To introduce four awesome athletes and humans is a difficult task. The four that are featured as part of a 4-part series will show you just how difficult it is. How does a person best describe why you should all get to know them? Well, I will let them do the talking and you do the reading and listening, but take my word for it, you should get to know these folks.
Meet Chris. Collectively as you read in our first post in this series, you know Chris as Mike’s friend. It’s true, Mike was the one who encouraged Chris to give Raleigh CrossFit a try. I remember meeting Chris when Mike brought him to tour the facility and chat with me. Here is what stands out: He knew what he wanted. Chris had a great attitude about preparing to do his free trial and that he had goals to become the best version of himself. After all, Chris commits himself every day to helping other people, not just in the United States, but across the world. He has such a positive presence about him and just talking with him for five minutes will be proof enough. If you haven’t had a chance to chat with him in person, below you will find some interesting talking points. From there you can arrange to meet him and Mike at BREW…but save space for me at the bar.
Name: Chris Marlow
Hometown: Stockton, CA
Occupation: Non Profit CEO
Family: Married (19 years) to Necole. We have two daughters: Bailey (15 – she joined kids Raleigh CrossFit class) and Mackenzie (13).
Please take a moment to provide a quick introduction to your CrossFit career…
I hadn’t ever been inside a CrossFit box before I decided to check out Raleigh CrossFit with Mike this past August. But, I have followed the journeys of friends who loved CrossFit. I saw how their lives were transformed and how much they loved the community. So I was intrigued.
Your fitness background is only recently attached to Raleigh CrossFit, would you mind sharing about what you did previously and how that background led you to where you are today?
Growing up, I played a lot of basketball, football, and even some volleyball. But, over the last twenty years, I’ve not had any real outlets for sports. I love hiking, biking, and being outdoors in general, and my German Shepard puppy keeps me active. But, I wasn’t doing anything that would help me lose weight or see significant change. I’ve tried just about everything along the way–traditional gyms, home workout programs, road biking, etc.
CrossFit is great, because I get to show up, follow the program, and see progress.
Your good friend Mike convinced you and your wife Necole to do a free trial class with us, tell us how that conversation went down and did it take much convincing?
Mike is a good friend. He is a tech geek, business owner, coffee lover, and foodie. So, I was a little shocked when he told me he started doing CrossFit. It did pique my interest. I was desperate to find something that I would enjoy and that would bring real change to my fitness level.
I told Necole that I was going to go with Mike to try CrossFit, and I asked her if she wanted to come. She is a hairstylist and usually works on Saturdays, but she was free that day and said yes. I was a little shocked, but she is always up for an adventure.
Your first workout with us was 31 Heroes. Did you realize the impact that workout would have and what are your memories of that workout?
So the story goes like this. Mike told Coach Chennelle that I was coming. Because the WOD was … let’s say, on the harder side, we were told to watch the first 30 minutes and then jump in for the second half. I started to do the workout with Coach Zach guiding me. About 15 minutes into the workout, I was about to die, or cry, or both. I could not do any exercise for more than two minutes and running 400 meters felt like a marathon, but without a sticker for my car or a medal for my office. So, Coach Zach had me stop and row because my back was too tight. That was moment that I knew I would come back, because I realized I needed coaching if I was going to see progress.
I met Coaches Kim and Chennelle after, and Coach Kim asked what my goals were. I told her that I wanted to make sure I would be working out six months from now, and that I wanted to make sure each workout was hard. She just smiled and said, “Oh, that won’t be a problem.”
We signed up for Foundations class, and a friend (I won’t tell you who, but you can probably guess) paid for the class. And the rest is history.
I spent the next three weeks crawling around the floor of Raleigh CrossFit. But little by little, I began to gain confidence; going to workouts started to actually be fun. The other Raleigh CrossFit athletes were really encouraging, especially when I would attempt to run the 400 meters. I would have to run/walk, but everyone would say “Just keep moving!”
What were your initial goals when you started training with us?
I wanted to lose weight, get fit, and enjoy working out without suffering any kind of injury that would force me to stop (which is usually what happened with other programs). Like most folks, I’m really busy. I spend a lot of my time traveling for work and of course, I have two teenage daughters. Being out of shape makes it hard to keep up, so I dedicated myself to prioritizing my health. This past February, I traveled to Haiti with a group of MLB players. I knew then that I needed to get into in shape, and they have continued to encourage me for the past eight months. When you hang out with world class athletes, it helps motivate you! On that trip, my friend Dennis told me that I could become a professional bowler someday. I love that dude, but I’m not a fan of bowling! ;-)
It will be 3 months of a very committed training schedule as of Dec. 1. How has your progress been?
I’ve been able to see huge progress. So far, I’m down 15-18 pounds, but it’s far more than just weight. I FEEL STRONGER than ever and I think, maybe for the first time, I’ve found the THING that I know I can do long term. It is very exciting and makes me want to work harder. The possibilities are endless!
Share with us about your friendship with Mike and Cindy. As I understand it, you and Mike share workout strategies ☺
We’ve been good friends for a few years. I often work at BREW, so I consider myself their best customer :-) Mike, Necole, and myself would always talk CrossFit, so Cindy really had little choice but to try it.
