Athlete Spotlight – Fred and Sarah

Our box is full of wonderful people.  We are truly spoiled with the best of the best.   With that being said, let me introduce to you some of the best, Fred and Sarah!

Fred and Sarah are an exceptional couple that train in our box.  Sarah is one of the sweetest, most determined girls.  It is beyond a shadow of a doubt that she gives her all in every WOD.  She always has excellent form and is constantly adapting to set and meet new goals.  Fred, as you all know, is one of the strongest guys we know!  He sets some incredible PR’s on every lift and completes most of his WODs Rx’d.   Not only do they add so much to our WOD experience, they always have encouraging words, warm smiles, and are a blast to have around!  Fred and Sarah are not only rocking the CrossFit world, but they are also parents to a super cute (future CrossFit fire breather) baby boy, Little Fred!!

Here’s a bit more from Fred and Sarah…

a typical Fred moment…

Sarah, always lookin’ spiffy during her WOD’s

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

We both started at the end of May, so I guess that makes it about 7 months now.

How did you hear about CrossFit Merge?

SARAH:  Some childhood girlfriends of mine had become CrossFit trainers and encouraged me to find a gym after Freddie was born. One day, I Googled “CrossFit + Glendale” and found CrossFit Merge.  Since it was so close to our house, there was no way we couldn’t give it a go.   

FRED: After learning about Merge, Sarah used me as her guinea pig and sent me in for the intro session. I had been essentially sedentary for the previous 10 years, so it was pretty rough.

How long have you guys been married?

SARAH:  Four years, five months, not that I’m keeping close track or anything.

FRED:  Yes, we’re coming up on five years.  The traditional gift theme for the five year wedding anniversary is wood.  Perhaps I will whittle some wood jewelry for Sarah. She will fit in nicely next time we visit Oregon.

Sarah, what was the first thing Fred ever said to you?

SARAH:  I don’t really remember — we met on our first day of work during some awful tax training session, but I think it might have been “Are you going to eat that?”  I mainly remember thinking, “Whoa.  That guy’s name is FRED?  He looks so young.”  

Fred, what is the first memory you have of Sarah?

FRED:  I was deeply engrossed in this fascinating tax training session on my first day of work, when I heard this girl behind me grousing about how lame it was . . . the rest is history.
How has doing CrossFit impacted your married life? Do you talk about WODs over dinner? Do you help/encourage/etc each other?

SARAH:  CrossFit has had a wonderful impact on our married life. Before CrossFit, we talked about tax law all the time; now, we talk about WODs all the time. The only bad part is that I’m naturally competitive, and, well, I’m married to Fred, who is naturally athletic. It’s a dangerous mix, like when I come home and say, “FRED!  I got a 83 lb front squat today!” he replies, “Is that good?”  Sigh. 

The best part about CrossFit, however, is that we’re both involved in the same community, and our workouts are quick.  For some reason, our colleagues tend to favor long-distance, solitary sports (i.e. marathons, triathlons), or long-duration, drinking-optional sports (i.e. golf).  If Fred were out jogging around Griffith Park for 4 hours at a time, or drinking beer at some country club all day and riding in a golf cart a few days a week, I’d be pretty annoyed. 60 minutes, 5 days a week — I can handle that.       

FRED:  Sarah is always self-deprecating when it comes to her CrossFit prowess, but she’s made such amazing progress and I am so proud of her. It’s been really cool to watch her get into it, and to see her gain confidence. When one of us comes home from the box, we definitely talk about what the WOD was, how we did, whether Bryce told any jokes, et cetera. I’m pretty sure we drive our friends crazy talking about CrossFit and trying to get them to try it.

What are your favorite WODs?

SARAH:  Karen.  So simple.  So awful.

FRED: Lumberjack 20 (although I would substitute barbell cleans for the DB squat cleans).

What are your greatest CrossFit accomplishments individually and as a couple?

SARAH:  My greatest individual CrossFit accomplishment is (don’t laugh) being able to run a mile without walking.  I’m also pretty proud of my 113 pound low-bar back squat.  I think our greatest CrossFit accomplishment as a couple, however, is simply the fact that we’ve done it consistently for over seven months, and can’t quite imagine life without it now.  Prior to CrossFit Merge, our workout plans usually got ditched after a few months. . .  er, weeks.  

