Member Monday- Coaches Edition: Matt Merenich
Please list any certifications and/or fitness accolades:
CF- L1 Trainer
Max Clean & jerk: (lifetime – 275; now – 225)
Max Snatch: (lifetime – 205; now – 175)
Max Deadlift: (lifetime – 445; now – 315)
Max Back Squat: (lifetime – 355; now – 275)
How long have you been doing CrossFit and what made you want to try it?
I started on-ramp at Reebok One in February of 2014 as an intern on the ecommerce team. I had a bit of a hiatus after graduating college, but I’ll call it 2.5 years now. Heading into Reebok I didn’t know much at all about Crossfit; some of my high school friends would meet at the track for “WODs” that included running that day, but that’s about all I had exposure to. It didn’t take long for my co-intern and me to join on-ramp and get completely hooked. I was into every sport growing up at some level through high school, but ended up not playing in anything college. After a constant diet of unlimited dining hall food, beer, and bicep curls once a week, my freshmen 15 turned out to be the freshmen 40. So I was reallllllly looking to get back into being active. Being as competitive as I am, Crossfit turned into the perfect outlet to get fit, have fun, and learn new things. It led to trying out and making the club roller hockey team (go NU) and getting back into all of the sports I strayed from. It was a complete lifestyle change and I don’t think I’ll ever turn back.
What is your favorite aspect of being a CrossFit coach?
The people! Members, coaches, guests, you name it. The thing I love about this community is that no matter which gym you walk into, in any part of the country or what level you are, everyone has the mindset of becoming better. It’s really contagious and easy to feed off of. As a coach, helping people meet their potential – and then some – is an incredible feeling. There could be a million ways to teach a movement or skill, but if in any moment I make a breakthrough with one member over one tiny thing so that they improve one aspect of their fitness, I’m beaming. That look on their face after hours and hours of work has just paid off is simply priceless.
What is the most frustrating aspect of being a CrossFit coach?
Watching. It only takes 10 minutes before I’m feeling left out and I want to join in and suffer with everyone.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to try CrossFit for the first time?
Just go for it. Understand that it will take time to discover your strengths and weaknesses. You will not be good at everything right off the bat, and that’s the norm and part of the journey. If you eat right and come in on a regular basis, you will see a change in more than one aspect of your life.
What are some of your favorite activities outside the gym?
Hockey, golf, family, friends, breweries, road trips, and finding the best wings in town
What’s your favorite holiday?
Oh no I don’t want to choose… I’ll go Thanksgiving, but Christmas is a smidge behind.
Who is your favorite CrossFit athlete and why?
There are so many awesome athletes, but I have to go with Austin Malleolo. His passion and determination, year after year after year, is truly inspirational. He gets more amped about others’ successes than his own, and he wears that on his sleeve. Austin was also one of the first coaches I had the pleasure of training under at One, as well as at my L-1 course. He and his coaching crew are a big reason why I love it.
Favorite movement (s):
Rowing, wall balls, snatches, cleans, rowing, rowing, and rowing.
Least favorite movement (s):
Burpees. It’s the only answer. Always take caution with members who enjoy them, they’re not to be trusted.
What is the thing that you HATE to mobilize?
When it’s Thursday and we’ve just had 3 straight leg days (squats, wall balls, cleans, lunges, etc) and the quads/hamstrings are straight concrete, that first rollout on the foam is the absolute worst. Leg day soreness always hits the hardest on the 2nd day, so it’s just a buildup of the entire week and oh sweet we have thrusters tomorrow.
You’re on a deserted island and can only have three things… What would they be and why?
- Beer. I don’t think this needs any explanation.
- The complete collection of the Harry Potter audiobook series narrated by Stephen Frye. I’m just starting the Goblet of Fire and his Hagrid voice is sirius-ly (HA) unbelievable. It’s a must listen for any fan, he’s too funny.
- Dalessandro’s cheesesteaks. If you’re ever in Philly, skip the Pat’s/Geno’s charade and order a ‘cheesesteak wit’ from this place. You’ll understand why it made this very short and important list.