I’m not sure we share any strategies; we basically text each other and say, “tomorrow’s WOD is insane. We might die!” Then we google all the exercises, because for the life of me, I can’t remember all the terminology like clean, jerk and EMOM. I think we’re both visual learners.
It’s definitely fun to have friends who are passionate about the same things in life. I’m really proud of Mike; he took the first step, committed, and then invited his friends to join the journey.
Your wife Necole has also been training with us since Sept. 1. What’s it like having Necole as your life partner and fellow training partner at Raleigh CrossFit?
I’m really proud of Necole. She is not used to group exercise at all, so I thought she would be intimidated. She did far better than I did in the 31 Heroes WOD. That gave her confidence. When she would go to the normal gyms, she would struggle, wondering “what do I do?” She definitely loves having structure and coaching.
Four weeks into her training, Coach Amber taught her how to rope-climb after a WOD. She made it to the top, which was really cool. The fun part is we get to talk “CrossFit” a lot at home; it’s much easier to be committed when both partners are involved.
Our community should know more about your hobbies outside of Raleigh CrossFit. Would you mind telling us more about Help One Now?
I started Help One Now in 2009 after taking a trip to visit a friend in Zimbabwe. On that trip, I met a starving orphan at an abandoned gas station that changed my life–something I had a chance to talk about at my Tedx talk.
We do relief and development work in seven countries across the world. This past summer, we provided our one millionth meal to a child in need. We help create jobs, build schools, rescue kids who have been trafficked, and we also help keep families together. It’s hard work, but I love what I get to do. We see lives changed everyday.
(By the way, if you want to help make a difference this Christmas, you can buy a necklace. All proceeds go to education!)
What is playing in your music carousel right now?
Chris Stapleton, Amos Lee, The Lone Bellow, U2, Over The Rhine, Mat Kearney, Delta Rae, Johnnyswim, Drew Holcomb, and Death Cab For Cutie.
What three words would your friends use to describe you.
Passionate, Intense, and Loyal
Favorite CrossFit movement and/or WOD:
Push Press / Jerk
I can’t wait to try the 31 heroes again — just to see the progress!
What do you tell your friends when they ask what you do to workout?
Folks are seeing a physical difference, so they keep asking what I do. When I mention CrossFit, they always have follow up questions. And I tell them the exact same thing:
- I workout hard for one hour, 5x’s a week, and I love it.
- I focus on doing the work. I don’t have to worry about structure; I just follow the plan. This is really vital, as I spend little mental energy worrying about what to do.
- CrossFit is really inexpensive. I looked into personal training at a local gym. The trainer was a little chubby and wanted to charge me $100 an hour, 3x a week, for 3-6 months. Just terrible.
What are three words to describe how you feel before a training session?
The first month, I was nervous. I could barely make it through the warm up. Now, I’m excited and focused on doing the work really hard, but with proper form. Every time a coach walks by me and doesn’t correct me, I know I’ve made a little progress. I’m not worried about the weight; I just want to go hard each and every time and make sure my skills are progressing. I think ego can be really harmful in the first 4-6 months for beginning CrossFitters.
What advice would you give to anyone out there who wants to get started with CrossFit?
Face your fear, ignore the critics, and see your life change. And remember, you have a community ready to help you along the way. But no one can force you to show up, work hard, and eat well.
Give one sentence to describe Necole.
A passionate friend who loves to keep life simple and adventurous.
Give one sentence to describe Mike (Click to read Mike’s Profile).
A tech geek, entrepreneur, and a loyal friend who loves to encourage people to be the best they can be. Unless, they work or buy coffee at Starbucks. :-)
Give one sentence to describe Cindy.
Fierce, competitive, and she hates hugs more than I do. So please, next time you see her, give her a hug!
Thank you Chris! I know I can speak for all of the athletes and coaches at Raleigh CrossFit when I say keep up the great work and we are so proud to know you and help you with reaching your goals! Oh… and save me a seat at the BREW bar! The best cappuccinos in town!
UPCOMING EVENTS/SPECIAL HOURS
BE SURE TO NOTE THESE DAYS SO YOU DON’T MISS YOUR TRAINING!
* Last class on Wednesday, Nov. 25 is 6-700p. There will be no class from 700-800p.
* CLOSED Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 26. (No CrossFit Kids and Teens) Join us at The Ridgewood Turkey Trot!
* Two classes on Friday, Nov. 27: 900a and 1000a; regular schedule resumes on Saturday, Nov. 28 (900a, 1030a)
* Two classes on Thursday, Dec. 24: 900a and 1000a. Special 12 Days of Christmas Workout! Kids and teens may join the 1000a class ONLY.
* CLOSED Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25
* One Class only on Saturday, Dec. 26, 900a.
* New Year’s Eve, Thurs., Dec. 31 – last class at 500p (No CrossFit Kids and Teens)
* New Year’s Day, Friday, Jan. 1 – 2 classes; 900a and 1000a ONLY.
The Turkey Trot is coming up!
Join the Raleigh CrossFit team. Registration.