Name: Eleni Marsh
Occupation: Social worker
What is your athletic background?
Not much! I was clumsy and hated sports, even though I did play basketball, volleyball, and softball in junior high and doubles tennis in high school. I remember my dad trying to get me to lift weights in high school. Oh, I nearly forgot: I used to run a number of 5K’s with a past boyfriend over 10 years ago and enjoyed it. But then I broke up with the guy and guess I broke up with running, without really meaning to.
What was your workout routine prior to CF Spero?
I’ve done Iyengar Yoga for 8 years now but needed a strength and endurance component to go with it. I first started with doing 10-15 minute workout videos every morning about a year before Spero. Then I moved onto classes at the Pav YMCA; I’ve always done better with a group class format where a coach or instructor is telling me what to do–group pressure, I think. But those classes weren’t doing it for me; I would leave not sweaty I needed to do something more
How much weight have you lost since you began?
Twenty pounds! A lot was due to Coach Kara’s nutrition seminar and doing my first Whole30 this past September
What was your first experience with CrossFit?
At Spero! I’d heard about CrossFit but figured it was too hard and unattainable for me–like trying to climb Mt. Everest when all you can manage is the climbing wall at the YMCA.
When was your first CrossFit experience?
I came for one of the introductory classes in May 2016 when I’d heard on a FaceBook post that many gyms in Oak Park were having free days–the class was with Amy! I signed up for On Ramp in July 2016 and the rest is history.
Why did you choose CF Spero?
Initially, I was ready to work out in a harder way than I had been and I saw other people that seemed a lot like me–working moms, etc. Also it is fairly close to where I live.
What keeps you coming back?
In the first place, success! I’ve seen a lot of positive changes for me since I’ve started CF. The coaches are really invested in everyone and their performance and stress good form and won’t let you get away with sloppiness. I’ve been at gyms and classes where it feels more like a popularity contest and it’s not that here. You can tell that it’s not just a job for them; they care about you. In the second place, community. I love the community of people that are a part of Spero and thrive on the encouragement that we give one another and have had the privilege to see other members make positive changes and witness happy and sad events in their lives. It’s been really important to me to have that community. I overhead Angela D say some months ago, “It’s nothing like other gyms I’ve been to. If it was, I don’t think most of us would still be here.” I’m sure I’ve got some of that quote wrong but I get the spirit of it!
Why do you live in Oak Park?
I actually live in Cicero. I’ve lived in the west suburbs since 2005 and love it here.
What do you do for a living?
I work at Deborah’s Place,a supportive housing provider for women, as a case manager and therapist. I’ve been there since 2003.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I love to read and eat. I like walking around new places and exploring. Also talking with friends and drinking coffee. And cooking–since Whole30, I’ve discovered that I like trying new ways of preparing vegetables. It can be labor-intensive but really rewarding!
What do you like about Oak Park?
I love the parks and neighborhoods, lots of different programming and opportunities for kids, also the restaurants and shops.
What are one or two improvements you have seen in your life since starting CF?
So many improvements all over the place! I don’t get winded as easily and I often feel that I can keep going when I’m doing a WoD that is more endurance-based. My lifting form has gotten so much better in the past year, it felt like for a long time, my body couldn’t keep up with my brain or vice versa, and now things are clicking. CF has really helped with improving my form with yoga as well. Also, I am finally used to getting up at 5:30 A.M. Soon I’ll work on getting up in time for the 5:30 AM.class!
I can’t forget the Nutrition Challenge and Whole 30 with the meal exchange. It hasn’t been easy but I have learned so much and I have never felt better. I love the meal exchange, thanks to Kathleen and the die-hard meal exchangers!
What are your goals for 2018?
I’m signing up for an 8K in the spring and hoping to keep cutting down my time for completing a 5K. I still want to get to Rx box jumps and would like to get to a handstand.
What would you say to someone thinking about starting CF?
If I can do it, so can you! It is really a life changer.
What’s your favorite and least favorite CF movement?
I really like deadlifts! And I like box jumps, even though I haven’t gotten to women’s rx–I’m working on it! I cringe when I see wallballs as part of a WoD but know I really need to practice that movement because it definitely doesn’t come easy for me. I’ve always told myself that I would never “cherry-pick” WoD’s or cancel because I didn’t want to do a WoD (but sometimes I’ve felt like it!)
Whats your favorite meal?
I think last year I would’ve said something with pasta but I’ve only eaten pasta once since finishing the Whole 30! Now I would say salmon with vegetables.
Anything else you would like to share with the Spero family?
I’m so glad I”m here!