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!)
Today’s guest on The Community Conversation is Lauren Palmateer! Lauren has been part of the Prototype community for almost 3 years, she’s a graduate of Western New England University (WNE), she works at the New England Children’s Center, she’s a 2020 Prototype Community award winner (she won the mindset award!), and she is an all-around badass member at Prototype, crushing our CrossFit classes, THRIVE classes and does 1-1 personal training with Coach Joe.
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Mike Collette 0:02
Hey everyone, thank you for tuning in to the community conversation brought to you by prototype Training Systems home of CrossFit prototype. The community conversation highlights a different member of the 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 watch YouTube videos to highlight some of the world’s greatest leaders and visionaries, we believe so we have some amazing people here a prototype and we want you to get to know them. So to that end, I want to introduce you to our 10th guest, Lauren Palmateer. Lauren has been part of the Prototpe community for almost three years. She’s the 2020 female mindset award winner here a prototype, former collegiate athlete, and just all around. badass. So Lauren, thank you for being part of the community conversation.
Lauren Palmateer 0:48
First, thanks for having me.
Mike Collette 0:50
Yes, absolutely. So So Lauren, why don’t you just we’ll kick things off as we kind of normally do with the community conversation. Why don’t you just give us a little bit of background on who you are, where you from? How’d you find CrossFit? How’d you find Prototype? Like, give us your story?
Lauren Palmateer 1:06
Sure. So I’m originally from upstate New York, and towns called cooksaki. It’s a little bit south of Albany if anyone’s familiar with that area. Um, yeah, I mean, I grew up there with my family. I kind of ended up in Massachusetts from college, which is also where I started or kind of where I found CrossFit. So I played field hockey in college, and I needed or I wanted something different to keep me in shape over the summer to prepare me for the field hockey season. We had like a group of personal trainers at my college that gave us summer workouts, it was just like lifting and then we would do like, timed miles every week. And I thought that was okay, but I didn’t. I also didn’t really have access to just like a Planet Fitness or something like that, that was close by that I could just easily go and lift at. So I had heard about this CrossFit gym that was opening around my hometown, and I had heard it I had heard about CrossFit from somebody that I used to go to high school with who I also played field hockey with who is kind of like, one of my role models going through high school. And so I was like, Yeah, cool, CrossFit. Check it out. And yeah, I started CrossFit. My the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college. And I really just loved it. I love that competitive aspect of it. And I love that there are so many different areas to improve upon. And then when I was really like, Wow, this is so cool is when I got back to college that sophomore year, and I saw how good of shape I was in from CrossFit. And like, I mean, I was I in field hockey run, you know, five to 10 miles in a game, depending on what position I was playing. And I didn’t I mean, I didn’t run five to 10 miles every week. But just seeing how CrossFit workouts doing that four to five times a week translated into field hockey was really. I mean, it was impressive and mind blowing to me. So that’s when I was like, wow, this stuff is really cool. So that’s why I found CrossFit and how I got hooked on it. And just from there, I did CrossFit over the summer, every time I was home from college and kind of did it a little bit during my offseason while I was at college. And then I graduated my undergrad in 2018, which was in at Western New England in Springfield. And then I moved to westborough in August of 2018, for my job and for grad school. And I was originally going to CrossFit New England for a couple months, but it ended up not being it’s close to where I work, but it’s not close to where I live. So it was just not convenient for me and I just wasn’t going so then I found CrossFit prototype, and that’s where I am now, obviously and it’s great.
Mike Collette 4:23
So you’ve had this like journey of doing CrossFit as a complimentary to your training with field hockey. Have you seen like any parallels between now that you’re not doing athletics or I wouldn’t say that you’re not doing athletics but not now that you’re not a collegiate athlete doing field hockey? Are you getting that same value from you know, being part of a community team? Like we hear that a lot from people that are former athletes, it talks about that experience?
