Swolemates: This Couple’s CrossFit Love Story

How did you and Doug meet?
We met at a Memorial Day BBQ in 2015. Our mutual friend was hosting the BBQ and invited both of us as the only single people. Neither one of us were looking to date, but we hit it off and the rest is history!

What made each of you start CrossFit?
We started CrossFit for very different reasons.

I started working with a personal trainer in February 2015 at RVC. At that time my fitness routine was the treadmill and some mobility work. On my first day of training, my trainer brought me from my comfort zone (the “upstairs” part of the gym) down a flight of stairs to a room with no machines, a lot of metal racks, and weights I’d only seen used in the Olympics. I looked at him and said “I’m a runner.” He turned back to me and said, “How’s that working out for ya?” I decided to trust him and follow through on my three month training commitment. Little did I know, that walk down the stairs on my first day of training would change my life forever.

Shortly after I started doing CrossFit-style training with my trainer, I knew I was hooked. Three months with him turned into six, then 12 and 18. Somewhere in the 6-12 month phase I began adding CrossFit classes to my training and when my trainer left the area, I began full time CF classes.

Around the four-month mark of my fitness journey, I met Doug. He lived up near Burlington and we would travel back and forth on the weekends to see each other. I was addicted to my training at this point and would not let an entire weekend go by without hitting the gym. Doug, no stranger to fitness, worked out three days a week at a small, local gym and was already in pretty good shape. He would get up in the morning before work and go in for 45 minutes for your typical “Bro Session”. He was also comfortable using machines at the gym and didn’t know anything different.

I’ll never forget the first Saturday we hit the gym together. We were at his place and when we walked in I saw rows of cardio machines and your standard weight machines and free weights. I remember thinking to myself, “What in the world am I going to do here?!” I felt out of place in a setting I use to feel comfortable in. Doug settled right in and began his typical lifting routine. I walked around a bit, found a barbell, plates, and a corner and started some OLY lifting. I thought to myself, “Next week, I’ll bring him to my gym and show him a good workout.”

That next week we went to my gym, Doug felt just as out of place as I once had. We continued this pattern of working out Saturday mornings together for a couple of months, each of us out of our comfort zones until I suggested Doug start CF. It was a tough sell! He was not convinced that CF would be any different than what he was currently doing and couldn’t justify investing time and spending more money to work out on CF’s scheduled class times. “Sign up for three months,” I said. “Give it your all for those three months and see how you feel after, you won’t regret it.”

I remember talking to Doug after his first class. The workout was Death by Wall Balls and he felt like he was going to die. He had done a total of 105 wall balls with a 20lb ball in 15 minutes. This was not a good selling point on CF! Doug contemplated his decision to start CF, but continued to show up. I continued to encourage him to stick it out over the next three months (selfishly) rooting for him to fall in love with it the way I had. Somewhere during this trial period Doug became just as addicted to CF as me and in April of 2016 we signed up for our first competition. I missed the podium by one point, but Doug took second place!

How is life different after starting CF?
We were already health and fitness-minded people, but CF brought us closer together. There is something to be said about suffering through a challenge together and coming out the other end mentally and physically stronger. CF allows us to push ourselves to our limits while supporting and encouraging each other along the way.

We eat clean, work hard, and play harder. Working out is no longer something to schedule into our day. Our routines are now scheduled around CF and how we are both going to fit it in while managing jobs and two very active boys! Working out is not a chore like it once was. CF is the “me-time” we both need and crave each day. As a side benefit, we are both healthier and in the best shape of our lives, something we never would of thought possible as a former college athlete (Amanda) and Marine (Doug)! CrossFit gives us that team camaraderie we missed from our youth and we get to share it together.

What is each of your favorite workouts?
I love the long mentally grueling workouts and Doug loves the intense strength training workouts. We are the best of both worlds 🙂 I don’t have a particular favorite workout, but if I had to pick one I’d say Murph. Murph is a true mental and physical workout; you really have to dig in deep to complete that one. Doug’s favorite workouts are the 1RM barbell days or anything with OLY lifting, tests of core strength.

Are dinner conversations awkward when one of you totally destroys the other in a workout? (Haha)
Hahaha, no they are not. We are both supportive and happy of one another, no matter who comes out on top for the day. That’s the great part about CF: it’s really a me vs. me workout. At the end of the day we are stronger and more fit no matter how we rank on the white board.

Are you two competitive with each other?
Okay, so this may seem contradictory given what I said in the last question but yes…I am very competitive with Doug. Doug not so much with me 🙂 I use to check the whiteboard before the WOD to see how Doug ranked for the day. He always works out at 5:30 am so I had the benefit of knowing what I was in for later in the day. I would push to get in one more rep, or complete a workout at least one second faster than Doug just to come out on top.

I don’t do that anymore. Now I just push as hard as I can. I didn’t like working out just to beat Doug in the workout. I want to workout to beat myself! Doug has always taken that approach to working out: do it, do the best he can, and then push a little harder. What I will say is that when we do a partner WOD together on Saturdays I maybe push him a little bit harder so we can beat other teams, but secretly I am still trying to do just a little more than he is 🙂 I have been known to get a little loud during those workouts, but that’s just me pushing Us to be the best.

Why did you choose CFRVC as your wedding site? (awesome choice btw)
Our wedding was the best wedding ever! We did not want a typical wedding filled with fancy attire, food, speeches, and watching people dance. We wanted something light-hearted and fun because that is who we are. We said to each other that if we were going to spend any amount of money on a party we were going to make it fun and exactly what we want; a wedding is a party, a marriage is a lifetime. We want to celebrate our marriage to each other in a way that is us. We joked around one night that it would be cool to get married at CF and it stuck. For us CF is fun and we want to share that with our friends and family while we celebrate our lives together.

Did you do a “wedding workout”? What happened to the loser of the wedding WOD?
Yes, there was a wedding WOD! We coordinated it with Coach Pearson to create this for us. The style WOD was full of our favorite movements, EMOM style, no scoring, just do the work and have fun.

Is there a honeymoon? If so, where?
We really want to go to the Tulum Jungle Gym in Mexico. It’s a natural made CF style gym on the beaches of Tulum Mexico! It doesn’t get much better than that; sand, sun, CF, the ocean and each other! But, we do want to wait until it is too cold here to stand it before we head someplace warm and sunny on a honeymoon, so that will likely happen in January or February of next year.

What do you have for goals in CF?
CF is our lifestyle. The goal is to continue the sport and get stronger and better every day. My ultimate goal is to be able to complete my namesake workout; Amanda. Amanda is a CF benchmark that consists of 3 rounds for time of 9-7-5 reps of Muscle ups and 95 pound squat snatches. Right now I’m working on muscle up progressions and can do several jumping muscle ups with the bar above my head. My 1RM squat snatch is only 73 pounds so I know I have a ways to go. But when I started in 2015 I couldn’t even squat the 15 pound training bar let alone do anything close to a pull up so I know I’ll get there someday 🙂 Doug, already proficient at all of the advanced CF movements, is focusing on overall health and longevity the sport (Crossfit). It’s thin line of balancing safe-training versus remaining competitive. He hopes to be doing CF 20 years from now.

One thing we do know is, just like in life or marriage, there is no end goal in CF. Once you reach your goal, you create another. The destination to reaching your goal is the journey. The journey is where the work is. It is also where the fun is. If we keep creating fun through the work on our journey we have reached our goals.

-Amanda Caringi and Doug Brosseau

Check out Doug and Amanda’s wedding video here.

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