Member of the Month: Mel Stec

We are very excited to introduce our newest member of the month, Mel Stec! Mel has made unbelievable progress in the past year and continues to impress us all with every PR she sets or new goal she accomplishes. She has maintained a perfect balance of working hard in the gym while continuing to have fun along the way (…I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen her wear a tutu to the gym at 6 o’clock in the morning.) We can always count on her to show up and help out at our events and to make other members feel welcome and at home. We love having Mel in our community and are excited to watch her continue to progress as an athlete. Way to go, Mel!

How did you get involved in CrossFit? What was your first WOD/experience?
I had some friends join other boxes and was admiring from a far for a while. I have an old lower back injury that flares up from time to time that made me extremely nervous about taking the plunge.Mel 1 I decided to stop being a sally and as it turns out, I’ve had significantly less problems with my back than I ever did during periods with a trainer, group classes, running, or while laying off exercising (many thanks to the advice from coaches as to what to avoid and how to modify when it’s starting to “feel off.”) I did the intro class on March 16, 2013 and vividly remember hobbling around Southie the next day for the parade. I also recall my second WOD being 13.3 (150 wall balls, 90 dubs, 30 MUPs), judged by a partner. Obviously I scaled it and didn’t really hit the target every time, but I’m not really sure how I survived. Or why I came back after that torture.

mel1When did you start coming to CrossFit Southie?
March 2013

Is this the first CrossFit you’ve worked out at / how long have you been CrossFitting for?
Yes, first and only home box! I have had the opportunity to check out a number of other boxes while traveling for work or while on vacation. I love seeing what other boxes are like, but there’s no place like Southie!

When did you realize that CrossFit was right for you?
I think there were a few stages for me. I knew immediately that it was going to be the right place for me (in what context and to what level, that was unknown). However, I started off slowly with 2x/week for the first few months, then increased it to 3x/week for another couple months. I made some great friends in classes (shout out: BATROB 143) that made showing up regularly more enjoyable. Then last September at the time of the Fall Paleo Challenge, I went to unlimited membership and since then I am usually at the box 5 or 6 days a week. The accountability helped me immensely during the challenge and after 6 weeks, I wasn’t about to stop that intensity because by that time I was adjusted to it and was already seeing positive results in all areas. After a few months of that new lifestyle I was seeing some major progress and feeling the best I’ve ever felt. I think that’s when it officially clicked for me and now I can’t imagine my life without it.Mel2

What are you short-term and long-term CrossFit goals?
Short-term goal is to compete in an outside RX competition. Long-term goal is to not come in last in an outside RX competition. Side goal is to always win the unofficial best dressed award at said competitions – it’s the little things.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
I can’t just pick one, totally not my style. First biggest accomplishment was winning last Fall’s Paleo Challenge. It was a complete lifestyle change for me (both in diet and workout regimen). My biggest PR was not going to the work candy jar for an entire week (Hershey’s Treasures used to whisper sweet nothing’s to me around 3pm every. single. day.), which turned into an entire 6 weeks. And I haven’t touched it since. My next biggest accomplishment was my first unassisted kipping pull-up. I was still using some pretty big bands Mel 2(admittedly I was crutching on to those for way too long, but really didn’t think I was even close to losing them). One day Haley convinced me try an unassisted during skill work and so I did. And I got it – in complete and utter amazement! It was a movement that I thought I would never accomplish in my entire life. My next biggest accomplishment was competing in our recent Internal Throwdown as RX. Being new to a competition setting, a little clueless, and lacking some of the requirements (maybe it was more about self-confidence), I was going to test the waters as scaled. I was convinced the week-of to try RX and I had some pretty gnarly nightmares leading up to it. Considering I had only managed my first single unassisted pull-up two months prior, was only to the point of linking two together at a time during skill work, and was still using a purple band in WODs… I thought I was going to be crying staring up at the bar attempting 50 unassisted pull-ups during one of the WODs. In complete and utter shock, I did it. All of them. Unassisted. And well within the time cap. I was ON CLOUD NINE! If you haven’t yet, I hope you all get the pleasure of that feeling in some format someday at the box – it was freaking magical. I may have shed a tear out of pure joy (okay, I definitely did). I had so much positive support and encouragement before & during that WOD from my fellow crossfitters and coaches. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you, and I wouldn’t have had the self-confidence to even sign up if wasn’t for many of those same folks. My last biggest accomplishment up until this point took place a couple weeks after the throwdown. Last month I competed with some friends in the Crossfit Homebase competition in the scaled division – despite the scaled level, it was a large group with some tough athletes – and I couldn’t have been more proud to take second place. Placing felt great and what was even better was the fact that I got to enjoy the experience with great friends and have fun all at the same time. It’s the fun that keeps me in it more than anything.mel4

What is your favorite / least favorite WOD/movement?
My favorites are a WOD with running and/or rowing, and some kind of shoulder to overhead. My least favorite movement is HSPU because I hate being upside down, but we’re working on that.

What do you do for a profession outside of CrossFit?
I manage marketing operations at Everbridge, which is a SAAS company that provides Emergency/Incident Notification software. I enjoy what I do and who I work with, so ignore me when I complain about my commute.

What are your hobbies outside of CrossFit?
I enjoy cooking, baking, traveling, hanging out with friends, going on random adventures, and anything that gets me active and outside. Oh, and live music & Sunday Fundays – I’m in my happy place when those two collide.

Mel 3Do you eat Paleo or Zone? What is your favorite paleo/non-paleo meal?
I’ve been sticking to an 80/20 paleo lifestyle since last September. There have been times when it’s more and times when it’s less. Paleo was so foreign to me before Crossfit that you would laugh at all the hours I spent researching/reading about it before taking the leap. The first two weeks were so overwhelming (Is this paleo? Can I have that? What about this, what if I eat it upside down – is it paleo then?), but after that hump it’s been a no brainer. And I feel 100% better while eating clean(ish – I still let myself live & don’t obsess), so there’s no going back for me. My favorite paleo meal is Mexican anything with plenty of guacamole. It was the one addiction I was allowed to keep through transitioning and one I’ll never give up. My favorite non-paleo meal includes buffalo chicken pizza finished off with some purple cow froyo. I haven’t exactly had buffalo chicken pizza since before going Paleo (had to go cold turkey with that in fear of mending our relationship and becoming BFF with the Broadway’s Best delivery guy again), but it would absolutely be my last meal.

Fun fact?
Dance offs. Anytime. Anywhere. Anybody.