We, the Solace coaching staff, are very excited to award our August Member of the Month to Omari Wallace!  A little over a year ago, Omari made the decision to invest in himself and make his health and fitness a priority. With consistency and his willingness to put in the work, he transformed not only his body but his mind too. He actively sought out and accepted critique from coaches and applied it, scaled where necessary, focused on technique over heavy weight and fast times, and most importantly learned to have patience.

Coach Brandon says, “What I appreciate most about Omari is he will partner with anyone on a workout, regardless of their ability, and always be positive. He seeks out coaching and is receptive to feedback.”

His transformation is proof that all you need to get started is a positive attitude and eagerness to learn. His dedication and commitment to getting healthier are unparalleled and a huge inspiration. From the entire community and staff at Solace, it is an honor to have you apart of the Solace family and we want to thank you for sharing your journey with us and providing some major #fitspo. So what are you waiting for?! Keep reading to learn more about our August Member of the Month!

Want to become a part of the Solace family? Click HERE  to sign up for a free introductory CrossFit class this week.

Member of the Month
Name: Omari Wallace
Hometown: New York, NY
Age: 31
Occupation: Web Developer

How long have you been doing CrossFit and how did you get into it? I’ve been doing CrossFit officially for 13 months. Solace was where it all started!

**I say officially because I heard about CrossFit many years ago and dabbled with the idea of some of the movements while I was a member at a “Globo Gym”  — but I had no idea what I was doing and it surely didn’t last.

What were your thoughts after your first CF workout? My thoughts after my first workout could best be summed up by the words of a one, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson: “Daaaamn, homie – in high school you was the maaaan homie, what the #$%! happened to you!?”

What were your goals when joining CrossFit? In a nutshell, to be a better version of myself.  I was no stranger to working out and had gone through phases throughout my professional life of being consistent. It all came to a head when I was about to turn 30 and I decided that the time for excuses was over.

How did you find Solace and what has kept you with us for so long? I found Solace through a former member – the one and only Ms. Ashley Bathe! We were co-workers at the time when I was on the hunt for a new gym to call home, and she sold Solace incredibly hard, despite my initial hesitation (and I can’t thank her enough).

And while Ashley brought me in, the Solace community – which truly is more like a family – is what kept me around.

You’ve made a huge transformation and have improved tremendously since starting with us. Talk to us about that. My transformation has largely been a product of the infectious mindset that just about every member has in some way: always striving for more. From the veterans to the new comers – just about everyone has a goal that they’d like to achieve and nobody is ever just complacent.

In the beginning, one of the biggest challenges was getting my ego out of way because there was something inside of me that knew I was better than where I was. But once I was able to do that and get my mind right (read: scale where necessary and be OK with it, focus on technique over heavy weight and fast times, accept critique from coaches and peers and apply it, have patience, etc. etc) the signs of progress started to show. And with each of the little wins I was able to move the goal post a bit further out – and there’s nothing like success to fuel the fire of progress.

What or who was the biggest motivator/inspiration? To be honest, that’s quite difficult to pinpoint because it varies almost every day that I step into Solace (from the who perspective). If I had to choose one thing I’d say it’s the whiteboard in the basement. Admittedly, I used to hate it when I first started as I was never really one to boast (I was that kid in class who never liked to talk about my grade, even if it was an A), and early on there was little to boast about.  But when I changed my mentality and realized that it actually contributed to the collective goal of everyone striving to be better, even the less than stellar scores,  checking it and making my mark quickly became one of my favorite parts of working out.

What has been the most challenging part of your journey? Biggest obstacles? Outside of Solace, the unpredictability of my work schedule has made it difficult at times to come as often as I’d like and I could also do so much better when it comes to my diet.  Within Solace, I’d say the biggest obstacle has been focusing on one thing to improve at a time because there are so many areas in which I’d like to get better.

What changes have you made to your daily life, diet & workout routine that have been the most successful for you? I’d say being quite clear with my co-workers that working out is a major priority in my life — because prior to joining Solace it wasn’t uncommon for me to leave the office well after 8PM. Another noteworthy change, that I’d say has made an impact, is doing little things to increase mobility — for example, while playing fetch with my dog in the morning I practice holding the bottom of an air squat until he comes back.

How has Solace positively affected you both inside and outside the gym?  One major way that I’ve noticed has been with my sleep patterns — I’m generally a night owl and I used to consistently wake up in the middle of the night between 3 and 4 AM.  Since being consistent with Solace, I can’t remember the last time that’s happened and it’s had a knock-on positive affect in just about every other aspect of my life.

