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21 Questions With… Mark Michalski

Sometimes people who wear business suits to work are a bit abrasive, guarded, or just plain boring.  Mark Michalski has a flourishing career but he is none of those things.  In fact, he’s extremely intelligent, polite, and actually a pretty normal dude.  His honesty and openness was refreshing and I hope you can relate to him in some way.  Because he’s awesome.

mark michalski

What do you do for a living? 

I work full time at Home Federal Savings Bank as a Licensed Private Banker.  My main job is to establish and foster relationships with clients of the bank.  I also just started as an intern coach at CrossFit Progression.  Helping people reach a fitness goal, whether it’s setting a PR in a particular lift or helping them feel better physically is very rewarding.

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of the gym? 

Besides eating?  I like to spend whatever time I can with my fiancé, Meghan.  She has a crazy schedule at the hospital, so we have to carve out time when we can.

Favorite genre of music?

I like everything but pop country.  My favorite genre and most people are surprised by this is heavy metal!  My favorite bands are Tool & Lamb of God.  Sometimes you’ll hear Tool at CFP; you would never hear Lamb of God though!

Favorite cheat day meal? 

You said day, so I’ll run you through my ideal day.  Brunch at Thirsty Belgian, which would consist of eggs, sausage and Belgian waffles.  Lunch at Chipotle… my go to is chicken burrito bowl with chips.  Dinner would be pizza from Mr. Pizza.  There would be a lot of snacking between meals, probably chocolate or cupcakes.

Chalk, or no chalk? 

My hands sweat like crazy, so lots of chalk, (sorry Josh!).

Do you hate wall balls as much as we do? 

Probably more but burpees are the worst.

What’s your favorite movement? 

One of the olympic lifts; clean & jerk or snatch.  There’s something about throwing weight around that is cool.

What’s your least favorite movement? 

Ooh, toss up between double-unders or chest to bar pull-ups.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do either of them.

What goal(s) are you currently chasing? 

The aforementioned double-unders and chest to bar pull-ups.  For lifts, I’d like to squat 400#, snatch 185# and clean & jerk 245#.  Also, I’d like to lose about 10 pounds.  I feel best when I weigh around 190-195 pounds.

Best piece of advice you’ve gotten from a coach? 

When I was training for a Muay Thai fight years ago, my coach reminded me to “check my ego at the door”.  I had the chance to spar with a UFC champion who was just on another level.  I ended up getting kind of knocked out and was frustrated with myself.  That’s when my coach gave me that advice.  I think that applies to CrossFit as well.

How do you make time to get to the gym? 

It’s usually pretty easy for me to make it to the 5:30 pm class.  My work is just down the road.  If I don’t make it, I can go for a bike ride or walk my dog; something to get moving.

Why do you make time to get to the gym? 

I feel so much better mentally and physically when I do make it in. If I miss more than two days I definitely feel it.  I also miss the community of people if I don’t make it.  The coaches and members have all been great and very welcoming.

How has your outlook on fitness changed since starting CrossFit?

After stopping Muay Thai, my plan of attack would be to hit up some “Globo” gym and bust out some bench press and bicep curls.  The standard 3 sets of 10 for every exercise.  It gets really boring after about a week.  I found a CrossFit box up in the cities and was dying after the warm-up.  I was hooked ever since that day.  Looking back it’s funny to think about people on the treadmill watching TV.  If you can watch TV while working out, you’re not working out!

How has your outlook on yourself changed since starting CrossFit? 

I’ve become more aware of my body and how to take care of it.  I still struggle with eating right which is the hard part for me.  Working out is easy; making the time to eat the right foods is the hardest part.  It’s funny, I don’t notice the changes myself usually.  One day I watched my fiancé in the Progressions class.  I can’t remember the workout they were doing but I remember thinking how that would have been so hard starting out.  Now it would still be difficult but not nearly as much as when I started.

How would you explain the feeling before you get to the gym each day? 

I have nervous energy… every day.  I try to tell myself that I’m only competing against myself and who cares what my time is or how much I lift.  It never works; I’ll always have nervous energy.  Probably because I know there will be a degree of pain at some point in the WOD!

How would you explain the feeling you get after you leave the gym each day? 

On days where I’m tired and would rather go home and lay on the couch, if I make it into CFP I feel so much better mentally and physically.  No matter what, I always feel better after leaving.

How has your life outside of CrossFit changed since joining CFP?

I have much more energy and sleep better.  Like I mentioned earlier, if I don’t make it for a couple days I definitely feel it.  If I can’t make it to CFP I try to do something active for at least a half hour, preferably outside.

What has been your fondest memory during your time at CFP?

My favorite memory so far has been Friday Night Lights this year.  I loved the atmosphere and energy.  I love the community aspect of CrossFit.  It’s always fun to watch the Open WOD announcement every Thursday.

What brought you to CFP?

When I was training at a box in the cities and decided to move down here, I asked the owner if she knew of good boxes in Rochester.  The first gym she mentioned was CFP.  When I came down here, I visited three gyms total in Rochester and CFP just stood out to me.  The coaches were knowledgable and safety of movement was stressed.  All of the members were very welcoming and I felt at home right away.

What keeps you at CFP?

The community of people.  All of the staff from the owner all the way down are top notch.  Every member I have met always seem to be down to earth and there are no egos.

What would be your one piece of advice for someone who’s just joining CFP?

If you can make it past the first few weeks of crazy soreness, it’s all good!  You’ll still be sore, but it gets better as you adapt and your level of fitness increases.

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