Athlete of the Week – Melissa Meinen

Memorial Day weekend brings us another athlete to celebrate! Melissa M. has been chosen for this week’s Sycamore CrossFit Athlete of the Week! Melissa’s progress and trajectory is what keeps us all coming back for more CrossFit. Each day she walks out of the gym having achieved her goal of being stronger and/or more skilled. For those of you who haven’t met Melissa yet, this girl is driven! She is definitely working towards some big goals both inside as well as outside the gym. She understands whole body wellness, and we love that she is getting the physical aspects (both in fitness and nutrition) as well as the mental aspect of overall health! Melissa is making progress literally every time she steps in the gym. She recently joined the 28 Day Nutrition Challenge and is keeping her nutrition a very high priority which is going to create some significant strides forward in every area! Her consistency in her workouts and nutrition most recently led to her adding 10 lbs to her split squat PR! We are so glad that she has jumped right in and is not afraid to push herself (with some encouragement of our coaches of course. I mean c’mon you guys, you all know if Eric says “keep going” you have it in you to keep going!).  Melissa, keep up the great work! We are so glad you joined our big happy family!

How would you explain your occupation to a 5 year old?

I’m basically a professional student (it’s been a lonnnnng time), so I’m in the 21st grade! In August I will graduate as a Clinical Psychologist, which is a doctor of behavior and emotions. For my last year of school I work at NIU full time as a therapist. I help the college students make changes in their thinking, behavior, and lives that help them feel better. My specialty is in treating trauma, or helping people who have experienced scary events that can be life changing.   

How did you get started with CrossFit?

A friend of mine knew I had been getting in to lifting and he recommended CrossFit as a fun way to strength train and have people teach me what the heck I was doing.  

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

About 5 months.

What are your hobbies and interests outside CrossFit?

I enjoy spending time with family and friends! Also, as a Minnesota native I like to spend time in the great outdoors near the water. Paddleboarding, hiking, and kayaking are some favorites. During the winter months, I play on a rec volleyball league. I also consider Netflix a serious hobby of mine for better or worse.

What is your fitness background?

Growing up, I swam competitively from the age of 5 through high school. For me this was a year-round sport that kept me busy and my cardio conditioning strong. I played fastpitch softball seasonally during these years as well. During the earlier years of graduate school my fitness took a back seat to studying. Before starting CrossFit 5 months ago, I was a frequent flyer at the YMCA for about a year where I did circuit training and lifting classes.

Short-term training goal?

I’m completing the 28-day nutrition challenge. So cleaning up my diet and being intentional about what and when I’m eating. This also is a long term goal as well. I would also like to get an efficient kipping movement down so I get start stringing together kipping toes-to-bar.

Long-term training goal?

There are a lot of things I would like to do, and with strength-focused training being a new thing for me there’s lots of gains to make! Being able to do some real and quality push ups. My entire life, push ups have been a struggle! I would also like to be able to do kipping pull ups and back squat my weight (or more).

What is your favorite movement?

I like rowing, running, deadlifts, power cleans.

What is your least favorite movement?

Thrusters, Push ups, Pull ups, BURPEES.

Proudest moment in CrossFit so far?

Recently, I have been starting to be able to do more workouts Rx! I can feel myself getting the hang of CrossFit and making progress.

What was your biggest obstacle to starting CrossFit and how did you overcome that?

It didn’t feel like there was a great barrier. Since I’m a student, the financial side of things was something I contemplated. However, what I get from Sycamore CrossFit has been well worth the cost! A great investment in my well-being.

What kept you coming back?

I have really enjoyed the variety and challenge in each of the workouts. I do better in group settings and when I’m being coached. The atmosphere created by the awesome and encouraging people who workout at this gym keeps me coming back. I appreciate the detailed feedback and extra push the coaches give. When Eric shouts at you to keep going, you can’t really ignore that. I also think much more frequently about my posture thanks to Carl. And without Danielle’s encouragement, I would not have done Friday Night Lights. A big thank you to all coaches!  

Your advice for someone considering starting CrossFit?

Do it. For all the reasons listed above. Do it for your well-being and to be part of a fun community.

I have reinvested energy into my physical health and fitness, which fell by the wayside for a couple of years. I am excited to keep getting stronger and accomplishing more movements in CrossFit rather than dreading work I’ll have to put in at the gym. CrossFit has made this more fun.

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