Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

As we showcase our sectionals competitors this week in photograph, one consistently understated athlete deserves a few accompanying words.

See, Melody had been waiting for that event since last year. She did not compete in 2009 because we were busy planning our business. And last weekend, she finished in seventh place, despite having one of, if not the worst sleep and recovery schedules of any athlete there, because of the requirements of our young business. Melody works seven days a week, for hours upon end—far past time she physically spends in our little corner of the universe. She sleeps about five hours a night and eats almost every (reheated) meal out of a plastic container. Quality of life? We have long since removed that sentiment from the daily discourse. I could go on, and on. By now, you are well aware of her dedication to your health and wellness, and to making MPH the experience it is each and every day. She does this unfailingly, and under my…judicious eye.

Melody is the original MPH athlete (and the original manslayer). In fact, I took her through a workout only the second time I had ever seen her. After that, she lined up regularly to be pushed well beyond her mental and athletic comfort zones. She incessantly challenged me to hit her with the hardest workout I could write. You should have heard the requests that came out of this fighter’s mouth. “Fight Gone Bad!” and the “Filthy Fifty” are gifts compared to the workouts she implored me to confront her with. Over the years, our coach-athlete dynamic evolved into what it is today. Some of you saw exactly that relationship this past weekend, and, in particular, you saw exactly the commitment I require from her after Sunday’s first workout. If you think I demand excellence from you, spend some time on the sidelines during one of her workouts. You do not know what I can truly ask of my athletes until you witness that.

This year, these competitions—we are just scratching the surface of her potential.

You are, without a doubt, “heavy in your hands,” Lem. And there is no better way to be. Congratulations. I am so proud of you.


overhead squat (max attempt)

then, three rounds; rest amply between rounds:
max strict pull-up

Compare results to January 12, 2010.


  1. kcsey | March 30, 2010 at 9:38 pm


  2. tubameat | March 30, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    LOVE this post- Mel’s aggression and speed in the C n J wod was just awesome. As were her monster chinups in heavy cindy. This weekend we saw that Mel really practices what she preaches (not that we ever doubted it) and that is yet another reason why we are so blessed to have her here at our box. Huge Congrats! Very eager to see you rip the shit out of it in OH!

    Keep squattin’

    Steve D

  3. StuLu | March 31, 2010 at 12:24 am


    I perhaps don’t say it enough, given all I do say, that you have been an amazing presence for me over the past 9-months. You have your own standards and style for leadership, be it a twist to John’s approach -yet one that is just as effective. What is more, regardless of the belief in “equality” in our world today, it can not always be easy to be a woman who must demand what you do from a room that is often filled with self-consumed men (like myself). You do a remarkable job doing just that, balancing a sensitive and caring soul that is the essence of womanhood, while at the same time shaking a fist as a force to be reckoned with. You are a champion, in far more ways than any competition can show. But, still, I have no doubt that you will in a few weeks go west to the regionals, place greatness at your feet, and put the “OH” into Ohio.


  4. Mrs. F | March 31, 2010 at 7:47 am

    I feel like I have known you nearly as long as John has known you, Mel, since I had been a member of the Globo for a few years before you began working there!

    I’ve told this story a few times, but it bears repeating. Melody was a big part of my introduction to fitness and wellness. I have struggled with my weight all my life, and after college was very heavy. I came to DC for law school somewhere north of 200lbs. In the three years of law school, I steadily learned to change my diet and exercise, so that by the time I got my first job as a lawyer in 2002, I was ready to join a gym. And I was pretty consistent at the Globo. Consistently riding the eliptical or stair climber or bike and rarely the treadmill for oh, 20 to 30 minutes at a time.

    Then, it must have been August or September 2005, Mel was participating in a promotion of the gym, and offered to test my body fat percentage with a hand held electolite reader thingy-mabob.

    Well, that thing said I was OBESE! I was convinced at that point to sign up for a free personal training consultation with one of the crop of new trainers (John was one of them, I believe). Mel worked with me to make training an affordable thing for me to do, and had she not done that, I don’t think I would have ever been part of MPH. I was assigned to a great trainer named Manuel Buitrago. Manuel taught me to deadlift, and he taught me that, contrary to conventional wisdom, women don’t bulk up when they weight train. This was shocking stuff for a “Shape” and “Women’s Health” reader such as myself.

    My enthusiasm for strength sports grew from there, and after a few years of powerlifting and being at various area Globos, I found myself mostly back at the mid-town Gold’s where John and Mel were still working. Except, they were doing weird stuff. They had this little area in the middle of the floor where people were slamming medicine balls, doing burpees, and using kettlebells. The tide turned when I watched them put Dave O, Mike S, and I think maybe Ted or John S through a deadlift /burpee workout and 100 kettlebell swings. I went up to Mel and said, “Ok, whatever that was, I want in.” And so it goes.

    So, all of that to say, thank you, Melody. It was an honor to share the competition floor with you. You are going to tear it up in Ohio.

  5. Jessica | March 31, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Mel, watching you compete was one of the highlights of my weekend. It’s hard to express how much I’ve learned from you over the last nine months. Thank you for all you do for us, your athletes, every day. You are a beautiful competitor and person.

