Staff / Athlete Profile:  Danette Rivera

Tuesday’s Workout (CAP)
“The Rest is Burpees”
Five rounds starting every 4 minutes:
Each round is 25 reps total
– Max reps Front Squat (BW / 2/3 BW)
– Burpees (remaining reps up to 25)
Score is total reps of front squats

…and coming Wednesday (CAP)
5×5 Squat Clean (185/125)
Each set starts on the 2:30 mark

Followed by:
1 mile run for time
– start the mile run at 11:30athleteprofile


In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve got a brand new staff member at CFLA. Her name is Danette – and she’s AWESOME. Below are some answers to our Athlete Profile questions… along with some bonus ones that are unique to her being a new coach here. Welcome Danette!

Hometown: Santa Monica, CA
Age: 45
When did you first start CrossFitting?: June 1, 2010
When did you first start training at CFLA?: June 1, 2010
Favorite WOD:
Least Favorite WOD:

Tell us about you sports & fitness background: I came out of the womb playing. I tackled my uncles during living-room football at age five. I crashed all-boy kickball games on the playground. I was told to dominate girls’ AYSO soccer, so I did. I swam on a swim team. I dove on a diving team. I swam masters’ ocean races. I tried my hand at hurdles. I danced salsa exhibitions. Truth be told, I was pretty good at it all, but nothing spectacular — except in basketball. In basketball I certainly wasn’t Maya Moore, but I ate, drank, slept ball. I ditched my senior year of high school nearly 2x’s a week to make the runs at Memorial Park, usually the only girl in the gym. I was the MVP of your Santa Monica High School Vikings and started every year varsity for a mediocre team. When the seasons were unceremoniously over, I was invited to practice with the boys’ team. I worked two jobs in high school, and played basketball. I think I did some schoolwork. After high school it was time to get a J.O.B. — college was not in my family’s vocab and only one school approached me with a partial scholarship – so I worked and I played pickup games from Los Angeles to Queens. I played street ball up until I got pregnant with Mina 13 years ago. I’ve been floundering around trying to find something fun to play ever since. And now I have.

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel? A Yahoo front page story retold the miraculous ways couples got in shape in 2010. And I thought it was very sweet that Mr. and Mrs. So-N-So lost 30lbs together with Weight Watchers, but then I saw a couple from Chicago that didn’t just get in shape, they got ripped with a thing called CrossFit. I called CFLA and made an appointment the next day. My first WOD was Cardio Gone Bad, which was a good starter for me because cardio was probably the thing best going for me at the time. The next WOD, however, contained back squats and pull ups and I nearly crapped myself from my non-amazing feats of weakness. I stripped myself of everything I ever thought I knew about fitness and stood very humbly on square one, ready to take it from there.

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? About a year into my CrossFit journey, Julio (my husband) said that there was a lump on the back of my arm. I said, “I think it’s a tricep. Could be wrong.” At the time, I knew I had reversed the slide towards dumpsville, which is the direction I felt I was going. Now, two and a half years after starting CF, I’m down nine total percentage body fat points and I feel like I’ve heightened the quality of my life exponentially for a long time to come. I feel great; strong, lean, and mean. Well, not mean, but f**king awesome doesn’t rhyme with “lean.”

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected? I didn’t expect to have this much fun again doing something physical. I didn’t expect that I could improve my strength so much in a real and tangible way. When you get older, your mind plays tricks on you — as the body slips away — convincing you that Things Are Over. I’m so glad to discover that things are indeed not over.

Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFLA moments: My favorite moments are every moment after I read the WOD and get a stomach ache. Another favorite: The moment I realized that this community is genuine and caring. I feel safe enough to do my best without airs. If I fail or slip off a box, it’s ok. To feel vulnerable enough to become the best physical version of myself around an amazing, supportive group is invaluable to me. It has changed my life.

Now that you’re a coach, tell us when you knew that coaching was your calling? I’ve been coaching my own athletic daughters since they were little. It just came naturally, but I remember specifically assisting my first CrossFit Kids classes and a couple of the teenage girl athletes looked at me sheepishly as if asking permission to be strong. That’s when I knew I could be a good coach – if only to guide people to take ownership of their own strength and fitness. It chokes me up to empower people in that way.

What is the best and hardest part about being a coach? See above for the best. I think the hardest part is watching someone with a lot of potential not believe in themselves. You can believe and encourage, but you can’t believe for them or do it for them.

Any advice for people just getting started? Nobody who ever gave their best regretted it no matter the level. You start where you start and you do your best. It’s only up from there

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? Riding my bike around town, raw-food dabbling, reading, writing (Dizzle writes a weekly column for the website Breaking Muscle, watching college hoops, sweaty salsa dancing, hanging out with Julio, and being a mother to world-changers.

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