Congratulations to our April Athlete of the Month: Carl Marella. Carl is undoubtedly among the most driven and motivated individuals at the gym, and it’s clear that his extra efforts have served him well in his own performance. He keeps everything in perspective, has a ton of fun in his training, and always relies on a positive mental attitude to keep him moving forward in every situation. We are very proud of you Carl, keep it up with your practice- it’s only going to get perfect!
did you start doing CrossFit?
I first did crossfit in 2010
without actually knowing that it was crossfit. I played football in college and
our strength and conditioning coach was into it and used it for our
conditioning program. It was pretty basic and limited though on what we did.
There were no rings or muscle-ups, EMOMs or 21-15-9s just 10-15 minute AMRAP of
basic bodyweight movements and deadlifts. He left the next year so I took a
hiatus from it until the summer of 2014 after I graduated from school. I
started following crossfit.com and watching videos on youtube and got hooked on
it. I eventually made my way to Crossfit 88 in fall, when it got cold, where I
personally believe that I officially started my crossfit “career” and I haven’t
Outside the gym, what’s your favorite
sport or activity?
Football is my number one sport without a doubt. I
played it from the time I was 5 until ending my competitive career when I was
20. Much of my life was football and I loved every bit of it. It gave me the
foundation for my mentality and work ethic, concussions aside it will always be
my favorite sport. I still play in a flag football league during the fall just
to run around and stay active. It’s a good time!
What results have you seen since starting
My overall level of fitness has increased
exponentially. Being able to do muscle-ups, overhead squats and double unders
is awesome and being able to do them for 12 minutes straight is an even better
feeling. I have gotten in shape for a lot of different sports but being in
“crossfit shape” is a completely different level. I have also learned to take
mobility more seriously. When i was lifting just to lift weights I had no
concern for whether or not my ankles or hips were tight or even caring to do any
sort of warm-up. I credit A LOT of what we do in our classes before we lift any
weights to my performance improving.
What do you like most about CF?
There are a lot of things I
love about crossfit. I really enjoy the competitive aspect of it. You can always
compare what you did to someone else whether it be the people at the box or one
of the pros. The other thing is that it never really gets easy. There is always
going to be multiple upon multiple of workouts that will kick your ass. Even
Rich Froning and Mat Fraser were stumbling around and gasping for air after
What is your favorite/ least favorite
My favorite things to do,
without a doubt, are ring muscle ups and cleans/power cleans. Muscle ups are
awesome once you have them down. The smooth free-flowing motion is a thing of
beauty when done correctly. That’s not to say they aren’t tiring because they
absolutely are but they’re fun nonetheless. Cleans are my absolute favorite
exercise/lift. To me there are very few lifts that can make you feel like more
of a badass than a clean, ripping a bunch of weight off the ground and putting
it on your shoulders. They also happen to be a large staple of crossfit and I
am relatively good at them so that’s always a plus for me!
Now on to my least favorite…
Snatch… This is the most complex and ridiculously difficult exercise I have
ever tried to master. There is no other exercise that can instantly put me in a
bad mood because I just cannot get the form down on that particular day. There
are so many moving parts and timing moments you have to hit PERFECTLY or else
everything falls apart and you’re left hating everything because you can’t do
it. With that being said I actually love doing full snatches. A lot of
movements come more naturally to me but this one I genuinely have to work on. I
was not blessed with the ability to pull weight off the ground and put it over
my head all in one fluid motion. I spend a good portion of every single week
working on my snatch in some way. It still is not anywhere near perfect or
pretty but since starting at Crossfit 88 my form has improved immensely and I
am relatively confident to do it on my own now, which is a huge improvement
from when I started crossfit in my backyard.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Outside of the crossfit world I would have to
say that graduating from college is probably my proudest moment simply because
it was a culmination of finally finishing the long haul of “normal school.” I
have a ton of happy moments in crossfit since I am still new to it. PRs happen
pretty regularly just because I have better form or I am just getting more
stamina or whatever. I enjoy the moment and move on to the next one :)
What CF goals are you working towards?
My goal, like any athlete,
is to every workout to the best of my ability. But being less abstract, my
ultimate goal is to make it to regionals and see where I can take my athletic
abilities from there. With the new formatting of regionals that goal has
increased even more in difficulty but you never know what you are capable of
unless you give it everything you’ve got! My weight lifting goals are a bit
incremental. I am always setting new goals once I achieve the ones I set
previously. I currently am pursuing 3 goals in my own head, 405 back squat, 315
clean and 225 snatch. Once I hit those, the numbers go up! I have a lot of work
to do for each one but there’s always someone out there outworking you or
putting up better numbers. Unless you have a world record… you have more work
to do ;)
Tell us something others may not know
The first time I ever tried
to do Fran I failed to even finish the workout. I completely underestimated
what a thruster was and I was sorely mistaken. I did 17 thrusters in a row,
threw the bar down and stopped. No more reps, no pull ups, not even all 21
thrusters. I stopped the workout laid down and reevaluated my level of fitness.
I probably shouldn’t of watched a bunch of videos of people doing it in just
over 2 minutes completely unbroken. Lesson learned and now (on a perfect day) I
can do it with only a break or two!
What is your local favorite place to
My backyard to lift weights
and hang out with my puppy!
What is your favorite quote?
Success isn’t owned, it’s
leased. And rent is due every day. - JJ Watt. This quote
epitomizes all aspects of life in my opinion and is especially applicable to
crossfit. If you want to compete at a high level or to the best of your ability
you have to put in the effort day in and day out. If you take too much time off
from crossfit, you absolutely feel it and you essentially cannot “pay rent”
anymore until you put the time back into it. I love the feeling of having to
work extremely hard to get your desired outcome, I embrace it, and let it
embody what I do!
Provide some advice for athletes new to
Get your movements down and
work your mobility/weaknesses, it is only going to make you stronger and more
efficient. Also, do not be afraid of the weights! Failure is your friend
(within the boundaries of obvious safety) and will make you better. You can’t
gain control unless you get out of control first. The last thing I can say is
try to go Rx sometimes and don’t be afraid of it. If you’re only 10 pounds away
or so, throw on that extra plate and give it a whirl! At some point you have to
take the training wheels off and try to move a little more weight. You may be a
little more sore or beat up but you’re getting stronger and feeling the heavier
weights with your heart rate way up there.