Monday 131216

Five rounds for time:
50 Wallball shots, 20#(14#)
400 Meter run

Post times to comments and BTWB

Trainer Maddie, showing off one of her many stellar CrossFit moves

Let’s take a moment to get to know our favorite rowing coach. . .
First off Miss Berky how did you get started with CrossFit?
I started doing CrossFit right after I graduated from college because my sister was doing it and most of her ideas are pretty solid. I loved it instantaneously, but it wasn’t the right fit for me at that moment. I had spent the last eight years rowing and that damn buzzer reminded me too much of practice. It took me about a year to chill out (my problem, not CrossFit’s) and get totally bored before I realized that I needed back, bad!
How did you come to be a member at Verve?
I decided to join Verve because I needed a team. There is only so much you can do in isolation and the part that I missed the most from rowing was feeling like I was a part of something bigger than myself. I always akin finding your box to finding the right college: it has to just feel right deep down in your soul. The moment I walked into Verve, I was home.
Anyone who is anyone knows you are quite the rower, can we hear your “how I became a rowing ninja” story?
Oh man, it might be more of an awkward karate kid meets ninja story, but lets roll with it…Rowing helped me to find myself. When I started rowing I was 14, about 125lbs and scared of pretty much everything – especially myself and my relationship with the food on my plate. Sitting on that seat was the first thing that made me feel powerful. I loved it too because it didn’t demand some crazy genetic of skill, but rather a propensity for hard work. If I worked hard I would get better. It also slowly helped to mend my relationship with food. Rowing will kick you in the face regardless, but it will REALLY kick you in the face if you are undernourished. I always wanted to be a better rower more than I wanted to by skinny. And rowing, and being on a team of bad ass women, always had a way of showing me that I was so much stronger than I ever gave myself credit for in real life. Being able to acknowledge and harness one’s own power is one of the coolest things athletics can facilitate for a person.
What is your greatest rowing accomplishment?
I was injured for a huge portion of my collegiate career, but my goal every year was no matter what to make it into one of the NCAA boats. We won the Div. III team championship all 4 years I was at there (other years too so as not to inflate my rowing prowess) and being a part of that whole experience was one of the coolest things ever. Crossing that line and knowing you just did something tremendous is f*cking awesome.
What is your greatest CrossFit accomplishment thus far?
Competing actually scares the pants off me. I realized though that I can’t ever ask my athletes to go after the things that scare them if I don’t do the same. Every time I put myself in that scenario I always walk away a stronger person, athlete, & coach. That and I have about 48hrs or fearlessness that has resulted in chopping off all of my hair and doing 15 MUs…
Some people may not know but you have an awesome blog called “paleogirlinthecity“. How did this blog come about?
I didn’t really know that it was an outlet I craved until I started writing. It started as one thing and then morphed into another thing entirely. I think that I became a coach because I struggled as an athlete. I’ve been a pro at doubt and uncertainty, but it’s that history that helps me to understand what could be going through someone’s head in the middle of a workout and in the middle of life, really. I think the gym is such a phenomenal case study to how you respond to adversity in life. I’ve loved being able to draw on that parallelism in the blog and to help people get passed those doubts that are holding them back from doing something great.
You post a lot of delicious recipes on your blog, what got you so interested in food?
My favorite perch in my house as a kid was on the counter watching my mom cook. Food and cooking have just always been a part of my life and it’s one of my favorite vehicles for connecting with the people I love. What’s better than a home cooked meal and a killer bottle of wine?!
What else do you do when you are not working out, training, or blogging. . . as if that all wasn’t enough?
I’m sort of a hermit. I hang out with my cats (only 2: I’m not officially a cat lady yet people) and watch reality TV of the real housewives variety. Good thing I don’t also collect nick-knacks or else I’d be in trouble…
Do you have any hidden talents you can share with us? We already know about your ability to carry your voice, so that won’t count. 🙂
Maintaining a façade of normalcy despite my multiple cat ownership. I put that up there with one of my greatest feats.
Give one last little nugget of information about you that you feel the people of Verve want, dare I say need, to know.
When I crossed that finish line at NCAAs the last time my senior year, I remember thinking, “sh*it. Will I ever be proud of myself in that way again?” CrossFit has created another outlet for me to push myself and to demand big, scary things of myself. The best thing though is that it doesn’t do that in isolation. It also demands a community. You always have a team and Verve is my team. Thanks guys.
Oh, that and I totally black out when I start coaching rowing. Thus, I resolve all responsibility for the volume of my voice. 


  1. Joylyn :

    I love this interview and I’m so happy you found your home at Verve Maddie. We are extremely lucky to have you, your paleo cooking/baking love, your coaching, your writing and your voice all at Verve. I love your answers to the last question.

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