Islip Crossfit January 2019 Member Spotlight

Congratulations to Islip CrossFit’s  January 2019 Member Spotlight Mariah Cullen.  Mariah is an amazing athlete. She has focused on improving her skills by putting in extra technique work during open gym, before and after class.  Mariah consciously scales workouts to make herself a better, well rounded athlete. She is an inspiration and cheerleader for everyone around her and she thrives on good old healthy competition (and partnering with Nick on a Saturday)!  Mariah is an excellent example of Islip CrossFit’s motto, “Effort Earns Respect” and she has certainly earned all of ours. Congratulations Mariah!!!

A word from her Coaches….

Mariah is a great choice for this months member spotlight. Mariah’s improvement from a year ago to now is absolutely insane. From doing knee push ups to now throwing up big weight on the barbell and grinding through every single workout are just a couple of examples of how far she has come. She is very coachable and is always pushing herself and everyone she comes in contact with. She modifies her workouts very appropriately and is always looking for extra work/improvement on movements. Her positive attitude is constantly noticed by all of us coaches and members as well. Good job MC, well deserved! –Coach Taylor

Mariah is someone who has come a long way in a short time. She has done this by setting goals for herself and putting in the extra work to push for it and achieve them. I remember vividly at the Woodstock competition last year being shocked as she was butterflying pull ups and then I thought: of course she is she pushed herself to learn them. Mariah is super fun to wod with always pushing everyone around her as well. Congratulations Mariah, well deserved!!–Coach Pete


Tell us about yourself?

I’m 23 years young, runner/laxer turned CrossFitter. I have two undergraduate degrees, one in Business Management and the other in Spanish. I went to Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania, where I was able to play and excel in lacrosse at the Division III level. I always wanted to work for Under Armour until I found a passion in working with the youth of America. In December, I completed my master’s degree in education with a track in TESOL (Teaching English to Speaker of Other Languages) from LIU Post.


What do you do out in the real world?

As of right now, I am a substitute teacher in the East Islip School Districts. I plan to do some leave replacements and then apply for a FT teaching position for September 2019!



What brought you to Islip CF? How long have you been doing CrossFit?

I was a collegiate athlete that always enjoyed being in the weight room, going for a run or being outside. I decided to try out CrossFit because it was something I had never done before, and it had all the components that I was used to, so I decided to give it a try.  Also, the motto at ICF really spoke true to me… FAMILY.FITNESS.FUN @Melanie I have been doing CrossFit since October 2017, so for about 14/15 months!


What was your first CF workout? What did you think after it?

My first workout was a 6 am workout, shout out to Summer who was my first friend at ICF and my lifting partner that day, that involved split jerks and back squats. Definitely a good start to CrossFit compared to some other WODs that people get as their first workout.


What changes have you made in your workouts that have been the most successful?

Some days I like to focus on intensity and scaling back on weight whereas other days I enjoy focusing on lifting heavier weights or pushing through a certain number of reps in order to get better at those movements.


Most embarrassing/funniest gym moment?

Funniest moments are probably when the team generator “randomly” chooses Nick and I as partners for the workouts EVERY Saturday morning at open gym. I still would like to see evidence Pete.  Another when is when Christine accidently put her teammates and her in the novice division of the competition and yelled out “NOVICE!!!!!!!!!!” She said it in front of Mel who was doing novice and Mel’s face was priceless


Favorite movement? Least favorite? Benchmark WOD?

LOL the totally opposite of Christine and Rachel

Favorite movement- wallballs

Least favorite- I don’t even think I have to say this but BERPES


Favorite Benchmark WOD

KAREN 😉 or Dork …only because I was able to keep up with Sir Brian Volk.


Favorite memory OR most memorable moment at Islip CrossFit?

Any fun memory is when I beat Taylor in a workout, which is not often. Or that Taylor, Nadia and I are going to WZA 2019!!


If you could program it, what is your perfect workout?

Running, rowing, wallballs and KBS. It’s hard to choose because I love so many movements, but I hate so many movements at the same time


Favorite workout music?

Maybe this is why the random team generator always picks Countryboy5 and I because I enjoy listening to country music. On the opposite spectrum I like rap music because it makes me not feel like the white girl I am.


