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Rest Day

July Athlete of the Month: Janelle Barth

We're back, with another addition to your favorite series: Athlete of the Month! Janelle has been quietly and consistently improving since she walked through the roll-up gate at CFSBK two years ago. Her calm approach to the bar and her willingness to push her limits have had her knocking on the AOM door for a while now. Plus, jello shots. Read on for more about another standout SBKer!

Fox: Hey Janelle, congrats on being an Athlete of the Month! Starting from the beginning, when did you first start CrossFit? 

Janelle: I started at CFSBK in January of 2012. I had already been doing some CrossFit WODs with a trainer I was working with at the time who was a CrossFit enthusiast. She also introduced me to barbell training and I was into it but had a few nagging injuries. Mike and Noah (Janelle’s hubby and brother-in-law, respectively) had just finished a Foundations cycle with you and Jess and urged me to give it a try. I was looking to learn to perform the movements properly and possibly join South Brooklyn so I scheduled a PT session to test out of Foundations. Honestly I was intimidated and thought it was a real possibility that I wouldn’t pass the test out and have an excuse to not join. But as fate would have it, I passed. I started with a 2x/week and quickly moved to 5x/week. 

Fox: As I recall, I had the pleasure of doing your test out session. It’s great that your previous trainer introduced you not only to the conditioning aspect of CrossFit, but also to the barbell lifts. You’ve been training pretty consistently since you started with us. What is it about CrossFit that strikes a chord with you? 

Janelle: At first it was the attention to detail and the coaching. I liked CrossFit but wanted to move well and not be injured. The gym quickly became my community though, and that’s a large part of why I keep coming back. Previous to SBK, I’d been involved in a bunch of sports leagues while I lived in Pittsburgh, PA that provided a social outlet and I was missing that. I’m the type of person who can be nervous as the “new girl” but at CFSBK I felt at home right away. It felt like I’d found my people. I slowly started enjoying some of the social events and making friends, making jello shots helped with the latter. Now almost three years later I have strong friendships through the gym. Just chatting on the mat is a nice part of this place. There’s always a coach's set of eyes on you, paying attention and motivating you. I also like the tangible aspect of fitness in CrossFit. Strength cycle really taught me the value of journaling so I can tell you that my first squat exposure in Strength was at 95 pounds, and after my third time through the program, I hit a 200 pound PR at a total. Strength cycle is a great way to experience a different part of the SBK while still being a part of the community. I see myself bouncing back to it in the future. 

Fox: Doubling your squat in a few months is amazing! I remember, as do many of us I’m sure, the first year you and Mike brought those jello shots. You guys won a lot of people over that night. You mentioned sports leagues, what did you play? 

Janelle: Those jello shots are so tedious but totally worth it! More like what didn’t I play. I was on teams for flag football, volleyball, kickball, softball, you name it. Not to brag but, I was pretty good. Teams would poach me as a ringer. I was kind of a big deal (laughs). I did that stuff as much for the sport and fitness as I did for the social aspect. I don’t play anything anymore since CrossFit fills that role, but I have recently joined a Jack Rabbit running group in the city. After a few strength cycles I wanted to get back to a more diverse level of fitness so I’m doing a few group classes a week in addition to the running group. I’ll be doing my first race in three years this fall. 

Fox: I really like the idea of you fielding offers from competing dodgeball teams! Tell us a little about you outside of the gym. Where are you from, and what do you do outside of the gym? 

Janelle: I grew up in Wheatley Heights, Long Island and had a seemingly idyllic childhood. My sister and I are first-generation American children of a Trinidadian dad and a Croatian mom. Our parents went out of their way to provide us a cookie-cutter life but I still always seemed to feel out of place. I really didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere until I went away to camp. I spent my first summer at Incarnation Camp in Connecticut when I was 12 and then every summer after until I eventually wound up working as a counselor there. That place was and still is so special to me. It’s where I met Mike and where we actually had our wedding. Our first “date” was a Scrabble game at camp, and he’ll tell you he let me win. Funny thing though is he still hasn’t beat me! As far as what else I do there’s actually a lot at the moment. Since I’m between jobs, I’m using the time to improve my skillset. I’ve worked as an operations manager in a few fields but truly enjoy early childhood development and education. My passion is improving the lives of kids. I like to bake and knit for fun, and Mike and I love to explore the world both abroad and locally. On our to-do list for this summer is to walk across every bridge in New York City. It’s a great way to see a new neighborhood and experience the food and art it has to offer. Further from home I’d have to say that my favorite trips so far have been a cruise we took to the Panama Canal, which really can’t be described it was so amazing, and our honeymoon in Hawaii. The Big Island was the best. We went from the rainforest to the mountains in the same day. The constellations we saw on that mountain will stay with me forever. 

