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Testing his Mettle

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  • | 7:08 a.m. December 21, 2012
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Executive: John Marazzi, 48

Fitness Passion: CrossFit training

Career: Co-owner and managing partner of Brandon Honda

Workout history: A workout fanatic, Marazzi did mixed martial arts (MMA) for five years before starting to do CrossFit, a workout that uses weightlifting, kettle bells, rowing and other equipment for intense training that is scored to increase competition. “It's a combination of endurance, strength, and will,” says Marazzi. He says he was a great athlete when he was young, playing football, baseball and basketball. “Anything with hand-eye coordination,” he says. Now his goal is to reach the next level of endurance. His latest method is Orangetheory Fitness, which uses intervals of cardiovascular and strength training to energize the body.

Pushing his limits: A typical CrossFit gym is not air-conditioned, Marazzi says, although he uses other locations, as well. After a warmup, he launches into a skill. “It might be deadlifts (raising a barbell), or it might be walking on your hands,” he says. A CrossFit workout of the day might include 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, and hundreds of other exercises. “The timer starts, and it's a race to see who can finish that workout first,” he says. “When you get done, people fall on the floor, some people vomit. People pass out.” The workouts can be extreme, to be sure. Marazzi says: “To each his own.”

Workout dangers: There's always a risk of injury, Marazzi says, especially with martial arts. “I got kicked in the jaw and developed TMJ from it. I could literally not eat, not drink, and not talk. It took four to six months to heal.” The injury happened in 2005. “No matter how tough you are, how well trained you are, there could be one time when you don't see a punch or kick.” Those hits to the face led Marazzi to reconsider MMA fighting.

Finding a coach: He has worked with a personal trainer for about eight months. “We do elements of CrossFit, we'll do sick exhausting work with kettle bells and stairs and running and flipping tires, and sledgehammers. You're swinging it onto a gigantic tire. We actually are up to using 50-pound sledgehammers.” Marazzi says he likes the intense workouts because they relieve anger and stress, and they're part of his multi-discipline approach to fitness.

The proper fuel: He drinks plenty of water before training, takes supplements, and orders meals from Fitlife Foods in Tampa. He prefers organic foods, with menus that may include tilapia, salmon, or chicken and vegetables.

Fitness-business connection: Marazzi says he prefers to hire former athletes. “I like competitive people. I gravitate to athletes, because they tend to fit into our goals —grabbing market share and dominating the market.”

Wake-up call: He weighed 185 pounds in high school, but in the business world, as he worked his way up, he ballooned to 245 pounds. “I'm coming home late at night, I'm under stress,” he says. That was 18 years ago, when he was 30. His wake-up call came when he got heart palpitations coming home from a trip. “I actually thought I was having a heart attack. When I got home, I dove into getting my health right,” he says. He read about vitamins, amino acids, herbs, supplements and physical training. “I read everything I could about what I needed to do to get myself back in shape. And I took that journey from 245 pounds back down to 185.”

Philosophy: Willpower is the key to success. “Whether you miss a workout or eat a pepperoni pizza, it doesn't matter, we're all human beings,” says Marazzi. “Get back in the game. Schedule your workout, get to the gym. Take action. Find a CrossFit gym, or a fitness group. You've just got to put in the work.”


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