a woman in a gym environment. Coming from typical gym environments where it's a total 'check-out' scene and where trainers feel totally comfortable coming up to you to "help" you in some pervy way- CFSB is a breath of fresh air. And in more female centered athletic spaces, like some yoga classes, it's like we are these delicate flowers. I've been super excited about CFSB being a space where all the coaches hold high expectations for us in terms of strength and scaffold the exercises so they are doable for everyone regarding where we currently are in a way that doesn't feel gendered at all. All that to say, in my experience, it is the least sexist gym environment I've been in and it sucks that it would get painted in that way. I'm going to post this comment on the article's page too.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbreebree

Hey Margie - Any idea on what weekend in July you guys are thinking? The summer calendar is filling up fast and I don't want to miss it!

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Great writeup re Marian. Nice.

Titsday is a keeper; let's pls ignore this bit and draw inspiration from the awesome work the participants contribute.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Go Mare!

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBekka

David, Margie and all

I really like the name! I think it's smart and fun, like the event. I also can appreciate how you dealt with the situation. As well as "tough tits" my grandmother also used the phrase "nip in the bud." You made a wise decision to end it at unsatisfiable email grievances. Majority rules, we are a large and growing number of happy members who leave the gym day after day grateful to have found a place like this to enjoy what we love doing, and a community that is so supportive and positive.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercrystal

Ironic that this was posted on the blog today by Mare "I like the aesthetic changes that I went through but also love that the community as a whole supports women being strong" and that it prompted Stella and I to talk about how great Mare's moment at Titsday was, and then Jezebel comes along and basically just spews bs regarding that exact event.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoel W.

Congrats Mare!

I have some thoughts about the article too, but no time to put them together coherently right now.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTodd

Yes, second what Joel said. GO MARE!

And yes please, tough tits shirts! McKensey and I brainstormed ideas. We would also like Tough Tits sweat bands with just the phrase "FUCK SEXISM" across the forehead. I would wear it to work in the summer, too, because I am a sweat monster, but a feminist sweat monster.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

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