Today we highlight the one of the most amazing athletes and genuinely wonderful people we know — Stef M.  She’s a data analyst by day and Super Woman by night.  She comes regularly, works hard, listens to the coaches and is so darn humble. Coach Josh agrees “she a great community person and always having fun — always smiling.

She’s been at the Cove for two years and the the results of her approach are beyond extraordinary.  She comes consistently 4-5 days a week (Saturdays are out because “I need to sleep in at least one day”. It’s really just been about consistency for me. I just want to keep getting better.  I play sports outside of here.  I play football and soccer.  And for me it’s really helped.”

“Before I came here I was doing the same old stuff at the gym.  Lifting, running. But I was like ‘I want more than this’.  There wasn’t a lot of improvement happening. Then I joined here and I’ve seen more improvements that I ever have in my life.  In two years, I’m better, stronger and faster.  And I’ve been active my whole life.  It’s been amazing.” 

Yes, her time at the Cove has helped her endeavors outside the gym, but what happens inside the walls of Cove are nothing short of remarkable.  She’s become the rabbit (sorry ladies, but she’s Coach Katie’s favorite rabbit to chase). And even when we tell her this, she almost doesn’t believe it.  “I’m still the one chasing people. I love that environment.” 

CrossFit and her sports are also her way of staying connected to people and provide her community of support.  “I’ve always been competitive.  With sports I play with a lot of people I went to college with; it’s how we keep in touch.  And at the Cove, It really helps to have a score and an environment where I can thrive.”  She got bestie Joey F. to join the Cove. “I pulled Joey in almost a year later.  He looks miserable, but inside he loves it.  I’m like, ‘you’ve got to push’. I push him hard.”  As Coach John said, “Her presence pushed everybody to do better, especially Joey….poor Joey.”

“I’ve always played sports.  I love the team thing.  And when I’m here in my head I’m competing with myself and everyone else in class.  I just love the community.  You’re not alone. You’re dying together and we secretly love it.  And I totally appreciate that.”

And although you’ll see amazing benchmarks set by her each evening, she still finds motivation from those around her.  Even the ones she’s doesn’t really know.  “The 5:30am women I see on Wodify are amazing. Every day I see their scores and think ‘oh my gosh, they’ve already been to class and crushed it’.  They’re my virtual rabbits. I’ve spoken to some of them a handful of times, but they have no idea that I’m watching what they do.  I’m so glad they are in the morning so I can see what they’ve done.”

Some of her biggest breakthroughs came at the Open this year.  She got her first strict handstand push ups AND first bar muscle ups.  The handstand push-ups came first in 19.3. “That was crazy. I didn’t know where that came from.  I did singles, but had no idea I’d get through six. I can’t even tell you the last time I even tried to do one.  I didn’t know I was strong enough. Sometimes I just need that extra nudge.  But I tried it and it worked.”

Next came her first bar-muscle ups in 19.4. “I was so excited.  I got up there and was like, ‘whoa, where did that come from?’.  So I went back up and tried again. I got three.  I think the first thing I said when I got down was ‘that was weird! It’s such a different view from up there!’” 

She credits adrenaline as well, but we think she’d do just as well in a quiet Open Gym.  It’s a simple but powerful formula she has nailed.  When we asked how she’d sum it up for someone new or trying to get to get better she said “ Just show up.  Trust the programming.  You’ll see the changes.  But showing up is the biggest thing. It’s about consistency.”

She’s caught the competition bug too.  She’s done three competitions and is signed up for “Flex on the Mall” this Spring.  Her friends and family are fully supportive of her efforts even though “they still can’t believe I do this all the time.”  She had a huge crew at the Battle of Baltimore — almost like her personal paparazzi crew.  “They come to support me fully.  They might make fun of me for doing it before hand, but they always are there to support me.

She’s also taking her passion for fitness to another level outside the gym.  “I’m taking my Fitness Nutrition Specialist certification class now.  I just started it.  I took my Personal training certificate last August.” While it’s a passion project for now, we can’t wait to see where she goes with it.

Shorter term, what’s next on her list?  “Ring muscle ups.  The rings just seem so different from the bar.  It’s gonna be a while but I’d like to get one.” We’re guessing she has it in her.  Just like all her other victories, she just has to try it.


A ‘vintage’ shot of Stef from two years ago.  Yup, always smiling!