Lauren Palmateer 4:53
Um, yeah. So it was the transition from being like an athlete to now Being an athlete was really, really hard for me. Because for like, during field hockey, that was always what my goal is. That’s always what I was working towards. And then after I was like, oh, what am I doing now? So yeah, being able to find CrossFit and like having that community was definitely something that was like parallel to the community that you get from a from playing a team sport. And, and I think that’s one of the things that I, you know, hold on to now is that community aspect of it. And another thing that I really, like I said this earlier, I think, but like, there’s so many different things to work on. So I can always set new goals for myself, which is important, because I definitely get a little lost if I’m not if I don’t have like something I’m working towards.
But yeah, there’s definitely a lot of parallels that I draw, especially between the community aspect, and, you know, obviously, I’m not training for a field hockey season anymore, but I can train for the CrossFit open or train for, like, a weightlifting meet if I want to compete in that eventually. Or, you know, just trying to get better in a specific movement.
Mike Collette 6:14
It’s hard. I understand that being an athlete, and then not being an athlete to identify, it’s like your identity, right? You’re an athlete, and then it just stops. Yeah. And it’s, it’s hard. And that’s why I agree. And I find that similarity with you with now that’s what I identify with. It’s cross it in conversations with people that like, why don’t you play sports anymore? Why don’t you go play? You know, pick up on the weekends, I’m like, do CrossFit. Yeah, I’m good, you know, and the fact that it has so many different elements, and that you can set goals, and there’s so many things to work on, that were never like, done. Yay, the journey doesn’t stop. So what are you working on? Now? What are the big goals for you,
Lauren Palmateer 7:02
um, I want to do really well in the process open, I don’t have like a specific goal in mind. But I just want to RX all workouts and just crush it. I want to compete in a weightlifting meet in the near future and see how I can do with that. And I think just like my overall like life goal is to always continue to like working on my consistency, and my just overall like mental and physical health.
Mike Collette 7:43
Consistency, mental and physical health. It seems like you got the mental component down considering the fact that you won the the mindset award, I think a big a big contributor to that outside of just how you have the ability to kind of put your head down and work, which is a hard thing to do. You did the whole 24 heroes in 24 hours. Let’s talk a little bit about about that, because you’re the only member in the gym that did that. What was that? Like? Why did you do it? I know, we’ve talked about this before, I don’t know if we’re talking about it live, but I think we wrote something up. But I’ll talk about that a little bit. If you’re if you remember, it might be a blur at this point.
Lauren Palmateer 8:22
No, I remember. Um, it was, okay, why did I want to do it? I wanted to do it because it was like one of those tangible goals that I could set for myself and be like, Okay, I’m gonna get there on Saturday morning, and then I’m going to work out 24 hours and then I’m done. And I did it. But it wasn’t it also wasn’t just to say that I did it, it was to see how like how I am prepared for life. You know, I like I like pushing my body to see different kinds of things that I can do. And so that was a cool experience to see how I would like physically hold up and I mean, and mentally hold up I guess across those 24 hours and then how I would recover and how I would feel you know that week the whole process and thereafter was kind of like a learning experience. I guess to me, I I want to see how it would go. But I also just love the meaning behind the 24 heroes workouts. I think it’s something another thing that I really love about CrossFit is that we do hero workouts and that we do like celebrate those who have you know sacrificed for us. Um What else?
What other questions for that one?
