Athletes of the Month: Michelle Scullin & Katie Deaner

This month's Athlete(s) of the Month features two inseparable Early Bird ladies. Michelle and Katie are frequently spotted together WODing, lifting, laughing and joking together. Read about how they became such close friends, how they keep each other accountable and how they coincidentally have the same favorite CrossFit workout!

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Q (Katie): Tell us about your dynamic duo. Did you guys meet at DelVal or were you friends before CrossFit?

A: Michelle and I met at CFDV when I started. She had been there for a bit when I started and was kind enough to let me lift with her when I could only bench the bar, not much has changed in that regard. There was a really great group of early bird 5:30 AM ladies when I first started, Maggie, Laura (come back to AM), Erin (come back to PA), and Liz. They were all so encouraging and fun to be around, even first thing in the morning! I think our friendship grew organically after that. We found out we are both Gemini’s, we love to complain, we love red wine, and we’re both always sarcastic and laughing. Instant mix for friendship!

Q(Michelle): How did you and Katie become so close? Does having Katie in gym make you more accountable for showing up consistently as you do

A:  When Katie started at DelVal, I had a feeling after her first few sarcastic and self deprecating comments that we were going to be friends. Then when she never complained having to basically do a half squat each time she approached the barbell when sharing the rack with my short self, I knew she was selfless and we would be close friends. The more we worked out together, the more fun we had laughing at ourselves and discovering the similarities in our personalities and our fitness abilities at the gym. Once we started getting together outside the gym, the swolemance (google it, I did not make up that word) really began. Whether it is hanging out with our DelVal ladies for happy hour (lunch, dinner or any other excuse to get together), shopping for athleisureware, dancing our butts off with our husbands at a wedding, hanging with our kids, or having a girls’ therapy session on the phone, I alway feel happier after spending time with Katie. And yes, having Katie as my workout partner definitely keeps me more accountable for showing up. If I am feeling less than motivated when thinking of waking up at 4:30 the next morning, a little reminder from Katie that she is planning on going and I will feel better. Even if I just show up and move, that’s all it usually takes to get me there in the morning. We like working out together and sometimes even have a plan for skills or movements that we want to work on.      

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Q(Katie): Do you and Michelle always workout together? Do you partner up for workouts when you can?

A: I’ll be honest here. Yes!  If I show up to the gym and Michelle isn’t there, the very first thing anyone I run into says is “where’s Michelle?”....and I usually know where she is, ha! We partner up whenever there is a partner workout, unless she decides to be funny and partners me with Maggie so I literally almost collapse (love you Mag, but your fitness level is insane)! Michelle started training with Justin and was having so much success that I crashed her sessions. After that, we made it official and now Justin gets the absolute joy of dealing with us at both BBC on Tuesdays and every Saturday morning for personal training.  

Q(Michelle): Who is more likely to push the other in a workout, you or Katie? Are either of you competitive with one another?

A: I think that Katie and I are both equally likely to push each other in a workout. We like cheering each other on, and we seem to know when the other needs that little extra mental push or a cue to make an adjustment on some movement. I would definitely say that we are not competitive with each other. I am so happy when Katie crushes a workout and is able to get me extra chalk or a drink of water to help me finish my workout. Katie is also always happy for me when I reach a goal or improve on a movement. To be honest, I think that we both love working out at DelVal and are trying to just keep improving so we can maybe catch up to Maggie on a running or burpee WOD when she is a full 9 plus months pregnant.  #gymgoals

Q(Katie): What is your favorite part of DelVal? What’s your favorite CrossFit workout?

A: My favorite thing about DelVal is the people. Everyone is super supportive and with that support I’ve made fitness a part of my regular life. I’ve made really amazing friends and have a core group of ladies that this NJ chick needed. I guess I can say I’m from PA since I’ve lived here for 11 years, but once a Jersey girl, always a Jersey girl. Also, have to shout out Justin and our training sessions for being very challenging, but also encouraging! Our training has helped me become more confident with a barbell. I know he looks forward to our quality time each week! My favorite workout is definitely Annie. It’s almost the only CrossFit workout I can RX and do with consistency!

Q(Michelle): What is your favorite part of DelVal? What’s your favorite CrossFit workout?

A: I hope I don’t sound like a copycat since Katie was more organized and answered her questions first, but my favorite part of DelVal is also the people. I remember being so intimidated walking in for my first class and watching people lift heavy weights and perform these skills that I never imagined I would even try.  With the coaches training and encouragement of other members of the gym, I feel like I have come so far and I really enjoy starting my day with the Early Bird crew. There are some crazy talented and athletic people in that group that inspire me to keep working at it. I also love working out with different members that I don’t normally see during the week at boot camp on Sunday. I have made some really great friends at DelVal. My favorite workout is also Annie (really, it is!). It is like my gym pick-me-up. If I ever get in a little slump, I try to do Annie. If I improve on my time, it can give me the little boost I need to refocus and see that my fitness is improving. I also can’t forget to mention how much I enjoy BBC and my training with Justin. I used to be extremely intimidated with barbell movements but Justin has helped me learn to love Oly lifting. Thanks for your patience, Justin.

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Q(Katie): What is one thing that most people wouldn’t assume looking at Michelle? What is the funniest thing she’s done in the gym?

A:  Looking at Michelle? You wouldn’t know that she rocks Doc Martens like a badass or that she’s a successful partner at a law firm. She gets terrible hangovers which I find ENDLESSLY annoying. I think just looking at someone you don’t really get the full picture. I’ll take some space here to brag about my friend. She’s honestly one of the most caring, thoughtful, funny people that I’ve ever met. She’s so genuine that it’s disarming to most people, so everyone loves her. She’s an amazing wife and mom. She also gives the best advice...saving me from myself on a weekly basis. I don’t know if I have one specific moment that was the funniest, but my favorite thing Michelle does at the gym is talk/laugh/curse/eye roll mid lift. It makes me laugh and I’m always shocked that she can do that and still complete the lift!

Q(Michelle): What is one thing that most people don’t know about Katie? If Katie called you and told you she was arrested, what would she be arrested for?

A: One thing that most people don’t know about Katie is that she is probably the person most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse. It is true! She is scrappy with incredible street smarts, so I am definitely hitching myself to her wagon if the time comes. But in all seriousness, Katie is really just one of the best humans out there! She is that person that everyone loves spending time with because she makes you feel so comfortable with her great sense of humor, her inherently caring nature and her inability to be fake. Besides being a fabulous dancer, a great listener, and a friend who is always willing to stay out for one more drink, she works a full time job in finance, she is a fabulous mom and wife, she is an incredible cook, she is dedicated to her fitness routine and she doesn’t pretend like it is easy to balance it all! Katie is a friend that you know will always have your back, and she gives me a reason to smile everytime is see her or talk with her. If Katie called me and told me she was arrested, it most likely would be for (1) public intoxication, (2) disorderly conduct, or (3) public twerking (google it). But no worries, I would definitely get Katie out of jail because I know enough from law school to call Greg Mallon to save the day (he looks a little like Clark Kent, right?).