FRED:  Individually, my greatest CrossFit accomplishment is surviving the first throw-down. As a couple, I agree with Sarah, our greatest achievement has definitely been our consistency, which with our busy schedules and an 18-month-old baby has required a lot of coordination and effort.

What have you told your friends about CrossFit Merge?

SARAH:  I tell all my friends how hard everything is so they’ll think I’m a major bad-ass.  However, I temper that by mentioning how supportive Bryce is (despite my un-athleticism), that no one has ever laughed at me, (at least not to my face), and that if I can do it, anyone can do it.  I tell my mom-friends that it’s the most time-efficient workout around, since most moms are really into scheduling, and love to complain about never having time for anything almost as much as they love to complain about “baby-weight.”  Ugh.    

FRED:  I played organized team sports during high school and college, but have not been able to find a way to stay in shape since that has worked for more than a couple of months. I think the reason that CrossFit has worked for me is that it’s more like a sport than your typical fitness program, and the support and encouragement provided by the community at Merge makes it similar to a team sport in a lot of ways. We get excited when someone gets a PR, Rx’s a WOD, or learns a new movement. That’s what I tell my friends about, because for me, that’s what has made CrossFit special.

What words of advice would you give to newbie CrossFitting couples?

SARAH:  Try not to get jealous if/when your partner gets suddenly really good at CrossFit and you’re still struggling with pretty much everything.  Also (and this advice might be very controversial), I think it’s been a good for me to go to different classes than Fred.  Not only is my CrossFit ugly (and I don’t want Fred seeing me that beat), being in separate classes has helped me meet more people.

FRED:  Do not come home and brag to your wife about your new low-bar back squat PR.  


If someone wrote a biography about your life, what should the title be?

SARAH:  “That Looks Scary So I Won’t Try It:  The Sarah Thomas Story”  (Joan and/or Jackie Collins would ghost-write it, naturally.)

FRED: “The Exciting Life of a Tax Attorney by Frederick H. Thomas, Jr.”

What is your favorite music to work out to?

SARAH:  I prefer hip hop and Led Zeppelin, but Veruca Salt will do in a pinch.
FRED:  There are definitely a number of songs that I can no longer listen to without feeling the overwhelming urge to start doing box jumps.  (SARAH:  Black Keys = Box Jumps). For that reason, I like working out to things that I don’t generally listen to outside the box (e.g., Hip Hop).

Is there something about yourselves you’d want to share with us?

SARAH:  I was a French major in college, and have tried every year since graduation to find a non-creepy French conversational group.  Any good tips would be greatly appreciated.  I’m also a newly-minted housewife, but it’s not going that well — our house is still covered in dog hair.  Any good tips on this would be greatly appreciated as well.  Oh, and I got a D- in freshman P.E. even though I suited-up. Every. Single. Day.

FRED:  I love to read, both fiction and non-fiction; I love watching movies from the 80s; and the biggest challenge for me in eating paleo has been chocolate chip cookies.

If you could be any type of food, what would you be and why?

SARAH:  Kobe beef, because wouldn’t it be fun to drink booze and get massages every day?

FRED:  I can’t compete with Sarah’s answer, so I’m just going to copy it.  I would also like to be Kobe beef.

Thank you Sarah and Fred for being such an integral part of our CrossFit Merge family! We are excited to continue watching you improve and achieve your goals.  You are truly an inspiration to us all.  And Fred, how’s that wooden jewelry coming along? 😉

Monday’s Skill:

Squat clean to thruster

3 – 3 – 3 – 3

Workout of the Day (WOD):

12 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of:

1 squat clean thruster (135#/93# for women)

10 wall ball shots (20#/14# for women)

2 squat clean thrusters

10 wall ball shots

3 squat clean thrusters

10 wall ball shots

4 squat clean thrusters…

Beginner’s Skill:

20″ or 15″ box jump test – max reps in 1 minute, perform 2 sets

Lateral hop jump test – max reps in 1 minute

Workout of the Day (WOD):

15 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of:

6 goblet squats

12 sit-ups

18 lateral hops

Monday is in the books…


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