Name: Brian Ariotti
Hometown: Mastic, NY
Age: 30
Occupation: Documentary Filmmaker

1. How long have you been with us at CrossFit Sunnyside? What made you start CrossFit?

Started in June 2016. At the time, I was searching to incorporate something more active into my life. I tried boxing and martial-arts classes first, but after three months of getting paired up with professional MMA fighters who were a lot more “into it” than I (and several subsequent beatings), I came to the realization I should probably switch gears and just fight myself at something.

2. You’ve improved tremendously since starting with us. Talk to us about that and what got and kept you motivated.
The coaches and my fellow members above all else. There’s been countless times when I was 100% sure I couldn’t make it through a WOD alive, but then I’m already there, and the door’s probably locked, and everyone is just so positive and motivational… you always find a way to make it through.
3. What advice do you have for people just getting started?
The biggest thing for me throughout each class was to just focus on one small thing I could do to improve a movement I’m terrible at. There was (still are) numerous components I lack the strength/flexibility/ability to perform even semi-acceptably, which is super discouraging, but working up from the scaled options and consistently checking in with coaches on how you can adjust your back, arms, legs, head, etc. really helps rocket you in the right direction.
4. When you’re not at CrossFit Sunnyside, where are we most likely to find you?
Lately somewhere in Brooklyn complaining about how “I despise going to Brooklyn.” (I’ve been working there a lot this month and have a lot of BK-based friends with really great excuses on why they can’t come to Queens).

5. What has been the most challenging part of your journey? Biggest obstacles?
Holding myself accountable. The hardest part for me has always been just getting out the door and overcoming the many valid excuses I come up with on a daily basis of “why I should take a rest day.”
6. What changes have you made to your daily life, diet & workout routine that have been the most successful for you?
Adhering to a schedule, planning meals in advance (when possible) and forcing myself to sleep normal human hours. Also, one of the most valuable changes has been fine-tuning a pre-class meal, (lately a Chia/Hemp/OatBran/Berry/AlmondButter concoction) for a noticeably better performance.


7. Something no one at the gym knows about you.

I was once featured in an episode of a reality TV series on Bravo as part of a late-season “elimination challenge.” I did an awful job and got my cast member eliminated that week. The guilt has haunted me ever since…

8. What do you enjoy most about CrossFit?
Meeting a seemingly infinite supply of wonderful people who I’d probably never have the chance to meet otherwise.
9. What impact has CrossFit Sunnyside had on your life in and out of the gym?
Most notably my energy levels. Before I started, I was feeling exhausted constantly and began thinking, “I guess I’m just getting old!” Now I can get through (most) days without chain-drinking thirty cups of coffee. Progress!
Here’s the recipe to that pre-class energy bowl I was talking about, if anyone’s interested:
 ¼ cup high fiber oat bran
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp hemp seeds
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup mulberries
½ cup blueberries
1 tbsp almond butter
1. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
2. Reduce flame and mix in berries and oat bran, stirring often until desired consistency is reached.
3. Mix in hemp seeds, chia seeds and raisins.
4. Pour into bowl and almond butter.
5. Add in a dash of almond milk or water to thin out oat bran, if desired.

Rapid Fire Questions:

If you had a theme song, what would it be: “Mr. Blue Sky” – ELO

What is your spirit animal: Dog (Lady)

Last picture you took on your phone:  A terribly out-of-focus image of an email on my computer monitor containing an important address I needed to remember.

Last book you read:
 “The Most Human Human” – Brian Christian

Favorite reality show:
 “My Big Fat Pet Makeover” (Saturdays @ 10:00pm)
Last concert you went to: Paul McCartney @ the Barclays Center
Favorite pizza topping: Jalapeño

If you could have one superpower, what would it be: 
The ability to garner all benefits of a full night’s sleep amid a 10-minute nap.

One thing you couldn’t live without: Laughter.

Describe yourself in 3 emojis: ❤🎩💀

Last song stuck in your head: “Out of the Frying Pan (And Into the Fire)” – Meat LoafMost important item in your gym bag: Rope-climb burn-proof socks.

First album/CD/cassette you ever bought: “1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours” – Green Day

Favorite hidden gem spot/restaurant in NYC: Dominie’s Hoek, Long Island City (Their $15 weekend brunch special: “egg entree + fries/salad + truly unlimited mimosas” is the best deal I’ve seen in all five boroughs).

Favorite healthy snack: HummusGo to karaoke song: “How Will I Know” – Whitney Houston

Hidden talent: Painting. I paint stuff. They’re not great, but they’re not horrible.