Athlete of the Month- Jeff Varallo

This month’s featured athlete is Jeff Varallo! Jeff is an Early Bird member through and through who has two young children, a career as well as aspirations to eventually finish a 24 hour obstacle course race! Read more about how Jeff balances his day-to-day with his fitness goals!

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Q: What or who brought you to CrossFit DelVal? How long have you been a member of the gym?

A: I joined CrossFit DelVal back in June of 2017. At the time, I had been going to another CrossFit gym for a few months and was really starting to love CrossFit, but needed to find a gym closer to my house that better fit my schedule. I visited 3 different CF gyms in the area but none really felt like a great fit. I decided to meet with Rob and give DelVal a chance and immediately fell in love. Rob and all the coaches/members of the morning crew were so welcoming, there was such a great atmosphere in the gym, and it really was a no-brainer to join CFDV.

Q: What are some of your long term goals? What are some of your short term goals?

A: My goals really depend on the time of year. I spend the spring/summer focusing on cardio and metcons and then the fall/winter I shift my focus more on building strength and gaining weight. Right now my short-term goals are to beat my previous times from last year in Murph and the Spartan Super at Blue Mountain in July. Long-term I would love to be able to deadlift 400, squat 300 and do some crazy endurance events like the World’s Toughest Mudder (24 hour obstacle course race).  

Q: You’ve been tracking your macros and been fine tuning your nutrition, how do you stay on track for the long term? What are some foods you rely on most?

A: It’s definitely tough staying on track long-term. 2 things that work well for me are tracking everything I eat, because you can see exactly how your macros stack up. I also just completely cross certain foods off the list, so I don’t eat any sort of candy or dessert, no matter what. This was pretty tough at first, but after a few weeks it just becomes second nature to say no to cake, cookies, etc. I eat a ton of meat, vegetables, fruit, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, homemade protein bars and WAY TOO MUCH Kashi cereal (pretty sure it’s impossible to only eat 1 bowl of Kashi).

Q: What class time do you attend the most, are there any regular member you work out with at that time? A: I am at the gym at 5 am every day and proud to be an Early Bird! I usually go back and forth between lifting in the dungeon and doing the 5:15am CrossFit class. Everyone in the morning crew is amazing, whether I’m powerlifting with Chris, Tom and Will or doing class with Greg, Carl, Jabari, Ryan, Jenn, Alicia, Maggie and everyone else. It’s such a great atmosphere and everyone is always so supportive. The gym truly is my escape from the world and my second home so I’m so grateful to be able to work out with such awesome people! I also attend the noon class most Thursdays when I work from home to get in some extra training.

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Q: Tell us a little about yourself, what is your life like outside the gym? Where do you work, do you have kids/pets/spouse/partner? What is your favorite hobby outside the gym?

A: Life is very hectic outside the gym. I work as an Underwriter at a specialty insurance company in Bala Cynwyd. My wife (Domonique) works at CHOP and we have 2 amazing kids (Kaylee is 6 and Colton is 1). There is never a dull moment in our crazy family and I’m so grateful to have them in my life. My favorite hobbies are hanging out with friends/family, anything outdoors, going on walks to the park with the kids, playing hockey and watching sports!

Q: What is your favorite lift, movement, or wod? Least favorite?

A: Favorite lift would have to be the squat – it’s the movement I struggle with the most, so being able to hit a heavy squat with perfect form is the best feeling in the world for me. Favorite movement is anything extremely painful (burpees, thrusters, assault bike, etc.). Favorite WOD is Andy. Andy is a hero WOD we did a few months ago involving 50 thrusters at #115, 100 box jumps, 150 deadlifts and a 1.5 mile run, all with a 20lb vest – it was one of the most grueling/painful workout I had ever done, but it’s my favorite because it truly pushed me way outside my comfort zone and forced me to dig deep to finish those last 25 thrusters. Least favorite movement would be Sumo Deadlift High Pulls no doubt, they kill me every time!

Q: If you were to perform in a circus, what would you do?

A: No clue. I’m deathly afraid of heights so that definitely narrows it down. Maybe hanging out with the elephants and tigers?