March 5, 2013
Family, Culture, CrossFit: Roselle Fryberg
By Carla Conrad

“I loved how these people encouraged each other, that grandmas were there alongside their grandchildren. Everyone was so welcoming. I think I have gained my best friends through CrossFit."


To the casual motorist, it looks like a detached garage in a residential neighborhood. But to a CrossFitter, a large tractor tire out front and a CrossFit sticker on the entrance reveals what’s inside.

Two years ago, Roselle Fryberg was a Tribal Youth Drug and Alcohol Prevention Specialist and was looking for a new activity for the teens she was working with. She discovered CrossFit Marysville and thought it would be an interesting option.

“At first, I would just go and watch. I thought, ‘I don’t think I can do that, that’s crazy,’” Fryberg recalls. “One day, they asked me to join them, so I gave it a try. It was a Tabata. I did it, and I have never been so sore in my life. I remember waking up in the middle of the night thinking, ‘Everything really hurts. My calves hurt, my legs hurt, my abs hurt, my butt hurts.’ But after that, I started going a couple times a week.”

Fryberg excelled when she understood that every workout was scalable.

“When I realized I could adjust some of the movements and skills, that opened up more possibilities. I started with push-ups on the knees; I’d walk during the runs; I was on the biggest bands for pull-ups. So, once I knew you could scale stuff and that everybody can do this, it was, ‘OK, I’m in.’”

It was the community that solidified her decision.

“I loved how these people encouraged each other, that grandmas were there alongside their grandchildren,” she says. “Everyone was so welcoming. I think I have gained my best friends through CrossFit. I have never had such good friends in my life.”

Her husband, Apollo Lewis, joined her and loved the competitive aspect of CrossFit. A mother of three, Fryberg would not have classified herself as an athlete.

“My husband got lucky because when we dated in high school, I was a chubby girl,” she says. “Now that we are married, and even after three kids, I am trim and fit because of CrossFit.”

Fryberg participated in the Open in 2011 and she placed well out of qualifying for Regionals in the North West as an individual.

“I felt so sorry for my judge who had to keep no-repping me,” Fryberg says. “Yet, I was selected to be on the CrossFit Marysville team. For the Regional workouts, I couldn’t do pull-ups, I couldn’t do handstand push-ups, so I got to do the Thruster Ladder. I couldn’t do the Chipper. I did the Deadlift/Box jump workout. My husband and I got to do that workout together.”

Late in 2011, after Fryberg and Lewis earned their Level 1 Certificates, Tulalip Bay CrossFit opened in their detached garage. The community now had a local facility where they could experience the same benefits that Fryberg and Lewis had. And like ripples created by a canoe paddle, Tulalip Bay CrossFit began causing a ripple effect of benefit in the community.

Fast forward to the 2012 Games season. At the conclusion of the 2012 Open, Fryberg was sitting 59th in the North West.

“I couldn’t sleep that whole night, thinking someone would post a better time and nudge me out of a Regional slot, but it held and I was really excited,” Fryberg recalls. “When they posted the workouts and the first one was Diane … I still couldn’t do a handstand push-up. When I tried it for the first time, I was way over the time cap. With some coaching help and learning to kip my handstand push-up, I was able to improve my PR by a minute … right up to Regionals, where I trimmed four or five minutes off …”

During the final workout of the 2012 North West Regional, it was Fryberg who had the crowd on their feet.

“My goal for Regionals was to make it to the final workout, and when I did I thought, ‘Shoot! I don't have a muscle-up!’ So I did the world’s fastest nine deadlifts (I was no-repped on two) and was first to the rings to spend the whole workout attempting muscle-ups,” she says. “Everyone was cheering me on. At one point I looked over and CJ Martin, Laura Demarco, my husband, my CrossFit Marysville family, my Tulalip Bay CrossFit family — all cheering. I felt so loved. I tried my best, but I didn't get my muscle-up that day. It didn’t come until after Regionals and it was the best day ever when I got my first one. That is still my biggest weakness, but it is something that I work on often."

“My recent workouts have been feeling really good. I am better with the gymnastics and endurance. A couple of months ago, we hired CJ Martin to program for us. He has us doing a lot of stuff we hate, but also a lot that we love. And me, I love the barbell,” Fryberg says. “Please, give me a heavy barbell.”

Along with her training, Fryberg is focused on nutrition.

“We follow a paleo diet, but we call it a traditional diet, based on our heritage as hunter gathers,” she says. “Many of our people still practice those traditions, of hunting, gathering and fishing.”

Fryberg believes that her position allows her to spread the message of CrossFit and healthy living throughout the tribal communities.

“My father, Ray Fryberg, is well known among the tribal communities, and being his daughter has given me an outlet for this message. I want to be a good role model for my tribal people and my kids.”

CrossFit has changed the course of this family’s legacy, from unhealthy lifestyles to longer lives.

“My family was not as health conscience when I was growing up. Now, at family gatherings we talk about how hard the workout was, where we are sore,” Fryberg says. “When you know that the workout was the hardest thing of the day, you feel that you can accomplish anything else.”

She adds: “CrossFit changed the conversation. I just love it. For me, tying it back to my heritage, my totem pole is now close family, tribal culture, CrossFit.”

Fryberg has high hopes this year.

“I want to be on the podium.”