What keeps you motivated? My motivation, knowing that every day I’m not working out (when it isn’t a rest day), someone else is improving. Not to mention the positive reinforcement that I’ve received from all the people who’ve noticed my transformation (would hate for the ooh, look at you!’s to become ooh, what happened to you’s).

Biggest achievement at Solace so far? Easily my most memorable achievement at Solace was hitting a 30lb squat snatch PR during the CrossFit Open 17.3 workout. I had never attempted that weight previously and I managed to hit it not once, but twice after already being exhausted from all of the prior work in the WOD. There was a pretty sizable group cheering me on, adrenaline was pumping, and it was an overall incredible moment that I’ll take with me for the rest of my days.

New goal for the coming year? I’d like to participate in a local competition.  I remember Colby had asked me to participate in one earlier on my in CrossFit career but I felt way too intimidated at the thought and I wasn’t confident enough in my ability at the time.  But now that I’m capable of doing just about all WODs Rx (even if they aren’t pretty), I’d like to see what I’m made of in the environment of a competition.

Something no one at the gym knows about you: I had a “Cinder-fella” moment in High School my senior year.  I was cut from the basketball team my senior year and ended up doing indoor track (the track coach had been after me my entire high school career to drop basketball during the winter season).  That same year we took third place in New York State for the 4 x 200 meter relay and going into the spring track season we broke the 4 x 400 meter relay record at my school — which still stands to this day 13 years later.

When you’re not at Solace, where are we most likely to find you? You can find me in da club, bottle full of b — ha, just kidding — most likely the office or in front of a laptop writing code (sigh).

Pre and post workout meal of choice? Yeah – see my prior response about biggest obstacles and diet…

Favorite WOD/ least favorite WOD: nStill getting a hang for the names — but in recent memory Bradshaw comes to mind as one that sticks out as a favorite.  My least favorite WOD is not something I can tell you because I’ve put all my effort into trying to forget…

Favorite lift/ least favorite lift: My favorite lift is the Power Clean and Split Jerk. And my least favorite movement are Manmakers (although it’s a love kinda hate more relationship).

Advice for someone looking to start CrossFit? Jump in with BOTH feet and before you know it you’ll be inspiring someone else just as much as you were inspired by the folks who’ve come before you!

Knowing how far you’ve come, if you could give your past self-advice, what would it be? Don’t overthink it – shut up and show up.


Rapid Fire Questions

If you had a theme song, what would it be? DNA – Kendrick Lamar

What is your spirit animal? I’ve always had a thing for Cheetahs

Drink of choice: Manhattan, neat – Old Fashioned glass

Last picture you took on your phone: Receipt to track work expenses for a business trip :-/

Last book you read: Cracking the Coding Interview

Favorite reality show: RuPaul’s Drag Race (Easily the most difficult reality competition on the planet — on what other show do the contestants have to be able to sing, dance, do hair, makeup, stand-up comedy, act, walk a runway, do improv, design clothing, overcome stereotypes and throw shade? Don’t worry, I’ll wait…)

Last concert you went to: Chronixx (Reggae Artist) at the Celebrate Brooklyn Festival

Favorite pizza topping: Pepperoni (specifically from Prince Street Pizza)

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Going to go slightly off the beaten path and say the ability to replicate myself — so that I can do an experience all of the things.

One thing you couldn’t live without: My better half, Nicole (Honey Roasted Peanuts in close second)

Favorite emoji: I’m sorry, but I grew up in the era when 🙂 was all you needed – shoutout to dial-up AOL

Last song stuck in your head: YAH – Kendrick Lamar (Had the DAMN album on heavy rotation today)

Most important item in your gym bag: My signature orange headband to keep my eyes from stinging

First album/CD/cassette you ever bought? Usher – My Way

Favorite hidden gem spot/restaurant in NYC: Already gave Prince St. Pizza some shine — so would have to go with Pomme Frites

Favorite healthy snack: Trick question?

Go to karaoke song: All the Small Things – Blink 182 (everyone knows the hook)

Hidden talent: I can do the fish (think the worm, but in reverse)

Someone you could party with for a night dead or alive, who and why? Prince — because I would give just about anything to have pancakes and then engage in a game of Basketball that I would purposefully lose just to hear him say “Game, Blouses.” (Chappelle’s Show fans stand up!)

Anything else you’d like us to know? I feel like I’ve already said too much…