Fox: That trip sounds amazing! As does the idea of getting to new parts of the city and walking the bridges. Great stuff, Janelle. I have my last stock question for you. What should we look for in a future Athlete of the Month?

Janelle: Someone who is coachable and willing to get outside their comfort zone. I remember gulping when I saw the number 170 on the board for my squats in Strength Cycle. I was nervous but I trusted Jeremy so I did it. That’s a good place for people to go sometimes. That and someone who takes care of the space and equipment. Put your dumbbells and plates back where they came from, people! 

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Reader Comments (31)

Wednesday's Programming

Clean and Jerk

Fitness: Clean and Jerk
Spend 15 minutes working up to a heavy clean and jerk. If you have a hard time organizing the first pull, then perform the clean from the hang.

Performance: Clean and Jerk 1-1-1
Warm up and take three attempts at a new PR.

Front Squat

Fitness: 3-3-3-3-3, Establish a new 3RM
Start your first attempt at or near your last 3x5 weight.

Performance: 1RM Test
Warm up to 80% for a single then:
100%x1 (this would in fact be a new 1RM)
105% + if still moving
Remember to use the same theoretical max you've been using all cycle.

Post loads to comments.

July 14, 2014 | Registered CommenterDavid Osorio

Can't think of a more worthy AOM! Congrats Janelle.

And now, this:

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGD

JANELLE!!! Nuff said.

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJay

YEAH!! Janelle!

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterariel c

Congratulations, Janelle!

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterariel kw

Awesome Janelle! Well done!

"Trinidadian Dad and a Croatian Mom" - God, I love the US.

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra

Janelle! I remember the look on her face when she came to La Rosa's goodbye party after having just squatted 200. Awesome.

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Fun read! We also have a Janelle at our box that is a kick ass athlete!! :)

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa Richardson

6am with MeLo and Jess.

C&J - worked up to 175#, matching a PR, although the jerk wasn't pretty. Failed the next 2 as I tried to do less of a push press and more of a jerk. I'll work on getting under the bar at a lower weight in the future.

FSQ - 185x3, 195x3, 200x3, 205x3
PR here at 205, which felt great. Not sure I could have hit anything higher but this certainly gave me some new confidence for FSQ.

July 15, 2014 | Registered CommenterElliott


July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKMo

7am with Jess and Melo. I was my first time at a 7am class, because waking up before 6 just wasn't going to happen today, but I really wanted to get in and work on some presses, dammit. I hit 105# for my 5rm - a pr. That last rep didn't go up easy (at all), but it got there and I'm pretty happy with it, particularly considering the grief my neck muscles have been giving me after presses this cycle.
I did the wod at 155#, which I was able to consistently move for 5 reps unbroken. The double unders were ugly, as usual, but on one round I was able to do 10 unbroken, which I think ties my pr. Total score of 311.

Congrats Janelle!

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterShawn


Dropped into Wolverine Strength and Conditioning this morning in Ann Arbor, MI, after chickening out yesterday because their programmed WOD was Grace, followed by Isabel. My shoulders were like NAH.

Today's programming was:
Warm up: 3 rounds of across the gym forwards and backwards lunges, knee grabs and ankle grabs (glute and quad stretch), and inch worms and spidermans.
Then we did some quick barbell drills before doing a 6-min cap on 3 rounds of 9 thrusters (95/65) and 9 lateral burpees (over the bar).
Then 5x5 strict press at 80% 1RM. They teach their strict press with a push press rack position, rather than elbows under bar.

This is one of the better boxes I've dropped in on in my travels; I would definitely recommend it. I will drop a note in the travel section.

They also gave me a restaurant recommendation called Zingerman's Roadhouse, where apparently they slaughter a whole pig and cow every day. Don't mind if I do.

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Congrats Janelle!

First time back at 6am in a while...been super slacking for too long. Trying to claw my way back
hit 90lbs on the 5rm press. Last one was slow and ugly, but i'll take it.
Havent made it in to deadlift in forever, so went in at 155. double unders are still a mystery to me, but I did string 5 together for the first time so maybe some progress...maybe...

I didn't see any recommendations in Houston TX yet, so I figured I'd put out the question here. Anybody know of a good box around midtown? I'm heading down for a full 4 months for work and looking to base my housing search around gym proximity. I've been spoiled here being less than half a mile from SBK.