  6. coach | March 31, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Tamra F.: 90-95x-95-100-105-x-x-lbs., 5, 3, 4 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, red)
    Antonio G.: 65-75-75-75-75-65-65-lbs., 10, 9, 9
    Erin K.: 75-75-75-75-75-75-75-lbs., 3, 3, 3
    Kim H.: 65-70x-65-65-65-x-x-lbs., 5, 5, 5 (sub: strict bodyrow)
    Kris C.: 75-80-85-90-95x-95x-x-lbs., 15, 5, 10 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, red)
    Alex M.: 75-75-75-75-75-75-75-lbs., 9, 7, 6
    Erez Y.: 55-55-55-55-55-55-55-lbs., 20, 11, 11
    Kristie K.: 45-45-45-45-45-45-45-lbs., 6, 5, 5 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, red)
    Amy D.: 45-45-45-45-45-45-45-lbs., 3, 3, 1
    Sara S.: 35-35-35-35-35-35-35-lbs., 10, 8, 7 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, green)
    Keena S.: 35-35-35-35-35-35-35-lbs., 12, 8, 6 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, green)
    Beth F.: 35-35-35-35-35-35-35-lbs., 8, 6, 5 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, blue)
    Paul M.: 95-95-95-95-95-95-95-lbs., 10, 5, 5 (sub: front squat, strict bodyrow)
    David O.: 135-145-150-150-x-x-x-lbs., 12, 8, 6
    Sean M.: 135-155-165x-165x-x-x-x-lbs., 4, 4, 2
    Jeremy N.: 175-195x-185x-185-x-x-x-lbs., 4, 4, 3
    Josh M.: 115-125-130-135x-135-x-x-lbs., 17, 8, 7
    Ravi S.: 95-105-115x-110x-110x-x-x-lbs., 11, 5, 3
    Robbie S.: 95-105-105-105-105-105-105-lbs., 8, 10, 9 (sub: strict bodyrow)
    Jessica H.: 70x-70-75-80-85-90-95x-lbs., 8, 7, 6
    Jen M.: 70-75x-75-75-75-75-75-lbs., 2, 1, 1
    Jessy C.: 65-70-70-70-70-65-65-lbs., 9, 5, 5 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, red)
    Katie M.: 40-40-40-40-40-35-35-lbs., 10, 8, 8 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, blue)
    Scott D.: 15-15-15-20-20-20-20-lbs., 10, 9, 7
    Charles H.: 15-15-15-20-20-20-20-lbs., 15, 5, 5
    Jeff W.: 95-105x-100-100-100-x-x-lbs., 6, 7 4
    John S.: 95-95-95-95x-95x-95-95-lbs., 7, 6, 5
    Bill G.: 95x-95-95-95-95-95-95-lbs., 10, 4, 6
    Johnny A.: 65-65-65-65-65-65-65-lbs., 6, 8, 6 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, green)
    Brian T.: 65-65-65-65-65-65-65-lbs., 12 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, red) 4, 1
    Joe P.: 175-185-195-205-205-x-x-lbs., 9, 7, 4
    Joe F.: 105-105-105-105-105-105-105-lbs., 15, 10, 5
    Ted K.: 45-45-45-45-45-45-45-lbs., 7, 6, 5 (sub: front squat)
    Jenn J.: 15-15-35-35-35-35-35-lbs., 5, 5, 5 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, blue)
    Lisa C.: 55-55-55-55-55-55-55-lbs., 6, 4, 3 (sub: snatch-grip shoulder press, jump-stretch strict pull-up, red)
    Dave R.: 215-230-235-240-245x-x-x-lbs., 18, 11, 10
    Christy P.: 125-130-135x-135x-140-145x-lbs., 14, 6, 3
    Ivy F.: 105-115x-110-115-120-125x-125x-lbs., 3, 3, 4 (sub: assisted pull-up)
    Kyle F.: 65-75-75x-75-75-65-65-lbs., 7, 7, 7
    Andrew R.: 65-75-75-75-75-75-75-lbs., 13, 12, 8
    Joanna L.: 45-55x-50-55-60-65x-65x-lbs., 3, 4, 4
    Jason H.: 35-35-35-35-35-35-35-lbs., 18, 16, 11
    Josh O.: 135x-135-140-145-150-155-160x-lbs., 10, 10, 8
    Ricky B.: 125-130-135-140x-x-x-x-lbs., 9, 5, 5
    Wayne C.: 125-130x-130x-x-x-x-x-lbs., 9, 7, 5
    Tyler P.: 75-80-85-90x-85-85-85-lbs., 5, 5, 4 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, green)
    Sidra C.: 80-85-90-95-100-105-110x-lbs., 4, 1, 2
    Lee P.: 50-55-60-65-70-75x-75-lbs., 4, 3, 2
    Koji H.: 45-45-45-45-45-45-45-lbs., 17, 11, 7
    Amy S.: 9, 8, 6 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, blue)
    Jonathan H.: 105-115-120x-120-125x-125x-x-lbs., 12, 10, 4
    Neil A.: 155-160x-160x-155x-145-145-145-lbs., 10, 3, 4
    Meghan M.: 135-145-150-155-160-165x-x-lbs., 5, 5, 4
    Caitlin F.: 90-95-95-100-100-105x-105x-lbs., 6, 6, 5 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, blue)
    Teal B.: 75-75-80-85x-85x-85-85x-lbs., 11, 6, 6 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, green)
    Susanna B.: 85-85-85-90x-90-x-x-lbs., 9, 9, 8 (sub: strict bodyrow)
    Mike S.: 95-95-95-95-95-95-95-lbs., 18, 9, 5
    Shana S.: 45-50-55-60-65-65x-65-lbs., 4, 4, 3 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, blue)
    Leota B.: 35-40-40-45-45-45-45-lbs., 5, 5, 4 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, blue)
    Sean F.: 45-50-55-60-65-70x-65-lbs., 6, 3, 3
    David S.: 45-50-55-60x-60-60-60-lbs., 4, 4, 3
    Ryan B.: 30-30-30-30-30-30-30-lbs., 4, 5, 4 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, green)
    Kate S.: 15-15-25-25-25-25-15-lbs., 8, 8, 6 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, blue)
    Livia S.: 30-30-30-30-30-30-30-lbs, 5, 4, 2 (sub: jump-stretch strict pull-up, blue)

