Reluctant at first to try CrossFit, Staci finally gave in to her husbands request to join him for a trial. And we’re so happy she did. Her unstoppable drive to become stronger is evident- every day we watch her progress more and more.
Staci’s story is one that will motivate and inspire you. Thank you for being a part of the community, Staci! Congratulation on being our next Athlete of the Month!
Athlete of the Month: Staci Pietanza
1. When and why did you start CrossFit?
I started almost a year ago, after my husband Vinny finally convinced me to try it. I have scoliosis and was feeling really down that I couldn’t find a workout that I really enjoyed and didn’t hurt my back. I didn’t feel good about myself, I felt run down all the time and overall I didn’t feel happy.
Vin kept suggesting CrossFit Salus to me. He told me the people and coaches were really great and would work with me. I kept saying no. First off, TOTALLY out of my comfort zone in every possible way. I thought he was crazy. How could I possibly do weight lifting? To add to it, I had all kinds of misconceptions about CrossFit. I wasn’t in shape for it. People will judge me because I don’t know any of the moves. I never even heard of the lifts. He finally came to me and said were doing a class together, just 1, and if you don’t like it I promise I will leave you alone, but you need to try. I said yes, but I’ll admit, it was to get him off my back.
It ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made.
I really enjoyed it.
And I’ll never forget how friendly everyone was. They came over to me and introduced themselves. I never went to a class where people did that.
Not one person judged me. In fact, I watched as they cheered for each other. That sealed it for me.
2. How has your performance changed since you started CrossFit?
I feel stronger. I feel more confident in my form. I feel more positive and have way more positive self talk then when I started. I no longer look at the WOD and think OMG I can’t do that!
Now I think hellz yea I got this!
3. Are there exercises you can do now that you couldn’t do before?
Run. I couldn’t even do 200m without feeling like my lungs were going to give out. Now I can do 800M without stopping and without feeling like I’m going to pass out.
Also, Box Jumps. I was scared of them so I started with a 12in box and now I am up to 20in.
4. How has your body physically changed since you started CrossFit?
I definitely am starting to notice more muscle definition overall.
5. How has CrossFit changed you in other ways?
Honestly it has been one of the most positive things I’ve done in my adult life. It may sound ridiculous, but it has had such an amazing ripple effect throughout my life. When I’m feeling stressed out, I go to the box, do a WOD and I always leave in a better mood.
I have more energy.
I feel like a better mom, a better wife. I feel more confident. I’m happier.
I found a positive outlet and a supportive community with like-minded people.
As I mentioned with my back, things have always been a bigger challenge for me, simple things that most people take for granted, like long walks, or picking up a box or even my daughter, would bother me. Some days, my back would be so horribly sore at night, I could barely move. What I’ve learned here, about proper form, I’ve been able to apply to my everyday life.
I am no longer suffering with pain. I no longer throw out my back with a simple movement. There are no words to express how grateful I am for that.
6. How do you describe CrossFit to your friends?
The most intense workout that will push you in ways that you would NEVER push yourself.
7. What keeps you motivated to continue? What’s your “why”
Seeing and feeling results physically and mentally has been one of the most rewarding experiences. Feeling like I’m getting stronger, I love when I realize I can add more weight to my barbell. I never thought I would be able to do any type of weight lifting.
My daughter, I love that I’m setting a positive example for her. She asks about my workouts and asks me to show them to her.
And all the strong women in the box. They are so incredible to watch and inspire me to push myself, especially because they are so supportive.
8. Favorite WOD or lift?
9. What advice would you give to a newbie just joining CrossFit Salus?
It’s intimidating at first, but push through it. Break out of your comfort zone, it’s worth it! And most important, go at your own pace.
10. What is your next goal to accomplish…or goat to kill?
A pull up. I have never done one without the red and green bands.
11. If you could design your own WOD, what would it look like?
8 min AMRAP:
4 Hang Power Cleans
3 Front Squats
2 Shoulder to Overhead
1 Ground to Overhead
12. Favorite thing to do for fun?
Spend time with my daughter and husband. Especially listening to music with my daughter, we sing and dance like lunatics, which always leads to lots of laughs.
13. Favorite healthy dish….and favorite “cheat” meal?
I keep it pretty simple, grilled chicken with balsamic glaze, broccoli, and baked sweet potatoes.
Chocolate is always my weakness, but if we’re talking about the ultimate cheat meal. Cheese burger, cheese fries and lemonade from Roll N Roaster in Brooklyn. Hands down the best you will ever have in your life. If you’ve never been, GO! You’re deprived! You’ll thank me! 😉 Scott knows what I’m talking about. Lol
14. If you could be a superhero/animal/superstar who/what would you be and why?
Honestly, I’m assuming most people choose a superhero, but I would choose to be a song writer/musician. Those were my super heroes growing up. The likes of Korn, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, etc. I could go on for days lol but these are the people with real super powers.
I think it’s so incredible to be able to connect with people or have an impact in their life, simply with your words. Or with the chords you put together. The way all of it comes together to create a song is magic to me. I am in awe of people with true musical talent.
15. Favorite quote?
“My goal is not to be better than anyone else, but to be better than I used to be.” -Dr. Wayne W. Dyer