Mike Collette 9:44
It was more like the journey through it right? So yeah, okay, what made you decide it? What was it like was it you know, was it as difficult as you thought it was going to be? You know, like talk about like that experience for the people that like obviously didn’t do all the workouts and that’s not the intention necessarily. But there might be other people out there that saw you do it. And they’re like, wow, like Lauren, did I Oh, that’s something that I want to try to do Next year, I think your advice, I guess for Yeah,
Lauren Palmateer 10:13
I guess my overarching statement would be that I think anyone could do it. Um, I think the people that are around you are really important when you’re doing it. It was great when it was like 4am. And like, that’s when it’s like, oh, my God, it’s so late, like, I’m exhausted. But that, you know, obviously, you were there. And then we had a couple other people come in, and that just like, gives you a new life at the top of every hour when you’re like, Alright, what are we doing this hour. So the community around you is obviously really important, which we have a great community of at CrossFit prototype. And I, I scaled a lot, I mean, I, I scaled probably every workout. If I are when I do this, again, I think I will not scale as much. But you know, that was something that I learned from, but again, as we know about CrossFit, it’s infinitely scalable. So anybody can do this. It was really important for me that I was just like eating and drinking throughout, which I think was actually one of the hardest parts. For me, just because I don’t like to eat a lot before or after I workout because it makes me feel weird, I guess. But you know, you obviously have to be eating and drinking a lot if you’re working out for 24 hours. But and then I think it’s also just keeping in mind what the purpose of the 24 heroes workout is, is what helps you get through it to
Mike Collette 11:47
every single one of those workouts is in memory of someone that has given the ultimate sacrifice. And there’s a story behind every single one of those.
Lauren Palmateer 11:57
Yeah. And reading those stories, like at the top of the hour or you know, right after you do the workout, you’re like, yes, this is great.
Mike Collette 12:04
Yeah, I there are so many, there’s so many. And it’s it’s like, it’s the crazy thing. I remember, when getting involved in CrossFit, there wasn’t as many hero workouts as there are now. And now it seems like there’s just so many. And it’s just, it’s sad. And it’s crazy, like, and it’s also there’s this weird, like, Great thing about it at the same time. It’s really, it’s really strange. I would say that that was probably a defining moment for you accomplishing that, what are some other like peak defining moments that you can remember, like in your journey, not necessarily at prototype. But in general, in CrossFit, like any major like events or things that like you’ve done? I know you got a muscle up recently, that was probably one of those moments like to talk about that a little bit.
Lauren Palmateer 12:52
Yeah, I’m getting muscle up was definitely one of those moments for me. Um, it was just something that I like, always, obviously, I mean, I guess not obviously, but I feel like when I first started CrossFit, I was like, I want to be able to do that. Um, and you know, doing it First of all, I I never really like focused on trying to get a muscle up. So I mean, I didn’t really expect ever expect myself to, I mean, I guess not ever, but I didn’t ever put in dedicated time for it. So I was never when I saw it in a workout. I wasn’t like, Oh darn, I can’t do muscle ups. I was like, duh, I can’t do muscle ups. I don’t work on them. So, obviously doing that dedicated training, and then seeing it pay off was a great moment. For me. It was very exciting. And I definitely cried a little bit. And, um, it’s just nice to see like your hard work. come to fruition, I guess. And yeah, and then it’s like, it’s funny, because with CrossFit, it’s like, Alright, you got it on to the next let’s let’s get an another new movement in. But it was a Yeah, it was a great experience, just to see the hard work, you know, you put in is worth it.
Mike Collette 14:08
I love that. And I think a lot of people can relate to it. Like the muscle up is the, you know, almost one of those Pinnacle things, it’s like you’re kind of climbing up that mountain, it’s like at the top, not everyone necessarily is going to get there. But there’s other moments that that they can be just as proud about like their first pull up or first handstand hold or first double under this all these sorts of moments and things around the exercises beyond reaching like aesthetic goals or those sorts of things. It makes it really interesting. Who inspires you? Right? Right, who are your mentors or role models? Because I know you’re big into CrossFit. It may be maybe a CrossFit or maybe not maybe it’s something to do with like your work but like i think that’s an interesting thing to talk about? Hmm.
Lauren Palmateer 15:05
Um, this is a hard one, I think, I don’t know if I have any Well, I guess I definitely have like, role models and people that I look up to like, I mean, I pretty much all the coaching staff at CFP are people that I look up to. I’m gonna start crying because I’m so emotional. Um, but then just like my mom, like, she’s just one of the strongest people I know. And I, you know, obviously I wouldn’t, she’s always supported me through no matter what I choose to do. So I couldn’t like be here without her. Um, which, you know, it sounds cliche, but it’s true. And, ugh, God, sorry.