  7. The Dominator | March 31, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Only in DC…Politico on Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK)’s love of CrossFit.

  8. coach | March 31, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Thanks for all of the kind words, guys. They mean a lot to me. Ivy, it was an honor to share the floor with you over the weekend—few work as hard, or are as nice and welcoming at our gym as you. And Stu, thank you as well. You know I only want you to be safe, and as everyone knows, you are a whirlwind of motivation. John, thank you for putting this piece up—you certainly didn’t have to do that, but you did. I have enjoyed terrorizing your workout programming for the past four years.

    Growing up, my life was centered around competitions in Taekwondo, to the point where I always prioritized the competition above almost all else, and my world hinged on whether or not I did well at each event. This was my first competitive opportunity in a while, and clearly my priorities have changed, as has my lifestyle. The most important thing to me over the weekend was taking part in the whole experience, and not disappointing the (what felt like) hundreds of cheering MPHers. I had mixed emotions over the outcome, as I think I could have pushed harder and done better. However, I am so happy that we came together as a community, and that there will be another opportunity for greatness in Ohio.


  9. aschneidau | March 31, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Mel, Everything said is so true and then some! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with my Physical Therapist – most people would NEVER do that. It means so much to know that you guys are looking out for us and genuinely
    care. You, John, and B-Kay are incredible. Looking forward to being able to do the full WODs soon and for many months to come! Thanks for everything!

  10. train2live | March 31, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    First of all, what an awesome post so befitting the person you are Mel. I have learned so much from you not only as a coach but also as a competitor. Your preparation, focus and raw determination were on full display this weekend and it was an incredible thing to witness. I knew you were someone to watch and learn from when I first met you. Then I saw you perform “Fran” one day at the globo and made a decision right then and there that I wanted what you have. It was a definite turning point in my buy-in of this Crossfit thingy.

    I was also honored to be your teammate on team “Mavericks” at the globo going head-to-head each week with team “You Betcha” My contributions were, well let’s just say you kicked ass every week without really needing my score.

    I am so excited for you and the rest of the MPH team we are sending to Ohio. You are all ready for greatness!

    Thanks for all you do to make us better everyday!

    Dave O

    • coach | March 31, 2010 at 3:44 pm

      Thank you!! I can’t remember how exactly we came up with those nicknames (something to do with Top Gun, and having limited space on the Globo pull-up bar), but that was a ton of fun. Go Team Maverick!


      • Mrs. F | March 31, 2010 at 4:03 pm

        Ummm, maybe it was something about Sarah “You Betcha” Palin, and John “the Maverick” McCain?

  11. the janitor | March 31, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    mel! congratulations! you are a great coach and i admire your dedication and determination to make us all better athletes. also, i am incredibly happy that i met and worked out with/next to athlete mel this weekend… i look forward to tearing shit up with you in ohio 🙂

    • StuLu | March 31, 2010 at 7:27 pm

      Now we are talking Meg! Oh yea, love the trashy “tearing shit up” reference. Your a tiger baby…like Ovechkin….

  12. jeremynurse | March 31, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Mel, I’ve been so impressed and awed by your coaching talent and your force of will. I’ve learned so much from you in the last six months, and can’t wait to learn so much more.

    It was so great to see you compete over the weekend and to witness how much you live what you preach. I look forward to both our coach/athlete relationship and friendship growing this year.


  13. cjsiegel | March 31, 2010 at 8:39 pm


    I love your sentiment about the mixed emotions of the weekend’s outcome.
    You put words to what I’ve always admired most about you–your ability to fully encourage, but also push harder. The way you can make me feel so awesome about a WOD, but also remind me that there’s so much room for improvement. It’s like a “never stop fighting” attitude with enough palliative care that I don’t get frustrated. I think the two of those are a very delicate mix–and you’ve got it down!
    Thanks for being such a great coach and role-model.

    Christine S


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