Thank you for checking out The Community Conversation, brought to you by Prototype Training Systems, home of CrossFit Prototype. The Community Conversation highlights a different member of the Prototype Community each week and allows them to tell their story, share their life experience, and communicate their perspective on all things fitness.

We’ve all listened to podcasts and watched YouTube videos that highlight some of the world’s greatest leaders and visionaries. We believe we have some AMAZING people at Prototype and we want you to get to know them! (Check out our last episode here!)

To that end, for our 19th episode of the Community Conversation, I would like to welcome fellow Prototype member, Marissa Papazian. If you’re listening you probably know Marissa or have seen her crushing it on the WODIFY whiteboard! Marissa has been part of the Prototype community since 2015 and during that time has added 2 little ones to her family, training through both her pregnancies with Colin and her most recent addition, Ben (I’m sure Mia likes being a big sister!). In addition to her tenure as a CrossFitter and her training through her pregnancy, Marissa has been one of the most dedicated members we’ve ever had at Prototype. She’s part of our 1000 WOD milestone club, she’s won multiple community awards and she continued to train virtually during COVID now just recently getting back into the gym.

So, click the link below to watch this Community Conversation on our YouTube page! You can also check out The Community Conversation on all major streaming platforms including Spotify! Don’t forget to subscribe!

Michael Collette 0:01
All right, everyone. Thank you for tuning into the community conversation brought to you by protect train systems home of CrossFit prototype. The community conversation highlights a different member of the prototype community each week and allows them to tell their story, share the life experience, and communicate their perspective on all things. Fitness. We’ve all listened to podcasts and watch YouTube videos, I highlight some of the world’s greatest leaders and visionaries. We believe we have some amazing people here at prototype and we want you to get to know them. So to that end, for our 19th episode of the commune conversation, I’d like to welcome our fellow project member Marissa Papazian. If you’re listening, you probably know Marissa or have seen her crushing it on wodify whiteboard. Versus been part of the project community since 2015. And during that time, she’s added two little ones to her family training through both their pregnancies with Collin, our most recent edition, Ben, I’m sure Mia is a happy being a big sister to both Khan and Ben, in addition to your tenure as a crossfitter. And her training through pregnancy, versus being one of the most dedicated members ever had a prototype. She’s part of our 1000 watt milestone club. She’s won multiple community awards. And she’s continued to train virtually during COVID and is just now recently got back into the gym. So Marissa, thank you for being on the community conversation today. Thank you. That was quite an introduction. Wow. You know, I try. I try. Yeah. But um, why don’t we get things started? Why don’t you just get a little bit into your background? How did you get into CrossFit? I know you’re going to a gym before and you moved, I think into the area before you found prototype, why don’t you talk a little bit about your journey, how you found CrossFit. How did you get into it? How’d you get into prototype, all that sort of stuff?

Marissa Papazian 1:47
Sure. Um, so I mean, when I was a kid, I was always just active. I didn’t really, I played some sports. But it wasn’t really that good at anything. I played hockey in high school, and then after college just kind of ran to stay in shape and never lifted a single thing in my life. And as I was getting close to 30, I was feeling like I needed something different. And one of my friends from college, she had tried CrossFit and she was like, not a typical crossfitter at all. And she was like, I think you’ll love it. So I was visiting her and tried out a class in New York. And I was like, Oh, this might be cool. So I was living in Cambridge at the time and hopped into Commonwealth CrossFit and Cambridge Somerville line, started there and was only there a short time we moved down to Dedham. And I joined a CrossFit there from 2012 to 2015. And then we moved to Westboro, and I found prototype. And it was just a close by to the gym and I walked in and everybody was super welcoming. And I just kind of went from there.

Michael Collette 3:04
You said that you weren’t good at sports in high school? I find that so hard to believe. Because you’re an incredible athlete. And you said you’re a hockey player. I didn’t know that. So like ice hockey or is there like women’s like mix like men’s women’s.

