Athlete Spotlight: Drew Mazejka and Ryan Elrod

Apr 09, 2015 Jamie Tebaldi
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In this week's SAGL Athlete Spotlight, we got to speak with up with Drew Mazejka of the Raleigh Dragons, and Ryan Elrod of the Orlando Outlaws.
What's your day job?
MAZEJKA: I am the co-owner of CrossFit Reignited.
ELROD: I am a performer in the Cirque du Soleil show "La Nouba", in the trampoline/powertrack act.
How did you hear about grid and what interested you most about it?
MAZEJKA: I first heard about grid when they were doing their matches in Charlotte, NC. Being a part of a big team is what interested me the most.
ELROD: I first heard about grid last year in an article online, and after reading about it I said, "I gotta get into that!" What sparked my interest was that a specialist could play an important role on the team.
What's your training schedule like?
MAZEJKA: My coach Max El-Hag from Training Think Tank writes my programming. I train 5 days a week with a couple of two-a-days, and have two rest days on Wednesday and Sundays.
ELROD: My training schedule is the most unorganized schedule there is. I rock/paper/scissors my wife for who gets to go to the gym in the morning at CF Lions Den and who stays home with our 2-year-old son. Then I go to La Nouba for our mandatory tramp training around 2-3pm. Then I try to squeeze some lifting in before the first show, which starts at 6pm, and I always do a workout between shows where I have 1.5 hours. And if I still have energy after chasing my kid around on my free time . . . I'll do a WOD in my garage.
Have you changed your training style at all to be more grid-specific?
MAZEJKA: I have not changed my training to be more grid-specific. I train with the Dragons on Saturdays and will practice certain movements that I will see on race day throughout the week.
ELROD: With grid in mind, I have changed my training to strengthen all my body weight movements, and I work on barbell movements to help out wherever I can.
What is your past experience with sports?
MAZEJKA: I was a professional dancer in New York and Los Angeles.
ELROD: I was an elite gymnast for many years training out of WOGA Gymnastics in Plano, TX, competing in many international competitions.
Who is your favorite athlete and/or inspiration?
MAZEJKA: My inspiration is my husband. He has taught me everything from the snatch to my first pull-up! He is the hardest-working athlete and business owner I have ever met, and he keeps me inspired and excited to train and try new things every day.
ELROD: My favorite athlete is Lionel Messi, but in the fitness world, I'd go with Noah Ohlsen. From what I see of him in interviews and the few times I met him at competitions, he's very humble and down to earth. But he has the heart of a lion. You can tell he wants to be the best, and that's inspiring to me.
Favorite fitness brand?
MAZEJKA: My favorite fitness brand is CrossFit. It has changed my entire lifestyle for the better and created a community that I call family!
ELROD: I guess Reebok. I mean, I have a lot of Reebok stuff, and it fits.
Do you have any pre-match rituals?
MAZEJKA: I do! Before every match I get very quiet and visualize each movement I will have to do, and the number of reps. I always say a prayer to keep everyone safe on the team and to be able to perform to the best of our abilities right before we start!
ELROD: Well it's not a good one, or a healthy one. But the night before any competition, I have a beer. I did it a long time ago and won my first CF competition, and since I'm superstitious, I continue to do it. I'm not a big drinker, but I'm scared of what might happen if I don't continue my ritual!
What's one of your non-athletic hobbies?
MAZEJKA: I am a very big nerd, and I love to read and hang out with my two dogs, Isabelle and Rogue.
ELROD: Is chasing your kid around a hobby? I like to watch soccer and baseball (Barcelona and the Texas Rangers).
Any advice for people who are new to grid?
MAZEJKA: Yes, try and stay as calm as you can during the match, and be in the present so you can hear everything your coach is telling you.
ELROD: My advice would be to train every day for fun. You'd be surprised how good you get when you're having fun. Specifically for grid? Speed. See how fast you can do your movements, whatever they are. Play with different ideas of how to train. Mix it up.
How can people follow you?
MAZEJKA: My Instagram is DrewbyTuesdays and my Facebook is Drewandnick Mazejka!
ELROD: My Instagram is @Relrod57.