Women’s Only: Melody Miser-Varghese

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  • What are the weaknesses you see in women’s training?
  • How do you manage your own programming?
  • How do you balance being a box owner and a competitive CrossFit athlete?
We sat down recently with Melody Miser Varghese, elite female NorCal Regional competitor and co-owner of Paradigm CrossFit in San Jose, CA.

Melody placed 25th in the hotly-contested NorCal Region for the CrossFit Games Open and competed in the NorCal Regional as part of the Brethren CrossFit team. In this interview, she talks about her training and some of her observations regarding training in general for women.

What are the biggest weaknesses/flaws you see in the way women train?
What is one of Melody’s weaknesses?

My mental game is a challenge – I’m still struggling with that. I’m still more likely to think that I can’t do something than I can.

Melody: First and foremost, a lot of women are scared about weight and lifting heavy and getting bulky. I think this slows down their progression initially. They’re scared to build up their strength aspect of training.

Maybe it’s because of the way they want to look, they’ll hold back from going to that firebreather place. Guys are much more willing to go there.  I think it’s changing as we speak, but one reason for this, I think, is that there are a lot more role models for guys than girls. In terms of the general female population at my gym, becoming a firebreather is a foreign concept to them.

You yourself are a competitive CrossFit athlete and coach clients of your own. Who coaches/programs for you?

Melody:  I currently follow the Outlaw programming, and I’ve been following it for about a month now. Before that, I was following programming that was self-programmed 50% and 50% programmed by Lee Pappas from CrossFit Brethren.

After a successful Games season in 2012, what are the biggest weaknesses for you heading into the 2013 Games season?

Melody: Improving strength with the lifts. Performing muscle-ups under fatigue. My mental game is a challenge – I’m still struggling with that. I’m still more likely to think that I can’t do something than I can.

How do you balance coaching your athletes vs. training yourself?
Finding balance: 

I’ve been lucky in that I have a lot of time to train — sometimes too much time, actually, to the point where I don’t train smart.

Melody: I’m pretty lucky in that area in terms of my being able to train a lot. It definitely helps to have my husband Ronny help run the gym! I’ve been lucky in that I have a lot of time to train — sometimes too much time, actually, to the point where I don’t train smart. Outlaw has helped me train smarter in terms of being more efficient with my rest time. I feel like I get a lot done in 1 1/2 hours as opposed to before, when I would waste time chatting with my training partnersL three hours would pass by and I would feel like we hadn’t done much training.

What are your responsibilities in terms of running your affilitate as part of a husband/wife team?

Melody: I do most of the blogging for the box, but we share the programming and coaching. I help with the mandatory Foundations program for all new clients, and I also run the Paradigm Panthers program. We share the responsibilities for supervising the interns and grooming new coaches.

We try to run a lot of events at our gym, and I help organize and set them up. Some events we throw include nutrition seminars every quarter, throwdowns, social events like movie night… in fact, we’re hosting a showing of Food Inc. this coming Friday night, where we show the movie at the gym and throw a potluck. It’s great for building community at our box.

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