Member of the Month - Grace Mlady!

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What was your fitness background before you started at CFCL, and what made you decide to try CrossFit?

Other than a quick stint of middle school basketball, I didn’t grow up playing organized sports or have what I’d call a “formal” fitness background, but I was always an active kid. I grew up in rural South Dakota, and my siblings and I were constantly building tree or snow forts, climbing hay bales, rollerblading in the barn (it makes for a bumpy ride!), and generally running around outside like mad children.

Fast forward to adulthood where I found myself working desk jobs and feeling pretty lethargic. I didn’t like how I felt and knew I wouldn’t like how I looked or felt five years down the line if I didn’t make a change. I’d also bumped up against some health problems, and I learned quickly that without one’s health everything else suffers. My health and wellbeing, including mental health, became my primary focus, and I started going to my workplace gym three days a week. It became a habit, and I maintained that routine for five years. I loved how much it positively impacted my energy levels and how I felt. I eventually got sick of the elliptical and started playing around with the dumbbells and weight machines in the gym, using the book The New Rules of Lifting for Women as a guide. I loved the workouts in that book (AMRAPs!) and noticed how well weight training helped me maintain my own weight, but I really had no idea what I was doing and I wanted to learn more. I also knew that the “regular” gym wasn’t cutting it anymore, and I wasn’t willing to just drop the active lifestyle I’d developed. So begins what my husband jokingly refers to as my “free agency” period. I tried out several gyms with classes that incorporated weights, but none of them really provided what I was looking for—personal training or group classes where I could learn more about weight training specifically. Several friends recommended CrossFit and, while it scared the holy heck out of me because I'd only heard the stereotypes, I took the plunge and I'm so glad that I did.

What goals are you working on right now?

  • Becoming more consistent with double unders. Rather than oscillate between 2 and 10, I want to more regularly and consistently hit unbroken sets of 10+ in WODs.

  • Improving technique with several weightlifting movements, specifically eliminating an early arm bend in both the power clean and power snatch and getting under the bar faster in the push jerk.

  • Most importantly, continuing to build my self-belief and confidence by noticing and changing my self-talk. I have a tendency to be very self-critical, and it sometimes means I give up on myself easily or lose perspective about how far I've come and what my strengths are. Last year, I made a commitment to myself to work on my mindset and self-talk, and this year I’m working on replacing those narratives and beliefs that no longer serve me.   

If you could give any piece of advice to someone just starting CrossFit, what would it be?

Let go of comparison: Don’t worry about how much you’re lifting compared to others or what your times are compared to others in class. Focus your attention instead on giving your best effort in each moment, including the warm-up, knowing that your best effort will look a bit different each day. Remember why you started—was it to get in a good workout, lose weight, try something new, or build strength for another sport you love? Put your effort toward that each day, and then come in and do it again the next day and the next.

What is your favorite quote?

I’m going to pick two!

  • A new-to-me one that I love: “Courage is fear walking.” –Susan David

  • And the one I always come back to: “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” --Joseph Campbell

You can only eat 5 foods for the rest of your life--what would they be?

Sweet geez, this is hard. Salmon, green kale, walnuts (don’t judge me), Honeycrisp apples (you think I’m healthy, but wait for the last one…),

and The Mikey (add mushrooms) from Max & Leo’s. 

If your life had a mascot, what would your mascot be?

Picture a sweet kitten, the runt of the litter, wearing boxing gloves. That sums it up pretty well. 

(Fun fact: My high school mascot was a corn cob named—wait for it—“Cornelius.” Try not to be jealous.)