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March Meet The Members

Meet Bri & Mariana!

This Month’s member spotlight for the Month of March is all about girl power. Our two very cool Members are also two of our most humble, unassuming and strongest members of the community.

Mariana is a staple attendee of our PM sessions and you’ll find her and her beautiful little family down the back, before or after class, putting in extra time towards her goals and health. Her husband Denis, (the beautiful one!) and daughter Misha are sure to be close by and just as involved in fitness as a lifestyle as much as a training program.

Mariana has one of the most incredible stories about starting her Crossfit journey and very unique situation coming from Eastern and middle Europe (Mariana is from the Czech Republic) that I think a lot of us wouldn’t understand or would take for granted being in a place like Australia. The best part about that though is that Mariana is representative of an amazing international community we have here at Torian that probably have very similar stories that those of us with the privilege of being raised here wouldn’t know about.

Mariana is approaching Masters age soon and I am personally very excited to see what she can do in that competition space, as she is already one of our top performers!

Bri can be spotted anywhere from 5am class to 5pm due to her rotating shift requirements as a Queensland Firefighter! Arguably one of the coolest, most badass, and probably intimidating, jobs available you’d never know it to look at her as she is just so approachable, friendly and chilled. She instantly puts anyone who converses with her at ease.

Hailing from Canada originally, Bri is also a member of that special international community that have found their way to us here at Torian and made it a home. Fitness for her job is a huge motivator behind her pursuit of CrossFit training as you’ll read and determination and work ethic in class are impossible to miss.

The word Hero gets thrown around a lot but as a first responder its practically part of her job description! Not to mention I have witnesses her in action helping out with a situation at our very own Torian and let’s just say we are in good hands with people like Bri behind the emergency button!

Read about our awesome ladies below and don’t forget to say “hi” when you see them in the gym and share a fist bump after a workout.

Mariana Kaiser, 33.

How long have you been Crossfitting for?

I joined my first CF affiliate in spring 2013 for 3 months. Then I joined another box in January 2015. I took a break in April 2019 due to pregnancy and came back in December 2019. It is about 5 and ½ years in total.

3 What made you start?

I used to be a swimmer and I did a lot of other sports on top of that. But I enjoyed only the general conditioning part of the training. Once the sport started focusing more on the sport itself, I lost interest. I even remember asking my mom why there is no sport where we could just get fit. I was always searching for “CrossFit”. When I was in my early twenties, someone mentioned this new competition where they were searching for the fittest. I was immediately interested. I checked a video from that competition, I saw a WOD that included snatches and bar muscle-ups. And I was really disappointed because it felt so out of reach as I have never even tried any of those (I didn’t even know how to call those movements). But then at some point, I heard about CrossFit again and checked some videos on YouTube and a whole new world opened up to me. Between 2011 and 2013, I watched every single video that CF headquarters posted. I watched everything. Multiple times. From stories about games level athletes to people with chronic disease who could not even squat when they started, from children to the elderly. And I was absolutely mesmerised. I wanted to do this sport so much. But at that time, there was only 1 affiliate in the Czech Republic – it would take me about 6 hours to get there. So any training there was out of the question. So I kept watching videos. In 2013, I had the opportunity to study abroad. I could choose between 8 European universities. The first thing I checked was which one is close to a CF box. At that time, CF was not spread out in Europe as much as it is now. I went with Göttingen University in Germany as there was a CF box in the city next to it. I moved there in 2013. I had to wait several months to start but I was watching and re-watching videos and doing different bodyweight style of AMPRAPs and EMOMs in my tiny bedroom. In April, I was finally able to start. From door to door, it took me 2.5 hours to get to the gym and 2.5 hours to get back. To train for 1 hour, I had to find 6 hours in a day. I was able to do that for 3 months. I then moved to a different country and when I returned, with full-time study and full-time work, I could not continue. When I finished Uni, Denis and I were looking for a job. I told him, we can go anywhere as long as there is a CF gym. Every time we would want to apply for a job, we would first check was how far is the nearest CF gym. We eventually moved to Munich and started going to CF Munich at the beginning of 2015.

When did you join Torian?

We moved to Spring Hill in August 2019, I was pregnant, just a few days before my due date. Denis started going to CF Torian immediately and I would sometimes accompany him, just watching the classes. I could finally join him in December 2019.

What is your favourite thing about Torian?

This is a difficult question as there are many things I like but I think it can be summarised best as Torian being very close to the CF gym I imagined being part of while watching all those videos from CF HQ all the way back in 2013. Torian is a great example of what a CF affiliate is and could be.

What has been your proudest achievement in CrossFit?

