Athlete of the Month: Mariana Rivera

Hometown: Philadelphia

Current Location: Philadelphia

Age: 34 (will be 35 in late November, hello masters division?)

Occupation: Human Resources Professional

College: Rutgers University

How long have you been a CrossFitter? · Will be 3 years in January

Did you ever play sports? · No! Never....I have always hated sports and never thought of myself as athletic until now 😊 I did play softball in Philly Social Sports Clubs for a few years, but we never won a game. I also used to bowl in a bowling league and was pretty good (is that a sport?).

Got some cool (or uncool) hobbies you'd like to share? Besides CrossFit I love to paint and cook. I also love entertaining friends at my home (which is why they call me MariLifeOfTheParty).

What has been your biggest achievement at CrossFit in general? So many to mention.... I remember a time when I couldn't clean 100#, now I'm up to 150#. I remember whipping the crap out of myself every time I attempted double unders, now I can string about 50. There's so much that I can do now that I thought was terrifying in the beginning, and I'm so proud of all of it!

What skill have you been working on during all of 2018? Definitely double unders. Also, I have been really focused on adding weight to my lifts. I feel like I’m finally at a place where my techniques are better, so I’m not as afraid to put some weight on that bar!

Goals for the rest of this year? This year I have had so many PRs in terms of lifts and so I definitely want to keep that up! I also think I could be inching closer to a muscle up (inching is the key word) and I'm going to get rid of those ab mats with my handstand push-ups.

What's your favorite WOD? I like anything with leg or booty work. If I had to choose a classic I would go with Karen or Nasty Girls, because well....c'mon.

How about your favorite food/snacks? I never met a vegetable I didn't like so that works well to counter act my bar food cravings like french fries and chicken wings! Also of course I love any traditional Puerto Rican food made by my mama :)

What is the craziest workout outside of CF you have ever done? · In 2017 I did a spartan trifecta which included a 15 mile hike with random obstacles throughout the course. Was a very long 8 plus hour workout....

What’s your least favorite WOD? · Isabel.....ugh @ snatches. Favorite lift/movement? · Squats and Cleans please! I also like wall balls. I also like cardio (running, rowing, jumping, I even don’t mind burpees and box jumps).

What’s your least favorite lift/movement? Pull ups or anything on the rig for sure. Gymnastics are not my favorite. I’m working on stringing pull ups and toes to bar, but I think my body just likes to be on the ground. I promise I am getting better though….

Whats your favorite piece of workout "gear"? My wodies I guess. They have saved my wrists and palms many times. Oh, and my speed rope. I like it so much better now that I don’t whip myself. 

What you say is your biggest improvement since starting CF? Definitely my strength. This whole journey started as a path to looking better naked, but I am truly amazed at how strong I have become. I couldn't fathom doing half of what I can do today. And I know that I will only continue to get better.

Who is your favorite coach? This is the worst question! Because (and I know everyone says this) but we have the best coaches in the world! I wish I could take classes with all of them, but schedules do not allow. So, I will speak to the coaches who I have had the privilege of working with. Aimee of course is amazing. I call her crazy often because she tells me to do some heavy weight that I don’t think I can do and I look at her like….”Seriously? Are you crazy girl??” but then I follow her instructions and guess what? I get it done! She knows her craft and sees your potential. I also love that she plays the most gangsta hip hop during her class which you would not expect from such a beautiful, little ray of sunshine. Jill is my constant inspiration. She is a beauty and a beast. Her tips are always spot on and I think just being in her presence makes me better. I constantly want to make her proud. Keith cracks me up and is also a great teacher. His random thoughts make the class interesting, and he is always very encouraging. Jenna and Steph have the best icebreakers and games! Every class is a party! Love love love them all!

PR's to mention? Goals Reached? Nutrition highlights? Having my picture make the wall at the gym of course! Seriously I love the fact that so many great moments are memorialized (thanks Ryan and Aimee). It feels so good to see how much fun we all have and how powerful we all are at CFKOP. I also love the benchmark workouts because its so easy to see how we improve every time. So many PRs! In terms of goals and nutrition, CrossFit has definitely shown me how closely what you eat impacts how you feel and how you perform. It’s a constant reminder to stay focused on diet, so you don’t feel like crap during the WOD. I have seen so many changes in my body since starting CrossFit, and it feels damn good! Also, I have to give a shout out to the community and love that have come into my life since joining. Caitlyn, Steph, Alison, Cline, Noel, Shawna, Jealona to name a few. . . these are my people for life now thanks to this sport. And I think that’s an awesome PR

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