September 2018 Athlete of the Month

September Athlete of the Month

Mark Johnson

Tell us about yourself, hobbies, interests, family, job, etc.

I am 43, and a father of four (3 boys and girl), and have been married for just over 9 years, after meeting my wife on eHarmony.  I am a high school state champion 100 breastroker, Multiple Mid-American Champion, and was captain of Eastern Michigan University’s Men’s Swim Team in 1997.  I have a law degree from Syracuse University and an MBA from Eastern Michigan University.

My hobbies are longer distance endurance events – Olympic distance triathlons, 5K open water swims, and long distance cycling.

I am very involved with the community.  I am currently the Cub Scout Master for Pack 519 out of St. Mary’s in Monroe, and Vice-President of the Monroe Cycling Club.  I just ended my term as President for the Monroe Family YMCA Board of Directors, and have served on Big Brother’s Big Sisters, Historic District Commission and various other community and non-profit boards.  I believe in raising future leaders, not just my children, but pouring into all kids (and adults) the skills and attributes to make a difference in our community and the world.

My career is with Thrivent Financial.  I am a comprehensive financial planner.  What that means is that I help people figure out their financial lives, and make sense of it.  I help with basic budgeting, investment management and 401(k) rollovers, life insurances, and how to determine what needs to be in place when we are preparing for retirement.  I do this for clients in their 20’s all the way through their 90’s.  I love my job because I get to help people every day, and help people create lasting legacies for their family and causes they care about.

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

I started CrossFit in mid-May of this year.

What do you remember about your first CrossFit experience?

My first memory of CrossFit is how welcoming everyone was when I walked in.  Almost everyone said hello and introduced themselves to me.

What do you most enjoy about CrossFit?

The community, and the accountability to each other.

What do you most enjoy about being part of Light the Fire CrossFit family?

I enjoy that it is a family.  Everyone cares for each other and helps each other.  We compete against each other, but there is a mutual respect that while you may want to do better than someone else, you don’t want that other person to do bad.  You also want to see them achieve their best.

What motivates you to come to the box?

Health.  I just want to be healthy for my family and be a good example for my kids.  I do look forward to seeing my 5 a.m. friends too.

What is you most recent PR/biggest accomplishment?

I consider every morning that I make it to the box and finish a WOD is my biggest accomplishment.

What is your favorite wod, lift, movement, or skill?

I love wall-balls.  I think everyone gives them a bad rap.  I like to name the ball I throw, and the name changes depending on my mood.

What is your least favorite WOD, lift, movement, or skill?

Couch stretch.  I’m not a flexible dude.  Couch stretch should be laying on the couch and yawning as I stretch.

What is your current CrossFit goal?

To give my best and be my best every workout.  That is success, knowing that you couldn’t do any better, or give any more.

What would you tell a newbie or someone that has never done CrossFit?

I would tell a person who has never done CrossFit that it is awful, and painful, and will challenge you to your core.  It will make you want to quit and make you question your ability.

And in the same breath I would say that it is more rewarding than anything they have ever experienced, that they will learn more about themselves and they will achieve things they never though they could achieve, all while having a family around them to encourage and strengthen them.  That they will be able to uplift others, be challenged and become stronger.

The reward is in the struggle.

Have you had a life changing experience since starting CrossFit?


How has CrossFit affected your life outside of the box?

It has made me feel better about my body and given me more confidence.  I have always worked out in the morning through swimming and otherwise, but CrossFit helps kick my day off.  Although I am drained, it gives me more energy for the day (and allows me to sleep better at night!)


***The Athlete of the Month will demonstrate qualities such as, attendance, selflessness, proper scaling, time dedicated to mobility and recovery, dedication to improving form, technique, and skill sets, putting the community before yourself, encouragement and support towards others at the end of WODs.

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