Um, I think other people that I look up to are just like the kids that I work with. Because they are, you know, I, so I work with kids who have really severe autism, for people who don’t know that. But you know, autism is not well understood, which in turn means my kids are well understood. And me being able to be like a voice for them is, and helping them learn is something that I obviously take really seriously and, you know, carry a lot with me. So there are definitely some of my, you know, role models, too, because they, you know, they don’t have a voice, but they continue doing what they’re doing and learning no matter what the situation is. So, yeah,
Mike Collette 16:53
I didn’t mean to get you emotional on this,
Lauren Palmateer 16:56
like, Okay, I’m emotional about everything. So
Mike Collette 16:59
that’s okay, though. This is the real deal with these community conversations. This is real, real stuff right here. And I’m sure it’s reciprocated. Those kids probably look up to you, too. Now. I don’t think everyone listening to this right now probably knows where you work. But you work at the New England center for children. Right? Is that in southborough?
Lauren Palmateer 17:16
Yeah, it’s in? Yeah. southborough.
Mike Collette 17:17
What do you what do you do there? I know that the kids that you’re you’re working with, but what are your? What are your roles, responsibilities? What are you doing there? And now you’re also in graduate school?
Lauren Palmateer 17:26
Yes, that’s correct. So I’m going to school for a pod behavior analysis, which is essentially the study of human behavior. And applied behavior analysis is, is the science that we apply to teaching the children that I work with, essentially, replacing maladaptive behaviors with appropriate behaviors. And just for like, a simple example, and children, children and adults, adolescents, people diagnosed with autism, who have like a more severe diagnosis, typically engage in behaviors like self injury, or aggression to other people in their environment. So I’m gonna Alright, is it okay, if I go into a little bit of detail with this,
Mike Collette 18:17
go as far as you want? I think this is really interesting. Yeah.
Lauren Palmateer 18:20
So apply and apply behavior analysis, we have like foundational principles of behavior. And essentially, all these things maintain everyone’s behavior, they maintain my behavior, they maintain your behavior, and they maintain the behavior of the kids that I work with. So automatic reinforcement, which means the behavior is maintained without any social mediation, and access to tangibles. So like, we we go to work primarily because it’s maintained by getting a paycheck. So that paycheck is something tangible that we’re getting. And so if I were to take like the access to tangibles example, I might have a student who would engage in aggression in order to because that has always historically resulted in like, say, their mom giving him the iPad. Um, so obviously, when these kids get to the place that I work, it’s on a much more severe level, and it’s like they’re older. So they have such a history of this reinforcement of aggression, I get the iPad. And what we do is we kind of break that behavior chain and we give them an appropriate way to request you know, hey, I really I want to play with my iPad. So it’s replacing that maladaptive aggression behavior with aggression appropriate alternative of either like, again, this would be very student specific and depends on their skill level if their vocal verbal, so if they speak or if they Use a communication device or if they, you know, gesture to things, we would replace aggression for iPad with, I want my iPad please. And then that is a very simple example of what we do. And that goes through all different kinds of levels for all different kinds of behavior. So that’s the basis of like, what my science is, and what we do up in New England center for children. But more specifically, my role right now is I’m a residential coordinator. So we have the Newlands Center is a residential and a day school program for kids with autism, which means the kids that I work with are there 24 seven, they’re not with their families anymore, they are safest with us, because of the services that we can provide. So they have like a residence, which they all live at, we we work with them at the residence, which is like their home. And then they also go to school, which is also the New England center for children school building. So we transition them there, back and forth every day. But my position as a residential coordinator is mainly based at the residence. So I’m responsible for like, supervision of my, my staff and my students while I’m while we’re at the residence, I am responsible for like organization systems and team functioning. And, you know, I I talk with parents in the evenings if they’re fielding questions or concerns. And I work a lot with, like, clinical protocols and and making sure things are running smoothly. Pretty much just at the residence. So at the students homes.