This is really hard because there are so many positive moments connected to CrossFit. But one that stands out is connected to Denis and his mom. I was the one who introduced Denis to CrossFit. At that time, Denis was going to a global gym a few times a week and was mainly working out by doing isolated movements on machines. At that time, he probably could squat 100kg with a questionable technique. Not only that he can now squat over 200kg but his physique has d significantly which could not get unnoticed by his family. His mom in particular was worried about this whole “CrossFit thing” – especially as her friends would tell her that they heard that it is very dangerous and one can get hurt. Denis’s mom came to stay with us for three months two years ago and she was all ready to talk him out of this nonsense. But we would not give up so easily – we signed her up to our CrossFit affiliate. As I was coaching at that time, I was able to coach her every day and not only that we were able to spend quality time together but three months later, when she was leaving home, she was the biggest advocate for CrossFit.

What is something that you couldn’t do before CrossFit that has changed your life?

There are a lot of movements that I wasn’t able to do before but has any of them truly changed my life? Probably not in a significant way. I would probably be still able to live a good life without snatching a barbell above my head. But one CrossFit event influenced my life significantly – and I think it’s something where the change will be especially visible 50 years from now. I always wanted to coach so I took the Level 1 CrossFit seminar. It turned out to be so much more than just a coaching class. I am going back to the information that I gained there all the time – especially when it comes to longevity, health, nutrition and movement patterns. If anyone is interested in being fit when they are 80, go and take that seminar. It’s going to change your life.

What do you look forward to the most every day about Torian?

It’s the whole package – people, coaches, programming, the mental and physical challenge. I feel unbelievably grateful that I am able to train at Torian every day. Most of the CF boxes out there attract great people – wherever you train, you will make good friends, you will get fitter and your life is going to change. But Torian also has very high standards when it comes to their coaches, the way each class is run and their facility and equipment.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about starting CrossFit but is worried?

If you are unsure if CrossFit is for you or you are worried whether you will fit in, go and search for “Let me tell you about CrossFit” by CrossFit® on YouTube. Then go and search for “70+ class at CrossFit Rebels” and “CrossFit – All in the Family”. Videos like this convinced me that even though I had no idea what a snatch was, this was the sport for me. The beauty of CrossFit is that no matter where you are at in your fitness journey, you will be able to take part in the class. The individual needs of an athlete vary by degree, not by kind - CrossFit is scalable and each workout comes with options for everyone which means that you will do the same workout whether you are a CrossFit Games athlete or his grandma and you will both feel exhausted at the end of it in the same way. That’s the beauty of CrossFit.

Bri Ostapovitch, 31.

How long have you been Crossfitting for?

Consistently, since 2018

What made you start?

I use to work at Lululemon and the company was very generous in providing free fitness to all employees. I was introduced to a wide variety of gyms, studios, fitness classes, sports and activities including CrossFit. I pottered in and out of CrossFit classes for quite some time before deciding to pursue a career goal that would require a specific baseline of health and fitness. My purpose changed and so did my training. I started CrossFit, I put in the work and got the outcome I was chasing.

Now, I do CrossFit because I love the sport of fitness and it marries so well with the physical requirements of my job. It humbles me, challenges me and often surprises me both mentally and physically.

When did you join Torian?

January 2020, after moving back to Brisbane.

What is your favourite thing about Torian?

“The vibe” which encompasses the members, quality & switched-on coaches, outstanding space to train in and epic programming.

What has been your proudest achievement in CrossFit?

Signing up for my first CrossFit Open. I don’t really like competition and the whole thing makes me uncomfortable. I resisted the idea of it all, but decided to embrace “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” and gave it a go in 2018. It was incredible to watch so many people achieve things that they never thought possible and I was really proud to be a part of that.

What is something that you couldn’t do before Crossfit that has changed your life?

Well, there’s a lot I couldn’t do before CrossFit and there’s still a lot I can’t do but it is indeed a work in progress. Along the way, there have been subtle and considerable changes in my life. Understanding and knowing my “why” was essential in changing the game for me, in and outside the gym. I use to show up to class and faff around, put in a comfortable effort and tick the health and wellness box. There’s nothing wrong with that but it wasn’t until I started to measure and observe my progress and train with a purpose (my “why”) that things started to unfold differently for me. What I was putting in was directly proportional to what I was getting out of my training. Personal responsibility was singing out loud and clear, if I wasn’t happy with the outcome, well that was on me. It was an opportunity to look inwards and revaluate my efforts in all aspects of life. I can’t say that I nail this 100% of the time, but it’s what I strive for and certainly a work in progress.

What do you look forward to the most every day about Torian?

Getting through the struggle TOGETHER followed by the mad rush of endorphins after the buzzer sounds.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about starting CrossFit but is worried?

Don’t overthink it. We’ve ALL been in your shoes and trust me when I say, no one is watching you and no one will judge you for asking what an EMOM is or any other silly CrossFit lingo. Who comes up with these things anyway? Just keep showing up.


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