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Today, we’re sharing a conversation we had with our October Client of Month. Everyone, meet Lauren Manion. An incredible athlete who works hard in the gym and is a great teammate to everyone she sees in Journeyman Fitness. Read below for more info. The info is straight from a conversation, so the syntax is left as close to the conversation style as possible.

Lauren - box jumps

Coach Mark: How old are you? Lauren: I’m 33

Where do you live? Wexford

What do you do? I’m a geologist for an Oil and Gas company.

How long have you been a geologist? I have been a geologist for 8+ years

Did you start out in Pittsburgh or did you come from somewhere else? I grew up in Pittsburgh. I grew up in Mt. Lebanon.

Where did you go to college? Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. I played Lacrosse there.

As a geologist coming out of college, did you go right into the Oil and Gas industry? No. After college, I worked as a teacher and staff naturalist at Echo Hill Outdoor School in Maryland. It’s on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. We taught Science classes, leadership classes, ropes classes; we had a zip-line, we had boats going out on the bay. It was awesome. It was seasonal. I did it for the Fall and then I went to Montana in the winter and worked as the Lift Operator for a Ski Resort, and cleaned condos and worked at a bar. And then I went back to Outdoor school for Spring and summer and then I went back to Montana for a little bit. And then I came back to the east coast and worked for an environmental consulting firm as a geologist. Then I got into Oil and Gas in 2005-2006. So I’ve lived in Maryland, Philadelphia, Montana, Texas, and Pittsburgh.

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What does your day look like? I have a full time job. My day looks a little bit different now that you offer that morning class at 6 AM. I come in here and work out and then go to work. Try to go home and let the dog out at lunch. At the end of the day, we try to go to the dog park. Maz gets to play. Or get together with some friends…catch a game.

You’re pretty motivated by Pittsburgh Sports. Yeah. I’m definitely a big Pens, Pirates, and Steelers fan. Or I go straight to work and come into the gym at lunch. And Maz is at daycare at lunch.

Maz is short for Mazerowski? What kind of dog? He’s a mix. I’m not sure what, but most likely Lab, german shepard. He is unknown.

Outside of the gym, you enjoy Pittsburgh Sports, sporting events… Bars, restaurants, hiking, I like to go to the lake and be on the water. I like to read a lot.

How did you get into CrossFit? I got into CrossFit in Texas. I was going to the YMCA. They offered it there but it was a specialty class. It looked interesting. I looked like boot camp classes I had taken and liked but I didn’t want to go to classes there at the Y. A friend and I found a gym nearby and we tried out.

How did you start out? Was it a Foundations class? No. They didn’t have Foundations because we signed up for the LeanFit classes. It was pretty much: we all showed up and warmed up together and then just did the Met-Con. We wouldn’t do a lift or anything like that.

It was pretty accessible? It was. It was pretty short too. We were rarely there a full hour.

So, you were in Texas when you got transferred to to Pittsburgh. I asked to move home. That was a little over 2 years ago.

Obviously you love it. Yeah.

You’re sister is here. She’s here now. She was in Cleveland, but she’s here now. My family is here. My Dad has five brothers and I have a lot of cousins who all live here. Being close to local sports again is great.

I was living in the South Hills, looking for a place to live up here [Wexford], working up here, wanting to get back into CrossFit again. I just googled it. You guys wouldn’t have been around at that point?

No, I was still coaching Pine Richland and Pittsburgh Rowing Club full time. And Kathryn was still in Philly. She was just leaving her job. Yeah, so I just googled CrossFit around here and the only one that came up was RAW. That’s when I signed up for a Foundations class.

How’d you hear about us? I was having some injury issues and I took some time away from the gym. After a few months, I was looking to start working out again in a similar CrossFit type of workout but I was worried that CrossFit wasn’t for me because I was constantly getting this knee injury. I was thinking maybe CrossFit wasn’t for me but I do like the lifting combined with the conditioning. Maybe I need to do Personal Training or get a program from someone to do at home and at the gym.