Advice for a new member or someone thinking of trying CrossFit?

The hardest thing to do is walk through the door and once you get through that, the hardest part is over! CrossFit requires an extreme amount of mental toughness. Each workout is humbling because it is a personal enlightenment to how much you can and cannot endure. Every struggle, push, or accomplishment leads to a better understanding of yourself.


How do you find/make time to get your workouts in?

Since I substitute in the high school, I make time by going to the 5ams or going to the 5pms.  BUT I do love the people and work ethic at the 6am class so anytime I get the chance I will go to the 6am!


What is your favorite part of Islip CrossFit?

Besides the peeps…OBV. I love that we do partner WODs. I have always been a part of a team sport and I think that’s a great way to challenge and push yourself.


What motivates you to keep coming back each day?

Aside from the friends that I have made throughout my year at ICF, it’s the feeling after a grueling WOD. It amazes me that an 8-minute workout can make me more out of breath than a 3-mile run. Also, seeing your growth as an individual is motivating.


What is your greatest achievement in your fitness so far?

To be honest, I think I peaked in college.


What has been the most challenging part?

The most challenging part about CF for me is comparing everyone’s day X to your day Y.


Short term goal? Long term goal?

Short term goal- push myself daily

Long term goal- to not have a wheel house


What/Who motivates or inspires you?

All of my motivation has sparked form my dad, he’s by far the best athlete in my family. Hewas drafted to the major leagues out of high school and hasn’t stopped playing the sport he fell in love many years ago. My dad has always pushed me to do better and be better in anything I encounter.  Another significant motivator is individual improvement!



Favorite Cheat Meal?



What changes have you made in your diet that have been the most successful?

I expanded my horizons of various vegetables and increased my servings too. I have focused more on lean meats, vegetables and healthy carbs and fats.


What is the worst “diet” you’ve ever been on?

I wouldn’t call it a diet but when I was in college going from classes, to lift, to conditioning then to practice it was hard to get a decent meal in, so I would say not having an appropriate meal schedule/ not getting enough nutrients was not a good idea.


What’s your go to breakfast?

SMOOTHIE! Spinach, banana, peanut butter, some ice cubes!


Do you eat before you workout? (If so, what?)

Definitely not in the morning besides a sip or two of my protein.  If I am working out at the 5pm, I try to get two/three balanced meals in before.



Something no one at the gym knows about you?

I used to be a cheerleader! AKA THE cheerleader. I aspired to be the Clovers in Bring it On.


Favorite Quote?

Anything Michael Scott, Jim Halpert or Dwight says.

One of my favorite things to live by is the Serenity Prayer. That is:

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace…


What Superhero are you?

I am not much of a superhero fan, but I’d definitely be the Disney princess, Mulan. That is my chick!!! She’s a total bada$$ (determined, selfless, and relentless). She takes on a whole new persona to protect her family and prove her worth.


Biggest Fear?

DUNA..DUNA..DUNADUNADUNA SHARK!  I am so afraid of sharks that I think they’re in my pool.


Best Vacation?

One of my undergraduate degrees was in Spanish. One of the requirements was a study abroad program but I wasn’t able to do an entire semester because of my sport so I went on a 3-week study abroad program to Ecuador…where my toots Nadia is from. I was able to stay with a host family and was immersed in the Ecuadorian culture!


If you aren’t at the box, where would we find you?

Shopping, running or watching The Office!

P.S. I’m an avid shopper… probably up there with Gina


If you won lotto, what would you do?

Get the arc out of NY and TRAVEL!!


If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?

Machu Picchu, Peru. I have learned so much about this historic sight in class and heard such great things about the 4-day Inca Trail hike that it takes to get to Machu Picchu. Who doesn’t love a reward after pushing yourself?!


Who is your celebrity crush?

Jennifer Lawrence… MY GIRL!  But my real deal athlete crush is LeBron James


Last pic on your phone?

A picture from an unspeakable night after the Christmas party


What’s the wallpaper on your phone right now?



What’s the last thing you searched for on Google?

PhD programs that LIU Post offers


Summarize your lifestyle in 5 words or less

Adventurous. Ambitious. OCD. Impatient. Sensible.


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