Marissa Papazian 3:19
yeah, I only played with girls. I when I was a kid, I started skating at like three or four. My dad played like men’s league hockey when I was a kid. And I would be like sleeping in the benches, you know, 10pm ice times and stuff. So I got started skating young. And then by the time I got to high school, I was like, I haven’t tried hockey. So I played and I was fine. I was not very good. But I think I grew up in a house in like a blended family five kids, we feel like we weren’t really pushed to do anything. So I was I didn’t really didn’t really feel like I needed to push that hard. And I wasn’t I was like, not a very much of a risk taker. So I just kind of was like, hard to push out of my comfort zone. So now, you know, looking back now I feel I love CrossFit so much. And I wish that it was around and that I found that younger, because it would have been cool to try to be somewhat competitive at some point.

Michael Collette 4:21
So you didn’t really push yourself outside your comfort zone. You said when you were younger, but you clearly do that. Now, how do you know like, when did that when did that change? Or how did that change?

Marissa Papazian 4:34
I don’t know. I think I think CrossFit something that CrossFit just brought it out. I mean, I just I enjoy pushing myself and I love just the feeling of there’s just always so many things you can get better at and it’s just it’s for me it’s so much fun just to continue to see strength build and I don’t know just I’ve had to go back some Many times to, you know, my strength and my everything has gotten a little bit worse because I’ve had babies and surgeries and things. And it’s just fun to be able to build back and see how much stronger I can get or at least get back to where I was at some point.

Michael Collette 5:16
You’ve been cross spinning for over 10 years. Right?

Marissa Papazian 5:21

Michael Collette 5:22
And through those 10 years had three kids, like you mentioned, there’s like surgery, but you kept coming back, he kept up with it and train through pregnancies and that sort of thing. Can you talk a little bit about that? Because I, I know, well, there’s been a multitude of women that have come in have worked out through their entire pregnancy, but you will, you’ve worked out literally to like the day of basically. And when it comes to like exercise, especially doing like high intensity exercise, or CrossFit and weightlifting and stuff like that, you know, the old car that the old school of thought was, well, don’t exercise, it’s, you know, dangerous. And you it’s certainly not that not the case. But there are things obviously you can’t do as you go through the trimesters and you definitely know that. So for like the folks that are listening, that maybe thinking about having a baby, or maybe they are pregnant or something like that, can you talk about your journey, and as it relates to training through pregnancy? And what you did and how you kept up with that?

Marissa Papazian 6:27
Yeah, so with my first pregnancy, I have been crossfitting, for two years at that point, or something like that, you know, you hear about you shouldn’t do this, you shouldn’t do that. And I would Google try to figure out what I should do or not. So I was definitely more cautious in my first pregnancy. But I still, for the most part, you know, kept up, you know, my I was still lifting, still doing both things. And by the time I got pregnant with Colin, I was like, you know, I think that I was fine. And I can push myself a little bit more, and, you know, your breathing is a little bit different. So that kind of limits you in a way. And I would just always stop and make sure that I can comfortably breathe, but otherwise, there’s not I feel there’s not much that you really need to limit. You know, there’s I was doing handstands, that was fine. Some people aren’t comfortable with that. And I think it’s kind of up to the person what they’re comfortable with. And what I also think is, if something doesn’t feel comfortable, one day when you’re pregnant, it doesn’t mean that for the rest of however long you have in the pregnancy, you need to stop doing that, because there were times that my belly would feel kind of funny when I was growing. But then I would try it a few days later, and it was fine. So I think it’s, it’s completely up to the person, obviously, I’m not giving anybody your medical advice. But I would always ask my doctor and they would just say, as long as it feels, okay, you can keep doing it. And I really did work out till the day I had all of my babies and they’re all healthy, and they’re, they’re fine. And I felt great. You know, working out is my sanity, I do it. Because I want to be strong. And I like to, you know, feel like I’m physically fit. But it’s more for my sanity than anything else. And I think it’s totally fine for people to do all through their pregnancy, if it’s comfortable. That’s awesome. And your kids are all pretty much acclimated to loud music. I remember being in the gym. I forget at this point. If it was I think it was calling and he would just like sleep through the class and the music would just be going like, just like out you know, they get used to it. Yeah, my kids Mia to at my old gym. I would bring her in the stroller and the barbells clean on ground. She didn’t she didn’t move. Like white noise. Yeah.