I did the same thing and googled…I don’t know what exactly I searched for – whether it was CrossFit and Wexford or Personal Training and Wexford to see the gyms in the area and you guys popped up. This was the only place I came into. I drove by a few other gyms and saw that wasn’t exactly what I wanted and then I emailed you guys my super wordy email that was like, “So, 3 years ago….” So, I came in and we talked and I started with two days a week.

It was very minimal. And at the times we were having classes, it was you and one other person, or it was just you. We had so many classes everyone was spread out over all of these classes. So started from the beginning and you went through a makeshift Foundations class. Then, very quickly thereafter, you went to 3x / week.

It’ll be a year on November 21st or 22nd. I was pretty sure I was at an umlimited membership by March.

You were feeling pretty good. What’s the experience been like so far? It’s the longest I’ve been at a CrossFit gym. It’s been very positive. And I think a big reason why it’s been so positive and why I’ve been here so long is, I feel like at other places if you have a funky week or two and you get to the gym once a week, I never felt comfortable going back. “I’m going to go back and it’s going to be terrible. They’re not going to help me and I’m going to have to pick up this crazy weight. I’m not going to be comfortable”. Or if I do go, that happens, and I feel horrible.

And you feel like lead for a week and a half. Here, I’ve always felt like it’s “Yeah, that was a weird couple of weeks but that’s done. Just come in and start moving and they’ll [Staff at Journeyman Fitness] will help you with reps or percentages or whatever you need. Also, everyone we work out with, I don’t think they’ll be like, “Hey, why is Lauren not doing….” I feel more comfortable. I definitely feel way more comfortable, like, it’s a conversation. It’s a conversation about my health and what I want to be doing and what I want to be lifting and not just you guys making a statement and I walk away blindly to do a workout and not know what to do.

Although, for most people, I’m sure that’s how they feel. You have experience with this. You know you should have a conversation about this.

It’s definitely the strongest I’ve ever been. It’s not the lightest I’ve ever been. It’s the most comfortable I’ve been with this weight recognizing it’s the strongest I’ve ever been.

The workouts are easy, but I feel like you guys make it more doable and accessible. “Just come in and do it. ”

Do work. Get it done. Focus on a year from now or 5 years from now.

And that is what I keep thinking, whenever I do get frustrated, I’m thinking, “This person is getting this PR or that PR.” Well, just keep coming and in a year, you’ve never stuck with it before, so what’s going to happen if you do.

Can you remember what you were doing a year ago? I was probably backsquatting 55 lbs. And when we tested the other week, my back squat was 165 lbs. So a year and a half ago, it was 55 lbs. I had never lifted at a another place and failed at a lift. I think that’s a big breakthrough.

Failing’s not that bad. I think that’s the point of testing. I’m supposed to get to where I can’t anymore.

Lauren enjoying her gift of

Lauren enjoying her gift of “Supple Leopard”

What is your favorite workout or movement? Cleans. I like working on Toes to Bar and Pull ups even though they aren’t a refined movement.

What’s your least? Burpees. And anything extended. I dont’ mind rowing, but once it gets over 1000 m. And running, but once it gets long – I don’t enjoy it.

What would you say to someone on the fence joining the gym? Just do it. Just jump in and do it.

Is it worth it? Yes.

Most people come in and see LA Fitness or the gym that’s in their basement, or an Insanity workout, or P90X, which are great in their own right. But then they see a gym like ours, they see the price comparison, they see the word “CrossFit”, or they see you lifting and it may be intimidating. Is it worth it or am I just wasting my money? I think that CrossFit and especially here is one of the most supportive exercise programs out there. I don’t feel like people you work out with everyday and you see in here are judging you. I think that they’re super supportive and they’re going to help you. The community aspect is definitely [what brings me here].

What you’re saying is, the community is what you’re paying for and that’s what you’re staying for. I couldn’t come up with the workouts. I know that there’s a lot of places you can look up workouts online and get a workout. I wouldn’t finish it like I do here. I wouldn’t make it through like I do here and I wouldn’t’ know that I was doing it properly.

When people are comparing things and trying to decide to do, obviously what you’ve been doing isn’t working so try something different.



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