February Athlete of the Month – Tanya Iacono

There is so much we could say about Tanya. She's a long-standing member of the CFNH fam. She has come so far in her fitness journey, through PRs, injuries, and workout after workout of true determination and hard work.
She's learned how to work with her body, not against it. She knows her limitations, but also knows how much to put in to continue to grow and become stronger. Thank you for the extra motivation and spirit at 5am! This place wouldnt be the same without you.

“I really can't express how much I appreciate the recognition especially after so many bumps in the road over the past few years. Crossfit New Haven is my second home and just walking through the doors there saved me from really dark times in my life.  It is the one place I can go and I know I may do something today that reminds me how strong I am and how much I have had to overcome.”


1.  When and where did you start CrossFitting?

I have been doing some variation of Crossfit for about 6 years now, but let's be real…the only time that means anything to me is the last 5 years (in June) that I have been a member at CFNH.  The timing of certain events that led me here was pretty fortuitous and it ranks up there with one of my best decisions. 

2.  What are some of your goals to accomplish in 2019?

First and foremost, my goal is to stay healthy.  The reality is that I still have an injury that is not going to go away, but there is one way to counterbalance this reality and that leads to my second goal which is to get strong as shit.  I want a 300# deadlift…I want a 200# squat (if not more)….and I want to continue to get stronger overhead which has been a glaring weakness.  I want to prove to myself that I can overcome these limitations and I think that is a message I want to share with the other members of the gym.  It is amazing how you find the strength to overcome anything when you don't stop showing up just because a stumbling block is trying to knock you down and keep you down.  You can't let it and you can't lose sight of your goals. 

3.  What are some of your recent accomplishments of which you're most proud?

The great thing about this community and Crossfit in general is that I have so many moments that I am proud of that have come from my experiences at the gym that it is hard for me pin point the best one.  I would have to say a recent PR on my shoulder press and thruster was pretty damn awesome.  Anytime I can give myself proof that my hard work has paid off is an accomplishment.  At a real low point, I could not even complete a simply task at home like reaching for something above eye level in my closet without pain.  There were times I thought to myself that I would never get better and I sure as hell would never put weight over my head again.  I had to do a lot of fighting to earn those PRs and I plan to have many more going forward.

4.  Do you adhere to any form of daily/weekly diet regimen to power your workouts?  What does your dream cheat meal/day look like?

I try to eat as clean as I possibly can with regularity (I NEVER eat fast food) and I also count my macros.  I feel I'm really attune to what certain foods do to my body and I try to avoid anything that makes me feel any sort of inflammation or just plain crappy.  An ideal cheat meal for me would involve a trip to Bar Taco.  Their margaritas are amazing and I would need at least one or two of those in addition to their plantains, guacamole and chicken bowl or tacos.  I'm also a big fan of Plan B burger.  I do have a sweet tooth so Ashley's ice cream is definitely a stop I'm going to make after a cheat meal. 

5. Design 2 WODs:  1 that is your bread & butter, filled with your movement strengths; 1 that is all goats (movement weaknesses you feel you need to improve).

Deadlifts, deadlifts and deadlifts.  Any WOD with a moderately heavy or heavy deadlift is my jam.  Throw in some pull-ups and GHD sit-ups and you are all toast…not really but this is my dream WOD.  I also love complex kettlebell movements like the KB snatch or KB wall ball.  I saw a WOD on Crossfit KB that I'd like to try:

KB Split Snatch (35)
Double Unders
Rest 30 seconds
KB Split Snatch (35)
Double Unders
Rest 30 seconds
KB Split Snatch (35)
Double Unders
Rest 30 seconds
KB Split Snatch (35)
Double Unders


There are so many movements that I just loathe that it's hard for me to envision my worst nightmare WOD.  I would have to say any WOD with wall balls is going to mentally destroy me before we even start the workout.  I mean I will start thinking about these wall balls and my dread them days prior to even doing the WOD lol.  I just can't seem to maintain toes-to-bar for very long and push movements typically slow me down in any WOD. 

KAREN…enough said

6. How do you spend your time when you're away from CFNH?

Well, I'm going to try to capture my life outside of the gym in a few sentences.  I'm a Licensed Clinical Social Worker full-time and I currently work for the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch.  I have been working with juvenile offenders for most of my career.  I am an adjunct professor at 3 universities.  I have been teaching at Sacred Heart University (go Pioneers) for 15 years and I have been at the University of Bridgeport for 10 years.  I teach psychology and human services courses.  I recently started teaching social work graduate students at Southern Connecticut State University last fall.  I am also a doctoral candidate in the social work department at Southern and I anticipate graduating in 2021.  All of those things aside, I am a Mom to a really great little boy that gives me more joy and purpose than anything else in the world.  He is my inspiration and I think he is to others as well because I see people repping his fancy t-shirts and tanks all the time �� I am also lucky enough to spend the rest of the 10 minutes I have left in my day with my Martha.  The time may be brief but they are some of the best minutes of the day. 

7. What is one fact that other CFNHers may not know about you?

Gosh…this is a hard one because people have known me for so long.  I guess many people wouldn't know I was a collegiate bowler and I was a sponsored bowler for much of high school.  I would travel throughout the Northeast to tournaments and I was featured in many newspaper article related to my bowling accomplishments.  Who knew?? I can't wait to try out the boccie court…I grew up with one in my backyard and it is where my bowling stardom began.  

8.  Do you have any motivational thoughts or suggestions to folks just getting started at CFNH?

I'm going to quote what Coach Whitney identified as my motto, “When someone says you can't, do it.  Do it twice and take pictures.”  I have many experiences in fitness but I will never forget one experience I had where a personal trainer of mine told me that I would likely never be able to overhead squat because I lacked the core strength.  I remember that because it pissed me off for one but it also made want to prove him wrong (which I eventually did).  I would tell people this is hard.  It doesn't get easy.  If it were easy what would be the point.  Live for moments when you do something you never thought could because I guarantee with consistency, dedication and whole lot of sweat that those days will come.  Maybe not tomorrow or the next day, but one day you will surprise yourself with double unders…or your first strict pull up…or your first snatch where you didn't fall on your ass.  Those days are coming, I guarantee it and I also guarantee that I will be the first person to hug you or give you a high five followed by…I told you so.


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