Michael Collette 8:51
Can you Zid you’ve been doing this so long in terms of like grasping, and we obviously the gym is we opened in 2012. So some of the folks are coming to our gym haven’t been doing this that long. Especially some like new folks that are just getting into CrossFit. You kind of got into it, you know, before it became what it is today. Do you mind talking through your like your day one experience? Like do you remember what your first workout was? Like? What? What was it that got you hooked? You mentioned that you do it for like as much for your health and fitness and strength but also for like, your sanity. Like talk a little bit about that because I’m right there with you. I mean, I work out because you know makes the thing between my ears feel better, not just from a strength or aesthetic perspective. Yeah.

Marissa Papazian 9:47
I don’t really remember my first workout. I remember doing the workout with my friend in New York. And I just remember there were pull ups and they had a black band. That was I mean it could like launch you into the sky. It wa such a big band And that’s really all I remember from it. But I was like, this is kind of cool. And then my first workout at Commonwealth CrossFit, I don’t remember what it was, but I remember leaving and being like, that lasted like eight minutes, was that anything did I even get a workout in. But I went back, and obviously, I’m still here. So something got me hooked. But mentally, I mean, my God, it’s, I’ve been through so much. And since 2012, between having babies surgeries, just going through, I had gotten engaged early on, when I started, and I was planning a wedding through some tough family stuff, my brother in law had gotten sick. And that just, you know, things like that, that you use fitness to just get you through mentally, like I would just do a workout and maybe cry after and then like, just feel so much better, you know, having done something for myself during a time where there was so much personally going on. But day to day, I mean, just having been, you know, he’s six months old now. And he cried for the first four months that he was alive, which was again really, really hard mentally, and I was in a tough place mentally. But I would just go into the garage, I would do the workout, whenever he would sleep, even if it was for like 20 minutes, I’m like, straight to the garage, do a workout. And at least like that was something I could do for myself. So I’m so thankful to have had that because I don’t know what I would have done otherwise and clearer through that. And I’m able to get back in the gym a bit. So it’s been a lot better. But every day, it’s for my mental health.

Michael Collette 11:45
I can only I can’t understand, obviously, but I understand the the the impact that it has on your brain, because some days you’re just in a fog, you’re not feeling good. And all of a sudden, it’s like, it’s the best medicine, isn’t it? I mean, really, you know, like you get it in you get it done you there’s a level of accomplishment. But also, bloods flowing endorphins are going in your brains just like listen, like, you’re going to get any fun, right? Like you’re gonna get through whatever it is, like, life’s not easy gonna get through this shit, excuse me for swearing, I think this is like a kid friendly thing, but you get through it. And then it just it allows you to kind of just take a step back and then, you know, realize that you can keep progressing and moving forward just day to day at a time, right? I respect that so much. God, I didn’t know that he would like cry all the time for four months and needed these windows of 20 minutes and you just go out and like How? Like, I’m just like thinking about what you just said, so many people would not do that. They would lay down or just relax or just like, you know, maybe have a drink? Or maybe Yeah, I mean, like, not take the 20 minutes to go out in their garage. Like that’s incredible.

Marissa Papazian 13:07
I would rather I know something about the feeling of working out is just better for me than anything else. Like if I just to me, I’m like, if I lay down and go to sleep, I’m still gonna be tired and 20 minutes when he wakes up, but I’ll feel so much better if I’m moving my body and like, you know, and helps your mind to.

Michael Collette 13:27
So even though you didn’t remember your first CrossFit workout, which is a I feel like that’s a that’s like every crossfitter like remembers the first runner but y’all know yours. It’s okay. Do you remember the black band The shot that shoots you up towards the ceiling? Alright, like, any workouts, because you’ve been in so long, we’re the ones that stick out to you. Maybe your favorite or the hardest, like, you know, I mean, like, I would love to hear from your perspective as you’ve been doing this for for so long. I don’t think you’ve probably seen everything.

