Name: Dan McMellen




Director, Editor, Writer and Producer of feature films, documentaries and reality and scripted television.


Lift Off Strength Family Member Since: 


December 2017



How did you get started at Lift Off Strength?


I’ve been a gym rat since high school and then tore my left knee meniscus and dislocated my shoulder in 2012. Once that happened I lost my working out mojo. It’s been a hard road, because I worked out so much and then nothing for almost 3 years I ended up gaining a bunch of weight. I had a wakeup call last year when doctors told me I had hypertension and high blood pressure. So I decided to take it seriously and really get back to my love of exercise and taking care of myself. So in the summer of last year I found a trainer and my first step was to make my workouts a priority again and also regain the ‘habit’ of working out. I made that happen and then wanted more of a challenge and ended up at Lift Off Strength. I’m a fan of trying and doing things that I fear and knew I was looking for something that was the next level of working out. Once I walked in the door – I was hooked.



What kind of results have you seen in your time at LOS?


Too many to name…but here are few things I’ve found so far. I, of course, feel stronger and healthier. I’ve noticed muscles that I never knew I could have at 42. I like to take care of myself now; from eating better to getting more sleep. I can keep up with my son and his weekly sports schedule of baseball, karate and soccer. I love to play softball and my running, fielding and hitting have totally improved 10 fold. 


Give us a long term AND short term fitness goal:


I’ve always been very realistic about short and long term goals with Crossfit. I’ve lost weight, but in a very healthy and long-term way. I knew that it would be a benefit, but it’s never been my ultimate goal. Like I said, I play softball and wanted to challenge myself to be the best player I can be. I wanted something that could condition me and give me more confidence and ability to be athletic on the field. Every week I work with that goal in mind and every week I notice my game gets a little better. I honestly take it week by week and look to each class for that day’s workout. Each class I always want to outdo last one, and that’s all I can ask of myself.



What would you tell someone that is on the fence about CrossFit and not sure whether they should give it a try or not?


Once you’re hooked, you’re never stopping. There is a certain stereotype that comes with CrossFit. Everyone has to be athletes, standing 20 meat-heads to a room lifting heavy dumbbells. Not true. We’re only 6-8 meat-heads in a room…just kidding. Lift Off Strength takes a totally different approach. They talk with you about your goals, analyze where you are physically, mentally and then figure out where you can start off your program at. That’s not saying they won’t push you, just not beyond what you are capable of. It’s a smart and safe program that gives you a ton of room to grow and really smart and helpful people to help you do that.


What is your proudest CrossFit accomplishment thus far?


Box Jumps. I started out and couldn’t do a standing jump without my injured knee hurting. They help me build the muscle and tendons back around my knee so it could be strong again and work the right way. Last month, I did 30 inch standing box jumps (it’s a tall box) with taller jumps literally on the horizon. 


Tell us something about you that nobody knows, preferably an embarrassing story! 


How I injured myself in 2012: Funny story – I was working on a reality show called FREAKSHOW for AMC. I happened to be on set that day while they were filming a stunt with a no-armed man and no-legged man riding a tandem back…yes this is a true story. The stunt went south, the bike of course tipped over on me and I tore my knee. Two months later, on a rainy day, walking down my work’s parking garage steps I  slipped on a wet step and attempted to catch myself; I kept going but my arm grabbed the railing – dislocating my shoulder. Doctors said I had to rehab my shoulder before I could have my knee fixed. So, 12 months, a whole lot of physical therapy and a too many pain pills later I finally got my knee surgery. 



If you could workout with ANYONE…who would it be and why? 


J.J. Watt. He’s like the after version of Captain America. He’s a genetic mutant and I would never be able to compete with him, but I would love to try…or at least try as hard as I can, puke and then pass out. 


If you could have dinner with 3 people, any lifetime, who and why? 


Steven Spielberg – I moved to Los Angeles to be a filmmaker and he is a living God to us.


Theodore Roosevelt – He lead such a fascinating life. Saw this country evolve from the Rough Riders, to the wild west to the Presidency and then some. Couldn’t imagine the stories he could tell.


Mark Twain- From what I’ve read his favorite thing was dinner parties and whiskey. Once it flowed, he never shut up. He lived a full life as well; the yarns he could tell at a dinner party. 


What do you love most about Lift Off Strength?


The community. The one thing I did hear about CrossFit, prior to joining, was about the people and how you workout together and help each other. I was not having that – but I still wanted to see what it was about. Like I said, I’ve been a gym rat most of my life. Headphones, weights, cardio machine…an hour later – I’m good. I didn’t want to deal with people. Now, I look forward to seeing everyone. Saying hi, talking about our workouts and ultimately bonding over our love of Lift Off Strength. There is such a strong bond and commitment to one another and the gym and I’m just so surprised how much I responded to the community connection we have at Lift Off Strength. 


What is your favorite quote and/or motto…one that you live by?


“Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it is.” – WAYNE GRETSKY’S DAD 


How has CrossFit changed your life? 


I’ve really learned about the lifestyle of a CrossFit athlete. And I mean that, I feel like an athlete in a lot of ways. I’m not saying I’m a JJ Watt or some professional athlete, but if you want to workout at this level then you have to take care of yourself in the same way. It has taught me to get more sleep, always eat the right foods and ultimately learn about rest and recovery. I take it all very seriously, but at the same time I’m enjoying the lifestyle so much more. I have more energy to be able to play with son, more energy at work and ultimately it has become my stress reliever. I know when I go to my 8:30am class, whatever stress I’m going thru or whatever outlet I need – Lift Off Strength will be there to push be through it and make my day better.