Our Athlete Spotlight goes to none other than our very own Steven Vargas. There are truly no words awesome enough to describe the coolness Vargas embodies. I mean, try combining Superman’s vision based powers and flying abilities, with Ironman’s super gadgets, with Hulk’s super strength, with Flash’s super speed, with Wolverine’s healing factor, with Ghost Rider’s fire-breathing, with Thor’s hammer, and you STILL wouldn’t get enough coolness to describe Vargas! And that’s not even including Daphne, his magnificent other half! We have got to be the luckiest box around to have such a totally fun person, phenomenal brewer, ridiculously strong athlete, and genuinely caring individual be part of our CrossFit Merge clan.
And without further ado, here’s Vargas!
How long have you been doing CrossFit?
A little over 2 years
How did you hear about CrossFit Merge?
I typed “crossfit” into google and a picture of Bryce wearing a Joy Division t-shirt appeared. It’s like he was waiting for me.
What was your first CrossFit Merge WOD experience like?
Horrible, I couldn’t really drive my car. I was able to shower, but had to sleep two hours before going into work. This is my story:
I arrived early in the morning to meet Bryce. He spoke about functional movements and about the layout of the Merge. “As you can see, we don’t have mirrors for you to checkout your muscles or poses. We don’t believe in machines, like stairmasters, but we do use the rowers. That’s a pull-up bar. Those are our jump ropes. ” After the tour, he asked me, “Do you want to workout?” and I replied, “So bad.” I did that 7 min. workout with burpees, box jumps, push-ups, and maybe finished two rounds. My vision began tweaking. Bright, streaky lines and dots were everywhere. Bryce’s voice also sounded much deeper and way slower than normal (sort of like Benny’s voice but slow, really slow). I tried to act normal while he critiqued, “not bad,” and “yeah, crossfit can point out your weaknesses.” Eventually, the gym began to tilt but I stared at the box jump because it was anchored to the floor at that seemed safe. The rest is kind of vague, but I remember being in the office next, signing the contract (allegedly). I think Bryce still looks at me with a hint of concern.
What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?
On the karaoke stage, I want to be indistinguishable from a young Bowie.
What is your greatest CrossFit Merge accomplishment thus far?
Cardio, increased capacity, moving like I used to when I moved like I had to.
What is your favorite WOD and why?
Ascending/descending couplets with a heavy weight (cleans,deadlifts) mixed with toes to bar, or wall balls. I really like the chippers. Lumberjack 20 would be an example of something I’d want to try twice a year.
What is your least favorite WOD and why?
Tabata, or anything gone bad, because those are awful, terrible, inhumane programs.
What advice would you give a new member?
I would let them know that they’re really lucky to have chosen Merge. Name another gym that has someone as pleasant as Marianoel to coach you before sunrise. It’s more organized and cleaner than most similar sized gyms. Try to take as many classes as you can and work with a coach to figure out a plan to increase load and capacity. Never sacrifice good form to shave a few seconds or even minutes–just scale down. By nature, doing crossfit and ignoring solid form will create injuries.
Out of all the hours in the day (both sleeping and awake) how much time do you spend working out? Thinking about CrossFit? Dreaming it? Watching vids? etc.
I used to watch a lot of videos, but not so much lately. I’ll check out Merge WODs and start my battle plan. I still get into geek mode with the athlete statistics, specifically the 2013 games. That level of uncertainty makes crossfit exciting to me as a spectator. This year, small mistakes often shifted the leaderboard dramatically. Truthfully, I spend some of my crossfit hours looking for the most functional type of sock.
If you had one super power, what would it be and why?
What is your all time favorite TV show and why?
Don’t watch TV very often, but I like this new Netflix model for binge watching. That’s how my introduction The Wire and Breaking Bad went down. I love the writing and production skills of both those shows so I’ll pick those two.
If it was the end of the world and you have the choice to live with a gorilla who knows sign language or a dog who sings lullabies, which do you choose and why?
The dog. It has to be the dog, because sooner or later one of us dies. The gorilla and I would argue about food, who cleans up around our camp, aesthetics, etc. I imagine the gorilla would begin to really hate my spontaneous, bon vivant lifestyle and just decide to kill and eat me one day. So, it would probably sit on my chest and monologue for a lengthy time before killing me. But if the dog sang a heart-wrenching lullaby before it was to kill me, I don’t know, I could see the credits rolling over that song (framing the campfire and tilting up to the stars), and tears rolling as I slid into my final sleep.
Why does glue not stick to the bottle?
I guess because it’s a polymer and needs air. Ha! I just checked gooogle and it said I’m right! #MasterOfArtsNotScience #AndStillSmashingIt
Where do you see yourself in 1 year?
More coaching Bryce on his tenor singing; Co-presenting with Brian, internationally, teaching men how to achieve an Adonis Belt and keep it (food, fitness, forever). Also, I hope to have competed in a throwdown.
A plethora of words could be used to describe how much we appreciate your humor, strength, support and all around personality here at Merge. Without you, Merge wouldn’t be the same. Thanks for being part of our team, Vargas! And next throwdown, can I be your teammate?! 😉
Workout of the Day (WOD):
20 front squats (70-75% 1 rm)
20 box jumps (24″ for men/20″ for women)
10 front squats
3 position snatch