Marissa Papazian 14:01
I mean, I just workouts I love her partner workouts. I love being able to work out with somebody and I don’t know, it’s just more fun with somebody else. I don’t know if I can think of like a specific one. That’s super hard. I mean, I love doing the hero workouts. They’re just a different level and a little bit heavier, a little bit, you know, just push yourself a little bit more than on a normal day. But I think partner ones I think I like that part to get a little bit of rest hopefully and, you know, gives you a little bit more to push yourself when it’s your turn. The rest is fun.

Michael Collette 14:41
Not working for the full amount of time by yourself and you’re in your own head and grinding it out. Benchmark workouts can can certainly be a grind. We did one. We did Cindy on Tuesday and Murph is coming up. Are you going to be doing Murph?

Marissa Papazian 14:59
I don’t know. I depends on what’s going on at home. Cindy, and wherever. Well, Cindy is not my favorite. It’s just, there’s not enough variety for me. The three, three movements, low volume and just kind of moving and moving inside.

Michael Collette 15:12
I think the hardest thing about Cindy is keeping track of the other rounds. Alright, so we’ve talked about like your journey through like pregnancy, we talked about, like your fitness journey, and starting, you know, again, like 10 years, like, do you want to talk anything about like, you know, for for folks that are just getting into CrossFit, like, what would be like your advice to some of those people, because, again, you’ve gone through a bunch of a lot of stuff, and you you’ve literally stuck to it, like for the folks that might feel discouraged at times, or they might not be the type of people that take those 20 minutes that they have to go and do a workout to feel better. Do you have any, like advice for them or some insight from like, what you’ve learned in the last 10 years or so?

Marissa Papazian 16:02
Well, I always tell people, I mean, prospect is for anybody, you know, you don’t have to have, I never lifted a single thing in my life or grasp it. So it’s so scalable for anybody. I think that’s huge. You know, I thought my mother in law talks about how she needs to get stronger, and her older age and, you know, come to CrossFit, you know, it’s not as scary, especially I think, at prototype. It’s such a wide range of ages, where I think in the past, it was such it was younger people it felt like we’re doing CrossFit. But that prototype we have, you know, we have some young people we’ve got, you know, the teenagers, but you’ve got older people doing it, too, and everybody crushes it, but everybody can also scale it. And I think that’s so important and means you can do it forever. I don’t know.

Michael Collette 16:56
Fitness for Life. Yeah. Yeah. Your advice is basically just jump in, just do it.

Marissa Papazian 17:03
There’s no reason there’s nothing that should be stopping anybody. It might seem scary, because people are, you know, lifting barbells. And maybe you’ve never done that before. But there are so many places that people start, like I’ve always said to new people, like we’ve we all started somewhere. And most of us started at the very beginning and just takes time. And consistency. You know, I’m my taking those 20 minutes to go work out. Like maybe that’s my weird brain. And a lot of people aren’t like that. But it feels everybody knows that at the end of the workout, they feel so much better.

Michael Collette 17:38
We have a saying, We meet you where you are and take you where you want to go. Yeah, which so true. It’s so true. Sometimes just overcoming the fear. But as you might know, things that scares are typically the things that we probably should be doing well, most of them unless you’re doing like crazy stuff. Alright, so Marissa, I’m gonna hit you with the the Spitfire round here on these these three questions. I say this every single time we do one of these community conversations that I need to change these questions because everyone knows that they’re coming now it’s not like random. So you probably had time to prep but first one is what is your favorite TV show? And movie of all time? And then also adding on to that? What is the if you’re watching any show right now? What’s the current show? Or series that you’re binge watching?

