The couple that works out together…well, I can’t think of anything cute to complete this statement. But that doesn’t matter because when they’re hitting the weights, there’s nothing cute about it. They’re fierce. They’re intense. And they get at it. They’re Ronnie Craig and Mike Manley, Paramount’s resident power couple (pun intended?).
I sat down with Ronnie and Mike recently to get to know them a little better. And let me tell you, when they’re not in the gym, they’re actually pretty cute.
Where did you grow up?
Ronnie Craig: Western North Carolina. I’ve lived in Chicago for 16 years but still have the Southern accent.
Mike Manley: Middle-of-Nowhere, Indiana.
What do you do for a living? Tell me about your typical day.
RC: I’m a Senior Copywriter at a digital experience agency, so I’m always at my laptop. I mostly work from home so I use a sit/stand desk and work on mobility here and there during the day. But still, writing’s a sedentary practice.
MM: I’m a software engineer for Public Good. Most days I am either head down in code or sketching boxes and arrows and such on one of our whiteboard walls.
When do you workout?
RC: I’m usually at Paramount five days a week now: small group classes, two mornings and two evenings, as well as the Saturday rowing class.
MM: Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 6am.
What are some of your favorite things to do (besides working out obviously)?
RC: I love to travel with Manley, try new restaurants, hang out with our two mutts, and read anything I can get my hands on. I’m also a sci-fi/horror movie fiend and a wannabe bartender.
MM: Hang out with Ronnie. Read, write, bike, cook, watch movies, travel, and play with our dogs.
What’s something that people at the gym might not know about you?
RC: Since I’m such a tomboy now, I bet nobody would guess that I was in beauty pageants—sequins, giant hair and all—in high school.
MM: I have no sense of smell and never did. If I ever come into the gym already stinky, someone needs to tell me, because that means I screwed something up.
Why did you first start coming to Paramount?
RC: I’d never done sports or anything athletic except running a few days every week; once I hit 40, my usual running workouts became too high impact, so I needed a new way to get and stay fit. After hearing a reco from a friend and reading stellar reviews, I came to Paramount for a consult a year ago and never looked back.
MM: Ronnie had been going for about six months and loved it, as had our friend Ken Steele. I wasn’t getting anything out of my existing workouts, so I started going to Fundamentals and got hooked.
As a result of your workouts, what’s something you can do now that you couldn’t do before?
RC: ALL THE THINGS! But lifting heavy still surprises me—I love that I can move as much or more than my body weight. And it’s worth noting that my confidence, both in and out of the gym, is also the strongest it’s ever been. Paramount’s thoughtful programming, wonderful trainers, and fun teammates are a big part of that.
MM: Jump rope! The first few times I tried that, I nearly simultaneously strangled and tripped myself. Now I only do one or the other, usually.
So what’s your favorite workout?
RC: Rowing! Peggy, another friend, and I did the Reckless Rowathon (14K for each of us) in January. So much fun! Turkish Get-Ups are also a favorite, and I think I’m the only person at Paramount who likes Joffrey the Sled.
MM: It might be weird, and I still do them ugly as sin, but Turkish Get Ups. I demonstrated those to my officemates and they all wondered why anyone would ever do such a thing on purpose.
Is there anything you like or dislike about working out with your significant other?
RC: We focus on the workout when we’re in the same class, but we stay accountable as a team of two outside Paramount—we talk about what’s working and how to improve, plus we work out or hike together when we’re on vacation. I really like that. I dislike laundry duty with all our sweaty workout clothes. Blargh.
MM: Honestly, we are both pretty focused when we’re there, so we largely ignore each other during workouts. It is nice when Ronnie fireman-carries me home afterwards, though.
Deserted Island Q&A. If you were stuck on a deserted island, what 1-5 things would you bring of the following:
Movies and/or TV shows?
RC: Jaws is my favorite movie. I can recite all the dialogue by heart. I think Breaking Bad was the best show ever made, but I refuse to watch the last season because I heard how it ends and I can’t accept it. I still love you, Walter White!
MM: Am I on the island with Ronnie? If so, we have to have all the Jaws movies on hand. Otherwise, I’d make do with all 9+ seasons of the X-Files.
RC: Too many to narrow down, but I’ll go with the short stories of Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, and Ray Bradbury, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, and Watership Down by Richard Adams. Manley said he’d bring Stephen King’s entire collection, so I think we’d be covered for books.
MM: I’d hope to have been smart enough to have the SAS Survival Guide on hand, but likely I won’t be, so then the complete works of Stephen King. In addition to the entertainment, one could build a small but sturdy hut with all of those volumes.
RC: I could eat M’s baked salmon, rosemary sweet potatoes, and chia pudding just about every day. And I’d probably sneak in some bourbon.
MM: I’ll be OK as long as I have a big enough bottle of good hot sauce.
RC: For reading & writing, I need music without lyrics like classical, techno, or movie soundtracks. Everyone in class knows I love old-school hard rock like AC/DC for workouts. And for sweet, gorgeous music by an adorable married couple, I highly recommend The Weepies.
MM: Any Greatest Hits of the Year from, oh, 1980 through 1997 would do just fine