STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE MONTH – MARY LOU
Each month we highlight an outstanding member of this community as our “STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE MONTH.” This month we’ve selected one of the strongest women in the gym. She has made incredible progress that we are all proud of. This is a real success story. Let’s get to know MARY LOU!
What’s your age and athletic background? I am 43 years old and I have been athletic all my life. I played varsity sports (volleyball and softball) in high school and intramural sports in college. I am a big time outdoor girl who enjoys backpacking and climbing mountains! I got into triathlon racing in my early 30s for a good 6 years with Lombardi’s Triathlon club racing team. I completed 3-4 triathlon races a year during that timeframe and ultimately completed the Vineman Half Ironman in 2008 in Santa Rosa, California at the age 36. I have completed over 15+ Half Marathons throughout my 30s and like every runner I had to complete a full marathon by age 40. I have always had a competitor mindset so when the women at LaLanne Fitness asked me do a CrossFit competition I didn’t think twice! I completed the Contra Costa Partner Throwdown with Maridehl Mather in May 2016 and we placed 11th. Amazing feeling!!!!!
What results since starting CrossFit? August 2016 marks my one year doing CrossFit and I have seen the most amazing results. I have seen big time muscle, strength and fitness gain. Even though I have only lost 10 lbs, I have lost significant inches throughout my entire body while maintaining my Latina curves! Prior to CrossFit I had a wonderful personal trainer for 3 years and we focused on standard weight lifting (back/biceps, chest/shoulders, leg day, etc) and I would do my “cardio” on my own. I had good results during that time until I hit a plateau. Since day one of CrossFit, I was on a new fitness mission and committed to doing 4-5 CrossFit sessions on average a week and logging every lift and WOD in the Beyond the Whiteboard (BTWB) application. Logging the results has been vital and key to my progress. Knowing the data and where I stand, week to week is motivating, empowering and exciting to see. I also recommend video tapping when you lift. I have created a fun hashtag to track my form, progress and accomplishments: #lulycrossfitbug. I smile when I go back to see my first snatch and clean.
Any changes to your lifestyle or diet? I have always been mindful of what I eat and put into my body. I do confess since starting CrossFit I am a bit more conscious as you get addicted to new lifting PR’s and fitness improvement. In general, I practice a healthy lifestyle balance. It’s important to live life, enjoy good food and cocktail! Be kind to yourself.
How has your mindset towards fitness changed since starting CrossFit? I am an introvert (I know many of my new CF friends will not believe this as I am very social at the gym). I used to workout alone. I was that girl at the gym with my head phones on with the “don’t talk to me, I’m working out” face. With CrossFit, I now enjoy working out with people and I love the CrossFit community, mindset and support. The people at LaLanne makes working out so much fun and I look forward to going to the gym every day. I have met so many amazing people who have become my dear friends. My mindset on lifting heavy has also changed. I have never lifted so heavy and pushed myself so hard. I can honestly say, I would not have hit as many PR’s without the amazing coaches and people at LaLanne Fitness pushing and supporting me!
What’s your favorite CrossFit movement or workout? The back squat is my jam (240lb PR) and I never skip leg day. I am a pretty good dead lifter (355PR), not sure how this happened. Crazy! I love the clean and jerk movement (150PR) which is a new move for me. I am pretty proud of this. There is not too much love with the snatch, but I’m getting there. Overall, I am excited to see where I am in the next year.
Do you have any favorite CF gear? I love all my new CF gear! I love my Reebok nanos vs Nike metcons for sure. One thing I recommend to new crossfitters is investing in a pair of CrossFit specific shoes. I got mine 4 months after I started and I wish I had purchased them sooner. Doing CrossFit in running shoes is not fun. I love my Nike Romaleos lifting shoes. I feel like a badass when I squat and clean and jerk in them! These shoes were expensive but worth it! I love my lifting belt when I squat heavy (donated by Mike Mather!) and my wrist wraps for the oly lifts.
Future athletic goals? Within my first year of doing CrossFit I feel like I have the basics down with all the lifts. Within the Gymnastics moves there is still room for improvement although I am super proud I was able to get into a handstand hold all by myself and do a toes to bar. My next moves I will focus on this next year will be pull ups, double unders and pistols. My overall basic goals are simple; continue to get stronger, fitter and live an active/ healthy lifestyle. I would also like to get CrossFit and/or Fitness certified to start formally training. I have always been passionate about Fitness and feel its time to do something in the fitness industry.