Marissa Papazian 18:35
Well, I’m not like a big movie watcher. I feel like in my current life, I don’t have time for much of movies or TV. Especially because I’m trying to get up for the 5am gym class. Um, but I from movie for me it’s not like people are like Shawshank all these like intense movies, elf. It’s my favorite of all time. That’s a great day and we’ll always say like, if it’s on he has to put it on for me. I just like funny. You don’t need to think it’s just hilarious. I made my kids listen to a part of it the other day cuz it’s just so funny. Movie. Yeah. TV show. Karen Burton said friends and I was like, I think I might have to agree on friends like again. I sometimes I just need like mindless humor. And that’s one I’ll always watch. And I am not binge watching anything right now and by children going asleep and then me having like 20 minutes before it’s time for bed.

Michael Collette 19:34
Yeah, gonna work out for you go to bed though. No, they won’t be able to sleep. I don’t know if you’ve ever done that. But I that’s probably why you’re probably a morning workout person. If I were me, personally, if I workout in the afternoon or I think after five o’clock I don’t sleep as well. It’s like the time that I drink coffee too late. It’s like, yeah, it’s exactly what it is. It’s like drinking coffee too late. That’s why I like the 24 heroes like it was okay because you’re Like, oh, it’s like almost like you’re just getting a red bull every hour on the hour is how I felt.

Marissa Papazian 20:05
Yeah, I haven’t done a nighttime workout in a long time. Only Friday Night Lights a couple times, but That’s right. That’s right.

Michael Collette 20:12
Alright, so next question is what is your favorite musician or band or artist of all time?

Marissa Papazian 20:19
Um, I am like a hip hop type was like, what I’m really into. Lauryn Hill, old school. I really love her music. That’s awesome.

Michael Collette 20:35
What was, uh, what was the band now? I’m forgetting? The Fugees. Oh, geez. It’s like the score. Right? It’s like the what’s like one of the best albums of all time? Um, as a great as great. I haven’t heard that one yet. Okay, and then last last question is, what is your favorite thing to do? I guess hobby. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working? or working out at the gym?

Marissa Papazian 20:58
Right now it’s being with my kids. And just getting outside doing anything with them. During quarantine times, we’re like, going for a bike ride, scoot scooting, just going out hikes, walks, whatever it is. That’s kind of all we’ve got going on.

Michael Collette 21:17
Do you have any good stories with the kids so far? Especially since adding adding little Ben to the family? Any funny funny stories of all the kids how is by the way, how is a like Khan and in Mia with with the little one. They’re awesome. They are like all over him all the time. So I can like get up in the morning. Go feed him after I’m done. They will like be on top of him on the floor. So I can like take shower, get ready for work. Whatever I need. They’re awesome.

Marissa Papazian 21:50
I’m not gonna have any good stories off the top of my head. But they’re they’re just super cute with him. They are like so excited to do anything when he does anything. They’re like, Mommy, I just rolled over you know, so they’re both really cute making like the goofy faces that adults do in his face. So it’s cute. That’s awesome. You’re training them to be babysitters already? Yeah, well training workout too, because we are Saturday’s we’ve been doing workouts in the driveway. And they’re they’re already like, Oh, that’s awesome. It’s awesome. All it’s so great to me and jumping on the big box yet. She’s trying Yeah. and Colin is too. And then he gets on top and he’s scared to jump down. Just like his height is high.

Michael Collette 22:34
I was gonna say that’s like doing like a cheese like a long time the 70 inch box from for me. Yeah. Well, Marissa, I really appreciate you being on the community conversation day means so much to me, and everyone prototype and then for all you that are listening. Thank you for tuning in and watching. Remember, every week release new community conversation with a new guest to get your week started. To be the first to know, when the new community conversations posted, subscribe to our YouTube page, or on Spotify, or get on our daily brief newsletter. These videos are also posted in our community members only group on Facebook. So if you’re a member at prototype, and you’re not in that group, just let us know we’ll get you in. And lastly, if you’re interested in being on the community conversation, just use the message and we’d love to have you so until next time. Thanks, Marissa.

Marissa Papazian 23:21
Thank you