Mike Collette 21:50
That sounds like it’s an incredibly hard. Yeah, but incredibly rewarding.
Lauren Palmateer 21:59
Yeah, that is very true.
Mike Collette 22:02
How, what made you get into that?
Lauren Palmateer 22:05
um, I kind of fell into it my junior year of college. So I was originally a health sciences major when I started college, and I like, I had this grand idea that I was like, I’m going to be a neonatal surgeon. And I got that idea, because in high school I did like, it was called New Visions. It is essentially like, an internship at a local hospital. And I got to just like do rounds with, like doctors and learn about pre med essentially. And it was a couple different like, college credit classes that I took to. So that’s where I originally was, like, pre med. Yeah, Health Sciences. And that really didn’t work out because I didn’t like chemistry, I really didn’t like bio. And it was just like, I am not enjoying this. And I’m not doing as well as I need to do either. So I switched my major to psychology my sophomore year. And I was like, oh, maybe I’ll be a like a athletic psychologist or a sports psychologist, something like, and then, but at that point, I still didn’t really know what I wanted to do. And I didn’t really know what options were out there either. And, in one of my psychology classes that I was taking somebody from the New England center for children came and did like a presentation, because they do an internship program. I was like, Sure, let’s try this. Because again, I was like, I don’t know what I want to do. So I need to try something. Um, I did the internship, my junior year, and I absolutely loved it. I was like, This is so cool. Um, and the reason why I loved it was because applied behavior analysis is this, like, it’s a psychology, but it’s a, it’s an observable science, like we do X, and we see a change, and you can really see it, which is very, very similar to CrossFit. Because it’s observable, it’s measurable, and you can repeat it over time. So it’s like, I’m, I’m not good at, I don’t have a muscle up, I do all this work, I get a muscle up. And, and then it’s the same thing, you know, kid engages in aggression. We do all this work to teach them how to ask for their iPad could ask for iPad and no longer engages in aggression. So it’s like observable, measurable, and it’s repeatable. It’s just like CrossFit. I mean, it’s not just like CrossFit, but the principles are like, very oddly similar. Um, so from the internship, I, you, you pretty much need a master’s degree to like progress in the field. So that was my next option, or my next step, I guess. And I went to undergrad at Western New England. Which is also where my grad school is, um, and they have this program with the New England center. So that is how I ended up in the field I’m in, and I just learn so much every day and love it more every day. It’s just, it’s really incredible.
Mike Collette 25:19
There’s so many questions that I want, ask,
Lauren Palmateer 25:22
Mike Collette 25:24
So I so coming from the, from an expert, you Not me, behavior is something that I guess controls us all in some sort of way, obviously, right? Like, we’re not going to do this, or we’re going to avoid this or, or whatever. Looking at it from, like a fitness perspective, right? We tend to not want to do things or we avoid doing things that we’re afraid of, or we engage in behaviors that we know aren’t the best for us are going to get us to a result, right, like overeating. As an example. You want to lose weight. What would be this might be a very general question might be too hard to ask. But from like your perspective, like what are things that people can do to the for themselves to modify or change behaviors that they know are negatively impacting where they want to go?
Lauren Palmateer 26:29
I think that so yeah, like you’re saying people engage in these behaviors? Because, you know, why? Well, I guess the question is why? And essentially, the, I mean, one of the answers is that these behaviors that we engage in, have such a long history of, of resulting in, like reinforcement, whether that’s immediate, or if it’s delayed reinforcement. And so you mentioned, like overeating, like, something I struggle with is, like eating an appropriate amount, and not like snacking, and not just getting home after work and being like, I’m gonna be everything that I see. Um, and I do that, because, and I know that I do this, I do that, because, you know, if I eat something, it’s that immediate reinforcement of Wow, that was so good. And now I’m not hungry anymore. And great. Even though I might have already in like, plenty for the day, it’s not immediate reinforcement of Yes, this chocolate so good.