July 15, 2014 | Registered CommenterNeil

Janelle is great, so happy to highlight her this go around.

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFox

Hi guys,

About two weeks ago my Red Adidas weightlifting shoes went missing from the gym. They are size 11 and have the initials "RFH" on the inside and outside of both heels in silver sharpie. Did anyone take them by accident thinking they were yours? Or has anyone seen them more recently than the two weeks ago?

Please email rharrity [at] gmail [dot] com o reply here with any info

Yes, I have already checked the lost and found, and it was not part of the group of unclaimed shoes in the office recently.



July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

I am a mess right now and can barely see...thanks, Kate, for the "32 picture" link. I guess I should really read the news but there's never enough of that stuff in it.

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFox

Janelle! Congrats! Well-deserved. Awesome and inspiring platform mate. Miss you! Looking forward to seeing in group class from next week.

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Congratulations Janelle! It's been awesome to see your strength gains since you've started!

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoy

Fox, ha! I was quietly weeping yesterday when I read through those. There is so much beauty and goodness in the world, and we miss it constantly.

And speaking of goodness, congrats, congrats to Janelle! As she mentioned a couple weeks ago, we've been working together on her writing for a few months and she continually blows me away with her diligence, intelligence, and integrity. This woman is truly a gem and in the best way, she isn't flashy about how hard she works. Which makes it even better that MGMT is putting the spotlight on her!

Also, if you want to read more of her work, you should check out all the wonderful articles she's been penning over on her beautiful new website. She's working on a couple right now that are fantastic so get ready. :)

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKate R

CONGRATs to Janelle!! Have always loved her combo of unassumingness and bad-assness!!

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMare

CONGRATs to Janelle!! Have always loved her combo of unassumingness and bad-assness!!

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMare

CONGRATs to Janelle!! Have always loved her combo of unassumingness and bad-assness!!

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMare

Yay Janelle! Congrats!!!

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlady fox

congrats janelle!!!!

really enjoyed her amazing answer to the question of the day last week, when asked: 'what do you do for a living?' and she responded: 'lady of leisure'!!! i can't get over it/still thinking about it hahaha.

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCamille

Congratulations Janelle!! Great interview - I loved learning about your athletic prowess! Janelle is considerate and dedicated and a perfect choice for AOTM.

Olympic lifting today was wonky for me.
Snatch: need to make sure I initiate the 2nd pull from just above the knee.
Jerk: need to think chest up on the dip to keep from leaning forward.
Generally just feeling creaky and weak.

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Janelle is a great addition to our long list of AOMs. Consistent, a serious trainee, and despite being on the quieter side, she's been a long standing and important part of our community. She's such a pleasure to have in class and around the gym and a strong female role model for all our newer athletes as well.

Three Cheers for Janelle!

July 15, 2014 | Registered CommenterDavid Osorio

Snatch+Hang Snatch, 77%x2, 81%x3

Clean+2 Jerks, 70%x3

Snatch DL@105%x5x4

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJakeL

Thanks for all of the kind words and congrats everyone. You sure know how to make a girl feel special. It's really wonderful to be a part of such an amazing community. I look forward to celebrating future AOMs.

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJanelle

Strength cycle final heavy day pre-total.

Squat 210x3, bench 130x3 (YEAH!), deadlift 255x3. Did battle with the bar on my last deadlift rep and won. I'm pretty happy with myself for not giving up on that one!

So excited for the total on Sunday. I'm finally going to take down a two-wheel squat and we'll see where I go from there!

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Congrats Janelle. Meatheads for life.

Fox, why didn't you ask her why she doesn't play for the CFSBK softball team?

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBen W

Congrats Janelle!

AM Olympic Class:

40x3 50x2 60x1 65x1 70x1 75x1 80x1 86x1 (PR) 90xM,M,M

Only got under the first one at 90. I think the pull is there if I'm patient though.

Power Clean and 3 jerk
50 60 70 80

Clean and jerk
90 100 107xC,M

Was pretty tired by the end and wasn't getting down fast enough for these.


Make up post for yesterday's office workout:

Front Squat (Max Double)
85x5 135x4 185x3 225x2 245x2 255x2 265x2 275x2 (PR)

Press (Max Double)
45x5 75x5 95x4 115x3 125x2 135x2 140x2 145x2 (PR) 150x2 (PR)

Russian Twist

Front squat was 10# over my previous 1RM, press was 7.5# over my previous 1RM.

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTodd

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