I thought it might be cool to switch things up a little bit for this version of our Spotlight. Everybody at the gym knows Mallory now, but most haven’t seen how she’s grown from the person that walked in the door 8 years ago to the coach she is today. She’s one of the few people who remember the gym from its previous location, back when Beau wore compression socks and there were only 2 Bryant kids. I’ve even managed to unearth some photos taken July 4, 2010 showing Beau teaching Mallory how to perform bodyweight squats and ring rows.
*I know these look like they were taken with a potato. Cameras have come a long way in 8 years.
1 – Please share a little bit about yourself outside the gym. Profession, background, etc.Starting with a heavy hitter…my full time job is as a Therapist and Program Director at the Carroll County Youth Service Bureau. I love it there, have been there since 2006! I have a Masters Degree in Counseling Education from McDaniel, and my Bachelor’s is from UMBC in Psychology with a focus in Neurobiology.
2 – What was your exercise history before CFR/WSC?I played volleyball, basketball , and swam growing up. Competed in Club Volleyball in College at UMBC, which was an amazing experience. After college, like most kids I realized that without team sports, I needed to figure out a way to get moving. I joined a gym, did all the classes. They bored me, so I started running. Running was great for me for a long while. I found a community, and found that being competitive with myself was something that pushed me. I did probably 15 half marathons and one full marathon, two Tough Mudders, etc…
3 – How did you find out about CFR/WSC? And what made you want to start in the first place?I ran into it. Literally. Running was starting to A) take up a LOT of time, and B) HURT. I’m a learner – constantly researching and finding out solutions. I easily realized that running and the machines at the gym I did every 30 days or so weren’t helping me to be strong enough to heal my pain. Crossfit was also just starting to make its way to the East Coast, and my running buddy Lisa and I were looking for the newest and coolest thing to do. So I started looking for Crossfit near me. I messaged some dude in Union Bridge on the CF Message Boards who was doing Crossfit in his garage gym with his wife. His name was Beau Byant. He happened to be planning to open a gym IN WESTMINSTER in a few months. So I went to the Grand Opening. There was some free food, 2 adorable little boys running around in full-on superhero regalia, a pregnant Angie, and a one-leg-compression-sleeve wearing Beau.
4 – A lot of people probably don’t realize that you are one of the first ever members of CFR/WSC. How did it feel being one of the only people for Beau to yell at?Well. A lot like it feels when he yells at you, probably. There is a progression. At first it’s startling. Then you are like, “okay I see what you mean, this is helpful”. And then there is only so much KNEES OUT you can take and you’re like “my knees are as out as they’re gonna get, buddy…” (internally of course, because it’s Beau). And then one day you’re squatting and hear him from across the gym and wonder if he actually just gave you a cue or if he’s taught you so well you know what to do and have corrected yourself with your “inner Beau”. Damn him.
5 – How long before you transitioned into coaching? What was the catalyst for this?That was 2012, so about 2 years or so. CFR was a huge part of my life, not only the strength piece and the conditioning workouts, but also it gave me an opportunity to meet a huge community of people, many of whom I became very close friends with. (I think this is one the most amazing things about CFR/WSC.)The constantly learning also applies here. I had been writing a nutrition blog for the gym, and was just overall very involved. Beau and Angie had been talking with me about taking the Starting Strength Seminar, so I did. That was that. I began shadowing, then interning at the gym to get more experience, and six years later you can find me there yelling, er, coaching every Monday and Thursday evening!
6 – You’ve also convinced some of your family to start coming in here. How hard was it to convince your dad to begin training? And how satisfying is it to see him doing so well with it?I think at first, Dad just went to please me. Several years ago he came when CFR was still doing a little more crossfit-style conditioning, and he was just sure I was signing him up for a retirement full of burpees. I convinced him to train with Eric 1 on 1 just to see how WSC does things now. He did that for maybe 2 months, and then joined the gym and hasn’t looked back; he is in there every M-W-F morning like clockwork. It has been beyond satisfying to see him take hold of his health in retirement. He looks great, but more importantly I know he feels better.
7 – How has strength training impacted your life outside the gym? What is the greatest impact?Strength training is very multi-faceted, in my opinion. A. I rarely have aches and pains, unless I’ve done something truly wonky, and 98% of the time, my coaches and I can quickly pinpoint what is causing it and alleviate said pain. B. I’m physically strong. I have no problem doing any daily task that comes my way. C. I’m mentally strong. Strength training requires perseverance, consistency, discipline, and resiliency. You will not always be motivated or feel passionate. There will be setbacks. D. I have a Community. To me this is the greatest impact, although others may disagree. The friendships I have forged since starting at CFR/WSC have made a direct and lasting impact on my life since I walked through those doors in 2010.
8 – You’re also somewhat of a nutrition wizard. How has your approach to diet/nutrition changed since you began training?Just like my training, my approach to diet/nutirtion has grown and changed since I began. The constantly learning thing applies here as well, and will continue. Currently my approach is to: eat 1 gram of lean protein per pound of body weight, eat real food at least 80% of the time, be in a caloric defict at times I am trying to lose weight, eat vegetables with every meal, fuel my training days with more carbohydrates…I tend to be more successful when I track my food, but I have also learned that’s not personally sustainable over long stretches of time. Weighing myself 2 times a week gives me a good idea of which direction I am headed.
9 – What do you see as some of the biggest reasons people are successful here? Additionally, what mistakes have you seen people continuously make over the years that derails their progress?That’s a good one. See C. above. I think the most successful members are well aware of the fact that their success will take a lot of work, will include some setbacks, and is an independent variable. They may be viewed as fiercely competitive, but it is often the internal competitiveness that drives them to be the most successful. The biggest blockers of progress are not listening to your program (even if you don’t understand it–your coach sure does), caring what weight other people have on the bar (WHO CARES!), and a failure to recognize that bumps do not have to become cliffs. Miss a week? Or horrors, two? Ok, we get it, life happens. Get back in here next week and get back to work. Tenacity, people! In my opinion, not worrying about what others are doing, but focusing on being the best version of yourself will make you the most successful at WSC.