Member Spotlight: Paula Mercieca

Each month, we will profile a Grand Trunk CrossFit member who has seen incredible results since joining our “box”.

It is our hope, that by showing you what can be accomplished through regular workouts and a commitment to fitness, you will be encouraged to take the leap and come in for a workout.

This month’s spotlight is on Paula Mercieca, a member since February of 2016.

When did you join Grand Trunk, and why?

Paula: I had gone to a Saturday class with my sister, Stephanie. Then I met her there the next Monday and the rest is history.

What do you enjoy most about GTCF and CrossFit?

The people, hands down! From the coaches to other members, it really is a family! I love that I get to work out with my sister, too. I do enjoy that the workouts are already planned.

What is your favorite movement?

I do love when I see deadlifts or handstand push-ups.

What is a CrossFit goal you have achieved that you are most proud of?

To continue to get stronger and do things I never thought I could. I am proud that I completed the Murph this year. I thought about doing only half but I am way too stubborn and had to finish.

What is a current goal you are working on and hope to accomplish?

Hmmmm, this is a tough one…honestly to just keep pushing myself.

What advice would you give a new member or someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?

Stick with it and don’t be intimidated! Everyone there is willing to help and cheer you on.

How has CrossFit impacted your life outside of the gym?

What a question! CrossFit came into my life at just the right time; it was my escape from life. Now, it is still my escape but on a different level. It is my stress release and something I do for me. I can have a crappy day and head to the gym and everything just changes.

I can shut off my brain and not think of the million things I have to do or what I didn’t do. I show up and do what is planned for me. I learn new things along the way and always have at least one laugh. It is my me time!

What is a fun fact that people might not know about you?


If you could create your own WOD, what would it be?

Whatever Brooklyn says! It would have deadlifts and handstand push-ups!

Fill in the blank: I CrossFIt (because/so I can): It makes me happy and pushes me to be better!

If you’d like to schedule a free, no-sweat introsign up today!

Grand Trunk CrossFit Helps Athletes Meet Big, Audacious Goals

If you have ever wanted to walk a mile in another man’s shoes, we kindly suggest you don’t try it with John Sloan. After taking part in Running Fit’s Run Woodstock 100 mile race in September, John’s shoes are not in the best condition. But thanks to his diligent CrossFit routine, the rest of his body is.

“I felt fantastic during the entire 100 miles, especially in my upper body,” said Sloan. “That part of the body tends to wear down during a long race, and I attribute my condition to CrossFit.”

Sloan, a former Marine, had been a runner his entire life. After joining Grand Trunk CrossFit in January of 2016, he added WODs and movements to his exercise routine, which started him on the path toward thinking about taking part in a race like Run Woodstock.

Knowing that running 100 miles would tax his body, Sloan dedicated himself to sticking to a regular workout routine – five days a week – at Grand Trunk to ensure his body would be ready.

But it wasn’t until Angel Lynch, another Grand Trunk member, publicly stated on the Grand Trunk members’ only Facebook page that he was thinking about doing the race that the pressure really started to build.

Grand Trunk is a close-knit community – a group of bad-asses, if you will – that encourages other members to be their best selves. So when Angel posted to the members-only Facebook page that John was thinking about running the race, the idea spread like wildfire and, before long, he was being encouraged by other members to do it.

“I’ve made a lot of great friends in the two years I’ve been a member here, and they started pushing me from day one to cross this race off of my bucket list,” he said.

One of the first people to jump at the chance to help John reach his goal was Brent Widlak, a fellow member of Grand Trunk CrossFit. During Run Woodstock, runners can bring a “pacer” during one of the 17-mile loops. This is an opportunity for the participant to change the scenery and lean on somebody to motivate them to finish the loop when the mental toll of running so many miles starts to elevate.

When John asked Brent if he would be willing to pace him for one turn, Brent didn’t hesitate. He showed up to pace at mile 67 to 85, then stayed until John was finished with the run.

A second Grand Trunk member, named Shawn Penrice, also participated as a pacer, even though he only grew to know John well enough this past summer.

“It shows how committed all of the members here are to the success of others when they are willing to give up a significant portion of their Saturday to help out a fellow CrossFItter,” said Sloan. “Shawn was waiting for me at mile 51 to start pacing me, at four o’clock in the morning!”

The willingness of Brooklyn Netherton, owner of Grand Trunk, to help out John was what really blew him away.

Like any good box owner, Brooklyn has his finger on the pulse of what’s happening at his gym, so he knew John was planning to do Run Woodstock. But what John didn’t know was that Brooklyn wanted to be hands-on when it came to helping John finish the race. He approached John one day and said he would show up and pace him during his last loop.

“Brooklyn ran the last loop behind me and tended to my nasty feet when they needed care,” said John. “I dare you to find another CrossFit box owner who would tape up the blistered feet of one of their members after a race like this.”

Since the entire Grand Trunk community was invested in John’s success, Brooklyn’s wife and Grand Trunk co-owner, Diana, was keeping everyone updated throughout the day by sharing pictures on the members-only Facebook page. It was a way for those who didn’t volunteer at the event to follow John as he completed 100 miles.

“I know I couldn’t have completed this race were it not for the support I received from Grand Trunk’s community and owners,” added John. “Grand Trunk has become an important part of my life, and I don’t see a day where I stop looking forward to going.”

Interested in seeing for yourself what Grand Trunk has to offer? Reach out today!

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