After a devastating injury caused her life to take a significant detour, Analisa Marquez could have just decided to it easy and settle into a less physically demanding profession.
But Marquez has never been about taking the easy route.
"It's competitive, and i think that's what I love the most about it," said Marquez, a Chandler resident and Tucson native.
It's Marquez's competitive nature that compelled her to take on her toughest test to date: an appearance on "Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge," a grueling eight-contestant gauntlet of physical competitions hosted by former WWE superstar "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. The winner of each episode takes home a $10,000 prize.
Marquez's episode will air Sunday night on CMT.
"One of my friends was on the season last year, and I was like, 'That's really cool,'" Marquez said.
Soccer is Marquez's first love. She played collegiately at The University of Arizona before embarking upon a pro career. She played alongside World Cup hero Carli Lloyd as a member of the Atlanta Beat.
"She's awesome to watch. I always root for her," Marquez said of Lloyd. "All her hard work has definitely paid off."
Marquez's soccer career was derailed during her second season in Atlanta when she suffered an ACL tear. Afterwards, she returned to Arizona and moved to Phoenix, where she used CrossFit to stay in shape.
Marquez started out by participating in CrossFit team events across the country, but she recently switched over to individual competitions.
"Me being the athlete that I am, I eventually found myself in the competitive group here, and I just loved it," she said. "I think soccer players really take to it really well."
Those competitions prepared her for "Broken Skull Challenge" -- but of course, watching the show from home is much different than actually being put the kinds of through events and obstacles that would cause casual gym rats to pass out.
"You always sit there behind the TV and go, 'Yeah, I could totally do that,'" she said.
The "Broken Skull Challenge" producers found Marquez's Facebook page and asked if she'd be interested in finding out.
"I was like, 'Oh, gosh.' I was like a deer in the headlights," she said. "I had to put my -- what's the saying? -- my money where my mouth is."
Of course, Marquez won't reveal just how well she did until the show airs -- but she gave us a teaser, noting she participated in a one-on-one tug-of-war, in which the first women to ring the competitor's bell wins.
"I'll stop there because you guys can watch the rest," she said with a laugh.
So, what did Marquez think of Austin -- the beer-swilling, middle finger-waiving redneck who tore up the then-World Wrestling Federation in the late '90s?
"He's super awesome. He was cheering for us, very positive," she said. "He's a badass, but he was so nice and really supportive."
As grueling a competition as "Broken Skull Challenge" is, Marquez said she would "love" to give it another go as, much like CrossFit, competition brings out the best in her.
"It was a lot of fun. It was a great experience," she said.
"I do what I do because I love it, and I've met such great people in this community. If you haven't tried CrossFit, you should try it, because it's awesome."