Mike Collette 27:32
I can be a reward, it can be like a reward too?
Lauren Palmateer 27:36
Yeah, yeah, similar reward reinforcement. It’s reinforcement is like, the technical, scientific term, but reward is, is essentially the same thing. Um, but I think just like accountability, and having those contingencies in place, are I mean, contingencies are what control everybody’s behavior. So accountability, and and of those contingencies is the best place to go. Whether that’s, you know, you have to there’s like apps out there, I use an app, it’s called stick, and it’s an app that’s based on these behavioral science principles. So, you know, have the contingencies have the accountability. So say, Hey, I’m gonna send you a picture of everything that I eat today, if I don’t send you the picture, you have to donate $10 of my money to some organization that I hate. Or setting it up to be more of like a reinforcement based system, maybe it’s like, Okay, I’m gonna send you pictures of what I eat all week. And then at the end of the week, I am going to go get a massage or something like that. And so I just the appropriate contingencies have to be in place for everyone’s behavior to conform. And if behavior is not conforming to what we want it to be, that just means we need to arrange our environment better.
Mike Collette 29:05
Fascinating. It’s fascinating because you, there’s a science to this stuff in it, and from higher explaining it here. It works. Yeah, you guys are getting results with your kids. And I can just see how rewarding that can be. Um, we’re gonna go the Spitfire around right now. Okay, three quick questions. This is how I’ve been ending a lot of these community conversations. So first one is favorite movie and or TV show of all time and then I’m also adding in what are you currently binge watching? I know you’re really busy, so you might not be anything but might be something What are you currently binging now so favorite movie, TV show, and what are you binging right now?
Lauren Palmateer 29:48
My favorite movie is? Oh, no, I really like the Note, Titanic. Titanic. We’ll go that one. My favorite show is Either new girl or working moms, and I have not really been doing anything but I watched the bachelor and the bachelorette whatever it’s on. And I’m waiting for The Handmaid’s Tale to come out with their new season I will be bingeing that.
Mike Collette 30:18
Who’s the guy in new girl that does CrossFit?
Lauren Palmateer 30:21
Mike Collette 30:22
you know, I’m talking about right?
Lauren Palmateer 30:23
His name is Schmidt. And yeah, Dave Castro just reposted him.
Mike Collette 30:27
Yeah, you got Uh huh. Yes.
Lauren Palmateer 30:29
I don’t know what his actual name is. But his name is Schmidt New Girl.
Mike Collette 30:32
That’s right. Yeah, I know. That guy’s a big crossfitter. favorite musician, artist, band. Music Group of all time.
Lauren Palmateer 30:41
Luke combs or Florida Georgia line. Or Sam Hunt.
Mike Collette 30:45
Yeah, well, country. Country action. Awesome. All right. Last question. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working? working out at the gym? What’s your favorite thing to do? hobby?
Lauren Palmateer 30:59
Sleep, Or eat? probably eat?
Mike Collette 31:03
Easy. Sleeping or eating? country is so emotional movies and TV shows. Country Music sleeping and eating? Yep, that’s pretty much sums it up.
Lauren Palmateer 31:17
Mike Collette 31:18
That’s awesome. All right. Well, you know, this is awesome. This is a great conversation. I think a lot of people are going to really enjoy this Lauren. So thank you so much for being part of this community conversations means a lot to me means a lot to everyone at prototype. And if you guys that are tuning in watching here in this now thank you guys. Remember, every week we’re releasing a new community conversation with a new guest to get your week started. Instead to be the first to know about a new community conversation, get on our newsletter, or subscribe to our YouTube page. If you’re a current member of prototype, we also post this in our prototype members community group on Facebook. And for some reason, if you’re not in that group, and you are a member or a prototype, let us know we’ll make sure that you’re in. And lastly, if you’re ever interested in being on a community conversation, just shoot us a message and we would love to have you so until next time again. Lauren, thank you so much.
Lauren Palmateer 32:05