March 2022--Liz Szemborski

1.Tell us about yourself, your family, your occupation, hobbies/interests.
Well, my story starts way back in 1998. But that is probably going back too far, so I will just stick with the basics: I am the second oldest of ten kids, I grew up as a Navy Brat and we moved around quite a bit until my dad retired in 2014; I was homeschooled K-12 and then went to St. Mary’s College. Truthfully I feel like my main hobby is either helping with (or being a partner-in-crime to) my numerous siblings. Since graduating from SMC in 2020, I have been very happily employed in Manhattan at Nichols Chiropractic as a Neurofeedback technician/Functional Medicine assistant and receptionist.

2. When do you start CrossFitting? Why did you start? Why do you continue now?
I started about a year ago. Wow, the time has gone by slow! (Thought I was going to say fast, didn’t you?) In all seriousness, I have loved this crazy journey of going from “I’m pretty sure my body is incapable of exercise” to, “Yay! This workout looks like it won’t suck *as much* as the one I did earlier this week, and my friends will be there tonight!”.
Theresa Sparks was the one who got my foot in the door to observe a class; from that moment on I decided that this would either be one of the best or worst decisions of my life. Turned out to be one of the best…it’s great being part of a cult!

3. Do you remember your first WOD? What were your thoughts after your first WOD?
On my first WOD post-On Ramp, I felt as though I had been released to the wild and felt helpless without the more focused guidance of our (absolutely awesome) coaches. It was “Squat Conditioning” and I was so intimidated that my brain refused to do simple math when adding on bumpers. Oh, wait, it still refuses.

4. What do you enjoy most about CrossFit?
What I enjoy most? Probably the pain, the mental torture of PWA (Pre-WOD Anxiety), and the smell of sweaty mats when you’re laying facedown mid-burpee….the list of delights goes on!
On a more serious note, it really is those aforementioned miseries that we all know we *should* subject ourselves to, that CrossFit makes tolerable; sometimes it is downright fun when you are with your friends and have the coaches guiding you/cheering you on.

5. What is your proudest CrossFit moment?
Proudest Moment Award goes to this last Memorial Day when I somehow was convinced (hypnotized, maybe?) into attending the Murph event at the Shakespeare Hollow even though it was unusually cold and rainy.
I vividly remember doing (a very scaled version of) the Murph in the rain and mud, and I think it was that day that I realized that I truly loved the CrossFit family, who brought warmth and energy into that very damp and dreary day.


6. What is your favorite movement or lift? What is your least favorite?
I love Deadlifts and Push Presses; my favorite workout is probably the Deadlift+Push Press combo one where you work toward finding a 1RM for both. My least favorite list is very extensive, but I’ll limit it to a few honorable mentions: Burpees, Running, Overhead Squats.

7. Have you had one or two challenging CrossFit goals that you've achieved recently? What are your current goals and how close are you to reaching them?
This is not a specific “goal” but I remember how I used to panic when I would look at the upcoming WOD and saw a move I didn’t like; now that hardly phases me. I may not like the workout, but I don’t let it get to my head and psyche me out anymore.
Future goals: being able to do a handstand and being able to do even just 1 single pull-up.

8. What makes CrossFit different from other fitness programs that you might have tried in the past?
I have no other points of reference; CrossFit is the first (and possibly the only) fitness program I will belong to.

9. What impact has CrossFit Benedictus had on your life, in and out of the gym?
Of course, I am enjoying the usual good effects: I am now stronger, healthier, less stressed.
But I think my favorite impact is that now I have the ability to annoy my co-workers by talking about what kind of workout we just did and going into great detail about how sore I am. They love hearing about it.

10. Tell us about your nutrition and how it has changed, if any, since starting CrossFit?
My nutrition didn’t change much at first; I didn’t feel like I needed to make radical changes because my family eats healthy and balanced meals most of the time.
I recently eliminated all refined sugar and most simple carbs to manage insulin resistance; it has had more of a positive impact on working out than I thought it would! It isn’t like I have superhuman abilities now and am always on the leader board or anything, but I do notice a lot more energy and endurance during WOD’s .

11. If you could write a WOD for the classes to do, what would it look like?
I don’t think I’m qualified in any way to write a decent WOD, but these are the elements I always enjoy: when weightlifting is involved, when it’s a Team workout, and when it has rowing.
I really liked the “Jamaican Bob Sled” workout we did in November which included all three of those elements; it was a 10 RFT Team-WOD which alternated rowing and back-squats.


12. What advice do you have for others about the importance of the dedication of taking care of yourself, of investing in yourself?
I’m still young and in good health but I am still reaping benefits; I see it as the kind of investment that helps not only your future self but also those who may depend on us. We owe it to ourselves and those around us.


13. What advice would you give to someone new to CrossFit or who is thinking about giving it a try?
Don't be afraid to give it a shot….the very worst that can happen is that you will love it, get hooked, and never want to quit!

14. Open Forum:
Thank you, fellow athletes! It is truly an honor to workout with the all of you ladies, who are constantly crushing it around me.
I also want to give a huge shoutout to the coaches! You guys are always there to help me make gains and overcome mental blocks (as Amy loves to say: “Go heavier, Liz!”).
And of course, none of us would be going through all this pain together if Doc and Mrs. Carroll had not gotten this outfit up and running, and if Joe, Bridget, Andy and Mindy didn’t keep it ever growing and improving. Thank you, everyone!
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