Get to Know Your Coach | Marianne Prete

Ask a CrossFitter to describe their CrossFit box (in the odd instance they aren’t already talking about it), and you’re sure to leave the conversation knowing the name of at least one of their coaches.

Why? Because they’re that impactful.

Unlike so many – if not all – other sports, in CrossFit, the last person to finish is the one cheered on the loudest. The person who fails rep after rep is greeted with the same high-five as the person who cycles through Rx’d movements with ease.

It’s these unique characteristics that separate and define CrossFit, and it’s the coaches we owe thanks to for putting them into practice day in and day out. 

While day after day, they’re reminding us to keep our elbows up in a front rack and break parallel in a squat, CrossFit coaches serve a deeper purpose.

They create an environment where one can scale movements without being overcome by embarrassment, where neither the number on the scale nor the barbell define worth, where confidence is built rather than broken.

Where does your passion for fitness and a heathy lifestyle come from?
Since I could remember, I've always believed exercise and eating well were important. The body is fascinating to me and I've constantly endeavoured to do the best job I could being as "healthy" as possible, in the most natural way possible. To me that meant moving a lot, and fuelling with the right foods. Human kinetics is something I've been passionate about from adolescence. I've been active since childhood and I dabbled in a bunch of activities and sports, but never really specialized in one domain. Maybe that's why I gravitated towards CrossFit...our specialization, as they say, is not specializing. 

Why do you coach, what motivates you to teach?
As cliche as it sounds, CrossFit has been life-changing for me. The transformations that unfold both mentally and physically are truly remarkable. Pushing through when we are faced with challenges, seeing yourself do things you once thought unimaginable, watching your body morph and get stronger...all these things play a role in what makes CrossFit so enticing. After experiencing it for myself, I am thrilled to be able to help others see it for themselves in coaching.

What do you think separates a great coach from a good coach, and a good coach from a poor coach?
A poor coach might have some requisite background knowledge but simply goes through the motions when in class.

A good coach would have the appropriate knowledge and credentials, maybe provides a little more explanation and shows how to move correctly, and makes sure everyone is safe and doing what they should be doing.

A great coach is humble, open and approachable. They are flexible and can think on their feet. They keep an overall eye so that everyone is safe but also watches class dynamics. They take the time to educate their athletes by showing how to move correctly but also by providing the why or intent behind the movement or programming. They keep class fun and light, while making sure everyone is productive, learning something new and moving well. A great coach knows how to coach the person, not just the athlete.They continually challenges themselves, and "walk the walk" so to speak as much as they talk the talk. 

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What is a typical day in the life?
I like to work out first thing in the morning, fasted. I do my best to prioritize my recovery with adequate post-workout nutrition and mobilizing after every session. Then I switch fully into coach/manager mode and spend my day at the gym between the front desk and the gym floor, doing administrative tasks and coaching various clients, classes and programs. I try to give myself some time to unwind in the evenings once I get home, which usually involves some more stretching and foam rolling on the floor in front of the TV for a bit. 

What is the most rewarding part of coaching?
Witnessing someone (kid or grown-up!) have that light bulb click on inside of them when they master something new or reach a goal they've set is incredible. Playing even a tiny role in that process is even better.

What is your favourite movement/benchmark workout and why?
Grace. Anything with squats, cleans, squat cleans, you get the idea! Most movements with a barbell. If I have a barbell I am happy.

What is your most hated movement/benchmark workout and why?
Hate is a strong word. I don't think I can say I hate anything that we encounter in CrossFit, but my least favourite movements would have to be the bench press and the dip. I don't quite feel confident pushing my limits with these because my shoulder doesn't feel stable. I would not like a fourth shoulder dislocation so I try to be careful. Lately I've been focusing on reincorporating a solid "pre-hab" routine for good joint health.

Where did you work before Crux?
In the children's fitness industry! As cute and as fun as you could imagine :)

What is something most people don’t know about you or something interesting?
I used to play the piano and saxophone. Oh, and I wanted to be a race car driver. I might still secretly have that dream...

What type of music do you like to work out to?
Anything with a good beat to keep me moving. If I had to pick a genre, it'd be rap or dance. 90s dance ;)

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What is one highlight from your athletic career?
2016 wasn't too shabby...finishing in 1st out of 122 teams in our division at Beach WOD in July and taking a trophy home to the Crux was pretty sweet!!! And I absolutely cannot leave out participating at the CrossFit Invitational in November. From being able to compete on such an official stage put on by the CrossFit Games, to meeting all the renowned CrossFit personalities, getting a pep talk from Dave Castro himself before heading onto the floor for our last event, and taking pictures with Rich Froning and Camille Leblanc-Bazinet...it was a surreal experience.

Where do you spend your time when you aren’t at the gym? 
With family, friends and food!