Member Spotlight: Arielle Zieja
Not only is this week’s feature an incredible athlete, but she is ALSO the leader of our FREE Nutrition Workshop happening today/tomorrow depending on when you’re reading this. (It’s November 8 @ 7pm- don’t miss it!)
I’ve been pretty impressed by her continued improvement, dedication, and great attitude and insights throughout her journey with CFHV. I think she really cemented her place in all of our memories at “Rumble in the Box” this year, but I’ll let her tell you more about that below.
Say hello to:
What’s your name?
Describe your first work out here at CrossFit High Voltage:
My first workout was a 7 am class with Bryan Felix. I remember being nervous and overwhelmed. Even though I had a background in fitness, the rumors about CrossFit really hung heavy in my mind. From what everyone had told me, I thought I was going to throw up, blow out a knee or shoulder, and pretty much die. But I didn’t! Of course… the class was great. I was really impressed by the careful instruction, the modifications, and the scaling options. I thought Bryan was a great coach, and even though it was definitely difficult, I got through the workout. I enjoyed it so much! I was HOOKED! It was kind of silly, really. I was on such a high, I think I practically begged the staff to let me join the gym, as if they would have turned me away otherwise. Ha. Needless to say, I don’t really remember what the workout was or anything. I just remember how amazing I felt and how much I wanted to be a part of the CFHV community.
Before joining High Voltage, when did you know something had to change?
I had been a fitness instructor for about 8 years before coming to CFHV, but my background was in different activities. I think the different activities really helped me prep for this kind of exercise though. I was a rock climbing instructor in Germany for 2 years, taught Zumba for 7 years, and taught HIIT and group exercise classes like Bodypump for 2. Despite what most may think, all of that exercise wasn’t really good for my body. I had a good aerobic baseline, but my body was overspent. I would often teach high-intensity classes for 3 hours a day. By the time I moved to California (right before joining CFHV), I was dealing with major adrenal fatigue, muscle waste, and weight gain from all my whacked-out hormones. I knew I needed to stop working out so much and start working out smarter. I wanted to do a little less aerobic exercise and more strength training. I could tell my body needed a different type of stimulus and a better diet. Finding CFHV at that time was perfect for me.
Describe your most memorable CrossFit Experience so far.
Hands down, carrying the 90 lb sandbag at 8 months pregnant!!! Hearing all of the cheers, feeling the sheer power of it all, and owning all of the hard work I had been putting in for years … I can’t tell you how awesome it felt!
Outside of High Voltage, what kind of work do you do? Give yourself a plug!
I’m a nutrition coach! I’ve been in and out of running my own coaching practice while juggling the mom life, but I love what I do and keep coming back to it. I have a real passion for finding nutritional answers to the many health issues our society struggles with these days. More than anything, I love seeing lives transformed! It’s incredible to see my clients come in to lose a few pounds, and leave with a fully transformed body and mindset. Nutrition is where it’s at!
How has getting in shape changed your professional life?
Keeping myself healthy is absolutely vital to what I do. People need to know that I practice what I preach, and that it WORKS. I’m always experimenting on myself, nutritionally and physically, and it’s helped me to find new strategies to help others. My clients always comment on how strong and energetic I seem, so obviously something I’m doing is right! 😉
Tell us about an area of your life most impacted by your decision to join High Voltage.
My family, for sure. I was kind of a compulsive exerciser before, and a highly competitive one at that. It affected my personality because my life lacked balance. I would get really angry if I missed a workout, and that didn’t make me the nicest person to be around. Joining High Voltage has taught me a lot about myself, about competition, and about how to have a more balanced life when it comes to health. So, thanks to everyone at High Voltage! You all inspire me to be a better person, on the daily. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen how I can be a better person by following the examples of so many in the gym.
When have you used CrossFit outside of the box?
Every. Single. Day.
Who is your most idolized fellow community member?
Oh gosh. Where do I begin? I don’t know that I can pick just one. Let’s just say I want to be like all these people: Frank is in there every day, crushing it, even with his girls in tow! Andrea McDaniel is a beast, and was so welcoming to me when I first started momWOD. Jessica Beck is the biggest sweetheart and an amazing athlete to boot. Angie Griffin, Bryan Felix, Jackie Crawley, Dizzle, Brittany Berryman, Andrew Worsham, all the ladies at momWOD who are putting in the time and effort to stay healthy … and SO many more. Really, the people at CFHV are the core reason I love this place so much. I couldn’t mention everyone I idolize on here… there just isn’t enough time!
What is your one year or next CrossFit goal?
Well, before I got surprise pregnant, I was trying to RX the open workout. I had to take a bit of a break from that goal, but I’d like to get back to it when I get the doctor’s clearance to exercise again! I need to work on my gymnastics movements quite a bit, since I’m kind of a klutz at heart.
What is your favorite & least favorite movement or WOD?
What is your favorite cheat meal?
Hahaha. Dude, everything. I like to keep it balanced, so I indulge in a bit of the foods I love almost daily, unless I’m working toward a targeted body composition goal. I’ll admit, though, I never use the word “cheat” when it comes to food. It’s a personal thing. I figure I’m not taking a test, nor am I married to any one way of eating. So I just like to say I love my food, both super-healthy and super-indulgent. But I NEVER indulge in food that doesn’t love me back. For me, that’s gluten. I think we all have foods that just destroy us individually, whether it’s physically, mentally, or emotionally, when we eat them. So I avoid those foods completely. Because they’re just bastards.
If you had to describe CFHV in one sentence:
My other home