Lauren Carotenuto

Lauren Carotenuto

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What brought you to CrossFit Renaissance?
I’d always gone to the gym, but I lost my motivation. I was so bored doing the same exercises all the time and this seemed like a great way to change things up. I’d been interested in trying CrossFit for a long time, but I was too nervous to try it because I felt that since I was not in the strongest shape, I’d be out of place. Whenever I saw a group of people in CrossFit gear, they always looked so strong and I was very curious what all the buzz was about. I saw a Groupon and thought I’d give it a shot.
What was your first impression?
As soon as I walked in, I looked around and saw so many people with beautifully muscular bodies, people throwing big weights around in ways I didn’t understand, and people who had a great rapport with each other. I felt intimidated!
Has that changed?
Now I look back with gratitude that I took the first step to join. Everyone was so, so nice to me and so encouraging. There were plenty of times I was last to finish a WOD (Workout of the Day) and there were these strong athletes cheering me on, even though I barely had any weight on my bar! They made me feel included and I was bolstered by their encouragement. I love the CFR group. I love how everyone is friends and jokes around but we are serious about putting in the work to reach our goals and get results.
What are you currently working on?
Right now my main goal is to do an unassisted pull-up. I did a goal session with Coach Kevin recently and I am confident that I will be able to do it sooner than later. Additionally, my max overhead is just under 100lbs and I really want to cross that threshold. I just want to continue getting stronger!
What is the toughest part of CrossFit for you?
The toughest part of CrossFit for me is getting over the mental hurdles, but it’s also a reason I love it. For example, before CrossFit, I’d go to the gym and do 50 squats and feel like I did a lot and like I pushed myself. Last week I was on the road for work and did a WOD in my hotel room that involved 490 squats! If you’d have told me 2 years ago I’d not only be able to do that but WANT to do that, I’d have thought you were nuts. There’s a quote I love by Socrates “It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable”. Sure, we all have physical limitations, but I think we place stricter mental limitations. I think once you realize what you can do, the sky’s the limit.
What is your favorite memory at CrossFit Renaissance?
My favorite memory is from this past March. For a Sunday WOD during open gym, some of the ladies (Michelle, Jackie, Brigid & Kylee) decided to do “Gaza”, which is 35 kettlebell swings, 30 push ups, 25 pull ups, 20 box jumps and a 1 mile run done FIVE times for time. I knew it was going to be a challenge but I wanted to get out there and give it my all. To my amazement, I did the whole thing! It took me 80 minutes, but I didn’t stop. It was hard, but it felt AMAZING to push through and KNOW I could do it.
How long have you been doing CrossFit?
I have been doing CrossFit for 2 years and 3 months. But who’s counting?
What kind of results have you seen, both physical and mental?
I feel much stronger physically, of course, but I think even more so mentally. At CFR I am constantly challenged to do things I didn’t think I was capable of doing, which forces me to reevaluate just what I think I CAN be capable of doing. That reevaluation of strength carries both in and out of the gym; I’m constantly inspired to keep pushing myself.
There’s a photo Bill posted of me shortly after I started where I’m trying to do a deadlift at a very low weight and you can see the struggle (top left). My face is bright red and I am trying hard to finish the WOD. If you would have told me then that I’d be able to do all the things you see in the other photos, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.

When I joined CFR, I couldn’t run a mile without stopping. I couldn’t lift a weighted bar overhead. I think my back squat was just a men’s bar. Now, I have tripled the weight I can get overhead, I just PR’ed my back squat again this month and I can run for miles. When I look in the mirror, I see muscle! I LOVE seeing the physical manifestations of my strength and I look forward to continuing to grow my power and fitness.


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