Member Spotlight: Ilana Obuchowski
Name: Ilana Obuchowski
Company and Position: I am the assistant director for club sports at Tulane University. There’s 32 student-run teams ranging from basketball and soccer to rugby and quidditch to rowing and sailing to karate and ping pong. About 1,000 students participate in the program annually.
How long have you been a member of Cypress Fitness? Since around June 2016.
What are your training goals? I want to run a 5k in under 30 minutes. I also always want to be faster, stronger, and better than the person next to me.
What was the experience or motivating factor that compelled you to join Cypress Fitness? Was there someone who influenced you to join? When I moved to New Orleans in July 2015, I had just had knee surgery. It took me a while to be physically and mentally ready to start working out again. Once I was, I was searching for a gym that would excite me and motivate me to get back into shape. I tried crossfit and it just wasn’t for me. I spent a lot of time gym shopping and stumbled upon Cypress Fitness. The first class I did was with Caroline. As anyone who’s taken her class knows, you leave a puddle of sweat on the floor and walk out feeling simultaneously exhausted and ready to take on the world. It was exactly what I had been looking for and I knew immediately this was the place for me.
Has Cypress Fitness contributed to your fitness progress? In other words, have you reached any of your goals since joining? I did an unassisted pull up for the first time ever. I’ve been trying to do an unassisted pull up since the summer of 2013. I spent that summer practicing everyday to try and do it in the doorway of the boathouse at the camp I was working at, but to no avail. I formally anointed this goal to my roommate last summer, so finally accomplishing this in city park last month felt awesome.
Briefly describe the culture of Cypress Fitness: To me, Cypress embodies New Orleans’ “come as you are” attitude. Everyone is warm and welcoming which in turn creates an environment open to all who are willing to just show up.
What do you do in your spare time? Provide a fun fact about yourself: Often my fun fact is that I hold the single season home run record at my high school. I got back into softball for the first time since high school last year, which is the picture on the left. I now play twice a week, though I have yet to hit a home run. I also play ultimate frisbee and kickball and will start dodgeball next month.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned about fitness since joining Cypress? I’ve learned to cut myself some slack. It’s ok to not lift the heaviest thing you can lift if your body is feeling tired or sore. At the same time, I’ve learned to push myself on days when I can do one more rep or go a little faster. Both are equally meaningful.
What is your guilty pleasure (TV show, sweet treat, etc.)? I still watch Grey’s Anatomy. I just feel like I’ve invested so many hours of my life in these characters that I have to see it all the way through until the show ends.
If you could spend the day with one celebrity, who would it be and why? I would want to spend the day with Pat Summit. I remember watching women’s games growing up and seeing her yelling from the sidelines in her suit. It was something I could relate to, playing for a female coach in middle school. I knew Tennessee was an unstoppable force and I was pretty sure it was directly related to her stomping around at games in high heels. Many years later, I found her inspirational for many other reasons. She advanced women’s collegiate sport more than I knew and has set the standard in many ways. I would love to hear her story and just soak in being around her for a whole day.
What is your dream vacation spot? I really want to bike along the Danube, particularly from Vienna to Budapest and possibly stop in Prague. I haven’t looked at a map to even know if this is a logical route, but that’s the dream vacation.